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Red Bull will be challenged in 2012

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Murray Walker | 11:40 UK time, Monday, 16 January 2012

Hi all, thanks for your many and varied questions about the 2011 season. I've answered a number of them as well as giving my thoughts about how the season panned out and what I think will happen in 2012.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Ace answers Murray, as always!

    Absolutely agree on Vettel's quality. It seems very unpopular to praise his ability but F1 is about maximising performance from yourself and your car and Vettel has done this consistantly and singularly brilliantly this year. Yes the car is quick, but Webber is in the same machine and the difference in performance was huge; and Mark is a very good driver.

    Can't wait for Australia, although Rubens will be sadly missed on that grid. First time absent in 19 years - quite an achievement.

  • Comment number 2.

    Dodged the big questions as usual.

  • Comment number 3.

    Surprise surprise, Murray never answered the question on the dodgy deal between BBC & $ly. Nobody seems to want to give an HONEST answer regarding this deal. No to $ly & No to the BBC & No to being FORCED to keep paying the t.v licence fee!

  • Comment number 4.

    I'd love to see Jenson and Sebastian at the top in 2012. I'd also love to see Mercedes get some podiums. Most of all I'd love to be able to watch Formula One live in full - alas I won't be able to see the first two wishes come true as the BBC have sold out to SKY.

  • Comment number 5.

    Such a shame for the credible people representing a credible organisation, to be completely oblivious of the genuine concerns and complaints of genuine sports fans.

    It seems answers are still hard to come by.

  • Comment number 6.

    Am i the only one who pick up on this or am i missing something murry said RB wont be in the williams seat next year but i have not seen anything saying he wont be. Yes the bbc sold out to sky and yes it wont be live for all the race's but what can we do about this now and going on about not answering the big questions is crap do people not get it by now they have all been gadded.

    I love watching anything murry does even when mistake are made
    a ture legend


  • Comment number 7.

    Which was the most-asked question not answered here by Murray, I wonder.

  • Comment number 8.

    I can't believe I'm not going to see these races live. I mean, not the first race of the season? Huh.

  • Comment number 9.

    Murray Walker is revered as 'the voice of the people' by F1 fans all around the globe; none more so than here in the UK.

    I am sure it will not have escaped his notice that, at present, one of the greatest concerns is the Sky/BBC deal.

    Of course, it should be of no surprise that this 'hot potato' is apparently left to cool down of its own accord whenever possible by a publicly funded but seemingly impervious corporation; and inevitably, its representatives.

  • Comment number 10.

    Ok guys I have to weigh in on this one, as these comments are largely off the topic of what Murray talked about. There is no imaginable gain in Murray wasting time and breath on what is a done deal.

    I for one am glad that the guys at BBC F1 don't dredge it up at every turn.

    I'd much rather hear thoughts on drivers, teams and tech for next season - and that's what you can get here.

  • Comment number 11.

    Nicely said Cosi.
    ps Murray, "Fernandes has put "his money where his mouth is" in relation to Lotus".
    Fingers crossed he's gotta big mouth. Agree on Vettel. Proved last year it was more than just the car. Especially when compared to Mark and his results last season in the same machinery . Can't wait to get this years championship under way, strung out.. and positive my voicemail has been hacked......

  • Comment number 12.

    About the hacking at least Sky will get plenty of access to the Radio chatter and hidden tactics, a great benefit to the 75% sky themselves have predicted will miss out.

  • Comment number 13.

    Its always good to hear an honest opinion, especially one of someone as dear as Murray. The new season has the ingredients to be another classic with 6 world champions on the grid. It's just a shame that it will unavailable to a large number of people through no fault of their own, and it just become another Sky selling product. Keep Formula One alive!!! F1 for the masses!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    I have seen numerous predictions, some saying that Vettel and Button will be in a fight for the title, others saying Webber is in with a shout and then a few predicting wins from Lotus/Renault and Mercedes. But I for one have a feeling this year will be a titanic scrap between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Ferrari I think will be so much more competitive and Hamilton will be taking through confidence from the winter after that brilliant win in Abu Dhabi fending off Fernando approaching the final round of stops.

