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Formula One gets ready for another enthralling season

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Andrew Benson | 13:37 UK time, Monday, 30 January 2012

Formula 1 2012 effectively starts now. The first race is not until 18 March, but by the end of this week the world will have seen two of the cars expected to be competing at the front - and one of them will have had its first run on the track.

The McLaren breaks cover first, with a launch at the team’s base in Woking, Surrey, before Ferrari reveal their new challenger in Maranello on Friday.

Ferrari plan, weather permitting, to run the car briefly at their Fiorano test track on Saturday ahead of the start of pre-season testing in Jerez, Spain, on 7 February.

On Sunday, the new Lotus (formerly Renault) will be unveiled on the internet – and F1 designers and engineers across Europe will be losing sleep about what they will see when the new Red Bull breaks cover in the same fashion on Monday.

Formula One1

Ferrari Formula One team and drivers including Fernando Alonso (right) of Spain and Felipe Massa of Brazil (left) take part in a winter training session in Lanzarote, Spain. Photo: Getty

These new cars will be pored over for hints of the key themes of the new season – and it will not just be to do with the cars.

At McLaren on Wednesday, the issue of Lewis Hamilton’s mindset will inevitably be raised after his wildly up-and-down season last year – indeed team principal Martin Whitmarsh has already delivered a robust, if familiar-sounding, defence of his driver in an interview last week.

Hamilton has kept a low profile over the winter, training in the US, and whether he can find the mental equilibrium to consistently access his very best form is already one of the talking points of 2012.

At Red Bull, Mark Webber says he has “had a good winter, recharging my batteries, and now I can’t wait to get going again”.

But can the Australian rediscover the form he showed in his title bid in 2010 and challenge team-mate and world champion Sebastian Vettel more strongly than he did last year?

Just as importantly, will Webber stay on at the team for 2013, or will he make way for either Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, the Red Bull juniors going head-to-head at Toro Rosso, to prove they deserve a chance in the senior team?

Over at Mercedes, the pressure is on to start winning after two lacklustre seasons, while another question is whether Michael Schumacher will decide he wants to stay on beyond the end of his contract into 2013 - and will the team want him to?

Schumacher is so clearly a shadow of his former greatness and has only just begun to get on terms with team-mate Nico Rosberg, and even then only in races.

Already ex-F1 driver Gerhard Berger has said he cannot see his former rival continuing.

"I do not think he will extend his contract,” the Austrian told Auto Motor und Sport.
“He will be tired. I have to admit he drove better in 2011 than in 2010, especially in the second half of the season, and I can imagine he can improve even on that but still he has no chance against Rosberg.

“Schumacher will have to admit that, with an age over 40, it’s impossible to beat a young driver on the level of Rosberg.”

Ferrari, too, find themselves with serious questions hanging over the future of one driver – Felipe Massa – and a need to raise their game after a single win in 2011.

A lot hangs on the new car – and the early evidence is they have lived up to their promise to push the boat out in terms of aggressive design.

The veteran Italian technical journalist Giorgio Piola has produced one of his famous drawings based on leaked details of the new Ferrari.

F1

 Italian journalist Giorgio Piola has attempted to draw an image of Ferrari's 2012 Formula One car. Photo: Getty

“If the pictures are accurate,” BBC F1’s technical analyst Gary Anderson says, “Ferrari seem to have gone a different route by shortening the sidepods and having the crash structure (beside the driver) separate and in front of the sidepod.

“They’re trying to remove the blockage the sidepods create to the airflow coming off the front of the car.
“It’s a total concept thing – in that it is integral to the whole car design. So if it works, they’ve got one up on everyone else.”

It’s clear already, in fact, that the look of the new cars will attract even more attention than usual – and that’s because, as Anderson puts it, “the first thing that will stand out will be the ugly noses”.

These are the result of new rules that dictate lower noses to improve safety, but keep the height of the front bulkhead – the front of the chassis – the same.

A glimpse of these has already been seen on the new Caterham (formerly Lotus) – which features a kind of platypus look, with a long rectangular nose, ahead of an ugly lump on the chassis around the area of the front suspension.

The other major talking point will be how teams deal with the banning of last year’s must-have technology, exhaust-blown diffusers, where downforce was increased by blowing the exhausts along the rear floor of the car even when the driver was not pressing the accelerator.

Governing body the FIA has attempted to end this by stipulating that the exhausts must exit on top of the rear bodywork, well in front of the rear wheels, as well as heavily restricting ‘exotic’ engine maps.

But already there is talk of teams directing exhausts at the rear wing – either upper or lower – to try to increase downforce there.

“The exhaust acts like a compressor,” says Anderson. “It moves the air quite effectively, increasing the air speed, and that gives more downforce. The return will be small, but that’s always the case because the regs are so tight.”

This being F1, there is plenty to talk about – and that’s without touching on the politics, which will be intense as teams, the FIA and commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone negotiate a new Concorde Agreement, the contract that ties them all to F1 and which expires this year.

As ever there is a lot going on – and, as always, you can bet something else will emerge to surprise everyone, too.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    First Comment, Hazar! Can't wait for the release of the new cars, hope that McLaren can step up their game & want Mercedes to show some proper form!

  • Comment number 2.

    These new platypus noses, certainly make the cars look ugly. F1 is also about aesthetics. No-one likes an ugly car!

  • Comment number 3.

    That's disappointing. An article containing four fifths of not a lot. Would it not have been better to wait a few days when there was actually something to talk about?

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I was always trained to think that if there are two aerodynamic designs that have the same theoretical performance, the one that looks better will be the one that delivers the bacon. We'll see how the platypus noses work but I guess the rules don't give much wriggle room on the front end...

    Yawn. Normally I'd be feeling rising excitement and anticpation at this stage of the off-season. This year I can't find any enthusiam due to last year's kerfuffle and the deal that shall not be named.

    Back to my den for another couple of months hibernation I think as the BTCC season doesn't start until April (at least I will be able to watch that).

