Ratings for the final pre-season test from the Bahrain International Circuit were level year-on-year with Sky Sports F1’s live coverage from last year, unofficial overnight viewing figures show. If you are to do a best like-for-like comparison, live airings of testing versus the first round-up/Notebook airings from this week then it is a dead heat. The repeats I don’t think would make much difference, although if you were to do a peak figure comparison, then there would be a significant difference, as the live testing coverage from last year was longer than this year’s round-ups.
Coverage began on Thursday with 44k (0.2%) watching Sky’s coverage, this dipping to 29k (0.1%) for Friday’s round-up, both ratings up on live testing in 2013. 40k (0.2%) tuned in on Saturday, whilst 30k (0.1%) watched on Sunday, figures for the weekend down in both raw numbers and share on 2013. I really do think Sky should have made every effort possible to screen testing live on Saturday and Sunday. I would have agreed with ditching Thursday and Friday’s live coverage given that they are weekdays, but I personally would not have been opposed to something like this for the weekend:
12:00 – Live Testing
15:00 – Testing round-up/Notebook repeats
18:00 – Testing (repeat of earlier)
21:00 – Ted’s Notebook
I wouldn’t be surprised if the location played a hand in the decision to not pursue testing live. Of course, we mustn’t forget that, according to Sky Sports F1’s channel scheduler, “live testing is pointless”. One thing I want to mention, I have seen some people saying that allegedly ‘nobody cares’ about testing, yet the testing figures (as I have said before) beat the GP2 and GP3 figures from previous years and multiple episodes of The F1 Show. Using the same logic, the aforementioned items are pointless, too.
– 27/02 – 44k (0.2%), peak: 50k (0.2%) – 21:00 to 21:45
– 28/02 – 29k (0.1%), peak: 36k (0.2%) – 21:00 to 21:45
– 01/03 – 40k (0.2%), peak: 73k (0.4%) – 21:00 to 21:45
– 02/03 – 30k (0.1%), peak: 41k (0.2%) – 21:00 to 21:45
Note that I believe that Ted’s Notebook overran on the Saturday and Sunday, however I do not know the exact times that it finished so, for the purposes of this blog post I have kept the original timings.