Ecclestone: Web growth out of my hands

Formula One's television broadcasters are the ones who must take the initiative in increasing the sport's profile on the Internet, claims grand prix racing's commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone

Speaking in response to a column on last week exploring why the Internet's importance was growing amid claims from FIA president Max Mosley that it was 'neglected', Ecclestone told his hands were tied in terms of what he could do.

He explained that the deals he has made with broadcasters around the world to show F1 exclusively in their countries restricted what Formula One Management could do to bring more interactive content to the Internet.

Ecclestone made it clear that it would be a breach of his deal with broadcasters if he were to provide extra television feeds online - such as cameras in the paddock or garages as has been suggested - into their territories. He also reckoned that putting archive footage from races would only have limited appeal from hardcore fans.

"We have deals with television companies worldwide giving them exclusive rights to exploit F1 across all forms of media in their territory - including the Internet," said Ecclestone. "We have to leave it to them, as we do not break our contracts."

Last week, Mosley kicked off a debate about the future of F1's relationship with the Internet when he suggested the sport should be doing more.

"I would revolutionise the way we do the Internet," he said. "The Internet is the great neglected area of F1."

He added: "Just think for one moment - on the one side you could have all the archives, all the practice times, all the four (timing screen) pages and everything that is available to the teams. A camera in every garage, a camera in every public area of the motorhomes, a camera in all areas of the paddock. They would be all there and there on site.

"On top of that, if you have some good software writers you could sit at home and join in the race. And there would be the race, and you would be in the middle of it...socking it to Lewis Hamilton for pole position. It is all there to be done.

"The technology exists. It is just annoying because the potential is vast. Eighteen to 24-year-olds - what do they do? They do the net."

Previous article 2009 Daytona 500: Runners and riders
Next article Webber pleased with first day back