Rumours are circulating that Sky are considering being part of a consortium, along with Liberty Global, to bid for the controlling stake that CVC holds in the F1 business. If they were to win the bidding process, what might this mean for F1 TV coverage in the UK?
Sky are interested in owning a bit of F1, as they would certainly be able to negotiate a better deal when their contract comes up for renewal in 2019 (though they may get some money back before that happens). They would also really like to not have to share half the live races with the BBC. And probably the BBC would like to save even more money and not bother covering F1 at all. Even if the BBC still wanted to continue, Sky could simply say no to the BBC. It would all point to no more F1 on BBC TV.
Some have pointed out that Bernie pushed for F1 to remain on free-to-air TV in the UK. Well Sky could provide that by putting F1 highlights on their Freeview channel Pick TV, so that would cover that objection.
Now Liberty Global owns Virgin Media (which happens to be my preferred way of getting TV), so there could also be deal to be made there. Maybe Virgin can offer a cheaper tariff that only includes the Sky Sports F1 channel, rather than customers being forced to take all of the Sky Sports channels, just to watch F1. Liberty (and therefore Virgin) would need to get something out of this deal, though it could be they are just interested in the money savings and revenue.
This is all of course speculation at a very early stage. But one thing is for sure, the UK F1 TV coverage landscape will be different come 2019.