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F1 on Television in America

All Headline News has an article detailing an agreement that Speed Channel and Fox Sports will share broadcasting of F1 races starting from 2009. Fox gets the United States, Canadian, British and French Grands Prix, while Speed retains the rights to televise the rest, most of them live. Both channels will feature the broadcast team of Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett and Peter Windsor.


Colin Kolles, Managing Director of the Spyker MF1 team

So it seems there is still confidence in the future of F1 in America, amongst TV executives, at least. There are several blithe assumptions included in the agreement, however, the main one being that the races doled out to Fox will still be in existence two years from now.

With Bernie Ecclestone broaching the subject of the British and French GPs alternating year by year, I wouldn’t care to put money on both races being available for broadcast in 2009. A lot can happen in F1 in that time and some races will have to disappear to make way for new ones like the Indian Grand Prix. Then there is Indianapolis. It’s assured for 2007 but beyond that, who knows?

The point is that F1 has become a sport in which nothing can be guaranteed for more than a year, sometimes even less. Circuits come and go, seemingly at Bernie’s whim, and the FIA re-define the rules as they go along. I don’t envy the TV execs who had to sign up for a contract that looks as far ahead as 2009.

Inside F1, the rumbles regarding customer cars continue. Leading the charge against Super Aguri’s and Toro Rosso’s plans for next year is Colin Kolles of the Spyker team. Of course, Aguri and Rosso deny that their cars will be bought in from their respective parent teams but the suspicion remains even so.

Now would be a good time for the FIA to step in and define clearly what consitutes a bought-in chassis and what defines an independently-built one. From the excuses, explanations and accusations floating around, it seems that the line between one and the other is very vague. And it would be best to have the whole business sorted out before the new season starts, rather than have the usual mid-season bans and dramas.

For once, this is a situation where the FIA should settle the argument before it gets steam up.

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