Sky's dedicated Formula One channel goes live at 8pm tonight. It will be the first time that F1 has coverage seven days a week. But non-Sky subscribers will be left with just a selection of races to which the BBC has access - a controversial move for most licence-paying fans.
Talking to Pocket-lint, Sky F1's lead commentator David Croft said he understood why fans might be upset.
“I know there has been a lot of cheap talk about the new deal," he said. "First and foremost, the BBC went to Sky. Secondly, don’t see it as a competition or a battle with people being deprived. See it actually as a more extensive coverage of Formula One than has ever been possible.
“Yeah, if you haven’t got Sky, then you wont see all the races live and I can understand people being upset by that. You will always have all the highlights on the BBC as well, they’re not totally deprived. Its not like they are going without a meal for two days.
“I totally understand every fan’s concerns, but what it has allowed is people like us to come in, think of it outside the box, take the good stuff the BBC has done and say right, how can we make it better? As Formula One fans, that’s a good thing.”
Sky is promising better coverage of Formula One than ever before. Access to technology like Sky Go means fans can watch races wherever they are using a smartphone, tablet or computer. The new F1 HD channel, on top of showing races, will also feature different shows which discuss the sport as well as GP2 and GP1 racing.
“It’s not a case of coming in and being big and brash, being bold and saying yeah we’re the best," said Croft. "It’s more a case of saying, what does this sport deserve and what can we do to make it better?
“We have the opportunity for a really good magazine-style show where we talk to the drivers a bit more away from the track. Explain some of the technical things which people really struggle to grasp. We can make it simple for everyone but not condescending.
“Martin Brundle’s out driving the 2010 Ferrari so that we can show you exactly how you drive a Formula One car. We can show you how difficult it is to get off the grid and get the car moving.”
For those with a Sky subscription and the sports package, tune in at 8pm tonight to see what Sky has in store for race fans.
The F1 channel is also available on Sky Go and Virgin Media in standard definition, with Sky Sports subscribers of the latter receiving the new station for free.
What do you think of the Sky vs BBC F1 debacle? Let us know in the comments below...
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