An idea for Sky Sports F1 during the Summer break

As many of you will know, after the Hungarian Grand Prix, the F1 circus takes an unprecedented five week break. Normally the Summer break is three or four weeks, but this year, it is five weeks. The Hungarian Grand Prix is on 29th July, with no races through August until the Belgian Grand Prix on 2nd September. What this means is that there is a lot of spare airtime on Sky Sports F1 going spare in August, 31 days as a matter of fact from Monday 30th July to Thursday 30th August.

I can’t imagine there being new programmes on throughout August, there is not much point really. Furthermore, I would expect The F1 Show to come off air on Friday 3rd August, returning on Friday 24th August, unless a big story breaks that justifies having a show on the 10th or 17th August. There’s not much point having a show on either of those dates as the majority of the Formula 1 world is on holiday.

With that in mind, what should Sky Sports F1 do? The answer, for me, is rather simple. A classic season. Not a classic race, no. A classic season, beginning on Monday 13th August. The reason for that start date is so it does not clash with the Olympics. Throughout the Olympics, I would repeat this years’ races in full, on the following dates:

– Australia: Saturday 4th August
– Malaysia: Sunday 5th August
– China: Monday 6th August
– Bahrain: Tuesday 7th August
– Spain: Wednesday 8th August
– Monaco: Thursday 9th August
– Canada: Friday 10th August
– Europe + Britain: Saturday 11th August
– Germany + Hungary: Sunday 12th August

Then, I would repeat a classic season. Maybe let the readers decide via Facebook, Twitter or on the Sky Sports F1 website, with choices from 1990 to 2006. Don’t include 2007 through to 2011, because they are too recent to be considered classics, in my opinion. Putting 1990 to 2006 as poll options means that you are likely to get a genuine classic season as a winner. The schedule would go as follows, assuming 2 hours in length for each. I’m using 1996 as a template, just to give an idea of what it would look like, instead of using generic ‘Round 1’ or ‘Round 2’ terms:

Monday 13th August
20:00 – 1996 Australian Grand Prix (R1)

Tuesday 14th August
18:00 – 1996 Australian Grand Prix (R1 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 Brazilian Grand Prix (R2)

Wednesday 15th August
18:00 – 1996 Brazilian Grand Prix (R2 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 Argentine Grand Prix (R3)

Thursday 16th August
18:00 – 1996 Argentine Grand Prix (R3 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 European Grand Prix (R4)

Friday 17th August
18:00 – 1996 European Grand Prix (R4 – repeat)
20:00 – The F1 Show
21:00 – 1996 San Marino Grand Prix (R5)

Saturday 18th August
13:00 – The F1 Show (repeat)
14:00 – 1996 Australian Grand Prix (R1 – repeat)
16:00 – 1996 Brazilian Grand Prix (R2 – repeat)
18:00 – 1996 Argentine Grand Prix (R3 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 Monaco Grand Prix (R6)
22:00 – The F1 Show (repeat)

Sunday 19th August
14:00 – 1996 European Grand Prix (R4 – repeat)
16:00 – 1996 San Marino Grand Prix (R5 – repeat)
18:00 – 1996 Monaco Grand Prix (R6 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 Spanish Grand Prix (R7)

Monday 20th August
18:00 – 1996 Spanish Grand Prix (R7 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 Canadian Grand Prix (R8)

Tuesday 21st August
18:00 – 1996 Canadian Grand Prix (R8 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 French Grand Prix (R9)

Wednesday 22nd August
18:00 – 1996 French Grand Prix (R9 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 British Grand Prix (R10)

Thursday 23rd August
18:00 – 1996 British Grand Prix (R10 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 German Grand Prix (R11)

Friday 24th August
18:00 – 1996 German Grand Prix (R11 – repeat)
20:00 – The F1 Show
21:00 – 1996 Hungarian Grand Prix (R12)

Saturday 25th August
08:00 – The F1 Show (repeat)
09:00 – 1996 Australian Grand Prix (R1 – repeat)
11:00 – 1996 Brazilian Grand Prix (R2 – repeat)
13:00 – 1996 Argentine Grand Prix (R3 – repeat)
15:00 – 1996 European Grand Prix (R4 – repeat)
17:00 – 1996 San Marino Grand Prix (R5 – repeat)
19:00 – 1996 Monaco Grand Prix (R6 – repeat)
21:00 – 1996 Belgian Grand Prix (R13)
23:00 – The F1 Show (repeat)

Sunday 26th August
07:00 – 1996 Spanish Grand Prix (R7 – repeat)
09:00 – 1996 Canadian Grand Prix (R8 – repeat)
11:00 – 1996 French Grand Prix (R9 – repeat)
13:00 – 1996 British Grand Prix (R10 – repeat)
15:00 – 1996 German Grand Prix (R11 – repeat)
17:00 – 1996 Hungarian Grand Prix (R12 – repeat)
19:00 – 1996 Belgian Grand Prix (R13 – repeat)
21:00 – 1996 Italian Grand Prix (R14)
23:00 – The F1 Show (repeat)

Monday 27th August
18:00 – 1996 Italian Grand Prix (R14 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 Portuguese Grand Prix (R15)
22:00 – The F1 Show (repeat)

Tuesday 28th August
18:00 – 1996 Portuguese Grand Prix (R15 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 Japanese Grand Prix (R16)

Wednesday 29th August
16:00 – 1996 Italian Grand Prix (R14 – repeat)
18:00 – 1996 Portuguese Grand Prix (R15 – repeat)
20:00 – 1996 Japanese Grand Prix (R16 – repeat)

Someone will probably complain that the above is horrendously mundane, but it’s just to give you an idea of what it would look like if I was scheduler. Each race gets repeated multiple times, so the viewer can watch it whenever, and the entire schedule is essentially handed over to classic races. For example, above, the 1996 Australian Grand Prix is on four times, while say the 1996 British Grand Prix is on three times. I would also put the Legends shows on at 22:00 each night, for anyone who wants to catch up with that. Of course, the 1996 season I’ve used above is just that – a template, you could do the above with any season, quite frankly.

The classic races, to me, appear such a simple way to fill the schedules, and would definitely be a better way to have the schedules than another repeat of Fast Track or Weekend in Stills. I don’t understand why Sky seem to be ‘cautious’ with screening classic races, it is as if they do want to, to me, especially when you consider the effort BBC went into with their brilliant classic F1 series. As always, your ideas and thoughts are welcome.

UPDATE on 31st July: The F1 Show will continue through August, Sky have confirmed, so the above has been reflected to show that.

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2 thoughts on “An idea for Sky Sports F1 during the Summer break

  1. Good blog post. I like your ideas.

    Wondering if I could get your thoughts on something. Do you think the “archive material” Sky has access to includes footage from the old digital days? Like, from 1996-2002? If so, how awesome would it be to do an “interactive replay” of those races…probably far too much effort, mind! And a lack of English commentary bar 2002…

    • I was under the impression that the archive rights covered quite literally, everything. Although as you say, there is no English commentary from 1996 to 2001 so it’s probably too much effort for them. If they won’t screen archive races regularly, I can’t see them doing that!

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