Viewers not tyred of Formula 1 yet

The controversy surrounding yesterday’s British Grand Prix did not put viewers off, with the race climbing to a peak of 5.98 million viewers, overnight viewing figures show. It is the second highest peak of the season, marginally behind the Malaysian Grand Prix at its peak.

BBC One’s race programme from 12:10 to 15:30 averaged 3.72 million viewers, a 35.3 percent share. In the equivalent slot, Sky Sports F1 averaged 588,000 viewers, a 5.5 percent share. The full Sky programme, from 11:30 to 16:30 averaged 443,000 viewers. The combined average is therefore 4.32 million viewers, down significantly on 2010 and 2011:

British Grand Prix – Official Ratings
2002 – 3.40 million
2003 – 3.13 million
2004 – 3.63 million
2005 – 2.92 million
2006 – 2.18 million
2007 – 3.85 million
2008 – 4.53 million
2009 – 4.21 million
2010 – 4.80 million
2011 – 4.94 million
2012 – 3.60 million / 3.75 million (using ‘35 percent theory‘)
2013 – 4.16 million / 4.31 million

Both BBC One and Sky Sports F1 peaked at 14:30. BBC One peaked with 5.12 million viewers (43.7%) with Sky peaking with 860,000 (7.3%), combining to make 5.98 million viewers, a massive 51 percent share. The ratio of viewers for both average and peak is broadly similar, 86 percent for BBC with 14 percent for Sky. Again, as we have seen in the past, the majority of the gains during the race came from BBC’s broadcast, with Sky only increasing 110,000 viewers between race start and chequered flag. For me, that shows why Formula 1 needs to stay free to air as the terrestrial channels currently do a better job of attracting a casual audience than a dedicated channel.

UK viewership breakdown for the 2013 British Grand Prix.
UK viewership breakdown for the 2013 British Grand Prix.

Regarding the peak, it is not unusual for the British Grand Prix to peak with over a 50 percent share though, whilst the 5.98 million combined peak is great, it should be noted that it is marginally lower than 2008’s peak of 6.02 million and down significantly on 2010 and 2011’s peak which were in the 6.7 million region. I’m not surprised to see a drop compared with 2010 and 2011, as the weather was dry and warm across the country yesterday, fairly similar to the conditions that the 2009 race was held in.

It will be interesting to see how the German Grand Prix does this weekend, as temperatures are expected to dip into the 30’s, which could hurt the Formula 1 significantly, although it is weekends such as this one where the BBC One highlights programme will help rather than hinder the figures.

The 2012 British Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.

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3 thoughts on “Viewers not tyred of Formula 1 yet

  1. ‘Controversy’ attracts viewers in the same way the unexpected does, casual viewers were probably waiting around for another driver to cut turn 4 and have a tyre blow out as a consequence.

    Except the viewers on Sky, who were eagerly awaiting the Spice Girl interview 😉

  2. spice girls interview!!!! . was geri wearing the union jack dress with her knickers showing?. If only I had sky

    • While the BBC were at turn 4 showing a rather nasty sharp curb edge covered in tyre rubber, Sky were asking Geri for race analysis … And they wonder why nearly a quarter of the Sky audience has deserted the channel.

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