  • Comment number 6.

    "This being F1, there is plenty to talk about – and that’s without touching on the politics, which will be intense as teams, the FIA and commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone negotiate a new Concorde Agreement, the contract that ties them all to F1 and which expires this year.

    As ever there is a lot going on – and, as always, you can bet something else will emerge to surprise everyone, too."

    Yes there is plenty to talk about, and that includes the BBC F1 rights sell-out. Anyone there fancy talking about it now then?

    What price can I get on the new Concorde Agreement scrapping the FTA clause, followed shortly by the Beeb giving up on F1 altogether?

    Let's hope the one of the emerging surprises in an annoucement of a BBC U-turn on the deal and a return to full live races; or for that matter even a slight wiggle in the route and an undertaking to show full, time-delay re-runs on the red button. Any chance? Don't be daft boy...

    Sorry, its no good. I'm trying to care, but I just don't give a monkey's anymore - the deal, the new season or anything F1.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm not looking forward to the upcoming season this year what the prospect of Red Bull dominance, F1's move to Murdoch's villianous money squeezing empire and now all the cars look like ducks. I hope that Caterham's car is the worst looking and all the others will be better but we'll just have to wait and see. Not looking forward to another season of fake overtaking with KERS and the DRS, all its done is take away drivers like Alonso, Hamilton and Schumachers' skill at overtaking and letting all the other drivers have a chance.

    I will be watching F1 on the BBC this all (or a least half the season anyway), my bet is that the BBC will drop F1 for good at the end of this season and Murdoch will have taken another of our sports, Cricket, Boxing, F1, when will it stop!?!

  • Comment number 8.

    I am still disgusted at the sell out by the BBC who expect us to be happy with half seasons races covered. Who ever agreed that arrangement should be fired. Half of something is never better than nothing at all. I am not looking forward to the new season Mr Eccleston

  • Comment number 9.

    Bit of an early Schumacher bashing there? He hasn't even turned a wheel in the new car and he's being written off.

    Hoping it's a much closer fight for the titles this year, it will be a little tedius if by the time the European season starts, Vettel and RB already have an unbeatable lead.

    Then again going off recent blogs I doubt many people will be watching, have the beep got any of the first few races? Hopefully the F1 channel on sky will be decent, looking forward to the new season and watching ALL the races live.

  • Comment number 10.

    @6,7&8.

    Joke although the deal was, nothing is going to change now, don't know why people are still getting worked up over it.

  • Comment number 11.

    @ #9 - can't help agree on the Schumacher point. I think we all saw towards the end of last season that he does have, at the very least, a chance against Rosberg, despite what Berger may say. With a new car that's fast? Who knows, it could suit either one of them and one knows how to win races/championships. The line that when Schumacher was faster it was "only in the races" is one of the funniest things I've ever seen written about motor-RACING - it's not a million miles away from saying that Barcelona are only better at football in the matches...

  • Comment number 12.

    Pleased you removed the sexist comments earlier. The commentators in question would at least know Eddie JORDAN from Eddie IRVINE!
    I was disappointed how much of the blog was about 2013. Give us a chance, lets have 2012 first. I, like most others, am bitterly disappointed about the coverage in prospect this season. I doubt that we shall ever see the pinnacle of reporting achieved last season, which was fantastic. I know it's about money!!
    I really don't mind if Seb and RBR get so far ahead on points, as long as the racing is close and exciting. If they win good on em' I think it will be closer this year though and welcome back Kimi!

  • Comment number 13.

    So looking forward to this season, 6 world champions on the grid, hopefully Red Bull won't be so dominant this year and we can witness real close racing.

  • Comment number 14.

    @8

    "Joke although the deal was, nothing is going to change now, don't know why people are still getting worked up over it."

    I'm long past 'getting worked up'. I got worked up, tried to do what little an individual can when faced with a monolithic, self-satisfied, public body, and then worked down again when the results of the efforts to induce review, clarity and accontability falied. I think the odd comment on the F1 blogs is more than justified, just to keep alive the memory that the Beeb management have behaved very poorly.

    F1 doesn't care about its fans, the Beeb doesn't care about it viewers, so I'm taking a leaf and have stopped caring about them...

  • Comment number 15.

    Looking forward to the new season. Just a shame the BBC have made such a hash of the coverage.
    Do we really have to put with the awful Jake Humfries again? Can someone suggest to tell him that CBeebies was about his limit?

  • Comment number 16.

    Op. Were you bored. What exactly did you want to tell me. Seriously. All those words and said nadda. Bored me senseless there. All old news. Now go find me some news on Kimi. Do it now. I'm interested in that .;-) chop chop

  • Comment number 17.

    @fast Pete
     the awful Jake Humfries again? Can someone suggest to tell him that CBeebies was about his limit?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lmao ...

    BBC : YOU SOLD US OUT. RATZ

  • Comment number 18.

    First time caller........and then only just to say that I really cannot get excited this season - something within me was simply extinguished last year.
    I really don't like the way the sport[Business?] has been heading over the last number of years, and frankly I no longer care enough about the people.......very difficult to enthuse about anything if you really don't give a dang about it.
    So, if anyone's listening - or cares a hoot? - I feel disappointed and genuinely betrayed.
    And I'm sure I can find something much more constructive to do with my weekends now!

  • Comment number 19.

    Its going to be exciting season i feel, just hope all the top teams have done their homework and Lewis stays focused.

    For the first time since i can remember i have always looked forward to the new season, but this year i find it hard to motivate myself in the coming season... All i can hope is that Sky will fail and wont find the viewing figures due to greed.

    However, i use BT Vision, and seeing as they have Sky sports i thought i would call them to find out exactly how much to view F1 on Sky, not possible says BT, Sky is keeping it to themselves, but, BT Vision will show rerun of the entire race right after the live race.. not to bad, better than nothing.

    Now if you go and get the Sky package good luck to you, but more fool you.

