In the round-up: Alain Prost reveals how close Renault came to quitting Formula One.
Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.
Renault was 'very close' to F1 pull-out - Prost (Motorsport)
"In Abu Dhabi a few days ahead of the weekend, it was almost a no go. Only Carlos Ghosn made the decision. He had to make it himself, but yes, it (a pull-out) was very, very close."
Red Bull felt reluctance from Renault (Autosport)
"I never felt that Renault fully embraced the technical capability and simulation capability that we tried to offer and it was very clear early on that Renault weren't happy just being a supplier."
Channel 4 snaps up live F1 after BBC ditches TV coverage (FT - registration required)
"F1’s live audience fell to an eight-year low in the UK this year, although comparisons are complicated by splits between pay-TV and free-to-air coverage."
Pirelli primed for strong car performance gains in 2016 (F1i)
"Clearly some of the changes we made this year did lose some performance, they made the tyres run cooler and in an ideal world we probably would have revised our compound range for 2016 and changed all the compounds to regain some of the performance."
Ich schaffe 368 Kilometer pro Stunde (Stuttgarter-Zeitung - German)
In an interview with two 11-year-olds, Hamilton said he has dyslexia and had difficulty at school partly becuse of it.
Rich Mears's 1980 F1 tests with Brabham (Motorsport magazine)
"The money in F1 was good, yes, but it was road courses only, and I liked oval."
Opinion - Has the BBC stepped down from F1 just in time? (Autocar)
"Formula One’s core problem is that it hasn’t moved on. Any fool, barring those involved in its governance, can see that it should."
ITV cut their #F1 deal short by three years in 2008. Ecclestone collected their early exit penalty cheque within hours. Get a pen ready @BBC
— F1 Fanatic (@f1fanatic_co_uk) December 21, 2015
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Comment of the day
Opposing views on the BBC relinquishing their F1 broadcast rights:
When the BBC got the rights to Formula 1 back from ITV in 2009 everyone was happy because it meant advert-free F1 back on TV. We were told this was a five year contract but the BBC bailed out early to save money, sharing the rights with Sky in a ridiculous deal where the BBC only showed some races from 2012. We were told by the BBC that this would protect F1 on the BBC until 2018 but now they have bailed out early again, getting rid of their coverage with three years left to run.
As much as I am a fan of the BBC they have shown contempt for F1 viewers, chopping and changing contracts which we were told were in place for a set number of years.
None of this is the fault of the BBC: it’s the fault of the conservative government which is determined to destroy the British public sector in general for the benefit of private (mostly foreign) competition which they will personally profit from once they waltz out of office.
What’s sad is that their plan rests on many people blaming the BBC (or the NHS) or whomever for the cuts, instead of the government which forced them, and so far it’s working.
From the forum
Happy birthday to Arun Srini, Fastmovingthoughts, Stig 3 and Dom!
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On this day in F1
Pierre Levegh was born on this day 100 years ago. He had a brief career in Formula One, starting hald-a-dozen races in 1950 and 1951. Sadly he is best known for the circumstances of his death in a terrible crash during the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours, which killed over 80 other people when his Mercedes was launched into the crowd.
51 comments on “Renault deal “almost a no go” before Abu Dhabi”
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
22nd December 2015, 0:07
Regarding the Comments of the Day, this is neither the first nor second time the F1 contract has been axed early in the UK. ITV cut its contract short by two years in 2008 because of football commitments, which allowed the BBC to take on the rights from 2009 (instead of 2011) in the first place. So although the Conservative government and BBC policies have their share of the blame for this specific event, this is probably a broader issue than either. Given what is happening elsewhere in F1 broadcasting, the fees the broadcasters are being charged (in general) are likely to be too high in the first place. This is what happens when a series is sold as a bidding war without thought to whether the amounts bid are sustainable given what the broadcasters could be showing instead.
22nd December 2015, 0:24
To be perfectly honest, if I was UK citizen, I don’t think I’d mind BBC finding better use for my tax money than filling Bernie’s pockets (or any other filthy-rich persons pockets).
As much as I like F1, we live in a world much bigger than this sport, and if I’d have to make a choice how my tax money should be spent, I’d rather make a choice based on my principles than on my tastes in something as trivial as sporting broadcast.
