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We’re Getting There (December 20, 2003) - The Formula One off season is nearly half over and teams have already been busy testing in preparation for the 2004 season.  West McLaren Mercedes was the only team to debut their new car, the MP4/19, during 2003 testing. 

The 2004 Formula One season will see Network Ten’s second year of Formula 1 coverage in Australia.  The Australian F1 TV package changed hands from Nine to Network Ten during the 2002-2003 off season and the change was greeted with mix opinions.  Although few would say they preferred Nine’s coverage, Ten did not step up to offer qualifying coverage. 

ITV had their most coverage yet in 2003 with Friday Qualifying, Saturday Qualifying, and race coverage.  Friday Qualifying was always delayed with the exception of Australia and Saturdays were delayed for the non-European rounds.  All of this causing frustration for UK viewers who had Sky’s F1 Digital + pay per view coverage available in 2002 before F1 Management pulled the plug on pay per view. 

Yet in Germany, pay coverage continued on Premier World.  It was not as advanced as before with only the world feed and an onboard camera feed available to the broadcaster.

The United States saw the first season of a new three year contract between F1 and Speed Channel.  The U.S. network had live coverage Friday through Sunday. 

The big F1 TV question of off season 2003-2004 is how will broadcasters handle the new dual-run Saturday Qualifying session which will take 90-120 minutes to complete.  Furthermore, will some broadcasters sacrifice Friday coverage for the new and longer Saturday session?  F1 All The Way hopes TV schedules will be released soon. 

 

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