Predicting the 2016 calendar pick order

Note: This post is now rendered obsolete following the announcement that Channel 4 will be taking over the BBC’s rights from 2016 onwards. A new post will be uploaded in due course.

In the biggest shake-up of the Formula 1 calendar in quite some time, the 2016 season will contain 21 races, with a bit of a calendar reshuffle. The season was originally set to start in April, but now it looks like a March start is back on the cards. It is tradition for The F1 Broadcasting Blog each year to predict the BBC and Sky pick order. The main changes are that Malaysia and Russia swap ends on the calendar. Baku, listed as the European Grand Prix, has been added in June, controversially clashing with the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 2016 is the fifth year of the current BBC and Sky broadcasting contract. The calendar, as it is stands, is therefore as follows:

The 2016 Formula One calendar.
The 2016 Formula One calendar.

I’ve done the calendar above as a table, given the amount of year-on-year changes, it means that there are a few timing changes which may influence the pick order – although sadly for BBC, the Australian Grand Prix will not be on at 07:00 UK time! Because of the way the BBC and Sky deal works, both sides have to ‘pick’ races. The races that BBC pick will be shown live on BBC One and Sky Sports F1, while the races that Sky pick will be shown exclusively live on Sky Sports F1, with highlights on BBC One. The picks go as follows:

– BBC pick three races (pick 1, 2 and 3)
– Sky pick three races (pick 4, 5 and 6)
– BBC pick one race (pick 7)
– Sky pick one race (pick 8)

This continues until every race has been picked. There are 21 races on the calendar, so BBC will screen ten races live with Sky screening eleven races exclusively live. We found out earlier this year that the picks do not change in the event of a race being dropped from the calendar. Even though Germany was dropped from the 2015 calendar, the picks stayed the same, meaning BBC were able to broadcast three races in a row live. There are a lot of different factors in the 2016 season, more so than usual, with the European Championships playing a part throughout the middle phase of the season. However, crucially, the Olympic Games does not clash with the Formula 1, which is a genius move. Again, this post is only for discussion and a bit of fun with the pick orders. My tally for 2015 of getting 11 out of 19 correct was slightly better than usual though, which is good!

BBC pick Britain, Abu Dhabi and Brazil – Abu Dhabi and Britain are compulsory picks being the last race of the season and the home race respectively. From the BBC’s perspective, USA and Mexico run deep into primetime at a time of the year where they will have big programming, and Canada clashes with the opening weekend of Euro 2016, so again Brazil is the only option for their third pick in my view. What it does mean is that they definitely cannot pick Mexico, as they can’t have three live races in a row. Does the fact that the title race looks likely to be resolved earlier than usual change things? I don’t think so given that Mexico and USA run deeper into primetime than Brazil, and thus would disrupt BBC One’s schedule more. I’d expect to see Sky picking Canada, USA and Australia. It’s a tie between Australia and Monaco really, but the season opener is still a big deal in the eyes of Sky. BBC could in theory pick Australia instead of Brazil, but they haven’t picked Australia since this deal began, and I don’t see that changing. There might have been more chance of BBC picking Australia had it stayed in April, but not now. Ridiculously, the British Grand Prix now falls on the same day as not only the Wimbledon final (meaning demotion to BBC Two) but also with the final of Euro 2016.

Mexico and Monaco I would expect to be on BBC’s and Sky’s agenda early, a primetime race and a prestigious race. Bahrain too has to figure somewhere, arguably its positioning makes it a great pick for BBC. I can see BBC picking Bahrain, and as discussed earlier, Sky pick Mexico. In reality, Mexico would probably be left until the end given that BBC have already gone for the last two places, but I’m trying to do it blocks so the post does not get too confusing. Mexico takes priority over Monaco because it could be a championship decider.