BBC’s educational program and documentaries are renown worldwide and I think making such a wonderful educational series is much better than broadcasting a sport, which while good as far as the competitors and their expertise go, is ultimately ran by a bunch of corrupt money-grabbing sociopaths which are taking most of the tax-payers’ money.
And when you put it that way, as much as I am an F1 fanatic, I think I’d rather stick to my principles and refuse to fund a corrupt organization that is FOM and FIA, than sell myself for a “free” broadcast of an ultimately trivial sporting event.
Nick Wyatt (@nickwyatt)
22nd December 2015, 7:59
I read your post Biggsy, and as disappointed as I am that F1 is leaving the BBC, I think I agree with you.
After all, it’s not as if F1 was enjoying a golden age of competition, variety and innovation, is it? I do not know how much money the BBC poured into the production of their race coverage (as well as the fee to FOM), but I am sure that the BBC programme commissioners can make more effective use of it elsewhere.
Still a bit sad, though.
22nd December 2015, 8:50
22nd December 2015, 13:19
And thanks for Cbeebies, you island people of weirdly patterned clothing.
22nd December 2015, 0:27
Boy am I ever glad Mears passed up on F1. He’s long been one of my racing heroes and he was incredibly smart to stick with Penske. Any Indy Car fan with a bit of knowledge about it’s history would be aware of what Rick achieved and the legacy he left behind. Even to this day, he’s held in extremely high regard by many of the drivers. I love F1 and I love Indy Car racing, but despite their outwards similarities, they have long been two very different worlds. Talent in one does not guarantee talent in the other. Hence why you see some highly successful Indy Car drivers flop in F1 and vice-versa. This quote in particular is telling: “…I liked the variety of CART with short ovals, long ovals, street circuits and permanent road circuits. I felt you had to be a more well-rounded driver to win the CART championship…” Remember that this was in the early 80’s when there was still quite a bit of variety in the tracks F1 visited, so it’s not like today with it’s homogeneous schedule. This perhaps goes some way to explain the success of drivers like Mario Andretti in Indy Cars as well, considering he drove just about anything on four wheels and managed to be competitive. Adaptable drivers are rewarded in Indy Car. While F1 seems to be something of a more narrow, specialist focus.
Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty)
22nd December 2015, 3:14
@joey-poey You could also add Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve to that list.. I believe JV and Mario both finished 2nd at Le Mans when trying to get the triple crown. Montoya is next..
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
22nd December 2015, 1:19
According to the Wikipedia article on the Renault Energy F1 V6 Turbo system, Renault did improve their engine from 2014 to 2015. The 2014 engine had a power output of between 600 and 760 hp, while the 2015 engine had a power output of between 700 and 860 hp, meaning a gain of around 16-13%. Maximum torque is 425Nm produced at 10,500 rpm.
The Mercedes PU106-Type Hybrid system used this year has a power output of 750 to 850 hp, although that figure includes input from the MGU-K. It produces its maximum torque at 11,500 rpm.
When you compare the Renault’s “low rev” peak torque, which was 1000 rpm earlier than the Mercedes engine, that was probably the reason for Renault’s reputation as lacking in power. According to those statistics the power output from both engines is similar.
If Renault had been left on their own there isn’t any reason to believe they wouldn’t have produced a better engine for 2016, maybe even shifting the maximum value of torque higher up the RPM range. I don’t think the power gain to 2016 would have been quite as much from 2014 to 2015 because gains are essentially achieved by improvements in efficiency, which is difficult, not by burning more fuel (because F1 is a fuel flow regulated racing series).
GT Racer (@gt-racer)
22nd December 2015, 2:14
Those figures are wrong, The Mercedes ICU is producing around 700BHP, The 160BHP from the MGU-K gets that upto around 860BHP & with there MGU-H giving them 30-40BHP the 2015 Mercedes power unit was somewhere around 890-900BHP total (There expected to be above 900BHP next year).
Ferrari’s total power output is somewhere around 880-890bhp, Renault around 830-840bhp & Honda could be as low as 750Bhp or less.
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
22nd December 2015, 5:36
My apologies to all and sundry for relying on information that was inaccurate. I was in a hurry and over looked the absence of references in the information.
22nd December 2015, 9:13
@gt-racer, I would be wary about relying on Benson’s figures too much, because in that article he makes some fairly fundamental errors with regards to how the MGU-H functions.