    I had Sky anyway for the cricket so tbh I dont care who broadcasts is but I would rather it was on the BBC where the majority of people can join in. Exclusive viewing just makes it feel like watching a film you really like that nobody has heard of. But however I am looking forward to their new channel. I can only wish Ben Edwards luck taking Martin Brundles place and hopefully the BBC will continue where they left off providing us with great coverage. Dont forget that there are 10 races being shown, some people seem to forget that.

  • Comment number 15.

    Great stuff Murray. For the rest of you, get over the SKY deal, the BBC could never compete, they've done a great job but have limited funding and have to manage with what they have. If you can stomach a TV licence price hike (??!!) for your F1 then great otherwise get real and enjoy everything else the BBC does, I know I do!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    @ f1robblog......No, a lot of these comments are not off topic a lot of us had asked Murray to voice his opinions on the $LY/BBC deal, myself included. After following F1 for over 25yrs & being such a big fan of Murray Walkers for all these yrs i really expected "the 1 true voice of f1" to have had something to say on this matter irrespective of the fact that he is still payed by the BBC, i'm sorry Murray but i'm upset that you have not had the courage to speak out on the biggest topic that has surrounded F1 in years & years & years......

  • Comment number 17.

    @Rusty Golf and robablog:
    Murray's first sentence is "Hi all, thanks for your many and varied questions about the 2011 season." Of course, he cannot possibly answer everything asked, and has chosen - as is his prerogative - to focus on those questions concerning F1 itself, rather than its coverage.

    However, it seems there were a great number of people concerned about the latter, as dazwrail (post 16 above) and others have alluded to.

    It is evidently a matter of concern for many who may feel their collective voice lost on the wind against prevailing airwaves; and although such comments may seem irrelevant to the points addressed by Murray in this particular video blog, it is clear that many continue to feel their concerns inadequately addressed by this particular, public and authoritative body.

  • Comment number 18.

    Great video blog Murray, nice tribute to good man Rubens. Pity Adam Parrs' Williams team is in such a mess they need the cash so badly, as it would have been good to see Rubens for one final year mentoring Ayrton's nephew Bruno.

    Then again it's more of a pity the great BBC F1 team from 2009-2013, oh, sorry scrap the original deal I mean '09 till 2011 are gone. It's just nuts that the new BBC team will be at all races not commentating live on them all and the Beeb not showing them live after a select few decided the 6 million 'subset' of F1 viewers are worthless. 8 week gaps between some BBC races is pathetic. Funny though seeing the story that a few parents on mumsnet complain about changes to BBCs Waybuloo's programming format and they run scared and backtrack on the decision!

    Looking forwards to watching step by step the BBC coverage of the Olympic torch going from Wakefield to Dewsbury or wherever, actually no, I'll probably miss it as I'll be watching 'free' live F1 via my sat dish on RTL TV with commentary from your ex-colleague James Allen via BBCs own Radio 5 Live. See BBC I want to continue like the last 30 years with the 'rush of adrenaline that only Live F1 can provide', not some 'torpedoed' mess of extended highlights.

    Roll on 2012, someone stop Seb, wake up Ferrari, shame on your decision BBC mgt, you had a great thing with a massive and growing audience...shame on you.

  • Comment number 19.

    Thank you very much for answering my question Murray!
    I agree wholeheartedly about Lotus (now Caterham) have been the most impressive minnow team in 2011. I somehow doubt they'll be a minnow team by the time 2012's season ends...
    I'm looking forward to seeing your opinions on the season as it unfolds!