  • Comment number 20.

    It's annoying that the Beeb signed a 5 year contract back in 2009 so we should have had the full 2012 and 2013 seasons.
    It looks like Sky have basically said "We know you're skint and we're going to outbid you next time, so give us the 2 years you have left and we'll give you half coverage of those and another 4 years instead of nothing after 2013, and you get the boring races like Valencia and Monaco, sound good?"

  • Comment number 21.

    Thought that I should glance at the article, as my interest in F1 (re - Sky TV rights) is diminishing. Remember when boxing was pushed to pay-per-view in the 70s? It killed the sport. Sadly, I can see the same for F1. With the blind short-term greed of the few at the top, as the sport has never been as popular, its demise is imminent. In future I suppose I'll read about it, or be distracted by news of the winner on the evening news. I'm sure F1 is going to end up in the 'Other sports' section at the bottom of the BBC Sportspage. Thanks for the memories.

  • Comment number 22.

    @9
    Exactly, at the end of the day, the only people ahead of him in the standings where the drivers from the top 3 teams and he was narrowly behind his team mate. Would be nice to see him get a podium this year.

    @14
    Mate, trust me, I like everyone else, wanted it to remain as it was, but like every other walk of life, money talks. But where do you draw the line? It being mentioned in every F1 blog on here? At the end of the day, the proof of how much the beep have shot themselves in the foot will come when the viewing figures for thier 10 live races are revealed.

  • Comment number 23.

    @21
    "Now if you go and get the Sky package good luck to you, but more fool you."

    I'd rather pay to have sky sports and watch the sports i want to, then having to put up with no live football, no live cricket and half an F1 season.

  • Comment number 24.

    Thank you BBC for destroying F1 for me and thousands of others .... I wont be paying for Sky........ and I wont be buying a TV license any more

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    How typical, managing to get the digs in to Hamilton and Schumacher already! Only just begun to get on terms with Rosberg? Not many points between the two of them with Rosberg scoring more consistently but Schumacher putting in the more impressive drives. Not bad for a (now) 43 year old!

    Strangely no mention of a fellow world champion who's returning to the grid this season though. Maybe after a few races in an underperforming Renault and a tangle with a midfield runner he'll be written off like Schumacher?

    I guess extended race highlights won't amount to much more than the advert-interrupted ITV years in terms of minutes of missed action, plus there's no chance that something will happen during a commercial break! Better that than pay Rupert Murdoch to ruin the sport as per football.

  • Comment number 27.

    If this blog is a sample of what we have to look forward too...well the dumbing down has already begun...so half the races and half the content 'information wise'.

    The already obvious lack of info being posted on the F1 bit of the BBC website became apparent the moment ITV closed theirs down after the appalling sky deal...as everyone says 1/2 the races this year...then less an less...

    Where is the output to hold a candle to Scarbs blogs - and he doesn't have a broadcaster behind him!

  • Comment number 28.

    Remember this is your chance to save over £150 a year - watch the iplayer highlights / re-runs and you will not need a TV license. If you are sick of 'search for a strictly celebrity on ice' and the generally low IQ / low rent rubbish then its time to DITCH your TV license. NO LIVE TV = NO TV LICENSE - WAKEY WAKEY PEOPLE!

  • Comment number 29.

    Msg23
    "I'd rather pay to have sky sports and watch the sports i want to, then having to put up with no live football, no live cricket and half an F1 season."

    Not all F1 fans follow football or cricket, i know i dont, so paying loadsa money just to watch one sport is not cost effective

  • Comment number 30.

    BBC sold us out. For what??? They go to every race still, paid by us, not shown to us & money from SKY. Shame on you. F1 is dead. Should have gone to C4.Unforgiveable.

  • Comment number 31.

    Ok, so it's half a season with highlights but the Beebs coverage should still be top notch. F1 wouldn't look as good as it does if it wasn't for the team that gave us the last three years. SKY wouldn't have been interested or have to try so hard to convince people that it's going to be the best. The presentation team looks great for this year and I'm glad we still have the pit team of Jake, Eddie, Davis and Lee. Throw in Ben Edwards and Gary Anderson and it's looking good. You can throw all the money you want at a project but if the people aren't there, it won't help. The Beeb has constantly show its talent for for fantastic TV production and I don't think that's going to change this year. I'm looking forward to it.

  • Comment number 32.

    For the first time in over 20 years i'm not getting excited about the new F1 season at all. The BBC's sneaky deal with Sky has killed it for me. They should have stepped aside and let Channel 4 take over. Pure selfishness on the BBC's part.

  • Comment number 33.

    Give Sky a chance. They might just deliver something better. I for one am fed up of the commentator saying how the stewards get all these other angles etc but the viewer just gets the one the local editor chooses to show. Somehow I cant see sky standing for that BS for long.

    F1 in 3D anyone?

  • Comment number 34.

    Unfortunately I'm not getting excited about F1, mostly because of the Sky deal. That was one of my reasons for not enjoying last season, however also the fake overtaking by the DRS system was another. I'm glad Rubens Barrichello is testing an Indycar today and tomorrow, I'm looking forward to that season ahead.

  • Comment number 35.

    OK, OK .... nobody is ecstatic over the BBC/Sky thing.

    BUT ... we have lots of live coverage, 6 world champions on the grid, and some regs changes to shake things up. I will STILL be watching BBC (including the highlights shows).

  • Comment number 36.

    The people that matter are the fans, the great British public.

    I'm so sorry you all have had something special sold out.

    Without us it is all pointless.

    Never once were we considered.

    Fight the fee.

    last one out turn the lights off.

  • Comment number 37.

    'Schumacher is a shadow of his former greatness', - who writes this crap. Give him a decent car this year and let's see you eat those words!!........