Equally, it is worth noting that, when Renault launched their revised engine at the beginning of the year, they did actually state what the peak power out was, which was 850bhp: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/01/29/f1-fanatic-round-up-2901/
22nd December 2015, 3:16
@drycrust, None of your figures are official and I find it highly unlikely that Max. torque occurs 1500 rpm beyond the point of max. fuel flow, do you have a more reliable source?
22nd December 2015, 10:26
Just remember that fuel flow is not dependent on rpm in this turbo formula. It is likely that the renault engine operates at max fuel flow at various rpm.
22nd December 2015, 4:21
Because clearly the info entered by random web users on Wikipedia is more accurate than that available to the team principal at their largest and most influential customer. What was the journalist thinking talking to Horner? He should’ve just cut’n’pasted the Wiki article!
22nd December 2015, 10:53
Even if it were possibel to get accurate peak power figures for each of the power units, it wouldn’t tell you the full story. Peak power is one thing, but there’s also a question of torque curves, usable power bands, and how consistently each power unit can deliver its peak operating power. Being able to crank it up for one qualifying run is one thing, but being able to run at that peak power for lap after la is quite another. We saw with Ferrari in 2014 that while they did have reasonable peak power, when it got to the race they were hardly ever able to run that sort of power in the races. Not only in the Mercedes PU able to run in its higher power hybrid modes for longer, it also means that there is less demand for power coming from the ICE, which means lower fuel usage and better efficiency.
The power unit is part of the complete performance package, and the peak power output is only a very small part of how it delivers overall performance.
22nd December 2015, 11:33
Danny Ric complained of physical harm from the jerky power delivery in 2015…. quite incredible…. smoothness is a factor allright!
No One Better (@)
22nd December 2015, 2:15
In the U.S, F1 is aired exclusively on NBCSN. It is pay channel, you have to have cable/satellite subscription to view. Wven then, you have to sit through tons of commercials to watch a race. From a business perspective, its easy to understand. Networks have to pay for rights to air. In a market like the U.S where viewership is low, how do you expect them to pay the bill let alone make a profit? Who here wants to create something and then just give it away for free to the whole world. Stop vilifying BE. I’m not defending but people should stop taking cheap shots at the guy. Like him or not, F1 would have died by the 70s or 80s if it weren’t for him.
So anyone in the UK should be grateful to have a free option on their TV instead of searching the web for low quality, unreliable streams. There is no free to air option for us. We can’t even watch the NFL, NBA, or MLB without commercials or pay subscription, and all of those sports have massive audiences. Its simple economics. Products which are marketable and have a demand will always have a cost. Be greatful Bernie and Channel 4 reached an agreement to provide you a free product.
22nd December 2015, 2:45
That’s a pretty bold statement. I think F1 would have ended up going the way many popular championships have in endurance and touring car racing and something would have always replaced it. Perhaps it would not have been the multi-billion dollar industry it is today, but how many international endurance racing championships have fallen over since the 70s? Yet, we have VAG and Toyota spending millions there and Le Mans is as strong as ever. IndyCar isn’t in a healthy place, but still survived the split and reunion. In international touring cars especially there have been a ton of championships worldwide since the 80s, but manufacturers and the FIA have always found a way to make a new and better championship, or at least get a sensible championship running. Even if the FIA is not directly involved, you still can find strong championships like the DTM going on for years and attracting strong manufacturers.
If it were not for Bernie, F1 would probably not be in its current shape. But I think it’s a bit of an overstatement to think there wouldn’t still be racing in the vein of F1.
Bernie has also made himself an easy target for ridicule by saying things that he know will generate press. Bernie is no saint, so don’t expect an infallible audience. People have no obligation to like him, on top of appreciating his achievements for the sport.
No One Better (@)
22nd December 2015, 3:18
I’m afraid you’re making an emotional argument against the facts. Bernie is a business man through and through. That’s precisely why so many people dislike him. He’s not concerned with being liked. In a way he is like a ruthless F1 champion. For him its about keeping his product successful and selling. If he has to be sensational at times, he doesn’t mind because he knows that all part of game of running a business. Making profits and expansion to new markets is what he cares about. People complain about F1 being ship to some far distant Arab states that don’t deserve to host races or lack the history. Look at the 2016 Calendar. ITS TWO RACES! Bahrain and Abu Dhabi for crying out loud. How many races are in Europe? Who’s having to hardest time hosting the races? Facts, not emotional rhetoric. Sometimes he makes changes that work, sometimes they don’t. At least he is willing to take bold risks rather than sicking to a stale concept. You mention DTM, Kart, and WRC. How are they doing? DTM is just three Brands struggling to stay relevant. If anything, they are trying to mirror what F1 is doing. They are always too steps behind. They have adopted DRS, they are moving to smaller turbocharged “power units,” and they too will have an aero reformation just like F1. F1 is far more complicated animal on an international platform and I would argue it is doing far better than any racing series.