We are left in this position:

March 20th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
April 3rd – Bahrain (Sakhir) – BBC
April 17th – China (Shanghai)
May 1st – Russia (Sochi)
May 15th – Spain (Barcelona)
May 29th – Monaco (Monaco)
June 12th – Canada (Montreal) – Sky
June 19th – Europe (Baku)
July 3rd – Austria (Red Bull Ring)
July 10th – Britain (Silverstone)
July 24th – Hungary (Budapest)
July 31st – Germany (Hockenheim)
August 28th – Belgium (Spa)
September 4th – Italy (Monza)
September 18th – Singapore (Marina Bay)
October 2nd – Malaysia (Sepang)
October 9th – Japan (Suzuka)
October 23rd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky
November 6th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Sky
November 13th – Brazil (Interlagos) – BBC
November 27th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – BBC

Normally, at this stage, I’d work down from start to finish, but Euro 2016 complicates matters. For that reason, I think we will see BBC pick Monaco and Sky pick Italy. It is unusual for me to label Monaco as pick nine, but I do think BBC will consider Bahrain high priority, whilst the addition of Mexico bumps it further down the order. BBC are certainly not going to jump for any race that clashes indirectly or directly with Euro 2016. Sky probably would want some exclusive live F1 content during the Summer next year, but it certainly won’t be at the sacrifice of screening either USA or Mexico exclusively live, for example. Following that, BBC pick Germany, Sky pick Belgium, BBC pick Singapore and Sky pick Malaysia. Lastly in this set, BBC pick Russia and Sky pick Spain. Spain does clash with the end of the Premier League season though, which is worth bearing in mind.

The schedule therefore looks like this:

March 20th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
April 3rd – Bahrain (Sakhir) – BBC
April 17th – China (Shanghai)
May 1st – Russia (Sochi) – BBC
May 15th – Spain (Barcelona) – Sky
May 29th – Monaco (Monaco) – BBC
June 12th – Canada (Montreal) – Sky
June 19th – Europe (Baku)
July 3rd – Austria (Red Bull Ring)
July 10th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC
July 24th – Hungary (Budapest)
July 31st – Germany (Hockenheim) – BBC
August 28th – Belgium (Spa) – Sky
September 4th – Italy (Monza) – Sky
September 18th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – BBC
October 2nd – Malaysia (Sepang) – Sky
October 9th – Japan (Suzuka)
October 23rd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky
November 6th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Sky
November 13th – Brazil (Interlagos) – BBC
November 27th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – BBC

We’re left with China, Baku, Austria, Hungary and Japan. BBC cannot pick China or Hungary, Sky cannot pick Japan, otherwise they would be showing three races in a row live, which they cannot do unless something drops out. At this stage, it is between Baku and Austria. It is assumed that Baku will clash with the final few hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans but not the end of the race. Austria clashes with the London ePrix, but it is not a direct clash – the ePrix starts at 16:00 UK time, although there will be personnel clashes. I think BBC pick Austria as it forms a double-header with Britain. Sky pick Baku, BBC pick Japan and Sky pick both China and Hungary.

Which leaves us with this final calendar:

March 20th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
April 3rd – Bahrain (Sakhir) – BBC
April 17th – China (Shanghai) – Sky
May 1st – Russia (Sochi) – BBC
May 15th – Spain (Barcelona) – Sky
May 29th – Monaco (Monaco) – BBC
June 12th – Canada (Montreal) – Sky
June 19th – Europe (Baku) – Sky
July 3rd – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – BBC
July 10th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC
July 24th – Hungary (Budapest) – Sky
July 31st – Germany (Hockenheim) – BBC
August 28th – Belgium (Spa) – Sky
September 4th – Italy (Monza) – Sky
September 18th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – BBC
October 2nd – Malaysia (Sepang) – Sky
October 9th – Japan (Suzuka) – BBC
October 23rd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky
November 6th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Sky
November 13th – Brazil (Interlagos) – BBC
November 27th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – BBC

I don’t think we will know the actual picks until the New Year, as the Euro 2016 draw does not take place until December. Either way, this is an initial guess at how things will transpire.

Updated on October 18th, 2015.