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm as annoyed as anyone about the sell out deal and I won't be being sky at all, a worker from sky quoted that the cheapest it is to watch f1 on sky is £350! Too much to watch half the races, as naturally I would watch the other half on the beeb as the coverage will be better....
    Another thing that really annoys me is that the BBC are showing races such as Valencia live, which is the epitome of boringness! why show valencia and not monza?!? stupid, at least gives us f1 fans something! You have already taken away half the races, why in the half you give us do you give us a really boring one when we could be watching all the action from Monza?

  • Comment number 39.

    Im actually really looking forward to this season! And will be watching it all. However, not on the BBC. And definitely not on Sky! Thanks to the internet, there's always an "alternative" when no just legal means exists.

    The list of things I want to watch on the BBC is dwindling, and is now certainly not worth the license fee to me. I think I might just stop paying it and give up all together. For £5 a month I can stream loads of stuff off Netflix and LoveFilm. Hope you've calculated this lost revenue as I'm sure I'm not alone. It's what happens when you devalue your service, yet continue to increase the cost.

    I'd also like an answer as to who decides what sports get money? How is it fair tennis is taking no cuts (the man in charge likes it), while F1 takes a hit (the man in charge doesn't like it)? Surely it's time to say the BBC has no place spending any money on any sports any more. Maybe that way you wouldn't have sold out to Murdoch just to block Channel 4 having the action! [ps I love tennis too]

  • Comment number 40.

    why do u feel the need to slag off Schumacher he was a lot closer to his his team mate last season. Schumacher had the most overtakes than anyone else at start OF RACES. look at his drive in Canada Belgium they were drives of the old Schumacher I believe he will carry on for 2013 you wait and see.

  • Comment number 41.

    What a load of old tosh, really Mr Benson how the heck do you come up with this drivel. MSC still drives like a born racer, just ask Lewis. Alonso, Button and MSC all drove the wheels off their cars last year, and were stunning to watch.
    P.s when are you off to Sky? sooner the better methinks.

  • Comment number 42.

    I was gutted when BBC dropped F1 and Sky took it over! But then MB signed for them (THE most important person of the BBC Crew) and if you have sky then its free anyway!

    A dedicated channel to F1. Cant see the problem here people F1 will be the best this year, like others say this will be BBC's last year showing it next year it will just be some 2am highlights

    Thanks for great coverage over the last few years BBC then you ruin all your hard work by shafting the most important people, THE VIEWERS!

    Bring on SKY

  • Comment number 43.

    #33 Ed H - I'm sure Sky's coverage will be top notch for the 4 people that have Sky Sports ;)

    Even though I know the BBC-Sky deal WILL NOT work, I've gone beyond the point of caring because we'll just be swept under the inevitable rug (Not for the first time).

    Fortunately, Kimi Raikkonen's return saved me from not watching F1 completely this season. If it wasn't for him, without half the races to watch and no particular favourite drivers, I would've found it hard to actually watch a diminished version of F1.

    On the Schumacher topic, Last year, I found myself cheering for the Maestro from Canada onwards. I hope he wins 'one more race' before he retires again.

  • Comment number 44.

    Murdoch's unjust, villianous, scummy, crupt empire are taking over. Boxing, Cricket, Formula One, what next? Shame on the BBC. Down with Sky. Down with Murdoch and his money grubbing friends!

  • Comment number 45.

    Quote Andrew Bnson

    "Formula 1 2012 effectively starts now."

    Not for a while after for most of the people reading your verbiage here or, unless you had forgotten, your boss has decided that the people who pay the wages at the BBC will not get to see what you youself and the rest of the BBC team will at every race.

    I am sure that you will enjoy full race coverage at the Grands Prix at our expence whilse we will only get, as already published, half of half the races along with the other half full race distance.

    I'd like to think that the BBC are intellectual enough to work out that last paragraph but I am sure that most of the readers here are.

    Pay for 100%, BBC team get 100%, payees get a lot less than half race coverage.....

    Take care

    TMF

    We know that that is and it is full race coverage.

  • Comment number 46.

    The first F1 race that is not shown live in full on the BBC will result in my licence being cancelled until the BBC bring F1 back. I would urge others who do not like this deal and have been ignored to do the same.

  • Comment number 47.

    Same as post 18 really, i just can not find the enthusiasm knowing i'm not going to see the first race live and miss the practice sessions for half the races especialy the first race.

    For those that can't see the problem, some of us just can't afford to pay TWICE to watch the races, it really is that simple for a lot of people including me.

  • Comment number 48.

    I used to think the licence fee was good value for money. I now know what a rip off it really is. If I have to pay murdoch to watch F1 why should I pay for a licence?? I wouldn't mind paying the licence fee if it went to ITV they do produce decent programmes. The BBC Sold me out. The BBC is outdated the politics of it are outdated. The main political partys are outdated. All are not in touch with the people they serve which is us the public. I used to get really happy looking foward to a new F1 season now I just can't. The beeb are a no longer respected.

  • Comment number 49.

    as much as i hate the sky deal and all the sport they have taken from terrestial TV. but the fact is if people didnt pay there subscription fees they wouldnt be able to do this. i dont have sky sports but do have sky HD so it will be free for me. let hope they dont screw it up. although it will stay with sky now. we can moan all we want, once sky have it they wont lose it it will be costing sky peanuts compared to football.

  • Comment number 50.

    Just been on the TV licenisng website and it says:

    "You don't need a licence if you don't use any of these devices (TVs, computers, mobile phones, games consoles, digital boxes and Blu-ray/DVD/VHS recorder) to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV - for example, if you use your TV only to watch DVDs or play video games, or you only watch ‘catch up’ services like BBC iPlayer or 4oD."

    Well from reading that i can say that i don't really need one, F1 was pretty much the only thing i watched. Everything else i watch through Lovefilm, Netflix etc. I wouldn't have even looked into this if it wasn't for the BBC's dealings with Sky and their arrogant attitude of saying it was in our best interests. As well as the fact that they've constantly stone walled us and hidden many blogs.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think it is necessary to understand that the BBC did actually gain a large profit from its F1 broadcasting, but not enough of one to be able to show that as well as the other sports and entertainment that it can. Would you have preferred that they dropped the Euros? Or the Olympics? Even if the occasionally stubborn individual says yes to that, it is clearly without consideration for others who would be in favour of watching these other sports, which is a far larger portion of the audience.

