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Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

As the motorsport season draws to a close, manufacturers will be thinking about how best to capitalise on their success to sell more cars. Some, however, will be looking to go further, building special editions to show just how good they, or their drivers, are on track.

2015 Mercedes-AMG A45 4Matic Petronas Edition

Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

With three F1 titles in three years, Mercedes-Benz has a lot to shout about when it comes to motorsport. This was its effort in 2015: an AMG A45 hot hatch, with an F1-inspired silver and turquoise colour scheme. Note the bright green wheel rims. Not one for shy, retiring types.

2014 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 World Championship Collector’s Edition

Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Possibly sensing the tension that was to come, in 2014 Mercedes let Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg design their own SL 63 roadsters. Hamilton opted for matte black and gold, while Rosberg favoured luxurious white. Only sold in pairs to specially selected customers, the price for a matching set was more than £500,000.

2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling MossMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Proving that special editions don’t always have to celebrate F1 championship wins, in 2009 Mercedes got extreme with the SLR in honour of Sir Stirling Moss’s Mille Miglia record. Ditching the roof and windscreen created a speedster capable of a – very windy – 217mph. You had to already be an SLR customer to be considered, with just 75 examples produced at £660,000 each.

2014 Caterham Seven Kamui EditionMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

He might not have won races or titles, but Kamui Kobayashi proved to be popular during his time in F1 with Caterham. Helpfully, Japan is a big market for the Caterham Seven, so selling a run of ten Kamui editions should have been fairly easy. There’s only one seat, an anodised green key and a dashboard with Kamui’s name inscribed into it. Power isn’t quite F1-like, though – with just 123hp from a 1.6-litre Ford engine.

2001 Fiat Seicento Sporting Schumacher EditionMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

How do you celebrate Ferrari’s first F1 World Drivers’ Championship in more than 20 years? By sticking the name of your successful driver on the boot of a 54hp city car, of course. While Michael Schumacher may have gone on to become Ferrari’s favourite son, things started out with just 1.1 litres and a top speed of 93mph.

2005 Fiat Stilo Schumacher GP VersionMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Things got slightly better for Schumacher in 2005 when, after clinching his fifth title in row the year before, he was rewarded with this. The special ‘GP’ Stilo was produced for the UK, and featured tuning by Prodrive, which added 18-inch alloy wheels, uprated suspension and a stainless steel exhaust system. Power was unchanged, with the 2.4-litre 5-cylinder engine making 170hp – an output slightly more respectable than the Seicento.

2017 Ferrari 488 GTB ‘The Schumacher’Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

As part of Ferrari’s 70th anniversary in 2017, the Italian brand is planning a range of 70 special editions celebrating key models and liveries. Naturally, Michael Schumacher features on Ferrari’s list, and this time his name will grace a range of performance cars befitting his name. This livery is inspired by the F2003-GA F1 car, which Schumacher took to championship victory in 2003.

1993 Renault Clio WilliamsMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

In the early 1990s, Williams-Renault was a dominant force in Formula 1, with Constructors’ titles in 1992, ’93 and ’94. The first-generation Clio was also enjoying success as the 1991 European Car of the Year. Combining the two, and adding a 150hp 2.0-litre engine and gold Speedline wheels, produced an iconic hot hatch. The original 390 cars sold in the UK now attract a cult following.

2005 Renault Megane Renaultsport 225 F1 Team

Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

As a contender for the longest name on our list, Renault’s celebration of both 2005 Drivers’ and Constructors’ F1 Championships is a contender. Ultra Blue paintwork, matched with very bold decals and black alloy wheels, made the 225 F1 Team visually impressive. Under the bonnet lurked the same 2.0-litre turbo engine from the regular RS Megane.

2006 Renault Megane Renaultsport 230 F1 Team R26Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

In order to celebrate back-to-back title successes, Renault made the name for the 2006 special edition Megane even longer. Along with crazier graphics and a wider choice of colours, Renaultsport also added 5hp and a limited-slip differential. The latter made it popular with those fond of track days – and arguing on internet forums about which Megane is best.

