Just How Biased Are the BBC?

Last season I created the highly popular New Teams Championship, which saw success to Heikki Kovalainen and Lotus Racing, and was even read at one stage by the champion himself, as well as endorsements from Virgin Racing and a few other lovely people.

Despite the fun I have had covering it, it is time for a change. Although the three teams all remain, they are going to be closer to the other teams, more than likely scoring their first points, and generally not worth comparing. Of course I’ll look at them later in the season to see how they have progressed, because I still love them, even Hispania.

But what for 2011, I was struggling for an idea for a while. And then I was inspired, whilst listening to the F1 Preview on 5Live, as hosted by Jake Humphrey, I began noting the mentions of Sauber (which was two), then noted the high lack of mentions for some of the other teams, say Force India, Toro Rosso and Virgin Racing.

And then looking back to last season, I remember the massive amount of criticism aimed towards the BBC for their apparent bias to Red Bull.

So here is the plan, each race weekend, 19 of them (please don’t reschedule Bahrain Bernie, 20 will be too much), I will look at the pre and post qualifying and race build-up and see how much time each team gets. Simple.

By the end of it, we’ll all have an understanding of which team favours the BBC, or if it was a massive waste of time and I could have spent that time doing something far more productive.

This is less of a championship and more of an investigation, hopefully an interesting one too. I’ve put this post up several weeks in advance to hear everyone’s thoughts on this idea, or if you have any other ideas I could take up.


Posted on March 5, 2011, in BBC Bias and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Love the idea, look forward to it!

  2. Cracking idea, RG. I reckon this will get a good amount of attention especially later in the season. Maybe even get noticed by the BBC? 😉

  3. Great idea and I have a feeling half way through the season the BBC may be subject to a twitter campaign.

  4. The BBC provides the best coverage of F1 easily (as I live in the USA and cannot tolerate Speed’s coverage) but they are also monstrously biased toward UK teams. Istanbul, Hamilton got on the radio and got a confirmation that Button wouldn’t pass him. When Button started challenging Lewis, managed to get in front him him for a bit and the race started to get interesting, Button instantly got a radio transmission of “need to conserve fuel” (translation: Lewis will win this race, back off Jenson).

    Fast forward to “Fernando is faster than you”-gate, the BBC had a great time ripping apart Ferrari like they just created the biggest sin on the planet, like Turkey never happened. If anything, what Ferrari did was FAR LESS atrocious than what McLaren did, as it was a clear cut example that Massa was holding up Alonso, while McLaren just interrupted exciting racing.

  5. Fantastic idea, being British, I, of course, am a massive fan of British Racing teams and their drivers and love any coverage on them but again being british, I love a good underdog too! I think last year the bbc did 1 piece on toro rosso and no driver interviews throughout the weekends, it’s the same with a lot of the other teams too!

    Look forward to seeing the results!

  6. As far as I am concerned, the BBC is no where near as biased as ITV was when Lewis Hamilton joined the F1 scene. The amount of coverage they gave him was extraordinary. Those 2 years for me defined biased coverage (should note that I am a Hamilton fan).

    The teams that are winning & at the top will naturally get more coverage. That’s not bias. Red Bull might have had some extra coverage last year but I think a factor of this is that they are more open to the media relative to other teams on the grid. Christian Horner always gives time for interviews with the BBC after key moments such as the win @ Monaco & Abu Dhabi.

    If the smaller teams in F1 want more coverage they simply need to do one thing: improve their performance & start to win.

  7. Leigh O'Gorman

    Interesting idea Ryan, but I do think we may be missing something here. The BBC is a national broadcaster and whether we like it or not, their main aim is to broadcast to everyone and not just F1 fans.

    I would hazard a guess that a bigger majority of BBC viewers are casual or “somewhat interested” fans, as opposed to die hard fanatics and realistically that’s why the focus will mostly be on Red Bull / McLaren / Ferrari, rather than Sauber / Force India / Toro Rosso.
    They focus on the Championship leaders because – just like the Premiership – those at the front will be the ones that dictate headlines. Sad to say it, but Jaime Alguersuari finishing 15th place in a race is simply not interesting to the general public.

    So, I wouldn’t say the BBC are biased, but they are more than aware the focus will always be to the front.

    • Its a fair point, and one that should be considered.

      But in a way, it still shouldn’t be the case every single race weekend. Because you remember all of last season it was Red Bull/McLaren/Ferrari. At least in the Premier League you get the likes of Wolves and West Brom getting the headlines every now and then.

  8. This is a fun idea! I’d be wary of course that some teams may be more newsworthy than other depends on the championship/scandals/silly season etc.

    What might be a good idea (if possible) is to perhaps plot the values to a chart with notes about recent news items, like Google Trends does. Just a thought! Not trying to give you too much work 🙂

    • I like the idea, and it might be a good one to implement if I find the time. I don’t think it would require that much time, but if it does then I blame you for everything 😉

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