Just How Biased Are The BBC: Australia

Here we go then, 19 races of me taking extra interest in what the BBC are showing in the fifty to sixty minutes before qualifying and the race. What I’ll basically do is go through it team by team and then add it up in a nice little table so you can all understand it. Great, then throughout the season I’ll make graphs and charts (probably the same thing), about interesting trends and by the end of the season we’ll see which team gets the most screen time. Sorted, lets start then.


Red Bull Racing (02.18)
Season Preview (00.54), David Coulthard walking around RB7 and subsequent talk with Jake Humphrey and Eddie Jordan (00.55), Sebastian Vettel interview in Pirelli feature (00.05), Mark Webber interview behind garages (01.34), Christian Horner pre-qualifying talk (00.44)


McLaren (06.31)
Season Preview (00.27), Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button interview after FP3 (00.59), Jenson Button trackwalk with David Coulthard (04.00), BBC team discussion about Button (01.05)


Ferrari (01.00)
Season Preview (00.31), Ferrari discussion with BBC team (00.25), Alonso in Rule Changes feature on the change to team orders (00.04)


Mercedes (07.36)
Season Preview (00.30), Mercedes interviews featuring Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn (02.19), Interview post VT with Ross Brawn (02.27), Mercedes personnel involved in Pirelli feature (00.20)


Renault (03.42)
Season Preview (00.39), Feature on Robert Kubica missing out in 2011 (02.18), Renault engineer featuring in Rule Changes feature (00.55)


Williams (00.28)
Season Preview (00.28)


Force India (06.41)
Season Preview (00.33), Paul di Resta interview at BBC House (03.57), di Resta interview trackside (02.01)


Sauber (00.33)
Season Preview (00.33)


Toro Rosso (00.29)
Season Preview (00.29)


Team Lotus (00.35)
Heikki Kovalainen involved in Pirelli feature (00.07), Season Preview (00.28)


Hispania Racing Team (00.31)
Season Preview (00.31)


Marussia Virgin (00.25)
Season Preview (00.25)



Red Bull Racing (13.20)
Qualifying Report (00.57), Sebastian Vettel interview (04.18), Red Bull talk with BBC team (01.11), Gridwalk talk with Sebastian Vettel along with look at RB7 (03.29), Christian Horner pre-race talk (01.48), Vettel pole lap (01.37)


McLaren (09.27)
Qualifying Report (00.42), BBC team talk about McLaren (01.00), Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button battle with Humphrey and Jordan in truck (06.00), Gridwalk talk with Button and look at McLaren (01.45)


Ferrari (00.29)
Qualifying Report (00.29)


Renault (00.30)
Nick Heidfeld profiled in Driver Changes (00.09), Gridwalk talk with Vitaly Petrov (00.21)


Williams (00.09)
Pastor Maldonado profiled in Driver Changes (00.09)


Force India (01.01)
Paul di Resta profiled in Driver Changes (00.15), BBC team talk about di Resta (00.28), Qualifying Report (00.18)


Sauber (00.11)
Sergio Perez profiled in Driver Changes (00.11)


Hispania Racing Team (01.22)
Both drivers profiled in Driver Changes (00.20), Qualifying Report (00.15), BBC team discuss Hispania predicament (00.47)


Marussia Virgin (00.11)
Jerome D’Ambrosio profiled in Driver Changes (00.11)


Australian Grand Prix Totals (And Effectively Totals So Far)

Pos Team Air Time
1 McLaren 15.58
2 Red Bull Racing 15.38
3 Force India 07.42
4 Mercedes 07.36
5 Renault 04.02
6 Hispania Racing Team 01.53
7 Ferrari 01.29
8 Sauber 00.44
9 Williams 00.37
10 Marussia Virgin 00.36
11 Team Lotus 00.35
12 Toro Rosso 00.29



I’d say it’s probably too early to make any firm judgements, but its clear which teams got the preference on the opening weekend, with both McLaren and Red Bull Racing amassing over half an hour of the footage over the weekend. This closely followed by Force India, focusing mainly on new Brit Paul di Resta. Interesting to note Hispania got more (albeit just a bit) coverage than Ferrari in the pre-race build up. Who’d have thought it?


Posted on March 29, 2011, in BBC Bias and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. It did seem that Ferrari got few mentions, they must have fallen out with the BBC.

  2. This is a great and valuable resource. I’ve often wondered how much of the bias is percieved bias and how much is real…

    The interesting thing is to consider how much of it is British drivers? If it turns out that Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren (as top teams) and Force India have the lions share of the coverage who would be surprised by this? Is it bias or is it simply the BBC giving the viewers what they are interested in?

    • I don’t think you can fault any sort of bias which comes from nationality, as the BBC are of course British and should be slightly favouring that. I am just wondering how much they are being favoured and it still should be a fair spread at least down the field.

      • Indeed… I am fascinated to see what this data shows. There is a similar bias to be expected based on successful teams being more popular. While this might suck it does also reflect the real world and a percentage of their viewers will feel that way…

  3. McLaren and Force India biases make sense given that they have British drivers on-board, while Red Bull were probably bound to get extra time due to being a) champions and b) well-connected to the BBC staff (the latter falling squarely into “bias”).

    Odd to see Toro Rosso net so little attention from getting Buemi into the top 10 in qualifying.