  • Comment number 20.

    much like the 90's bbc is in huge decline. instead of focussing on its core, what brings in its proper viewers it prefers to try and offer a little something for everyone, just that something is a snippet.
    The f1 coverage has brought a lot of. credibility back to bbc sport over the last few years so why oh why did they do something so controversial midway through a contract.
    Like everything the bbc do there must of been justification and debate. I would love to see how they justified it, whether bernie had influence to get to his dream
    of pay per view and this was a stepping stone.

    Whatever and we probably wont know for a long time, the bbc have lost out 10 time more than the money they got back for selling their slice of coverage.

    Sky will flop on this, the hardcore won't pay, I will listen on the radio and catch highlights, sky is canceled and I can guarantee subscriptions figures for sky's new f1 channel will be flop.

    Well done BBC!

  • Comment number 21.

    What a surprise, another blog where the BBC yet again ignores the concerns of its licence fee payers. It seems very stupid that for non-live races there will be an hour long forum, yet BBC viewers won't even be able to watch a tape delayed full re run of the race. Joke decision by a joke organisation.

  • Comment number 22.

    Before the days of cars being painted in sponsors advertisements the only deviation from a simple colour scheme was the large racing number on the side and nose.
    Those seem to have disappeared! apart from a number on top of the nose which cannot be seen on TV. Given that drivers now change their helmet design like they change their socks it's very difficult to tell them apart.Why have they been phased out ??Bernie needs to take this on. Murray can you start a campaign to get numbers back on cars so we can independently follow our favorite drivers ? And not tiny ones like on Red Bulls. Mine current favorite driver is Paul De Rista who I hope will have great season.. you too!

    Best regards


  • Comment number 23.

    Sky will flop on this, the hardcore won't pay,


    I would have thought the hardcore would pay? Hence why they're 'hardcore'.

  • Comment number 24.

    no they won't, not when you get a free to air satellite for less than £100 and watch it on a foreign channel coupled with 5 live commentary. the hardcore won't pay out of principal the near £700 a year you'll need to pay for sky f1.Sky dont even get 1.5 million viewers for a top football match, F1 will be in the hundreds of thousands. sky will loose money and can it within 5 years. Look at what happens to any Motorsport when sky get involved. the limited access it has to viewers prevents any large scale audience

    Why should sponsors/tracks pay the huge sums to F1based on audience when the audience 1/5th of what it was.

    It will be back in a few years I just wish we wouldn't have to go through this shenanigans to prove it to them

  • Comment number 25.

    Murray is a true legend, those of you venting at him really need to ask yourselves what do you want him to say - criticise the BBC on a BBC blog? It has nothing to do with him. I think he has earned enough respect over the decades to leave him out of it, but then again some people just don't have any I guess.

    I'm as angry as anyone about the move to Sky, but surely people must appreciate it was only a matter of time before this happened due to the huge fees demanded by Bernie, given the economic climate? Ok it would have been great to get another year or two of BBC coverage, but that's all it would have been anyway. Both sides are to blame, yet I've rarely read a bad word said about Bernie's (huge, IMO) role in all of this.

  • Comment number 26.

    I have a lot of respect for Murray Walker, I am pretty sure that the doing the job he loves has also secured a good standard of living - and I grudge him not a penny, and on top of that - I thank him for the years of enjoyment BUT sadly an elderly friend of mine who's love of F1 could also not be questioned, sadly is losing his front seat of the action. He can't afford it, I can but won't and although, like my friend I have been watching it for years - the time will come where the whole charade of greed will eventually devour itself. All I hope, is that a lot of well deserving people get a major case of indigestion!!

  • Comment number 27.

    As ever great insight from Murray. I think 2012 is shaping up to be a great season!

    Regarding the sky / BBc deal I wish people would shut up about it now, its done & dusted.
    Everyone should be glad BBC have 10 races live & highlights because from what Jake Humprey was saying at the Autosport show the weekend, if they hadn't done this share deal then there would not have been ANY F1 on the beeb full stop!!!!

  • Comment number 28.


    Don't you mean Parr and Whitmarsh's role in all of this?

