Despite fears that South African F1 television coverage would be reserved for a minority of viewers (subscribers to satellite broadcaster DStv), SABC 2 will be broadcasting grands prix this year, albeit delayed recordings of the 19 races, on Sunday nights.

Despite fears that South African F1 television coverage would be reserved for a minority of viewers (subscribers to satellite broadcaster DStv), SABC 2 will be broadcasting grands prix this year, albeit delayed recordings of the 19 races, on Sunday nights.


According to F1 correspondent Hendrik Verwoerd, it was revealed in December that the SABC had failed to renew its contract with Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management company for the rights to broadcast the series live, and that DStv had secured the exclusive rights to show grands prix. Some observers believe the SABC's endorsement of A1 Grand Prix has made it too expensive for the broadcaster to afford F1 coverage as well.


But the SABC has announced that it has secured a deal with FOM whereby every race will be shownon SABC2 at 11 pm on the Sunday on which it is run.


SABC has brought live F1 coverage to viewers since the mid-80s. For the last three years coverage has been shared between the state broadcaster and DStv but, according to reports, the e SABC has lost many viewers, and consequently advertising income, during this period.


It was reported that SABC had not renewed its contract with FOM because of high costs, but with many people in the country not able to afford the satellite service subscription it is believed that pressure from F1 fans has brought about the change of heart.


"The SABC will be broadcasting Formula One this year after striking a deal giving the Corporation access to delayed telecasts," a SABC statement read. "The full race will be broadcast on the day of the race at 11 pm. The broadcast will now be on SABC 2 and not on SABC 3 as has been the case in the past."


"'We are happy with the arrangement we have been able to reach. Unfortunately a deal to broadcast the race live that was viable for both the SABC and the FIA could not be reached. We've endeavoured and have now found a solution that leaves the viewer as the winner," said Yusuf Nabee of SABC Sport Programming.


DStv will continue broadcasting all sessions of each race, including practice and qualifying, live on its Supersport 2 channel, available only to satellite viewers in South Africa and a number of other countries on the African continent.