Kart, folded or merged into the mess that is Indycar. Their product was too stagnant and “old tech.” They too are trying to mirror F1 by upgrading their aero packages and eventually will have to address their “power units.” Its not easy when you’re at the frontier of motorsports, but its so easy for people to criticize F1. WRC has been limping along since the late 80s. Gone are charismatic drivers like McRae or even Loeb. They’ve just went through decades of Citroen domination, now its VW. Again, not a great product. If you thought the Red Bull or Mercedes dominance was bad, you ain’t seen nothing.
Even MotoGP is struggling. But they have huge stars like Rossi that the sports short comings get swept under the rug. What’s going to happen when Rossi retires? Is basically been Yamaha vs Honda for eternity. Once Rossi retires, do you think Marquez and Lorenzo are going to carry the sport? They don’t have the same fan base or charisma, even though they are super talented. Perhaps even more than Rossi.
So to dismiss what BE has done for F1, but saying someone would have come along and delivered a product that is better or just as good is a weak statement. It’s an attempt to undermine that empire BE has created. Naturally of course when you create something that successful you tend to make a lot of people very angry at you because you make changes when a loyal and vocal fan base wants to keep things the same. But they don’t have the foresight or the ability to look 5-10-20 years down the road.
22nd December 2015, 11:45
@noonebetter I am sharing my opinion, not a deep analysis for a scientific paper. Of course that is going to be closer to a hypothesis than an argument, so I’m not entirely sure why you spent so much words arguing about the strength of my argument, only to make passionate pleads and type in all caps?
You are also defending an awful lot of things that I did not question. I did not question him being a ruthless businessman, I did not bring up race locations, I did not compare how DTM is doing to F1, I am saying the series is going on for 15 years despite the German touring car championship in that shape falling off the face of the earth years before, only to come back, as evidence that series come and go outside of F1.
Again, I did not bring up domination as being bad thing for F1, nor did I bring up WRC. Are you arguing against my post or against a hivemind you think I’m a part of?
I literally said: “F1 would probably not be in its current shape. But I think it’s a bit of an overstatement to think there wouldn’t still be racing in the vein of F1”. I agree that F1 wouldn’t be as good or better commercially. I disagree that there would be no high end formula for single seaters, relegated by the FIA and on a diverse, international calendar. Just look at endurance racing, how the FIA killed Group C in the early 90s and we have a strong championship in the WEC now.
I praised his achievements, but said there is no moral obligation to like Bernie. How am I ‘undermining’ him again?
Ah, yes, Bernie and looking at the future. Remember when he said F1 wouldn’t be on YouTube? Or on Twitter? Bernie is indeed a businessman, which is exactly why he doesn’t look at 20 years in the future. There is no money to be made now in 2035. He is excellent at making contracts that make sure money comes in for a long time, but that’s revenue planning, not foresight.
22nd December 2015, 3:31
F1 could have earned half as much revenue in the 70-80s and still been in better shape than it was with Bernie taking 50% of the revenue and buying up all the teams/promoters sideline revenue and reducing the desirability and value of team sponsorship. Without Bernie, F1 would have muddled on in the same way it had in the 60’s before it became obvious that global TV coverage could provide a hefty boost to team finances, but as we know Bernie saw it first and conned the teams into giving him a long term contract for 50% of profits on the basis that they would all be better off and Bernie was working for them, we know how that worked out don’t we?
22nd December 2015, 9:25
@hohum, this would be the 1960’s era where they had to downgrade the cars to Formula 2 specifications in order to make the sport affordable enough for teams to compete?
22nd December 2015, 10:41
Actually Bernie offered to sell each of the 10 teams (at the time) 10 percent each of the broadcast rights to F1 for $100,000 each, according to Lord Heckwith in “1: The Movie.”
