Alongside the announcement that Suzi Perry will be BBC F1 presenter from 2013, the BBC and Sky have this afternoon confirmed coverage details for the 20 races which is as follows:
2013 Schedule Details
March 17th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
March 24th – Malaysia (Sepang) – Sky
April 14st – China (Shanghai) – BBC and Sky
April 21st – Bahrain (Sakhir) – Sky
May 12th – Spain (Barcelona) – BBC and Sky
May 26th – Monaco (Monte Carlo) – Sky
June 9th – Canada (Montreal) – BBC and Sky
June 30th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC and Sky
July 7th – Germany (Nurburgring) – Sky
July 21st – ‘a European round’ – BBC and Sky
July 28th – Hungary (Hungaroring) – Sky
August 25th – Belgium (Spa) – BBC and Sky
September 8th – Italy (Monza) – BBC and Sky
September 22nd – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky
October 6th – Korea (Yeongam) – Sky
October 13th – Japan (Suzuka) – BBC and Sky
October 27th – India (Buddh International Circuit) – BBC and Sky
November 3rd – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – Sky
November 17th – United States (Austin) – Sky
November 24th – Brazil (Interlagos) – BBC and Sky
As I have noted previously, if the July 21st round does not happen, then the BBC will only be screening nine races live. Also, as noted earlier this week, Sky have confirmed that their team will remain unchanged for 2013.
The Executive Producer for Sky Sports F1, Martin Turner said: “We’re looking forward to covering the Monaco Grand Prix live and exclusively – it’s the jewel in the crown of F1 and this is the first time that GP will be exclusively live to Sky Sports F1 HD. We’ll follow the twists and turns of the most glamorous weekend in Formula 1 to bring viewers closer to the iconic race that every driver wants to win. Last season, we ran features on every team on the grid, broadcast the first UK F1 coverage in Dolby 5.1 surround sound and showed the Team Principal and Driver press conferences live too. We also introduced virtual screen technology which created the virtual car seen in the F1 Show and allowed us to recreate a driver’s perspective during key moments of a race. Next year promises to be a great season, and we’ll look to go from strength to strength as we give F1 the Sky Sports treatment in 2013.”
For me, the main surprise is that BBC are not screening Monaco live, after all Monaco is a blue riband event in the calendar. For those unfamiliar, the pick order goes as follows:
– BBC pick 1, 2 and 3
– Sky pick 4, 5 and 6
– BBC pick 7
– Sky pick 8
BBC and Sky then continue to alternate until all races have been selected. We can assume that Britain and Brazil were chosen first, logically Britain being the home race and Brazil being the title decider. One theory I have surrounding pick 3, where Monaco comes in is that BBC may choose to alternate that every year. So for 2012 ‘pick 3’ was Monaco, for 2013 it is Canada and maybe for 2014 it is Australia. In terms of television ratings Canada is the biggest draw because of it’s primetime slot which may have played a part in the decision – the figures for Canada 2012 impressed nobody. You may argue ‘why not USA’, the simple reason is that Canada falls in the Summer so is not generally disruptive to the TV schedules whereas blockading USA for three hours in November from 18:00 to 21:00 would disrupt BBC’s high rating shows including Strictly Come Dancing.
Sky’s picks would have certainly been Monaco, Australia and USA once they realised BBC did not pick Monaco. The fact that BBC did not pick Monaco is potentially fantastic news for Sky, because it means Monaco will now have more viewers on Sky Sports F1, plus they could cross promote with the Indianapolis 500. I do hope that happens, but after the events of this year where Indianapolis 500 was put on Sky Sports 4 despite the advantages of Sky Sports F1, I consider this a unlikely prospect. Whilst on the IndyCar Series subject, we have not heard anything official contractually on that subject, hopefully it will be written into the IndyCar contract for races to be shown on Sky Sports F1.
From then the BBC and Sky picks alternate one-by-one so BBC probably would have swooped for Italy first following ratings success this year. They also may be considering Italy and Belgium alternating each year for which one they choose to screen live. Of course that point was null and void when Sky picked Malaysia so BBC went for Belgium regardless. Sky then I believe would have opted for Abu Dhabi as it falls as the back end of the calendar and there is a high probability of the title ending there. I feel a bit of a risky game is being played here, because if the title gets to Abu Dhabi undecided then there is a high probability of the title win being seen only on Sky which nearly ended up happening this year.
Overall, I think BBC have done a better job this time around than with the 2012 picks, yes, they don’t get Monaco live but have instead got Canada and Italy live, both of which normally provide fantastic racing.