The good news for our British friends is that they all know Sky Sports F1 has already begun terrific coverage of Formula One but for those who don’t have Sky, the BBC has announced their plans and commentary team for the 2013 season.

This is good news but it adds salt to the festering wound that American F1 fans still have no comprehensive programming outline for NBC Sports’ coverage of F1. NBC out-bid SPEED for the right to broadcast the sport and even hired the SPEED commentary team as well as some brilliant minds in the production booth and yet there is 10 days before the season opener with very little details as to what American F1 fans can expect this season. The occasional tweet from on-air personalities has helped but NBC’s website is bereft of details that are important to F1 fans.

Regardless, here is the BBC’s story for their coverage and good on them! They have Mr. McNish joining the team. Allan is a world-class guy and will bring an energy and excitement to the sport. You’re in good hands with Jennie and James as well. I met both in Austin and they are terrific people and reporters.

Formula 1 practice sessions will be broadcast live on network television this season from grands prix which the BBC is showing live.

There will be around 40 extra hours of network output, with practice generally shown on BBC Two and BBC Two HD.

Former F1 driver Allan McNish joins BBC Radio 5 live as an analyst, while BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson will work across TV, radio and online.

Suzi Perry takes over from Jake Humphrey as the presenter on TV.

  • China, 14 April
  • Spain, 12 May
  • Canada, 9 June
  • Silverstone, 30 June
  • TBA*, 21 July
  • Belgium, 25 August
  • Italy, 8 September
  • Japan, 13 October
  • India, 27 October
  • Brazil, 24 November

* Venue yet to be confirmed by Formula One Management

* Television schedules are subject to change

Ben Edwards continues as commentator alongside co-commentator David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan remains the chief analyst.

F1 journalist and broadcaster Tom Clarkson joins the TV presentation full-time team as a pit-lane reporter alongside Lee McKenzie, who also presents Inside F1 on the BBC News Channel on the Friday and Saturday of live race weekends, with the latest news and interviews from each grand prix.

On 5 live, James Allen and Jennie Gow continue as commentator and pit-lane reporter.

BBC One and BBC One HD will show nine live races, including those in Canada, Great Britain and Brazil, with extended highlights of the remaining races.

Live grands prix will continue to be followed by the popular F1 Forum on the red button.

Radio 5 live will broadcast every grand prix live, with the show also live on the BBC Sport website, while 5 live Formula 1 on Thursday night ahead of each grand prix will feature guests, interviews and insight ahead of the weekend.

Ben Gallop, BBC’s head of Formula 1, said: “Everyone on the BBC team is hugely excited about the new season.

“Last year saw us rise to the challenge of bringing the action to fans through the mix of live television and highlights, delivering great programmes which were reflected in impressive audience figures.

“This year sees new faces, practice on BBC Two & HD on live race weekends and a greater sharing of talent across BBC television, radio and online.

“With Suzi Perry at the helm, we’re aiming to bring even more content, insight and access to audiences throughout the season.”

The BBC Sport website will broadcast a simulcast of the TV and radio output, and at live races will also have the ‘driver tracker’, on-board cameras and a pit-lane stream.

Legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker will be providing a series of archive-based videos and written articles for every race of the season.

‘Murray’s Memories’ are his personal recollections of some of the greatest moments in the history of F1.

Coverage of the F1 season is now available on our new BBC Sport smartphone app, available for iPhone and Android devices.

I’m sure, in time, NBC will give us the full run-down on their coverage, channels and times and I am equally sure they will do a decent job of it.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Anon

    I was just looking at NBC’s site today, and they did (finally) post their broadcasting plans:

    • peterriva

      THANK YOU for the update… pity come of the times are 12 hours wrong, guess they have given the job to some intern who has never seen time zone differences. Ah, well, we can figure it out. Actually, it’s a bit nostalgic this lact of nternational zone keeping… like being back in New York in 1967 for Ford’s attempt at Le Mans which was broadcast on radio but as TV was off the air no one in New York saw the race finale.

      • peterriva

        Watched their promo video… can’t stop laughing…
        the music… The gravelly voice… really lowest-common-denominator infantile coverage begins.

  • cconf1

    We don’t even get live qualifying of the US Grand Prix? Pathetic.

    • Nope, I knew this would happen. It got bumped for college football. Bunch of bull crap!

      • Opacker

        Now as much as I love college football (Go Trojans!) I still want my F1 live. Hopefully this is going to be the growing pains season and NBC will have more comprehensive coverage next year. As sad as that sounds I think its the best we can hope for here in the US.

        At least there’s a sliver-lining in that David Hobbes, Steve Matchett, and Will Buxton are the presenters and not some cookie-cutter hopefuls from another part of the NBC Sports group.

  • Crushr99

    Either they don’t know how to tell time or they plan on showing the Brazil race 1 hour late, and Hungary and Belgium races at 7:30 PM instead of AM.

  • peterriva

    “I’m sure, in time, NBC will give us the full run-down on their coverage,…” Lord, but you are an optimist. I am going to break your cardinal rule here and use a seriously bad expression to properly reflect how we all feel about their disdain for us F1 fans… they are stupid m****r f***king As****es.
    There I said it. Let’s hope someone at NBC Sports is paying attention.

