An Open Letter to Bernie Ecclestone

Dear Mr. Ecclestone,

I would like to thank you for the many years of enjoyment that I’ve had watching Formula 1. My first real memory of F1 was my parent’s hosting a barbeque in the summer of 1988 with some family friends, I was being constantly told to come out side and stop watching the television. I didn’t want to because the British Grand Prix was on! I was ten at the time, neither of my parents were motor sports fans, nor were any of my friends but there was something special happening on that TV for me, something that I must have stumbled across while Grandstand was on I guess?

My Dad used to collect Tiger tokens from the local Esso garage, during 1992, when I was 14. I asked my dad if I could use some of these tokens to buy some VHS cassettes so I could tape all the races (a collection I still have to this day) so I didn’t miss a thing and could watch it again to my heart’s content.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I’m not just a fan who turns the TV on in time for the start of the race. Now, at the age of 33, it’s fair to say that Formula one is a passion of mine for many years, so much so that I write my own F1 blog as a hobby.

After reading the details of this morning’s announcement and getting over the initial shock. I started to think how different my life could be if back in the 80s F1 wasn’t on free to air TV? I’m sure I’d still be a motor sports fan, most likely following the British Touring Car Championship being the other live free to air racing on at the same time.

Names like Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell wouldn’t have the same meaning to me, let alone be my sporting Idols. I’d probably keep a glancing eye on it as I do on the World Rally Championship or Indycar.

Having football on pay TV isn’t the same as F1. If want to go and watch my team I know they will be playing a couple of miles down the road. Kids will always have that local exposure, the same can’t be said about F1.

I know for the short term, dedicated F1 fans will have to dig deep to continue to follow the sport we love. I hope this doesn’t rob the ‘new ten year old me’ of the same magical moment to start their own lifelong passion with Formula 1 in the future.

Yours sincerely

Gary Marshall


11 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Bernie Ecclestone

  1. Florence Scott

    This is really nice. I’m a big F1 fan and don’t have sky, I’ll really miss the sport. I feel like I’ve only just got into it, having watched 2 years worth. It could have been a life long love.

  2. Alan Williams

    Well said, it’ll be such a shame after how popular the sport has become in the UK thanks to the exposure whilst on the Beeb to lose all that again with a switch to pay TV.

  3. N Clarke

    Well said, I’m in exactly the same situation having followed F1 devotedly since 86, I thought it was bad enough when it went to ITV. I don’t have Sky TV and have no intention of getting it.

  4. John Munro

    Do you support or oppose the campaign Save Formula 1 on the BBC

    Please click on the link above to have your say on the campaign.

    It’s free and takes just a few seconds of your time. I really think this is an important campaign.


    Digital Democracy – The social network for your local community.

  5. P Dunn

    If you have a dish that moves you can watch all the races on German TV. The commentary is in German so not so great, or listen to 5Live. The problem for most Brits is that we have fixed satellite dishes so we can’t ‘shop around’. The Sky deal wouldn’t work if we could.

  6. lordgytrash

    Well put, Gary. It’s a sad, sad day when Murdoch’s evil empire edges another step closer to total control of all that’s worth watching… Ecclestone, you are a grasping knob-end if you allow this. Perhaps he should be de-throned? There’s a man with too much power if ever there was one.

  7. Pingback: Yours sincerely : Gary Marshall « Johnsen

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