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Sky Sports claims exclusive rights to F1 from 2019

  • Published on 24 Mar 2016 15:00
  • comments 3
  • By: Rob Veenstra

F1 needs to adapt to the changing shape of the world and media. That is the view of Alex Wurz, who on the same day as the release of the GPDA's controversial open letter on the state of the sport also spoke to the Austrian newspaper Kurier.

Also late on Wednesday, Bernie Ecclestone announced that pay channel Sky will be given exclusive television rights to formula one in Britain from 2019. That sort of trend is worrying Wurz, a former F1 driver and now president of the drivers' union.

"F1 has pursued a rigorous business model in the past two years to switch from public to pay television in some countries," he said. "Despite good financial results, the viewing figures have dropped," Wurz argued. "But in countries where the TV contracts have not changed, the ratings have stayed the same and even risen slightly here and there."

Wurz argues that more of the same thinking is eroding the very foundation of F1 today -- the fans. Lewis Hamilton, for instance, has reportedly been forbidden by F1 supremo Ecclestone to film with his iPhone actual footage inside the paddock, for use in his increasingly notorious 'Snapchat' videos.

Asked if F1 risks alienating a new audience, Wurz answered: "Absolutely. This is a good example of how the formula one model needs to be adapted. "One thing that is unstoppable is technology, and the ways in which one can reach new fans has changed. They are no longer sitting and waiting for us in front of the TV."

He thinks F1 can learn something from the world of Le Mans prototype car racing, where Wurz has applied his driving talent in recent times until retiring. "Le Mans as a single product is extremely good because it is authentic and has a very clear message," said Wurz. "Man and machine against 24 hours. Formula one is lacking this kind of clarity," he said. "Some talk of it as a sport, others as a show." (GMM)

Replies (3)

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  • khasmir

    Posts: 893

    This really is a big problem and is only getting worse. If I want to watch F1 on TV I have to watch it in French or German with crappy commentary. I have no choice but to look for free streams or downloads since I'm not going to pay for something I have always watched for free.

    • + 0
    • Mar 24 2016 - 20:11
    • It gets worse Channel 4, ITV all these useless British channels spend 70% of the time arse kissing upto British drivers and focusing on everything British. Throw in the occasional 'hate your German driver of the day' for good measure and you have jolly good British television. David Croft is a jingoistic racist, Martin Brundle is clever enough to disguise his jingoism but it still flow through. Most of don't want this sort of nonsense for the money we pay, that's why I always go for free streams online atleast the sub-par presentation is free.

      • + 0
      • Mar 25 2016 - 03:50
  • Pompey

    Posts: 84

    Sky F1 is second to none with their three days of uninterrupted coverage. It just happens to be British. I'm sure if it were run by any other country the "arse kissing" would be just as prevalent toward their own driver/s. In depth analysis of a sport I have watched and loved for the last 50+ yrs, and been involved in (as a race marshal) plus keeping up with all the latest F1 news allows me to ignore the so called 'jingoism' of the pundits. There is far more going on than their commentary. Sky delivers F1 better than any other channel is able to because of the money that is paid for it. Free and second rate doesn't cut it for me.

    • + 0
    • Mar 26 2016 - 00:24

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