2013 Renault Sport Megane Red Bull Racing RB8Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Ah, how fondly Renault must look back on 2013. As the supplier of the V8 engine in Red Bull Racing’s hugely successful F1 cars, Renault could lay claim to having played a part in four continuous Constructors’ and Drivers’ F1 titles. Enter the Megane RB8, with Twilight Blue paint, Recaro seats and Red Bull logos everywhere. Just don’t mention what happened in 2014, when new F1 engine regulations were introduced…

2013 Infiniti FX50 Sebastian Vettel EditionMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Much like Renault, Sebastian Vettel was riding the crest of a wave in 2013. He was racking up wins on track with consummate ease, thanks to his Red Bull Racing F1 car. For 2013, RBR’s title sponsor was Infiniti – somewhat confusing when Renault was the engine supplier. Matte white paintwork, an F1-inspired bodykit and a 420hp 5.0-litre V8 made for a tenuous motorsport link when applied to luxury SUV. A retail price of more than £100,000 in the UK meant you really had to be a Vettel fan to want one.

2015 McLaren P1 Alain Prost EditionMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Alain Prost courts controversy amongst F1 fans, due to his infamous rivalry with Ayrton Senna. Created for the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the McLaren P1 Prost Edition featured a unique red, white and blue livery, based on the Frenchman’s helmet design. Prost won three F1 titles with the Woking-based team, garnering the attention of the McLaren Special Operations outfit.

1989 BMW E30 M3 Cecotto and Ravaglia EditionsMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Proving that special editions don’t always have to be F1-themed, BMW went to town with the success of the E30 M3 in touring car racing. Venezuelan Johnny Cecotto took many of those victories, so was honoured with a limited edition version of the M3 road car. The UK market received an even rarer version, named after Italian driver Roberto Ravaglia, who had claimed four championships with the M3.

1991 BMW E34 M5 Cecotto and Winkelhock EditionsMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Johnny Cecotto proved to be a lucrative marketing device for BMW as, in 1991, his name was also added to a special version of the E34 M5. Cecotto picked his own colour combinations and interior trim for a limited-run super saloon. Joachim Winkelhock, winner of the 1990 and ’91 Nürburgring 24 Hours for BMW, also got to specify his dream lightweight M5, with reduced sound deadening and Recaro seats.

2016 BMW M4 DTM Champion EditionMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Proving that BMW is still keen to use motorsport to sell cars, Marco Wittman’s victory in the 2016 DTM series gave the firm a chance to bust out the stickers again. Although you might not have heard of Wittman, this DTM special is a actually a thinly disguised version of the sold-out M4 GTS. With 500hp and a giant rear wing, you probably won’t care about explaining who your car is meant to be honouring.

2013 Audi A5 DTM Champion Edition

Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

The DTM series has a track record for inspiring celebratory limited editions. Back in 2013, Audi used Mike Rockenfeller’s championship win to produce 300 special examples of the A5. Sadly, there was no thumping race-car-derived V8 underneath the bonnet, but a 2.0-litre diesel instead. It didn’t come to the UK, but we’re not too sad about that…

2007 Citroen C2 by LoebMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

When a height-adjustable driver’s seat counts as a feature in a press release, expectations are correspondingly low. Yet, that was a key feature for Citroen’s special edition of the C2 supermini in hour of Sebastien Loeb’s four WRC titles from 2003 to 2006. A choice of red or black paintwork, and the option of a SensoDrive robotised manual gearbox were as good as it got for the C2 by Loeb.

2007 Citroen C4 by LoebMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

While Loeb would use a Citroen C4 in his (successful) assault on the 2007 World Rally Championship, the road car was not a flame-spitting replica. Nope, there’s no 4WD or big turbo engine to be found here. A 180hp 2.0-litre 16v petrol was the quickest engine on offer, but then we’re pretty sure Loeb’s work machine didn’t come with a leather-trimmed armrest or cruise control as standard. Swings and roundabouts, as they say.

1999 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Tommi Makinen EditionMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Before Sebastien Loeb there was Tommi Makinen, a Finn who dominated rallying with four WRC championships for Mitsubishi between 1996 and 1999. Thankfully, the Lancer Evo was a genuine rally replica, so the addition of a bespoke bodykit, uprated turbocharger and lowered suspension only made it even quicker and cooler.