Jay Menon (@jaymenon10)
22nd December 2015, 2:40
“There is some hope for the future, however. Sebastian Vettel has put a rocket up Maranello”
This ongoing suggestion that Vettel is one of the key reasons behind Ferrari’s resurgence while applauding Ross Brawn for Mercedes’ current success, goes to show how ridiculous people who follow F1 are.
One the hand, it is said that realizing changes in F1 takes years to come into effect (hence the plaudits to Brawn) but on the other hand, fans and journos alike are happy to credit Arrivabene and Vettel for Ferrari’s new found “happiness”, when both only found themselves at Maranello a few months before the start of the 2015 season. This is hypocrisy!
Sure, Ferrari may be a happier place now, after the demise of the Di Montezemolo-Domeniciali-Alonso “axis of evil” (as far as the English speaking media was concerned). Could it have been as happy if the car was as bad as last year? No chance! The improvements to the car, chassis and PU, would have been decided early last to mid last year, when the at least 2 legs of the “mighty” axis of evil still presided over Ferrari. So what gives?
Sure, Arrivabene’s Marlboro Man persona and Vettel’s boyish charms have played to the media, because thats the angle they wanted to sell. Why not give more credit to James Allison? If there is one person that deserves the credit, it him. If Alonso had stayed, I dare say that the fight with the Mercs may have been closer. If this played out, would Ferrari have been any less happier a place?
22nd December 2015, 3:02
Yes. Alonso was unhappy and needed the roll of the dice as he was sick of 2nd/3rd place with no title.
No One Better (@)
22nd December 2015, 6:50
@jaymenon10, The real heroes are the engineers and scientists that slave in the background. They rarely get the credit. Did Steve Jobs create the Iphone or Apple laptops? No! But he gets to make grand presentations and take all the credit. It’s not fair, but that’s the way our world is.
22nd December 2015, 9:44
@noonebetter The job of a leader is not to create or invent anything. The leader should have the capability “to put you in a specific place at a specific time” (borrowing someone else words). The best leader is the one who “does nothing” all day long. If he knows the world he is orchestrating, even better, but not necessary required.
22nd December 2015, 8:42
Exactly, I read the Autocar op-ed yesterday and found it shallow and populist. The improvement at Ferrari is from organisational change lifting performance and driven by fresh, strong leadership of which Vettel is a key contributor and then delivering development progress in the season. Agree with your view that had Alonso stayed at Ferrari for 2015 the results would have been at least as good.
Can they get close enough for 2016? the PU seems to be just about there…more time needs to come from the rest of the 2016 design.
22nd December 2015, 9:31
@jaymenon10, even Allison can only take some credit for the current success of the SF-15T – he himself publicly stated that the chassis was predominantly designed by Tombazis, who was still working on the car until he was sacked in December 2014.
22nd December 2015, 14:05
Strong charismatic leadership that encourages and motivates the whole team into doing their jobs to their fullest?
22nd December 2015, 2:49
I hope C4 shake up the presenter and commentary lineup a little, the BBC coverage has been pretty dull since Jake Humphrey and Brundle left.
The pairing of Ben Edwards and Coulthard just doesn’t work for me. DC was an improvement over Jonathan Legard but frankly having Brundle commentate on his own would have been just as appealing.
I enjoyed Ben Edwards’ BTCC commentary when he was paired with Tim Harvey and his Eurosport F1 clips on YouTube alongside John Watson are fantastic. He seems to compliment a colourful character well but with DC their commentary is a real bore-fest.
There are very good Motorsport commentators out there, I’m not a big bike fan but MotoGP is very watchable with Keith Huewen behind the mic as it was on the BBC with Charley Cox and Steve Parrish, both of whom are available I presume.
Karun Chandhok’s media work has been good so far, he has a boyish excitement and enthusiasm which comes across well rather than make him sound like a pillock. He would be great alongside someone like Heuwen, Cox or even Ben Edwards.
On the presenting side, I would love to see Jason Plato as an F1 pundit. He has lots of TV experience from presenting Fifth Gear and he wouldn’t hold back when it comes to voicing his opinions. It would be good to have a strong motorsport personality from outside the politically correct, mild mannered world of F1.
As for the anchor, I can’t think of a better candidate than Lee McKenzie, she’s been the best part of the BBC’s coverage over the past few years. She has good rapport with the drivers (apart from Kimi but who does?) and gets good interviews out of them and she has a certain charm, a little like Jake Humphrey.