    As Mr.E said:

    "The BBC held all the cards, the BBC got to grips with Sky themselves. I spoke with ITV too, and came up with the same problem as Channel 4 had. We had a contract with the BBC which didn't run out until 2014. My hands were tied, the BBC brought Sky to us with the idea of a joint contract, It was not us (FOM) who made that decision."

    Whitmarsh said:

    "Based on what I've heard there won't be a premium for watching Formula 1 on Sky, and it's better than expected."

    Even Norbert Haug said:

    "I think you need to see things right, it was BBC taking the decision, the initiative (came) from the BBC."

    While Adam Parr at the Canadian GP forum attacked Ecclestone for not exploiting pay TV more.

  • Comment number 29.

    @27 "if they hadn't done this share deal then there would not have been ANY F1 on the beeb full stop"

    That's right and then the BBC would have completed it's original deal then the rights would have gone to Channel 4 or ITV. F1 would still be available to everyone that watched it in the UK, as it is in Germany, France, Spain etc, from pensioners who watched it for years to kids just getting into it, it's casual viewer fanbase would remain as well and everyone would be able to continue watching the full F1 Championship and the world would be a better place ;)

    Wonder if Murray will watch the full season on Sky or whether he'll watch half on Sky and half on the BBC. I'm guessing he'll follow Brundle. All the best Murray, enjoy 2012 as there are will be a lot less people watching F1 than 2011.

  • Comment number 30.

    No I didn't Czar-Orac, although that is also correct to highlight.

    I meant that when Bernie negotiated the original deal with the BBC, the fee was ridiculously high, especially in recessionary times. IMO only the most optimistic or naive people could have reasonably assumed that the BBC would have been able to continue indefinitely with exclusive rights when that deal ran out.

    When you get into a bidding game it generally ends up on a subscription basis, like everything else, and asking for the fee that he did made that highly likely IMO. Bernie will always come under pressure from different people in different ways, but it is up to him to act in the best interests of the sport. A real lack of foresight IMO for someone in such a position. Except I have no doubt that he knew exactly where the coverage was ultimately headed.

  • Comment number 31.


    But the BBC had full funding for the entire contract, only when FOTA in June 2011 indicated through Adam Parr's speech that putting F1 behind a pay wall could make more money for the teams, did the BBC think well if FOTA are keen then we'll contact BSkyB, and as the government (due to pressure from Murdoch) had froze the licence fee, the BBC contacted BSkyB, did a deal in less than 2 days, and presented it to the FOWC as a Fait accompli, and then spent that extra money on 2 other sports, none of which had seen any interest from other broadcasters.

    Had the BBC seen out its final year, then C4 could have taken over, thus ensuring not only a continuation of FTA F1, but a greater sponsorship AVE for the teams sponsors.

  • Comment number 32.

    bernie had influence to get to his dream
    of pay per view and this was a stepping stone.
    Apart from the fact Bernie wanted it to be on free to air, and its not PPV its subscription.
    no they won't, not when you get a free to air satellite for less than £100 and watch it on a foreign channel coupled with 5 live commentary. the hardcore won't pay out of principal the near £700 a year you'll need to pay for sky f1.Sky dont even get 1.5 million viewers for a top football match, F1 will be in the hundreds of thousands. sky will loose money and can it within 5 years.
    No Sky wont flop it, their dedication to it is too good, they have a new channel and a high quality crew and personally I think it will be as good if not better than the BBC coverage. £700 is a lie, thats what we pay for the hole Sky package, Sky Sports 1 is all that is needed to access the channel and that can be quite cheap, although I dont know what is the exact figure. I can quote Brundle saying something about "10p a day" but I think that was exaggerating how small it was, I think you can get it for £200 standard definition package.
    Why should sponsors/tracks pay the huge sums to F1based on audience when the audience 1/5th of what it was.
    I would be very surprised if that were the case.
    It will be back in a few years I just wish we wouldn't have to go through this shenanigans to prove it to them
    I think the BBC might claim back the tv rights for the broadcast at the end of the contract. Hopefully

    Some people have criticized the Beeb for the choice of races but they didnt have their own choice entirely. This is what I heard the process was like.