1995 Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000 Series McRaeMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Subaru produced many special motorsport editions of the first-generation Impreza, but the Series McRae cars from 1995 are particularly special. In honour of the late Colin McRae’s impressive rallying ability, 200 cars received Rally Blue paint with gold 16-inch Speedline alloy wheels. Recaro seats and an individually numbered plaque completed the transformation.

2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI WR1Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Norwegian Petter Solberg took the 2003 WRC title fight down to the wire, and emerged victorious over that pesky Sebastien Loeb by one point. To say well done, Subaru produced 1,000 examples of the WRX STI in a special Ice Blue colour scheme. With power increased to 320hp, plus lowered suspension springs provided by Prodrive, the WR1 had bark to match its visual bite.

2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI RB320Motorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Richard Burns is the only Englishman to be a World Rally Champion, and he did it with Subaru in 2001. Tragically, he died from a brain tumour in 2005 at the age of only 32. To commemorate his championship victory and WRC legacy, Subaru built the RB320, which was available only in Obsidian Black. The first car produced was auctioned, with proceeds going to the Richard Burns Foundation.

2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Dale Earnhardt Signature EditionMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Dale Earnhardt was a giant of NASCAR racing, taking seven Winston Cup titles and earning the nickname of ‘The Intimidator’ for his aggressive driving style. This made his death, in a final-lap accident during the 2001 Daytona 500, even more shocking to the NASCAR community. In his memory, 3,333 Monte Carlo SS models, featuring a colour scheme based on his iconic NASCAR racer, were built. Today they prove to be desirable collectors’ items for stock car fans.

1994 Ducati 916 Senna and 2014 Ducati 1199 Panigale S SennaMotorsport special editions: win on Sunday, sell on Monday

Ayrton Senna is revered as being one of the most talented drivers to grace the F1 stage. His tragic death in 1994 created a shockwave through the sport and beyond. Senna had signed off on a special edition Ducati 916 shortly before his untimely death, with production completed in his honour. Twenty years later, Ducati recreated a Senna version of the 1199 superbike, with proceeds from the sale of the 161 examples being donated to the Senna Foundation.

2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

2016 Silverstone Classic: in picturesIt’s Silverstone’s second biggest motoring event (after the British Grand Prix): more than 100,000 motorsport fans headed to the Northamptonshire circuit this weekend to see 10,000 classic cars on display and competing on track.

Paddock access2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

The best thing about Silverstone Classic is, unlike the Grand Prix, anyone with a ticket can get close to the action. Visitors over the weekend enjoyed full paddock access.

Can-Am2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Every year, Silverstone Classic holds a number of special parades to celebrate significant motoring anniversaries. This year, they included 50 years of Can-Am racing, with a pair of special commemoration races – the culmination of a three-round Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge.

1966 World Cup2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Other celebrations included a car football match to celebrate the 50th anniversary of England winning the 1966 World Cup. Here’s Damon Hill showing off his dribbling skills.

James Hunt2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

More importantly for motorsport fans, it’s 40 years since F1 legend James Hunt overcame all odds to win the 1976 Formula One World Championship.

Freddie and Tom Hunt2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

James Hunt died in 1993 at the age of 45, but his sons Freddie and Tom Hunt were at this year’s Silverstone Classic to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his achievement. A number of his road and racing cars were on display at Silverstone, as well as trophies and memorabilia from his title-winning 1976 season.

Lamborghini Miura2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Other celebrations included the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura… and the 35th anniversary of the Mk2 Vauxhall Cavalier.

Live restoration

eBay Range Rover

In a first for the Silverstone Classic programme, racing driver Fergus Walkinshaw and his team were restoring a Range Rover Classic over the weekend, using parts only bought on eBay.

Mike Brewer2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

TV star Mike Brewer was on hand giving restoration hints and tips through his car clinic – looking at a variety of cars, from the freshly-restored Range Rover to a modified E21 BMW 3 Series.

Motor racing2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Of course, the real action happens on the circuit. From historic F1 cars to Le Mans prototypes, there’s an eclectic mix of rare and expensive cars on track.

