Formula One Championship To Be Covered in HD

Formula One TV coverage is making the leap to high definition this season. Formula One Management (FOM), which controls the media rights for all Grand Prix races and oversees host-broadcast coverage, confirmed this week what has been expected for some time: that the 20 rounds of the 2011 F1 Championship will originate in HD, starting in Bahrain in March.

The international TV feed will be offered to broadcasters in the MPEG-2 format at a data rate of 42 Mbps. According to FOM, the switch follows “extensive research, development, and investment” on its part to “ensure the best possible HD offering” for the global TV audience, which it says is 500 million viewers each year.

Many leading broadcasters that hold rights to show F1 are to show this year’s season in HD, tailoring coverage to their own requirements. Among them is the BBC, which has built up a full roster of sport in HD since launching its HD channel in 2007, with BBC One available in the format since November.

The BBC’s live HD sports coverage includes Wimbledon tennis, Grand National horseracing, Six Nations rugby union, and golf, which the broadcaster began to cover starting with the 2010 Open.

“Along with many, many HD viewers, I’m delighted that we’ll have a chance next season to see Formula 1 in all its glory on television,” says Danielle Nagler, head of BBC HD and 3D. “It’s fantastic news that FOM has decided to greenlight HD broadcasts, and we’re looking forward to sharing with the fans all the races in all their detail on BBC One HD and BBC HD.”