For the first time in many years I didn’t get myself up in the small hours of Saturday and Sunday morning on the opening weekend of the Formula 1 season to watch live coverage of qualifying and first race in Australia. When I first heard the news that the BBC had failed to secure all broadcast rights I was incensed that I would no longer be able to watch all races live. I have never been a particularly big fan of watching live sport, but had been fairly religious in attempting to watch every F1 race live. When unable to watch I would be sure to put up with the terrible AM reception of Radio 5 Live as I drove about. I could understand the economics that had resulted in the BBC opting to forego rights to all live races, and only broadcast a selection of live ones; but there was absolutely no way that I would submit to blackmail and invest in a Sky package in order to continue to watch. This would have been the case even if the Murdoch ‘Mafia’ hadn’t been involved in providing the coverage. So I resigned myself to make the most of the 2011 season and prepare for a life without something that had become such a regular fixture in my life.
So far this season, the Australian and Malaysian races have come and gone without me bothering too much about what has taken place. I have to say that I am not missing it at all and have quickly found alternative activities to fill the time when I would otherwise have been ‘tethered’ to a TV or straining to hear the distorted radio commentary. While Jensen Button was driving to victory in Melbourne I was happily catching some sleep after a great band night in O2 Dome, and I was enjoying the sun in the garden as Fernando took the chequered flag in Sepang. I look forward to continuing to enjoy other activities throughout the rest of the season – and over the years ahead. I’ve no doubt that Bernie Eccleston’s ‘mega-money machine’ will survive perfectly well without me too.