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New TV deal set to unearth footage from F1's early years

Work has begun on organising and archiving footage of Grand Prix racing from the 1960s and 1970s.

More of Formula 1's history is to be uncovered and catalogued as part of a new project being undertaken in the United Kingdom. A research agreement has been signed between ITV Sport and a company called Racing Past Media, which will unearth, digitise and save a "significant volume" of material held by ITV from the first 30 years of the F1 World Championship. Racing Past Media is a motorsport research company led by former ITV F1 and renowned British broadcaster Steve Rider, and is made up of a wealth of award-winning F1 producers and researchers. Helping out on the project will be Robert Foster. He is joining as a consultant, after spending 25 years in production, rights and archive management at the BBC before becoming Vice-President at the European Broadcasting Union.

Adding to F1's archive of footage

The new project aims to bolster the amount of archived TV footage that exists of F1 races from 1981 and earlier, 1981 being the year of the first Concorde Agreement that formalised the sharing of TV revenues between the FIA, Formula One Management and the teams. Over the next three years, RPM will work their way into ITV's archive footage to see what can be uncovered. For instance, live coverage of the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, where James Hunt famously won his Drivers' Championship, is known to be in the archive. "Dozens" of other races from the late 1960s and into the 1970s are also in the archive, while ITV, via the European Broadcasting Union, were involved in the coverage of some 50 pre-1981 Grands Prix. "It is not just the race coverage but the documentary and feature material being unearthed that is so exciting," said Rider. "This is the first step in a project that, along with the cooperation of other archives and rights holders, will help provide a complete and accessible archive of the formative years of the Formula 1 World Championship."

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