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Walker wonders if F1 BBC switch is a good move.

Murray Walker has voiced his concern about whether the return of Formula 1 to the BBC in 2009 is a good move, suggesting ITV 'devoted a lot more time' to the sport during its recently-ended twelve-year stint than did Auntie previously.

The BBC covered F1 in Britain all the way up to 1996, with much-loved veteran commentator Walker at the helm, but the 85-year-old jumped ship when ITV acquired the broadcasting rights in 1997, and remained on-board until he retired in 2001.

From his experience of working for both companies, he suggests the Beeb – who he claims didn't invest 'the right people and facilities' last time around – will have a hard act to follow if it is to improve on ITV's offering.

ITV devoted a lot more time to Formula 1 than the BBC ever did,” Walker told The Independent newspaper, “and they did an absolutely superb job.

“They will have a hard furrow to plough to even match the ITV coverage.

“[The BBC] didn't appreciate how important it was. ITV spent a great deal on those rights and they made the most of them. They devoted a lot more time than the BBC ever did.”


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Dave Walker
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Ian Bryan - Unregistered

November 17, 2008 12:53 PM

A lot of people seem to wear rose tinted glasses when it comes to the BBC. There previous coverage was never that good, started when the race started ended when the race ended – full stop. Over runs meant changing channel. Delayed starts or races with football up next means no end of race. Yes with the ITV they did seem to overdo the ads, but someone had to pay for the race to be shown. Not forgetting of course it is not the BBC winning the contract, it is ITV exercising their break clause. No one was watching the races, so advertisers lost interest. The real problem is not ITV or now the BBC, it is that F1 has lost its way – they no longer do racing so interest has gone away. Even in the UK more people will turn up at Brands Hatch to watch super bike, than can be bothered with F1 at Silverstone. F1’s problems are it equity owners and the car manufacturing teams, that in the end do not understand motor racing as a sport. It’s a cash cow, or a marketing exercise to these organisations, not a sport and certainly not motor racing.

Al - Unregistered

November 17, 2008 12:16 PM

an hour of pre race bull does not equal better coverage, I'd rather see all the race with no adverts, but of course ITV could never do that, so it has to go back to BBC for true uninterupted coverage (and I don't care how many so called experts there are, I just want to watch the WHOLE race!)



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