    It is frustrating I know, I personally do not have Sky, but that does not mean that I have now given up on F1, as it has been revolving around profit and finance for decades. I am personally looking forward to watching the races at the pub with my friend, for it might actually produce a more eventful and interesting watch. As for the inventions of Kers and DRS, they are admittedly quite plastic inventions that may make an overtake less impressive, but it is difficult to resist the fact that it made this season more enjoyable.
    My sole frustration from it was in Canada as I was dying to see Schumacher put that car on the podium. But the fact that he could have and did not overtake Webber on the consequent laps tells me that he did not necessarily deserve it. DRS still presents an equal playing field in general, for if two cars are equally paced, there will be dicing lap after lap.

    I am relishing this season. Six world champions, at this stage we have absolutely no clue on who will be where. Everyone says Red Bull will be rampant, but in my watching experience, especially in the late 90s and noughties (with the exeption of '09), it is to never write off Ferrari. Mercedes or Lotus might finally show a dynamic and performing package while McLaren have the overall driver talent to pose a serious challenge.
    I will no longer be able to watch every race in the comfort of my living room but I can now enjoy them socially, with a pint in my hand.

  • Comment number 52.

    @51

    Well spoken but underlying all this is that we, in the UK, have already paid to watch F1 on the BBC in full and they have "told" us that the best deal *for us* is the one they have arranged with our money and no accountablilty to us that requires us to pay again to get what we already should have.

    Take care

    TMF

  • Comment number 53.

    Nice preview, I'm sure there will be more detailed articles when theres actually some news...I can't help but get excited for this season, New cars, Ice Man, colourful shirts, even though dont have Sky. I'll watch live on BBC and probably steal the full coverage back off Mr Murdoch post race via some dusty corner of the internet. The irony of it is, if the few million people saying yeah bring on Sky! stopped paying the fees for 6 months or so, they (and all of us) could have F1, football, cricket etc etc free. Sky gets sports because its the highest bidder. Without your subscription it simply wont be.

    Damn that basically free, basically impartial BBC! I'd rather pay 400 quid have some besuited glazed eyed presenter with hyperbole turned up to 11 spouting whatever an australian squillionaire wants me to hear. Oh and watch some adverts. And help kill off my fav sport. I'm not blaming anyone (its your money, I cant afford it so not in a position to make the choice) but it just all seems a bit mad when you think about it...

  • Comment number 54.

    Agree with the previous points saying have no motivation to care about this anymore. And before people moan "don't read the blog then" it's because I got distracted by my lingering love for the sport, and the wish that I could see the whole season.

    I can see F1 becoming like sports such as Boxing, Snooker and Cricket for me. I may watch it if it happens to be on the TV (FTA that is, as I can't get Sky), read the odd blog on the web, but I won't really have a clue whats going on, will only have a vague view of who is doing well. This coming from a fan who watched every single race this year (yes including the 6am races).

    So its a sad farewell to Formula 1 for me, as this time next year I will not care anymore. Hell I don't really care already, I just wish I did.

  • Comment number 55.

    Think the majority are upset they wont be able to watch all the F1, but I've never understand the argument: I shouldn't pay the licence fee, I don't watch the BBC, I only watch other terrestrial channels. Where do you think the money comes from to pay for the infrastructure that brings you those channels.

    Now on topic, can't wait for the new season, hoping for an exciting championship this year, last year had the most exciting races in a long time (Canada being one of the best I've ever seen) but a boring championship race.

  • Comment number 56.

    53. I have been saying this for years but people are still incredibly selfish and will pay to have something that if they all went without for a year could have had back for free the next one and forever. When Sky took the Football they were on the brink of collapse and would have gone under if people didn't buy the subscription. Unfortunately some stupid people couldn't hold firm and bought into Sky.

    As a result we now have a man who has no interest in this country except for his own profits constantly bending the ear of whoever is the Prime Minister to get what he wants at a great cost to the public.

    How on Earth with the phone hacking scandal a Murdoch owned group can take even more control and be allowed to get away with it I do not understand?

    Those who can't afford Sky don't have a choice, those who can should take a moral stance by not paying for a channel whose owner continually lobbies the government to cut the funding of a rival channel so that he can take its programs and make more profit.

  • Comment number 57.

    Haven't watched F1 in years and won't again this year i'd soone watch the touring cars on itv4

  • Comment number 58.

    why not enable 'ratings' on comments on the blog? It's probably just a little box that needs ticking in site admin. Not too hard eh.

  • Comment number 59.

    If it's a rainy Sunday and I have nothing else to do, and it just happens to be one of the Sundays that the Beeb have a race, then I may watch. I'm actually hoping that it's a glorious year weather wise, and I can reclaim my Sundays and go out in the fresh air and do interesting things (perhaps watch the touring cars). But like many others, the sky deal has left me just shrugging my shoulders and sighing, so no, can't really get too excited for the new season. Shame on the BBC!

  • Comment number 60.

    I am looking forward to the new season, i have limited money so cannot afford Sky TV & Virginmedia. So i am in a Virginmedia contract and will only have half of the F1 season to watch on BBC TV. Maybe some of the drivers teams and Broadcasters would be willing to club together and allow me to watch a sport i have watched since i was a child in 1967. Oh no I forgot loyal fans are not always wealthy ones, heres joking and not hoping

  • Comment number 61.

