The BBC are to screen practice sessions on BBC Two for their live races in 2013, it has been confirmed. The BBC F1 Season Preview magazine notes:
“In addition to all the coverage on BBC1, for the first time BBC2 will be covering all the practice sessions of the BBC live races. This will mean an extra 4 hours’ coverage per race for the fans and the most comprehensive coverage we have ever offered. We will have unprecedented access and opportunities to go behind the scenes as the drivers and teams prepare their cars for the weekend.”
This was suggested by me back in December on this blog as one of the ways to improve BBC’s coverage for 2013, although I did note that this was ‘unlikely’. The reason for this happening will be as a result of the Delivering Quality First cuts (DQF) to the BBC Red Button service, with a reduction of streams from five down to one.
It looked like practice coverage was going to be reduced earlier this month, but the move to put practice on BBC Two will make it available to a lot more people. It will be interesting as well to see how well it does on BBC Two, I doubt Sky Sports will be too pleased with the move as no doubt it may knock their practice ratings down a knock. Nevertheless, it is a great move by BBC. I don’t think there will be any extra coverage as a result, but it merely means that what was on the Red Button will now be on BBC Two – even though the announcement makes it seem like a expansion, it is just BBC moving it from one platform to another, albeit one with a much bigger potential viewership. I think it will just be the World Feed from five minutes before the session to five minutes after the session, like how it has been on the Red Button since 2009.