    • Tim

      I have to agree. NBC paid all this money for the rights to broadcast F1 and this is the best they can come up with a little more than a week before the first race weekend. Very sad indeed. The execs at NBC have missed a golden opportunity to make the most of their investment. No web presence other than a race schedule? Very poor. If the folks at NBC were smart, they would find a way to team up with the F1B website. This website caters to F1 fans and what a better way to drum up interest in the US for their F1 offering. I can’t speak for Todd, but I believe he would be willing to lend a hand if asked. They really need to better understand the term “public relations”.

      • Coji

        How many commercials have aired for F1 coverage? To my knowledge, one, last night during the Colorado v. Chicago hockey game. NBC likely didn’t purchase the television rights to promote the sport in the US or to increase their ratings, rather prevent other companies from profiting from it. The easiest way to beat the competition is to purchase it or everything they’re attempting to acquire. They have a great, passionate team of broadcasters and it’s a shame that NBC isn’t putting much effort into promotion. Hopefully their coverage at least makes up for some of the neglect.

  • Andy W

    Can’t complain. They added “motorsports” to the NBC Sports Talk app. So yeah.

    • peterriva

      Is there a schedule on the app? If so can you cut and paste for us all to see? Please do not post the actual race times, we ALL know those… we need the broadcast times for Practice, Quali, etc.

      • Andy W

        No schedule. The app is much lamer than that. And I just tried to program my Time Warner Cable DVR to record anything related to F1 on NBC Sports. No search results. One week ahead is as far as it knows. IIRC, Speed let me program the DVR 2 weeks in advance. I wish I could pay for Sky… or anything. I get that it is hard to program for US audiences when a live event occurs at 2 am. But no coverage is not the solution.

        • PlutocalypseNow

          Look into something called Hola unblocker. It’s a browser extension that allows you to bypass territorial restrictions (e.g. it allows you to stream BBC video that isn’t normally available in the USA).

          I won’t name names but there are also tons of torrents available. No, you won’t get to see the race live. The members only sites have races available within 24 hours. The much easier to find torrent aggregators will have something up in less than 48 hours. That’s your best bet if you don’t want shit coverage.

          • Rapierman

            I never recommend “torrents”. Big trojan/virus attractors, they are. :-P

          • PlutocalypseNow

            For sure. Not for novices. But totally fine if you know what you’re doing ;-)

  • Rapierman

    Sould I say this again? Yes, I think I should….

    NBC does not worship the ground that Formula 1 walks on. BBC and Sky do, because they’re a part of their respective country’s general psyche, as opposed to the USA. C’mon, folks, we knew this was going to be an uphill battle when it first came onto the scene. You don’t build that kind of following overnight. I’m pretty sure that BBC didn’t just broadcast a race and suddenly their fellow countrymen went “Ohhhhhhhhmmmmm…..” That had to be decades of buildup along the way. We’re at the very beginning of this long road, and the only way it’s going to reach full potential is by our persistence and our efforts to spread the word alone. None of us are miracle workers. That job belongs to God alone.

  • Tim

    Are there any websites that those of us in the U.S. can access that provide streaming video of the practice sessions, qualifying, and races?

    • PlutocalypseNow

      Yes. Good First Row Sports and click through to the motorsports tab. Quality is spotty and sometimes the feeds get cut off but if you can’t wait for a higher quality torrent, this is the way to do it. There are other streaming sites, too, but they are littered with literally hundreds of trackers and other junk. First Row is probably the best. You should still clear your cache when you’re done, though.

  • niyoko

    The videos promoting F1 on NBC’s site are not that bad, a little dramatic perhaps. There is another video promoting the Australian GP that has a tries to mix the allure of James Bond and Formula 1, not a bad comparison or mix.

  • Joseph

    Just saw a quick video clip from the Countdown to F1 show; set looks great with a dramatic upgrade from the Speed center for Leigh, Steve, and Hobbs. Network seems to be providing more tools for the broadcast team. I’m looking forward to seeing tonight’s countdown show. With CNBC now on the Lotus E21 nose, NBC has shown to be spending significant dollars on F1. Now I understand why CNBC has a race on their calendar.

    • Ok, maybe I am at the wrong site but I went to NBC Sports and I can’t find, easily, anything on F1 other than a few stories sprinkled in their motorsport talk thing. I don’t even see the video you are referring to. I really find it odd that we are hunting for information…wow.

      • peterriva

        The “promo” gravely voice commercial is here… awful, but it is here. With the schedule (with wrong times! AM – PM problems for the interns NBC allocated this low-interest sport to).

      • Andy W

        It’s ridiculous, NC. In my digging–which ultimately turned up just the Motorsport talk thing I joked about above–I found more about Notre Dame football than F1. I’m hoping that at some point this weekend the “guide” in my cable will let me schedule DVR of … whatever they deign to broadcast. Guide only shows schedule a week in advance.

        • My DVR actually updated and shows the programming. Hope it records F1 and not that damn poker show.

