BBC Sport F1 was the British Broadcasting Corporation's Formula One coverage for the United Kingdom. It aired half the races live on television and all the races live on the radio. Extended highlights were shown for the races it did not air on television live. In seasons with an odd number of races, the number of races aired is rounded down (i.e. nine races in a nineteen race season). On 21 December 2015, the BBC confirmed that they had ended their six-year deal with Sky Sports F1 early, giving the television rights to Channel 4, although BBC Radio 5 Live will still broadcast Formula One races until 2021.[1]


The Early YearsEdit

The British Broadcasting Corporation first began televising Formula One during the 1950s in which it provided reviews and highlights of various races within the Formula One seasons. Full F1 races only began to be broadcast during the 1960's and were never displayed live. Full race coverage usually consisted of generally only the British Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix and occasionally the season opener or season finale.

It was not until the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix in which the BBC broadcast the first live Formula One race to British audiences. The race, however, was marred by the death of Roger Williamson which naturally acted as a detractor from the sport which was considered by the majority of people at that period of time as rather unpopular and an extremely deadly sport.

Viewing numbers began to increase during the 1976 Formula One season after the titanic duel between Britain's James Hunt and Austria's Niki Lauda for the championship. The season saw the first time in which Murray Walker, the future broadcasting legend fronted a Formula One season full time providing the commentary for both the full races and those only broadcast as highlights.

Towards the end of the 1979 Formula One season, Walker was joined in the commentary box by the 1976 Formula One World Champion James Hunt. Walker and Hunt initally had a turbulous relationship but the two eventually developed into a strong team who provided excellent Grand Prix coverage in which the duo single handedly attracted a large viewing base for Formula One within the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the BBC used the ending of Fleetword Mac's "The Chain" for the intro.[2]

Commentary Line-UpEdit

Role Name Duration
Anchor Steve Rider 1990–1996
Jake Humphrey 2009–2012
Suzi Perry 2013–2015
David Coulthard 2014–2015 (Highlight races only)
Pundit David Coulthard 2009–2015
Eddie Jordan 2009–2015 (Live races only)
Allan McNish 2014–2015
Pit Lane Reporter Jonathan Palmer 1990–1993
Tony Jardine 1993–1996
Ted Kravitz 2009–2011
Gary Anderson 2012–2013
Tom Clarkson 2013–2015
Paddock Reporter Lee McKenzie 2009–2015
Lead Commentator Murray Walker 1976–1996
Jonathan Legard 2009–2010
Martin Brundle 2011
Ben Edwards 2012–2015
Co-Commentator James Hunt 1979–1993
Jonathan Palmer 1993–1996
Martin Brundle 2009–2010
David Coulthard 2011–2015
Analyst Allan McNish 2014–2015

See alsoEdit


  1. "BBC to end Formula 1 television contract early". BBC News. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  2. "BBC unveils 2009 F1 coverage – and return of The Chain". 24 February 2009. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
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