    So who is the prime target audience of this blog? Is it the British audience at home or the much larger international reading audience around the globe?
    Obviously and quite understandably Lewis Hamilton is the focus of attention of the blog amongst F1 drivers. But is it not undiplomatic to question Hamilton’s “mental equilibrium” and “mindset”? Does the writer strongly believe that Hamilton’s mental behaviour was the main underlying cause behind “his wildly up-and-down season last year”? Was it not largely due to the fact that Hamilton always drives and pushes his car to the maximum limits as does true champions, like Djokovic, Nadal and Federer flirting with the touchlines.
    Nothing is surprising on Michael Schumacher as he is always acrimoniously criticised and attacked in the British media justifiably or otherwise, particularly by Mr. Benson as he did along with a multitude of others when the former 7 time F1 world champion blocked Hamilton in Monza last year. It turned out that the overtaking rules were not crystal clear and had to be made explicitly expressive by the governing body as of 2012. Or are the slurs directed towards Schumacher made only to satisfy the British reading audience?
    Statistics of last season say the German veteran driver was one of the highest overtaking drivers at the start of races in a Mercedes car that is still under development.
    Where is Sebastian Vettel, the double world champion in the blog? Another impressively consistent driver at last season was also missing, former world champion Jenson Button. Yes, the blog is introducing the new season but at least we are entitled to read something about those drivers.
    Again you might say the focus of attention of the blog was on the new Ferrari for 2012. But seriously do you believe that the audience are so much interested in the boring technical details of the car at this stage? Let us see how it performs, first.

  • Comment number 62.

    I was dead against the sky thing initially but that's only because I don't have it (I have had in the past) however, their coverage of sports in general is second to none you only have to look at football or cricket and darts is more popular than ever, maybe F1 will go the same way.

    I would like to point out that the BBC coverage has been excellent over the last few years and I may have misunderstood the "deal" but isn't there going to be a re run of all the races on the BBC after it's finished? Ok it's not live but it'll still be a full season wont it? Besides it could make it more interesting like trying to avoid the football results at the end of the news so match of the day wasn't ruined!

  • Comment number 63.

    Just a point on the BBC frontpage link to this article. It says "The world of F1 waits to pour over them..."

    Come on BBC. Pore!

  • Comment number 64.

    Oooh I'm upset about the BBC not having all the races so I'm going to pick up on poor grammar and slate the article...I for one will be watching on Sky just like I do the Football, Rugby, Cricket, Darts, Sailing, Tennis...etc etc... Hopefully Sky will buy the rights to the Snooker (World Champs) too! Will make my £60pm more worth while then!

    No point crying about it...either join the dark side or be happy with antiques road show and some random athletics every now and then!


    Roll on the new F1 season...Sky's coverage looks amazing and so does their line up! they may be the "evil one's" but they know how to run a program....and no adverts in race either!

    If your hard up you can always come and watch it at mine too....only have to ask!

  • Comment number 65.

    As a fan of F1 I can't wait for the season start. It's all hotting up nicely. As a fan I will watch it anywhere. In this world nothing last forever, things change. I'm not going to let TV rights spoil my F1 year - could be dead next year.

  • Comment number 66.

    I would like to be enthused but I'm not. Two reasons, first the complete hash the Beeb have made of the coverage, how can so many of us think it is appalling but get no response from the organisation we fund and that claim to be "accountable"

    Second, Adrian Newey, don't misunderstand, I rate him one of the greatest talents that Britain has produced and in F1 terms is up their with Colin Chapman, but the simple fact is he is too good and so I expect to see Red Bull romp away again this year despite everyone else's best efforts. He deserves his success and yes you need the team and the driver but like a relay race, one outstanding runner can get a team of otherwise weaker runners to the line first. When the remaining members of the team are at least equal to the competition then they romp home.

    You can all come back and tell me "told you so" when Jenson or Lewis are 2012 word champion but the chances are you will know a long time before me as I won't be watching, no one watches half a football match then goes home to watch the second half that evening as highlights on MOTD

  • Comment number 67.

    Brand new season, yet more Schumacher bashing. #Thinkoutsidethebox

  • Comment number 68.

    I'm sure this was a blog about the start of the 2012 season, however all im reading is other people moaning about the deal that was made. I upgraded to sky sports as a true F1 fan I just had to, Ive never missed a grand prix in the last 10 or so years and im not about to start now. I don't really care who shows F1 as long as the coverage is good. yes the BBC did an incredible job last year and before that, lets hope sky can replicate that or go one better. To those threatening to not pay their TV license, you just being ridiculous. I can't wait for the next season, should be closer, new tracks, new car designs, new drivers, 6 world champions alot to be excited about. So either get on board and support F1 and the next season or do what you keep threatening to do and naff off and stop boring me and the other supporters with your moaning.

  • Comment number 69.

    68. At 09:46 31st Jan 2012, jipson f1 wrote:

    Here Here!

  • Comment number 70.

    Why did you give F1 to Sky? WHY?

  • Comment number 71.

    @64
    Well said, its just a shame that these blogs are going to be filled with people banging on about the TV deal. What makes me laugh are the people who claim not to care anymore and yet they go on posting, if you really don't care go and do something else!
    Lets face it the people who haven't got Sky, will be watching the 10 races live and whatever highlights packages there are for the other 10 on the beeb, claiming they'll be "doing something better" every other sunday is just tosh.

    I just hope Sky get the coverage right, they do a good job with the cricket, but i'm not the biggest fan of the football coverage, it's improved since Gray and Keys were sacked, but it hasn't won me over, then again, I don't really care about what goes on in the studio whileI'm watching the games!

    Back to the actual article: I am hoping the new nose cones don't look as ridiculous on all the cars as they do on the Caterham, it does look like they've been designed by a child who has ran out of Lego bricks!

  • Comment number 72.

    @68
    Well said squire.

  • Comment number 73.

    I'm getting fed up of all this moaning now, if it's not on here then it's on Facebook posts by various racing teams...let it go will you now PLEASE... F1 is a business, the teams run a business, Bernie runs a business, the aim of business is to make money. All you "real" fans out there who now write endless posts of "losing interest", "not giving your money to the sky machine" need to ask yourselves a question: were you really fanatical in the first place, I mean, really?
    Before you all start going on, yes I have Sky, I had it before the deal was done but were that not the case then you best believe I'd have been opening may wallet, telling the Mrs we needed to skimp on a few luxuries and upgrading us, why? Because I LOVE F1. I love the drama, the intrigue, the techinical aspect, the racing all of it. Always have, always will and I for one can't wait for the 2012 season to begin and Andrew, great article as always.

