Formula 1 goes to Sky Sports as BBC shows just half of next year's races

For the first time ever, the next F1 season won't be shown for free on TV. Sky has bought the rights to every race, while the BBC has lost the rights to half the season.

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Richard Trenholm
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For the first time ever, the next Formula 1 season won't be shown for free on television. Sky has bought the rights to show every race, and, although the BBC will still show the major races, it's lost the rights to half the season.

If you're a devoted F1 fan, you'll have to cough up for a Sky dish to see the whole season's racing. The BBC's half of the races does at least include the British Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix, and the last race of the season.

Sky will show all the qualifying, practice sessions and races live and in high definition. The satellite broadcaster promised to give F1 'the full Sky Sports treatment'.

It's reported that Sky won't show adverts during the actual races, a major criticism of ITV's brief stint broadcasting the sport. ITV viewers missed four hours of racing from the total 26 hours of competition in the 2007 season.

Sky customers will also get to monitor Lewis Hamilton's ludicrous chin-strap beard when they're out and about, with Sky Go, the online service that lets you watch Sky Sports on your computer, phone or tablet.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said: "We get the best of both worlds". Yes, he gets both a pit lane full of cash and can still pay lip service to keeping F1 available to all. It's not clear how much Sky paid for the rights to screen F1, but the BBC is said to have previously paid £40m for the privilege.

The new deal will last from 2012 until 2018.

Reactions to the deal have been mixed. BBC F1 presenter Martin Brundle tweeted that he was "not impressed" and received a wave of sympathetic tweets bemoaning the Sky deal.

How do you feel about the arrangement? Will you be racing to get Sky? Has the BBC spun out? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page -- and enjoy having The Chain stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Image credit: Formula1.com