BBC promises to revolutionise F1 coverage

The BBC has promised to revolutionise the coverage of Formula 1 next season when the sport returns to the British broadcaster for the first time in 12 years

BBC promises to revolutionise F1 coverage

The plans to use all the latest technology to redefine the way that F1 fans view the sport - which will include live streaming of the races on the internet and mobile phones, plus the possibility of races being broadcast in high definition.

Dominic Coles, the BBC's director of sports right, told the Times: "It will be the Martini approach to Grands Prix. You can watch it any time, any place, anywhere."

Coles has also said that the success of BBC's revamped Top Gear programme will be a major influence on the tone of their F1 coverage in 2009.

"When Lewis Hamilton did a test lap on Top Gear it got more viewers than the Brazilian Grand Prix," he explained. "Bernie (Ecclestone) was very impressed with the Top Gear proposition and there will be cross-fertilisation between the show and the races."

Veteran race commentator Murray Walker said he was amazed that the BBC had got the deal to cover F1.

"Well. I'm absolutely flabbergasted because ITV had a five-year contract and I think it's still got three years to run," he told the BBC.

"And to be honest I'm mystified about why it's moving from one to the other. But then I was a bit mystified in 1996 when it moved from the BBC to ITV.

"I think a lot of people are going to be very pleased - particularly the people who, understandably, don't like the Formula One coverage being broken by commercial breaks. That's going to be a big plus."

When asked if he would consider having a role with the BBC, he said: "Well, someone's got to ask me first of all. And there's no guarantee that that's going to happen. So we'll have to just wait and see."

But not everyone is impressed with the BBC deal.

Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay said in the House of Commons that the licence fee money used to pay for the deal should be directed at "real, competitive sports rather than the wealthy industry of Formula 1".

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