90s Endurance Legends2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

A particular highlight was the 90s Endurance Legends, celebrating racing cars such as the  McLaren F1 GTR long tail and Lister Storm GTM.

Historic Touring Car Challenge2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

The Historic Touring Car Challenge catered for a full grid of 58 touring cars raced between 1966 and 1985.

Masters Pre-66 Touring2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

The Masters Pre-66 Touring featured touring cars from before 1966, from classic Minis to big-engined yank tanks such as the Ford Falcon.

Stirling Moss Trophy for pre-61 Sports Cars2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Competing for the actual cup Stirling Moss was awarded for winning the 1955 British Grand Prix (his first-ever GP victory), visitors to Silverstone Classic were treated to a grid of purpose-built pre-1961 racing cars.

Legends of Modern Formula One2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Returning to Silverstone Classic for its second year, the high speed demo of modern F1 cars was held every day of the three-day festival. Where else can you get so close to a plethora of modern Grand Prix cars?

Clubs2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

More than 100 car clubs attended Silverstone Classic this year. This mouthwatering selection of Porsche 911s was one of our highlights.

Silverstone Auctions2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

A big part of the event is the Silverstone Classic auction. Grabbing the headlines this year was a Peugeot 205 GTi, which sold for an incredible £30,938.

Ferrari 512 TR2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

Other highlights included a 1994 Ferrari 512 TR which sold for £162,000…

Flatnose Porsche 930 Turbo2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

…and a £94,500 ‘flatnose’ Porsche 930 Turbo.

2016 Silverstone Classic2016 Silverstone Classic: in pictures

We’ll leave you with this shot of the Super Touring Cars – one of our favourite race categories at Silverstone Classic. Who could fail to feel nostalgic at the sight of a stickered-up Vauxhall Vectra?

Video: Sebastian Vettel races a Ferrari in an ambulance

Video: Sebastian Vettel races a Ferrari in an ambulance

Video: Sebastian Vettel races a Ferrari in an ambulance

Ever wanted to swap jobs with F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel? An ambulance driver from the South East has done exactly that – giving him tips on how to drive a three-tonne ambulance, then getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GTB.

As part of the job-swap, organised by Shell, both drivers discussed performance driving techniques before going head-to-head around the track – with Vettel in the ambulance, and paramedic Alex Knapton in the Ferrari.

Despite the heavy ambulance boasting just 118hp and a modest top speed of 88mph, Vettel managed to lap the makeshift circuit in two minutes and 10 seconds – seven seconds quicker than Knapton in the 488.

Knapton, a paramedic with South Central Ambulance Service, said: “Getting the opportunity to swap the ambulance for the Ferrari 488 GTB was a dream come true. It was an unbelievable experience to get that close to one of the stars of Formula 1. Sebastian was on great form coaching on high performance driving tips and joking about the lack of a radio in the ambulance.”

Vettel added: “Paramedics play an essential role in motorsport around the world and not just in Formula 1. They need to perform to such high standards every day because lives depend on them. Shell V-Power race fuel supplied to Scuderia Ferrari contains at least 99% of the same types of compounds used in Shell V-Power fuels for the road.”

McLaren F1

Dream ticket: nearly-new McLaren F1 tops our lottery list

McLaren F1A Veyron goes faster, a Lamborghini shouts louder and a new Porsche 911 Turbo S is quicker to 62mph. But for us, the McLaren F1 remains the ultimate supercar.

Only 106 F1s were made, 64 of which were road cars; the rest were strictly for the racetrack. So they rarely come up for sale, and this car – chassis number 69, and one of the last built – is something (even more) special.

Why? Because the F1 McLaren calls ‘#069’ has just 2,800 miles on the clock, and has been maintained by McLaren Special Operations since new. Well, you’d hardly take it to Kwik Fit…

McLaren F1Return of the Mac

Painted in svelte Carbon Black, it has ‘stealth finish’ 17in centre-lock magnesium wheels. Inside, the driver’s seat – positioned centrally, of course, for optimum weight distribution – is upholstered in red and black leather, while the passenger seats either side are trimmed in Alcantara (man-made suede).

