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Coulthard urges Ecclestone to keep F1 free-to-air

  • Published on 03 Dec 2015 11:11
  • comments 2
  • By: Rob Veenstra

F1 would not be wise to allow free-to-air television coverage to stop in Britain, David Coulthard has warned. Last weekend in Abu Dhabi, the BBC's formula one coverage team including the former McLaren and Red Bull driver and Eddie Jordan signed off by saying they "hope" to be back in 2016.

It follows reports last month that Bernie Ecclestone was unmoved by the British broadcaster's push to cut costs by renegotiating the price of its deal. In Britain, where 7 of the 10 teams are based, the F1 coverage is split between a comprehensive pay service on Sky and a limited amount of free-to-air coverage by the BBC.

Coulthard, a former F1 driver and now a BBC commentator, urged Ecclestone to allow the broadcaster to "make savings" but still keep the sport on TV in Britain. "My personal view is that if F1 allows itself to lose free-to-air television coverage in the UK, it will not only affect the popularity of the sport, and by extension the teams' ability to raise money to compete, but it will also reduce its exposure to the next generations of engineers and mechanics," he said.

"F1 has inspired people to enter a workforce that numbers tens of thousands of people -- the drivers are just the lucky ones at the end of the rainbow," the former McLaren and Red Bull driver continued. I am proud to work for the BBC. I don't think I would have made it out of my home village of Twynholm if I had not been able to watch F1 on the BBC," said the Scot.

"Without it, there was no outlet for me to see Canada and Monaco and places like that. Of course, the world has changed since then, but free-to-air television still reaches many more people than subscription and without it we would be moving into previously uncharted waters as far as F1 in the UK is concerned," Coulthard concluded. (GMM)

Replies (2)

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  • Finally someone said it. People wanders around the paddock and wonder why numbers are down on viewers, yet in most countries (like mine) full coverage is not available on the common channels. You dont even get full coverage on some pay channels, but you have to buy and pay for a full package here, and it isnt exactly cheap. Its not that viewers are attracted away from the sport, its moneyhungry Ecclestone who refuse to make F1 accessible to everyone just because some channels pay more to host it. Little wonder why F1's fanbase is not growing.

    • + 0
    • Dec 3 2015 - 14:28
  • TTAero

    Posts: 3

    I think Ecclestone has lost the plot totally and F1 is suffering as a result. I have followed F1 for 35 years I've viewed most races in that time and have attended at least one race per year when possible but at the biginning of this season I decided that if Ecclestone was not prepared to allow me to continue following my favourite sport live on free to air TV then I would not watch any. I keep up to date on sites like this one but increasingly I'm weening myself off F1 and replacing it with other forms of racing such as GT Racing, WEC and I'm currently counting down to Dakar. The risk for F1 is that if free to air doesn't return soon I'll be gone forever and I won't be the only one.

    • + 0
    • Dec 4 2015 - 01:59

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