    So how about it people...If you want to complain about the "BEEB selling out" write to them instead. You pay your TV licence, you've every right to complain but how about leaving these forums, blogs, posts etc.. to the fans who have something constructive to talk about, something that is relevant, something that exists now...not something that was done & dusted months ago.

    Cheers

  • Comment number 74.

    @ thrills n spills Quote "I'd have been opening my wallet, telling the Mrs we needed to skimp on a few luxuries and upgrading us"

    This is exactly what i did.lol. Also could not agree more with what you have said.

  • Comment number 75.

    @68 if this was a Sky blog on a Sky wbsite I would agree. As it s a BBC blog written by a BBC employee as a spin off fom a BBC programme made and broadcast by the BBC I think I have every right to opine on what I am paying for directly.

    M. Bensons schoolboy delight about being able to see every minute of every race at my expense and denying me that is unacceptable.

    I used to have the choice of watching the talking heads or the cars going round in circles. I chose the latter. That choice has been taken away.

    The Talking Heads are sometimes interesting but always irelevant to the actual sport itself.

    Persinally I can't wait until theegg hits and something is mentioned here on one of the post ace blogs that only the BBC team saw as it was edited from the greatly reduced F1 feed that we will be allowed to watch subsequent to the race itself.

    Take care

    TMF

  • Comment number 76.

    Persinally I can't wait until theegg hits and something is mentioned here on one of the post ace blogs that only the BBC team saw as it was edited from the greatly reduced F1 feed that we will be allowed to watch subsequent to the race itself.

    ------------------------

    An ENTIRE dedicated station ~(SkyF1) with ALL of Friday practice ALL of Saturday practice, ALL of qualifying and ALL of the race...also with the best/most knowledgeable presenter of them all....pretty sure it'll be just fine!

  • Comment number 77.

    @38 @Twom41 If you have a Sky package then you can add JUST the HD Pack for an extra £10.25 a month (£120 for a year) and get the Sky Sports F1 HD channel included. That is unless you don't have Sky, in which case, yes, that is a lot of money!

    I think that the commercialism of most of our sports (Cricket, F1 etc) to Sky is a travesty! Why do the BBC/ITV insist on selling out?! I don't get it, F1 on the BBC's viewing figures dramatically increase year-on-year (until now!) so why change anything? They'll make more money keeping it long-term than selling it on now..

    Ridiculous! As for the 2012 season, i'm looking forward to it, I think that it'll be closer than ever and i'm interested into the potential of the new cars and drivers (Will dropping Buemi/Algersuari for Vergne/Ricciardo do RBR/TR any good?) and will the 'other' teams be able to close the gap to Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel?!

  • Comment number 78.

    The Sky thing is a done deal, no amount of moaning on here will change it.

    The other thing which is already becoming tiresome is the "the new cars are ugly" argument. F1, or any form of motor racing, is about which car is the fastest, not a beauty competition. If you care so much about that go to your local "boy racers gathering" and admire all the "body kits" and "low profile super-low-grip tyres" and metal-flake paintwork on cars that are often slower than bog-standard "shopping trolleys" because of the weight and drag of all the "cool" extras.

    To the poster who commented that the "prettier" car is usually the fastest, you don't know much about aerodynamics, do you? The fastest circuit-racing cars ever (the Group 6 monsters at Le Mans etc.) were downright ugly.

  • Comment number 79.

    so who exactly are "surf canyon"?

  • Comment number 80.

    I've tried so hard to stop myself from mentioning anything to do with the Sky deal because it is probably the most boring to read about every time a F1 blog is posted on the BBC website. However I can't understand how quite a few (rich) people are telling others to just 'open up their wallets' and pay for Sky because they are 'true F1 fans'. I love F1 just like everyone else does here, mostly, but I don't have the money to pay for Sky, no way near.

    That's not to say I'm going to throw my dummy out and stop paying for a TV Licence or write to the BBC, that's not going to make one difference. I am however going to watch it down the pub, nothing wrong with that, it might even be better.

    I'm looking forward to this season just as much as I have to any other season. It is a shame F1 is not on the BBC, but I hope Sky do a good job of F1. As for the line up to this year with 6 world champions on the grid, bring it on!!!

  • Comment number 81.

    http://f1.sky.com/#home

    Looks ok to me!

  • Comment number 82.

    theres so many people crying about the BBC and Sky on here that the number of homes at risk of flooding with insurance problems will have to be increased significantly from the 200000 of today.

    as for the article posting a drawing from an Italian magazine that is presumably pure speculation as to what this years ferrari actually looks like is just lazy. i can only assume that Caterham have limited money for their car and hopefully the bigger teams wont produce something that looks like a complete dogs egg.

  • Comment number 83.

    An ENTIRE dedicated station ~(SkyF1) with ALL of Friday practice ALL of Saturday practice, ALL of qualifying and ALL of the race...also with the best/most knowledgeable presenter of them all....pretty sure it'll be just fine!

    ----------------------------

    I am not saying that the coverage may be bad and never have. I, and many thousands of others are somewhat miffed that we are being told that to pay twice to see what we have already paid for is not "The best deal for the viewers".

    Now 24 hours a day F1 channel. Lets see. Approximately 40 hourrs of actual F1 racing. Let's for the sake of the question quadruple that for the practice sessions so 240 hours of racing. What does the posterr think that the other 8520 hourrs in a year will be used for?

    Take care

    TMF

  • Comment number 84.

    Damn, cant even add up today but the question is still valid...

    Take care

    TMF

  • Comment number 85.

    The villian Murdoch and his money grubbing cronies are slowly taking all Televised sport as we know it.