Car #069 also comes with all its original equipment, including a fitted luggage set, titanium tool kit, a correct numbered edition of the Driving Ambition McLaren F1 book – and even a limited-edition F1 owner’s watch.

Still, who cares about the time when you have a BMW Motorsport V12 behind you and 627hp beneath your right foot? Certainly not us.

McLaren F1Murray’s minter

We have to confess, none of us at Motoring Research have ever had the privilege of driving a McLaren F1. But those who have, say it’s of one the most invigorating, visceral and downright sensational cars on the planet.

And how could it not be? The F1’s V12 is naturally-aspirated, so there’s no turbo lag to worry about. It’s refreshingly analogue, with an old-school manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. And it doesn’t have any electronic safety systems – not even ABS brakes. In a car capable of 243mph, that’s a slight concern.

Indeed, the F1 is as close to no-compromise as road cars get. It was one man’s single-minded vision of the ultimate driving machine, and that man – Gordon Murray – designed his dream without concern for cost. It was the first road car with a carbon fibre chassis and the engine bay is lined with 24-carat gold (the best material for reflecting heat).

McLaren F1If you have to ask…

So, what is the price of supercar supremacy? Tellingly, McLaren won’t say, although interested parties are invited to email specialoperations@mclaren.com for more details.

Given that Rowan Atkinson recently sold his twice-crashed F1 for a reported £8million, it certainly won’t be cheap. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it achieve eight figures.

To put that in perspective, the F1 was the most expensive production car ever made, at £635,000 when new. But its value has increased hugely in the intervening years, to the level of rare, classic Ferraris.

Let’s hope whoever buys #069 doesn’t get too hung up on its value and actually drives it. After all, it’s what Gordon Murray would have wanted…

 

Project AM RB 001 Sketch

Aston Martin and Red Bull to create ultimate hypercar

Project AM RB 001 SketchAston Martin and Red Bull Racing have announced a technical partnership that will create “the ultimate hypercar” – and Aston Martin chief creative officer Marek Reichman has admitted work is already underway on the groundbreaking new super sportscar.

Codenamed Project AM-RB 001, it will be co-developed by Red Bull Racing chief technical officer Adrian Newey and Reichman, fulfilling a decades-long dream of Newey to create a supercar.

As part of the new technical partnership, Aston Martin has become Red Bull Racing’s Innovation Partner – and its logos will return to grand prix racing for the first time since 1960 this weekend at the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull Racing RB12 Ricciardo

“Red Bull Advanced Technologies, led by Adrian, will be harnessing our Formula One DNA to produce the ultimate of all road cars,” said Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner.

“It’s an incredible project which also realises a dream and vision long held by Adrian to design a road car.”

What is the Project AM-RB 001 hypercar?

Project AM-RB 001 will be a hypercar to challenge the McLaren P1, LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder – plus Aston Martin’s own recent hypercars, the One-77 and track-only Vulcan. The Aston Martin and Red Bull partnership will, says the firm, “unite the world’s best aerodynamicists, composite experts and manufacturing masters”.

Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer added: “Between Q by Aston Martin Advanced, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and project partner AF Racing AG, we are going to create a car that will excite and stir the imaginations of the car designers of the future and a global audience of sports car enthusiasts.”


Analysis

Adrian Newey Red Bull

We now know Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer was hinting at Project AM-RB 001 when he told us in Geneva that the firm was only interested in joining the F1 grid if the partnership was a genuine technical collaboration. “We’re not interested in just sticking our badge on the side of an F1 car.”

Well, now the Aston Martin badge IS stuck to the side of an F1 car – but that’s just the start of what it and Red Bull are going to do.

Adrian Newey admits that, since he was six years old, he’s been dreaming about building the ultimate sports car. The man whose cars have won 10 F1 World Championships has never fulfilled that dream – until now.

We all know Newey is an undisputed genius, whose vision has continually transformed F1. Transfer that into the world of supercars, with the to-market abilities of Aston Martin and the vision of its creative chief Marek Reichman and, well, the ingredients are all there for something truly extraordinary.

