This winter has provided us with some surprises in the Formula One paddock this season, especially with the likes of 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen returning to the grid with Lotus GP for next season, replacing the injured Robert Kubica, but the main talking point in the off season this time has been the rumours surrounding the team joining the new Sky Sports F1 HD channel, that will start broadcasting in March of next year.
Unfortunately for the BBC, it means the end of their exclusive coverage of F1, which truth be told, had raised the bar considerably since ITV finished their coverage in 2008. The BBC will continue to cover the races, but not in the way they had done over the last 3 seasons. They will be covering 10 of the races live, which include the races in Monaco, Silverstone and Spa, but the other 10 will be race replays, with the possibility of Sky coverage being used. In some respects, it is still good that the BBC are able to provide some entertainment for those who are unable to afford the subscription charges for Sky, but I understand that they are looking into the possibility of a monthly subscription to the new channel for approximately £10 via Freeview.
But with the creation of this new channel, means that Sky have to deliver on how their coverage will further still, raise the bar of coverage of Formula One for all those hardcore fans out there. This will include the fact Sky has claimed that they will provide the following coverage on the new channel, as per the website at www.sky.com/f1:
"As the new home of Formula 1™, Sky Sports F1™ HD will take customers under the skin of the sport with a depth of coverage never offered before. Full Sky Sports & Sky HD customers will be able to watch the channel for free and enjoy:
- EVERY RACE LIVE - available in HD and with no advertising breaks during races
- PRACTICE & QUALIFYING - each practice and qualifying session live and available in HD
- MORE F1™ SHOWS – brand new analysis and highlights shows
- MORE LIVE CONTENT – extra coverage through Sky's red button interactive service
- ACCESS – Available online, on mobile and on iPad with Sky Go, available to full Sky Sports and Sky HD subscribers"
Sky has drafted three of its well known presenters to help complete the team that is heavily comprised of the majority of last year's BAFTA winning BBC team, who decided to make the move to the TV giant. Steve Ryder, who presented the ITV coverage for a number of years, will be interviewing Legends past and present, as well as looking at the history of Formula One. Simon Lazenby will host the coverage before and after the race itself. Georgie Thompson, a Sky Sports stalwart, will be hosting a weekly F1 magazine show alongside Ted Kravitz, as a part of the coverage.
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