    If common folk don't rise up and stand against the common enemy, in a few years all we'll have left is curling.

    The Murdoch Empire grows by the second with his crupt commercialisation of our beloved sports, Cricket, Boxing and F1. We must work together to save F1 from leaving the public eye altogether which is bond to happen if Murdoch and Vettle continue.

    Never in the history of televised sport has so much been taken, from so many, by so few.

  • Comment number 86.

    Sorry people I don't understand all the BBC vs Sky debate!!

    BBC could not pay the money for F1, ITV didn't want it, Channel 4&5 don't have the budget. So you have a choice either very limited coverage on basic tv channel or the current split and the choice to see all the races live.

    Can I also point out a bit of internet searching and you will find many legal ways to watch F1 live all year for free!

    And to those who say you don't need a tv licence. If you have a tv in your house then you need one! You also need a tv licence to watch BBC iPlayer, check the rules!!

    Great Blog roll on 2012. Button 2012 World Champ :)

  • Comment number 87.

    @85
    Work a bit harder so you can have Sky too?

    @83
    Give it a rest? Money talks, the beeb haven't got enough and they've lost out.

    It really is going to be tedius if every F1 blog on here has people going on about the TV deal they can't do anything about. Get over it and move on.

  • Comment number 88.

    @86

    baz172, of course the BBC can pay for F1, have you seen how much money they have put into the olympics!

  • Comment number 89.

    83. At 11:28 31st Jan 2012, TheMF8 wrote:
    ---------------------------
    come on, don't tell me you don't like a bit of telly shopping/qvc??

    Also Sky aren't obliged to fill the station with pointless rubbish that no one wants to watch like the BBC....if it's not on they close until something is on....I'm sure the other 998 stations plus radio stations will keep me going in the week

  • Comment number 90.

    If you want to watch it for free watch it on Wiziwigs.... possibly slightly ilegal but great all the same :)

  • Comment number 91.

    As several have said before me, my enthusiasm and excitement for F1 has dropped dramatically from last year.

    I may well end up treating it in a similar way to that of boxing. I enjoy it, watch it maybe a couple of times a year but don't particularly care if I miss out. I think this will be my attitude in future, I don't know. It's how I feel about Rallying since that has been moved around and is shown on who-knows-what channel.

    It amazes that people who work in TV actually understand so little about their audience, outside of those who love celeb-based anything or enjoy watching people decorate, cook, move house, or scream at each other in miserable soap operas!

    So this season I'll watch what I can at a friend's, who has Sky. Seeing as the BBC didn't fight to save F1, there's little point in me fighting the change.

    The key part of the presenting and what's brought the most enjoyment has always been the commentary, and as the Beeb has effectively sold off Martin B's contract (or told him to F-off, depending on how you care to look at it), I'd rather stick with him, than stay with the BBC.

    For those without Sky or a friend with that channel, don't forget there are ways to watch ANYTHING that's shown on TV on the internet!!!!

    As for the BBC; good luck with the coverage. Enjoy the past accolades, success and viewing figures because I can't see that repeating (the brief golden era is over!). And start apologising to F1 fans as soon as you're ready.

  • Comment number 92.

    Pfft. F1 is dead and buried.

    BTCC is where it's at this year. All races, all qualifying, all supporting races, all weekend! Free to air, where real sport should be.

  • Comment number 93.

    @swindon,

    I do have a Sky package already but it does not include sports or HD (don't have a HD TV) I watch quite a number of the channels and enjoy the content.

    I also run two Limited Companies so am very well aware of the commercial aspects.

    I still do not like the fact that a corporation that I pay for has told me that I need to pay again fo someting I have alrerady paid for and that this is a good thing for me...

    Take care

    TMF

  • Comment number 94.

    93. At 11:56 31st Jan 2012, TheMF8 wrote:

    I see what your saying but there is nothing we can do about it...I pay for Sky and it's my decision...I don't watch the BBC (the good lady watches Eastenders) but I have no choice other than to pay £145.50 for the licence fee! Is that not equally unfair?

  • Comment number 95.

    @swindon,

    If the Tax to fund the corporation is a good or bad thing and if it continues to be sustainable in the furure is not germain to the discussion.

    If a government funded organisation decided that it was in your and my best interrests to take our homes away from us would you still say there is nothing that we can do about it?

    Take care

    TMF

  • Comment number 96.

    95. At 12:09 31st Jan 2012, TheMF8 wrote:

    I see what you mean but it's unlikely to happen therefore not relevant...TV is a luxury and housing/accommodation is not!

    On a different note seen the report on sky sports news? McLaren preparing for fight over new car....wonder what they've done!

  • Comment number 97.

    @ TheMF8, quote "M. Bensons schoolboy delight about being able to see every minute of every race at my expense and denying me that is unacceptable."

    I don't think that at any point in the blog does M. Benson bragg about being at every race. He is merely blogging about the up coming season, what has happened in the last week and what we can expect to happen in the next couple of weeks with a couple of quotes from Gerhard Berger. Look I get what people are saying in that they can't afford to subscribe or upgrade, fair enough. The fact is, this is not a blog about who has the TV rights, this is a blog about the up coming F1 season and therefore the comments that are left should have something to do with blog. If people want to have a moan show there disgust write, type a letter of complaint out and send it of to the BBC, you never know if they get enough they might try and do something about it, but for this season nothing is going to change.

  • Comment number 98.

    @TMF
    To say you supposedly running 2 businesses, you seem to have an awful lot of time to talk about a sport you've said you aren't going to watch?

    Just saying...

  • Comment number 99.

    Not that it will do any good, but I'm launching a personal protest against the Murdoch world domination. I do not and will not subscribe to Sky.
    Damm shame the little man with white hair sold us all down the river (he'll never get a knighthood!!!!)

  • Comment number 100.

    @99
    Good luck with that mate, obviously got too much time on your hands and not a lot of sense.

 

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