So there you are, I suppose my ideal C4 F1 lineup would be Lee McKenzie as anchor, Jason Plato as a pundit alongside Karun Chandhok’s in a pundit/co-commentator role and Keith Huewen or Charlie Cox as Lead commentator. Guy Martin seems to be popular with C4, it would be fantastic to see him make the odd appearance perhaps presenting engineering features.
22nd December 2015, 8:43
@jackisthestig Lee McKenzie has hinted she won’t be leaving the BBC to follow the F1 license.
She’s doing so much with the stadium/horse events now my guess is she’s angling for something big, possibly Rio next year?
22nd December 2015, 9:09
Charlie Cox you are kidding.
I’d go Toby Moody + Ant maybe.
22nd December 2015, 12:26
Don’t Coulthard and Humphrey jointly own a sports production company? I imagine they would be top of C4’s list.
22nd December 2015, 12:27
Interesting – http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/aug/13/channel-4-jake-humphrey-david-coulthard-whisper-films
22nd December 2015, 14:07
He’s also a bit too busy with his BTCC commitments, and likely will be for a good few years yet.
22nd December 2015, 18:23
Glad to see someone gets this. You need people who are good foils to one another. It’s why the Walker/Hunt and Walker/Brundle combos have stood the test of time so well. An excitable personality alongside a more dry or straight-forward mind balances one another. It also helps give a natural feel to the storyline: high action dispersed with periods of slowing things down and taking stock.
joe jopling (@jop452)
24th December 2015, 19:54
I thought Coulthard (13 wins in 247 races ) was improving and would deserve a chance to continue, although I read he was involved in the new Top Gear programme…although I am sure his 1st love is F1….Ben Edwards was an excellent choice and should continue…..but what about some ex F1 guests…we have Mansell…Webber just to start with….non of which would hold back……
22nd December 2015, 6:12
Does Horner really think its anything like a surprise that Renault were reluctant? Just look at it from their perspective.
When they were winning Renault often got complained about for being under powered (the thing with Infinity was more down to their own misjudgement). Even when they were leading the field in hot blown exhausts Red Bull was more often than not mumbling about being down on power. And Renault made it pretty clear that they really disliked the hot blowing because it goes agains their normal targets of being fuel efficient (which the Renault engine had been).
So now a new engine formula comes along and Red Bull complained and agitated agains that from the word go with Bernie. Then they started pushing Renault to use RBR knowledge and even pushed to bring in Illmore. As Renault, wouldn’t you feel like being pushed out and your IP being used to build a different, RBR or maybe VW engine? Is it then surprising that you are less than happy to fully share? Especially when the rich owner is close to VW and also talking about possibly pulling out of F1.
I fully understand that Red Bull was far from impressed by what Renault gave them over the last 2 years. But unless they start seeing their own mistakes in the whole debacle – part of it is not committing any funds towards its development in years earlier – they will struggle to get back to being the real top dog they were in 2010-2013.
22nd December 2015, 6:33
Spot on. Follow the money. Not enough was delivered to Viry between 2011-2014. In F1, you get what you don’t pay for.
22nd December 2015, 7:37
While the Conservative government did order the BBC to cut down on its spending, the choice to cut F1 from the BBC only lies with the BBC themselves. They choose what to cut and what to keep and they decided to ring-fence their drama spending at the expense of everything else. The management of the BBC is the problem as they are completely unaware of what ordinary tv licence payers want from the BBC.
22nd December 2015, 11:07
No they’re not: ordinary licence fee payers speak loud and clear in the ratings: and the ratings for F1 have been falling for years.
BBC Drama contains things like Doctor Who, which are re-sold all over the world at a profit by BBC Worldwide and garner international acclaim. BBC Nature, Education, and documentaries likewise, are profitable and brilliant. The BBC’s main remit is to produce original programming, which it does at a prodigious rate and with incredible quality.
F1 is a product which the BBC is simply a buyer of, which it can’t re-sell, and most importantly, which the average Licence Fee payer isn’t watching. Do you think they’d rather keep F1 and ditch Wimbledon? How many people would complain about that decision? Far more than would complain about the F1. More to the point, given Bernie’s extortionate pricing and the cost of sending the broadcast circus all over the world in an overly complicated, illogical, and non-continuous pattern, F1 would be a clearly more expensive affair than most other things on its books. Especially relative to the audience it brings in.
