At least Bernie Ecclestone is “delighted”. No wonder: the recent announcement that Sky Sports has bought the exclusive rights to air Formula 1 in the UK from 2019 doubtless comes with a decent cheque from the British broadcaster.
Since 1978 we have had regular free coverage of Formula 1 in Britain. Come 2019, though, the only way you will be able to watch the sport – illegal streaming aside – will be to pay for it. Channel 4 has taken over from the BBC until 2018, but after that your only free option will be Sky Sports’ mooted free-to-air channel, which will show the British Grand Prix and highlights of other races.
At a time when F1 is desperately seeking more viewers it is a strange route to take. The cynical among you might think that the decision smacks of short-term gain and long-term pain. It is all the more topical in light of the recent GPDA announcement.
We want to hear from you – will you pay for Formula 1? Or will you only watch race highlights on the free Sky channel? Or will you go the way of so many and not watch it at all?
Please do vote in our Twitter poll, and add your thoughts below.