    • It’s a valid point, like I said to Alex, there is going to bias its just to see who it goes to and how much coverage they get because they are of the same nationality.

      Toro Rosso is odd, like with Sauber too, couldn’t tell they were there almost…

  4. As you are a football fan RG… Can you let me know about the Champions League? Are all of the matches shown in the UK or just the ones featuring UK teams, and if all are shown do the ones featuring UK teams have longer build up etc?

    I basically have no idea about other sports, and I hold F1 to a higher standard, there shouldn’t (in my opinion) be any bias, but I was thinking about comparisons and realised that I don’t know anything 🙂

    • The difference there is that you can have 10+ matches taking place in different countries at the same time. So not all the matches involved in Britain are even shown.

    • As Steven says, they are mostly played at the same time spread across two weekdays, the British clubs (English then Scottish usually) get preference as regards to television spot, but all games are able to be watched if you have Sky.

  5. wow, what an awesome idea. fantastic work sir.

  6. Surely the BBC are just showing us what we want to see, and what people joining the brand new season want to see, british drivers and world champions

    • I’m not denying it isn’t what about 60% of the people watching want to see. I don’t mind seeing a bit about di Resta and Red Bull. But not all the time no? Why not go down the grid to Toro Rosso or Williams… I don’t want repetitive coverage of the same teams and the BBC should be better than that.

      • I think as the season progresses that will be the case (with williams at least) but this is all about welcoming in the new audience and sebastien vettel and red bull are the new world champions. If anything I think their bias of mercedes over renault bizarre, yes brawn did a good job but they arent at the top of the standings by a long way.

        Renault proved in aus they, and petrov, are a force to be reckoned with this year

  7. I can’t wait to see how this pans out. It’s a great idea for a series of posts.

    One thing you have to bear in mind though is that the reason for lack of coverage of a particular team may not always be BBC bias but that a particular team or driver doesn’t want to speak to the BBC.

    • I can understand that, and certainally something to take into account I guess. Might take a few races to work out who those are…

  8. Sorry but I don’t get the point to this at all. Is it a dig at the BBC for not being equal? Of course there will and should be bias. Reason being If they spent all the time interviewing the back runners we would label the show boring, out of touch and slaughter them for having a lack of contacts in high places. Also how dare the BRITISH broadcasting company follow 2 British former world champions in a British team…..point being do I want to know about HRT? Do I care about some dude in a Suber that came 2nd in GP2? Or do I want to see our boys parking trucks and getting grilled on if they really do get on. I know we all want different things but I bet RTL favour RBR and Mercedes. Anyone in Germany crying? Doubt it? Saying that we are British, we must moan about something.

    • I’ve already made clear in the comments, that I do expect the BBC to show some bias, to the British teams and to the top teams. But at every pre-session build up? I don’t say that all the time they should be down the field, not at all, that won’t work, but more time should be spent doing that.

      I’ve found, as a fan of Sauber, that the BBC don’t tend to care about us, and I know many Team Louts, Virgin Racing fans who sprouted up recently and don’t get enough coverage, as with Toro Rosso/Williams etc. etc.

    • To be honest I didnt care about the truck parking bit, that was more TopGear boring style antics, I much prefer finding out about the teams, ALL the teams
      I am surprised by how little Williams got,

  9. This is a brilliant idea and we can already see huge gaps. As you say it isn’t always necessarily bad that some teams have more than others, the top few teams ought to have more than the rest, and perhaps the midfield group should be on a level in between that of the ‘championship’ teams and the backmarkers, but there’s no reason the bottom six in this table shouldn’t even reach a minute within the 55 minutes of pre-race and again for qualifying.

  10. Again, I wonder why no one thought of this before. This brings up some excellent findings. I’m surprised that Hispania is ahead of names like Ferrari (top team) and Williams (British team). This should also help us see if teams get more attention in key races for them. For example, will we see more Lotii (Renault/Lotus) face time in Malaysia?

  11. something to pass along to Hispania PR dept during the season. They would likely be able to use this info to create a better sponsorship package.

  12. This is a great idea and interesting data. Personally I’m not surprised at HRT’s airtime, given that their failure to get a car ready for testing and then qualify for the race was actually newsworthy, whereas Ferrari being slower than McLaren and Red Bull isn’t exactly exciting stuff. I agree with other people’s comments that you’re bound to see more coverage of British drivers on the BBC, and also Red Bull will continue to get coverage due to being champions and also the DC connection. Still, surely the Beeb will have to start paying more attention to the likes of Renault and Sauber if the form shown in Australia was any indication of things to come?

  13. Its the British Broadcasting Corporation, with a big british audience who want to see how the british drivers are doing. There is bias, thats for the audience. Go watch it else where if you don’t like it.


  14. I think this is a genius idea. Of course we expect the BBC to show the Brits more than the others just as RTL would the Germans and RAI for Ferrari – it’s where the interest of the audience lies.

    However what is indicative of the bias is the lack of coverage given to Ferrari – who are probably the most popular if not the most identifiable team. And to ignore Williams, Sauber and Toro Rosso like they do seems very sad and surprising. It feels like if you are in the midfield, you don’t really exist.

    Keep it up RG and don’t worry about some of the silly comments here – this is a great idea and well worth investigating further.

    PS: if you need any graphs… 😉

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