GT Racer (@gt-racer)
22nd December 2015, 12:04
Its not just Bernie/F1, Sports TV rights in general are expensive & F1 actually tends to be on the lower end of the sports rights scale. For example the BBC were paying over 50% a year more for Wimbledon than what they were paying for the F1 rights.
Neel Jani (@neelv27)
22nd December 2015, 10:39
Everything else aside, I just love how aptly you put that picture @keithcollantine
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
22nd December 2015, 19:29
@neelv27 Thank you :-) I thought it was quite fitting.
22nd December 2015, 11:49
@Hairs The BBC is an institutionalized global resource: it is utterly misleading to in any way suggest its longevity is threatened by conservative economic policy. The BBC if anything, will grow in the coming decades, in the context of the need for “impartial” journalism and international demand for its programming. Top Gear got 350 million viewers worldwide at its peak, and whilst it decided to disband that remarkable viewership, it remains an example of the kind of global audience the BBC has. The BBC is much bigger than the Conservative Party will ever be.
Since we will all agree that the BBC has a global value, you would also agree that bolstering its health is a good thing. Prior to this parliament, the BBC ran a £150 million annual deficit. Cutting non-essential expenditure is simply a way in which the government can ensure the viability of the trust fund model. The BBC’s F1 coverage was “non-essential” in the knowledge that ITV and Channel 4 were very eager to take up the baton. Understanding the Conservative approach to the BBC appears as being hostile appears somewhat simplistic to me.
22nd December 2015, 12:51
The government has no, repeat no interest in the health or otherwise of the BBC. You’d have to be deluded to think otherwise.
Their model of attacking “the left” (anyone who doesn’t think rampaging capitalism benefitting the 1% and nobody else is a good thing), “liberals” (anyone who disagrees with Conservative policy), or “the unpatriotic” (anyone who thinks that people who want to go to war should have actually served their country, or be prepared to personally face the consequences), or anyone who gets in the way of corporate interests and their own personal fiefdoms has come over from the US and is fundamentally damaging the country.
As to “running a deficit”, the BBC is not *supposed* to make a profit. It’s supposed to provide a social service, which it does. That involves government expenditure. Strange that the Government is very concerned with eliminating “non-essential expenditure” in the BBC and the NHS, but not at all concerned with doing the same in bailed out banks, or ensuring the contracts which privatise national resources like the National Grid or Royal Mail actually benefit the taxpayer isn’t it?
It’s almost as if they’re more interested in private profits than running a society…
22nd December 2015, 14:11
Except it didn’t.
What happened was Clarkson finally went too far, and got himself sacked as a result. The other two presenters then said they wouldn’t continue without him, so the show simply died. However, the BBC are trying to start it up again; they’ve already confirmed Chris Evans as host, and are currently searching for co-hosts.
22nd December 2015, 14:13
As an aside, I count myself very lucky I was able to be part of the audience before the proverbial collection of matter hit the rotating mover of air (specifically, the St Petersberg episode).
Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty)
22nd December 2015, 16:04
I still think the BBC handled it badly. They should have finished the rest of the series while sorting it out – the penalty for reneging on export deals was surely too high a price to pay, given the current budget cuts.
Levy Clarkson a huge fine – give some of it to the producer. Instead, after 6 months off work on full pay, he turned down an offer to return to the show, and is suing Clarkson for £100k.
They could have said his contract would not be renewed at the end of the series, before refreshing the line up for the next one, as they currently are now.
22nd December 2015, 22:53
@fastiesty, with regards to your comment that “They could have said his contract would not be renewed at the end of the series” – that is exactly what the BBC did, given that the punch up occurred towards the end of the filming schedule for Top Gear.
At the time the punch up occurred, Clarkson’s contract with the BBC had almost reached the end of its tenure – in fact, it actually expired a handful of days after the punch up occurred.
That meant that, by the time the BBC had finished their investigation and concluded that Clarkson had assaulted that producer, Clarkson was no longer employed by the BBC – so your suggestion of fining Clarkson or taking some other form of punitive action was impossible, since he was no longer a BBC employee and could therefore not be subjected to disciplinary action by the BBC.
All the BBC could therefore do in that situation to punish him was to announce that they would not sign a new contract with him, which is exactly what they did.
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