    BBC chose 3 races (This was Monaco, Silverstone and Brazil)
    Sky chose 3 races exclusive
    Beeb chose 3
    Sky chose 3
    Beeb chose 2
    Sky chose 2
    Beeb chose 2
    Sky take the rest

  • Comment number 33.

    Great blog from Murray... as always! It is rubbish not to have Rubens on the grid this year and we'll all miss him, I would love to have seen him make history and reach a landmark of having a 20th season in Formula 1.

  • Comment number 34.

    Czar @ 31 - I appreciate the role played in this by both sides, and I'm not talking about the BBC not having full funding for the *current* contract.

    I'm solely referring to what I feel was always going to happen when the current contract ran out in 2014, even if it was fulfilled by the BBC. No-one on this board ever seems to consider this, choosing only to look at next season. I believe that a move to pay TV would have been inevitable at that stage, given the money being asked for by Bernie in recessionary times. It's a straightforward concept to me.

    Yes C4 *could* have taken over in 2014, as could anyone else who stumped up the money. But my money would have been on Sky coming up with the best financial package and therefore winning the rights at that stage anyway. IMO there is no reason whatsoever to think any differently given what's happened with other sports.

    Yes we could have had F1 FTA until 2014, but then what? Even if a FTA broadcaster could find the money in 2014, how long would that last for when Bernie keeps on asking for more and more money? What's more important, having F1 FTA until 2014, or ensuring F1 can remain FTA for the long-term?

    Maybe more people should be looking at Bernie's role *in addition to* everything else that went on, that's all I'm saying! Because it doesn't look like the actions of a man determined to keep F1 free-to-air IMO.

  • Comment number 35.


    The move to pay TV would not have been inevitable at all, as the Concorde agreement states ...

    "The Commercial Rights Holder may not permit Formula 1 events to be shown only by pay television in a country with a significant audience if it would materially adversely affect audience reach in that country."

    Audience reach in the UK is 54% from the BBC
    Sky have calculated 19% reach from an estimated 1.34million viewers per race
    But it seems unlikely Sky will get 1.34million viewers
    Sky's reach could be as low as 7%

    Although admittedly Parr and Whitmarsh are trying to alter this clause in the next Concorde so as to move F1 completely behind a pay wall.

    The 'extra' money is not asked for by Bernie, he was criticised by Parr for not demanding more, who then brought up the spectre of subscription TV.

    C4's bid was just £5 million less than the combined BSkyB/BBC bid, and crucially offered not only 'More commercial opportunities for teams through sponsorship and ad-funded content', but an almost certainty that the sponsors AVE rating would not be cut by 33 to 50%.

    The C4 bid was for 5 years, and once again Bernie doesn't ask for the money, CVC and FOTA do, whilst Bernie realises what trouble some teams might get into if F1's sponsors suffer a dramatic loss in their AVE rating ...
    "Sky is doing an incredible job but if you look at their audience they are nowhere. With these figures it would be almost impossible for teams to find sponsors. That would be suicidal."
    That's why Bernie has avoided subscription TV, but Parr's speech last June encouraged the BBC to contact Sky, the BBC thought if FOTA are backing a subscription service, then the fans will too, and rushed through a deal.

  • Comment number 36.

    Total rubbish, Could BBC not have saved some money by just publishing every second line.

    What stupid people at the BBC
    Got my dish ready to pickup RTL, big thanks to Santa.

  • Comment number 37.

    Hey leave muarry alone he was the only one to step up to the plate and stand up for the fans..... Oh wait no he did not he took the cash that was thrown at him and moved on lol. shame really thought really cared about the fans too when really deep down he only cares to line his pockets oh well:D


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