Could this be the fastest, most boundary-pushing, most aerodynamically brilliant hypercar the world has ever seen? With Red Bull and Aston Martin all working together under the vision of Newey, I certainly wouldn’t bet against it…

By Richard Aucock


The new car will combine “the latest in aerodynamics from F1 and the stunning design language of an Aston Martin,” said Reichman.

“Unconstrained by F1 regulations, we have a unique chance to create a car in its most efficient form that will represent the ultimate fusion of art and technology.”

Newey added that “it allows us to translate the technology we have developed in F1 into a new arena.”

For several years, the Red Bull F1 cars have generally been acknowledge as the most aerodynamically efficient and sophisticated on the Formula 1 grid; Reichman admits it’s going to be “a fascinating experience for everyone involved”.

Oh, and it will be fast, confirmed Palmer. Very fast. How fast? This fast:

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Renault F1

Renault buys Lotus F1 Team

Renault F1Renault has given loyal Formula 1 workers in Enstone, Oxfordshire the best possible Christmas present by confirming it has completed the purchase of the Lotus F1 Team.

After signing a letter of intent to buy the team in September, a lengthy period of negotiations ensued.

BBC Formula 1 free TV contract switches to Channel 4 for 2016

This was completed on 3 December; since then, says Renault,  “all parties involved have been working relentlessly to comply with all of the contractual and legal obligations under the agreements to enable the transaction to successfully complete”.

Last Friday, the transaction was indeed successfully completed – and the team is confident its 2016 racer will be ready for testing in Barcelona at the end of February.

Just prior to this first testing session, Renault F1 will announce its new team name, management structure, team partners and other key details during an event it plans to hold in Paris.

Renault’s already appointed a new board of directors though: Jérôme Stoll as Chairman and Cyril Abiteboul as Managing Director.

The news means the Enstone team will once again be known as Renault – after the French brand sold its F1 team to Genii Capital in 2009 and headline sponsor Group Lotus renamed the team in 2012.

Genii remains a shareholder in the team; Group Lotus terminated its title sponsorship arrangement in 2011 but the team retained the Lotus F1 Team name.

F1 Pirelli 13 inch wheel

BBC Formula 1 free UK TV contract switches to Channel 4 for 2016

Formula 1 MSABBC Sport has ended its Formula 1 free-to-air TV contract three years early as part of corporation-wide cost savings – and Channel 4 will now be the terrestrial home of F1 on UK TV.

Sky F1 continues to air all Formula races live as part of its subscription package deal.


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Channel 4 has agreed a three-year deal for the 2016-2018 seasons: this compromises 10 live races and “comprehensive highlights” of all 21 Grand Prix, including qualifying.

In a positive move for F1 fans, the broadcaster has promised there will be no advertising breaks throughout the duration of live races.

Recognising the significance of this promise, Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of the Formula One group, said: “I am sorry that the BBC could not comply with their contract but I am happy that we now have a broadcaster that can broadcast Formula 1 events without commercial intervals during the race.”

Previous advertiser-funded broadcaster, ITV, was often criticised for switching to advert breaks during key moments of F1 races – it was even criticised by advertising regulator OFCOM over the timing of an advert break late into the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix.

“I am confident that Channel 4 will achieve not only how the BBC carried out the broadcast in the past but also with a new approach as the World and Formula 1 have moved on,” added Ecclestone.

Details of which 10 races Channel 4 will air live will be confirmed early in 2016, added the broadcaster.

‘No easy solutions’

BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said: “The current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made.”

BBC Sport has been asked to deliver £35 million of savings and “a significant chunk of BBC Sport’s savings target will be delivered through the immediate termination of our TV rights agreement for Formula 1,” said Slater.

“There are no easy solutions; all of the options available would be unpopular with audiences.”

The BBC initially regained broadcasting rights for F1 in 2009 – but in 2012, again as a costs-saving measure, agreed to share rights with Sky Sports; this led to the current deal to halve the number of live F1 races it covers.

It’s not all bad news for BBC F1 fans, however: the corporation has extended its commentary rights on Radio 5 Live until 2021.

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Will StevensThere’s a new name on the starting list for this weekend’s opening F1 2015 race in Melbourne, Australia – with a Union Flag alongside. Welcome to F1, Will Stevens. Read more