BBC F1 anchorman Jake Humphrey has admitted that while it is a 'little sad' the corporation won't show every race live next year, he has added that it is important to 'retain perspective' and remember that with the freezing of the licence fee keeping the sport at all is a 'success in itself'.
Humphrey's comments come in the wake of the shock announcement on Friday that the BBC and Sky Sports have struck a deal that will see the two broadcasters jointly transmit F1 from next season onwards in the UK - although the former will only get to show half of the races live on free-to-air TV [see separate story - click here
The news hasn't gone down well with UK fans as a quick glance at our poll on the issue shows [to vote in it - click here
]. Despite that though, Humphrey was keen to try and emphasise the positives in his column yesterday for the London Evening Standard
“I'd like to start... by saying how proud I am of the past two-and-a-half years of F1 coverage on the BBC,” he wrote. “...it is with a little sadness [though] that we won't be covering every race live from 2012 onwards. [But] on the flip side, it is important to retain perspective and to point out that the BBC will still be the place to come to for broad, inclusive F1 coverage.
“The BBC will have 10 live races from next season, and highlights of every race that isn't live, meaning that all the action central to the story of the season will be in High Definition on the BBC. Additionally, it's an interesting new journey for the sport. It is important to point out the BBC didn't want to lose F1, however a freezing of the licence fee actually means that keeping the sport is a success in itself.
“Sky has done wonderful things with cricket and football, it offers incredible depth of the sports it covers and has already signalled its intention to take the sport to new levels. We'll see how a sport that is so dependent on big TV audiences will react to the news of partly non-free-to-air F1 coverage.”
Meanwhile it has emerged that the BBC and Sky will use the same commentary team next season, paving the way for Martin Brundle and David Coulthard
to remain on board and work for both channels.
“The extent of the collaboration between BBC and Sky on the production of the coverage is becoming clearer,” explained James Allen on his personal website. “The commentary will be shared between both programmes, but the presentation teams will be different.
“The BBC is likely to have limited presentation as they will want to get quickly into the race highlights action at the start of the show and then there will be some analysis afterwards. However the onsite facilities will be shared, so rather than having two trucks, they will share edit equipment and production facilities. This will mean a major saving for both sides. This is what BBC F1 boss Ben Gallop means by 'shared economy'.”