Guest Author - Christine Blachford
As someone who uses the internet regularly, I am always interesting in what Formula 1 related media is available. Here in the UK, we got simulcast streaming of the Qualifying and Grand Prix on ITV's website. As it was broadcast on the TV, it always went out on the site as well. They also gave us unprecedented access to Free Practice which was streamed on the site and not on the TV, although for some reason, they missed out FP3.
This year, coverage will be done by the BBC, which is even more exciting, as they have a much larger site, with plenty of different options to digest F1 information.
Last week, FIA president Max Mosley spoke out about the future of F1 on the internet, and admitted that it is a neglected area of the sport. He said the ideal would be to have all the timing screens available online, with archives, plus everything that is available to the teams. He included multi-camera angles, with choices of in the garage, the motorhomes, and everywhere around the paddock. Nothing intrusive, of course, but anywhere public within a Formula 1 weekend could be available on the web.
Now, Bernie Ecclestone has jumped to his own defence saying that the onus is not on him to provide internet broadcasts. As the rights holder to Formula 1 and all it's footage, you would think otherwise, but Bernie says the contracts he holds are very specific.
Bernie says that all the countries have different contracts, and each individual one restricts what FOM (his company) can do with the content. This does make some sense, as ITV would not have wanted to invest in simulcasting the sessions, if they were going to be available on the official F1 site as well. However, it is Bernie that negotiates the deals, and he could surely do something about this. Stipulate that there has to be some kind of internet activity, or else FOM will do it for them.
It seems as though, for what is supposedly the most advanced technological sport of it's age, Formula 1 is lacking severely in it's IT department. NASCAR fans get a lot more from their coverage. However, as the different broadcasters around the world begin to catch on, things may be about to change.