BBC Sport and Sky Sports have today confirmed their 2015 calendar picks. The picks are as follows:
2015 Schedule Details
March 15th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
March 29th – Malaysia (Sepang) – BBC and Sky
April 12th – China (Shanghai) – Sky
April 19th – Bahrain (Sakhir) – BBC and Sky
May 10th – Spain (Barcelona) – Sky
May 24th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky
June 7th – Canada (Montreal) – BBC and Sky
June 21st – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Sky
July 5th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC and Sky
July 19th – Germany (TBA) – Sky
July 26th – Hungary (Budapest) – BBC and Sky
August 23rd – Belgium (Spa) – BBC and Sky
September 6th – Italy (Monza) – Sky
September 20th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky
September 27th – Japan (Suzuka) – BBC and Sky
October 11th – Russia (Sochi) – BBC and Sky
October 25th – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky
November 1st – Mexico (Mexico City) – Sky
November 15th – Brazil (Interlagos) – BBC and Sky
November 29th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – BBC and Sky
Both teams appear to be the same as in 2014, with Sky confirming their team on the website. Interestingly, there are no changes, although I assume that Natalie Pinkham will not be travelling to the early races with Sky. The F1 Show will be returning to the channel (date TBC) along with GP2 and GP3, but testing will not be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1. Live updates however will be provided on Sky Sports News. Following clarification with Sky, the mention of “live pre-season testing from Barcelona and Jerez in February” in the press release refers to the live updates on Sky Sports News only.
BBC’s Head of F1, Ben Gallop said: “Like all F1 fans, we can’t wait for the 2015 season. With Lewis Hamilton as World Champion, F1 in Britain is in a great position and we’re delighted with our race package. These live races, combined with our ever-popular highlights programmes and our extensive coverage on radio and online means F1 fans can follow every step of Hamilton’s title defence on the BBC.”
Sky Sports F1’s executive producer Martin Turner said: “All eyes are on world champion Lewis Hamilton and Sky Sports F1 will be the only place to follow every race of his title defence. There are so many exciting story lines next season and we’ll cover every twist and turn from Australia to Abu Dhabi.”
There is no major surprises above. Bahrain may be considered a surprise, however it has a more prominent slot now which justifies BBC showing it live. I find it interesting how BBC are showing four out of the ten European races live, their first European race is not until July. In general, the BBC picks are more lop-sided towards the latter half of the season, which makes sense considering how the 2014 title race went. 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
Shockingly, I predicted 14 out of the 20 picks correctly, which is pleasing! What this does mean is that, there is not a lot to change from my guesstimates to reality. As predicted, BBC picked Britain, Abu Dhabi and Brazil, presumably learning from their mistake in 2014 where Brazil was concerned. Sky countered with USA and Mexico, at this point things diverged. I predicted that Sky would take Canada ahead of Monaco. As it turned out, Sky considered Monaco ahead of Canada, presumably because Monaco is a blue ribboned event and is good for advertising and press releases.
So, BBC at this stage went for Canada in my opinion. I thought Sky would go for Bahrain, but again Australia is probably the better pick because of its season opening slot, with BBC grabbing Bahrain. Bahrain previously would be one of the least preferred races, but its mid-afternoon slot, and potentially the great 2014 race, has upped its stock. Sky picking Spain is surprising given that BBC have aired it live from 2012 to 2014, so that must have been earlier in the pick process. From there, the picks alternate between the two sides until all races have been picked.
I think both sides will be pleased with how things have turned out. The important thing for the BBC was getting a good run in, which they have with four of the last six races live, whilst Sky have the season opener and Monaco.