  • hobo

    The folks over at COTA should be livid at this. Speed coverage may not have been super-high profile but at least it was coverage, live coverage, and included 1 practice and qualifying sessions live.

    It has been difficult enough to get US interest after the Indy fiasco, lack of USGP for years, failed US F1 team, and mixed messages about the return of F1 to the US (NY?, Austin?, NJ?). Lack of promotion and proper coverage by NBC will not help matters.

    • PlutocalypseNow

      Agreed. All of this is the result of FOM being the epitome of greed and not reinvesting enough in the sport. There is no coordinated, centralized marketing of F1 directed by FOM. If FOM had a an actual marketing organization in place, it could lean heavily on its broadcast partners and execute multi-channel marketing campaigns. All it does right now is cut deals with broadcasters and walks away, basically the same way it works with race promoters.

      Unfortunately COTA has basically no leverage with NBC so as livid as I’m sure they are, it won’t make a spit of difference. Perhaps a major corporate sponsor could enter the fray and force NBC to get its act together, but that’s also unlikely. Sponsors aren’t generally in the habit of doing the heavy lifting. That’s the broadcaster’s job.

      Speed lacked a big production budget and wasn’t the most visible of channels, but as you mentioned the viewership was loyal. It was also affluent, which meant reliable big money advertisers/sponsors. If NBC fails to capture a similar audience, and it looks like it will due to shoddy promotional work and scheduling, I fear for F1’s health in America.

      The optimist in me hopes NBC gets its act together but in sports marketing momentum is everything so they better get on with quickly now. It really pains me to say this but part of me wishes Fox had just dumped US coverage altogether and done a deal to broadcast Sky F1 coverage via satellite or cable, the way it often does with soccer matches. At least that way we’d get live coverage.

  • Southern Hippie

    I suppose we’ll get Bob Costas.

    • Well if we do, I hope he avoids any commentary on gun control. :) Not sure this is the audience for that topic.

      • Hays33d

        Or Bob will give us Olympics-style banter on some obscure fact about Venezuela being the largest exporter of lint as Maldonado enters the pits…

  • As I sit here scotch in hand, anxiously awaiting for F1 and tuning in to watch NBC’s big premiere kick off of theF1 season I just want to point out that even this has already been delayed thanks to a college basketball game.

    Damn you to @#%@#%@ hell NBC. Damn you to @#%@#%@ hell!

    • cconf1

      To be fair, pretty much every station on the planet will delay a taped show to finish a live show.

      That being said, it was good to see the crew back on TV and the studio looks good. From that aspect it looks like NBC has done well. Next week for the race is what we all want to see, though.

      • Hays33d

        Of course, but not exactly a great kick off to their new property. Yes at least they put it in prime time. But putting it after a live sports event knowing full well that those things *never* finish on time is not great planning. I had to tell all my friends who were DVRing to try and catch the replay in the wee hours of the morning to get the rest of the show.

    • I can’t fault them for bumping it for a live game…that’s the nature of the beast but this is really just indicative of the new world isn’t it? People want on-demand content. They don’t mind that it is a weekly show but when they DVR it and it runs long, that’s an issue. The company that work with broadcasters to include a digital marker for when programs end and start and communicate accordingly to DVR’s will be a rich company.

  • Rapierman

    I’ll probably watch it live on a stream at 1:00 AM.

    • hobo


  • feedrigley

    What ever happened to the notion that NBC would provide live streaming of F1 events for a fee over the internet? I’d sign up for this in a heartbeat if it was offered. (Speed spoiled us with live practices streamed commercial-free.) Do any other networks outside the US do this?

    Finally, how do our neighbors in Canada watch F1? Do they have an alternative to the disaster that NBCSN seems to be?

    • PlutocalypseNow

      If I’m not mistaken this is another issue that goes back to FOM. FOM is stuck in the 90s. They charge an unholy amount for broadcast and I’m not sure if they allow live streaming anywhere unless it’s tied to a premium satellite package that can be authenticated.

      Just look at how aggressively they go after both old and new F1 footage on YouTube, even though it is free viral marketing. I understand taking down races and documentaries, but why would you take down highlights? WTF? Ever wonder why you don’t see F1 footage on news shows? It’s because FOM aggressively goes after broadcasters for royalty monies, even though it’s free publicity. Same asshats who make local reporters pay totally unreasonable prices for press passes to cover their home race, resulting in most reporters simply choosing to provide very limited reporting from outside the track gates. These are the same idiots who demanded the incredibly useful Kangaroo TV group such punitive terms for a contract renewal they decided they couldn’t profitably continue supporting F1. Unfortunately for Kangaroo, they are a private company, not a state government desperate for tourism dollars.

      FOM would rather diminish the at-track experience of its high-paying ticket holders than continue with a perfectly reasonable arrangement with Kangaroo because Bernie would rather punish someone than compromise. It’s a win at all costs mentality. It’s the same attitude that has nearly killed off the privately run and promoted circuits.

      I would gladly pay $10-15 a race for an HD live stream or on demand program via cable or satellite. Huge, huge missed opportunity.

      FOM can only be described as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of grand prix racing, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”