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15 thoughts on “Predicting the 2016 calendar pick order

  1. I think that you are very close, but I am uncertain about a few of your choices. I think that they’d prefer Belgium over Hungary – even if it is affected by Euro 2016.

    My predictions are as follows:
    Australia – Sky (BBC 2hr Highlights)
    China – Sky (BBC 2hr Highlights)
    Bahrain – BBC
    Russia – BBC
    Spain – Sky (BBC 90min Highlights)
    Monaco – BBC
    Canada – Sky (BBC 2hr Highlights)
    Britain – BBC
    Austria – Sky (BBC 90min Highlights)
    Europe – Sky (BBC 2hr Highlights)
    Germany – BBC
    Hungary – Sky (BBC 90min Highlights)
    Belgium – BBC
    Italy – Sky (BBC 90min Highlights)
    Singapore – BBC
    Malaysia – Sky (BBC 2hr Highlights)
    Japan – BBC
    USA – Sky (BBC 2hr Highlights)
    Mexico – Sky (BBC 2hr Highlights)
    Brazil – BBC
    Abu Dhabi – BBC

    I understand that the Olympics and Euro 2016 will affect certain Grands Prix but the BBC will be looking for ratings to annoy Sky Sports. I also believe to gain more ratings that 2 hour highlights packages will return for American timezine races and they should avoid Europe because it will be a 2 hour highlights package from around 1pm and the Golf Open is usually shown on BBC2 not BBC1 on a Sunday due to other commitments.

    • Just to reiterate, the BBC could drop the Open Golf after this year so highlighting the European GP would not affect this. Also, would prefer Germany or Hungary over a rcae that starts at 10am UK time.

  2. Hang on if there picks are effected by the euros. What would have happened if bbc still had all the races live?

  3. Going on previous picks during this deal, I think BBC will stay pretty rigid to it’s usual races with the exception of Baku as I doubt they’d risk Germany after it was cancelled this year. My guess is:

    1. Australia -Sky
    2. China – Sky
    3. Bahrain – BBC
    4. Russia – Sky
    5. Spain – BBC
    6. Monaco – Sky
    7. Canada -BBC
    8. Britain – BBC
    9. Austria – Sky
    10. Baku – BBC
    11. Germany – Sky
    12. Hungary – Sky
    13. Belgium – BBC
    14. Italy – Sky
    15. Singapore – Sky
    16. Japan – BBC
    17. Malaysia -BBC
    18. USA – Sky
    19. Mexico – Sky
    20. Brazil – BBC
    21. Abu Dhabi – BBC

  4. April 3rd – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
    April 10th – China (Shanghai) – Sky
    April 24th – Bahrain (Sakhir) – BBC
    May 1st – Russia (Sochi) – BBC
    May 15th – Spain (Barcelona) – Sky
    May 29th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky
    June 12th – Canada (Montreal) – BBC
    June 26th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC
    July 3rd – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Sky
    July 17th – Europe (Baku) – Sky
    July 31st – Germany (Hockenheim) – BBC
    August 7th – Hungary (Budapest) – Sky
    August 28th – Belgium (Spa) – BBC
    September 4th – Italy (Monza) – BBC
    September 18th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky
    September 25th – Malaysia (Sepang) – BBC
    October 9th – Japan (Suzuka) – BBC
    October 23rd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky
    October 30th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Sky
    November 13th – Brazil (Interlagos) – BBC
    November 27th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – BBC

  5. Sorry I don’t understand why sky pick USA and Canada first over Monaco. Surely they would pick Australia, Monaco and another?

  6. What are people’s thoughts about the new proposed calendar. I think the only way it can be resolved is have Malaysia, Japan, then Singapore before the US races.

    Also the biggest mistake is both MotoGP and F1 races have fell on the same day, so Icm can see Malaysia moving to September 25th.

    April 3 – Australia
    April 10 – China
    April 24 – Bahrain
    May 1 – Russia
    May 15 – Spain
    May 29 – Monaco
    June 12 – Canada
    June 26 – Britain
    July 3 – Austria
    July 17 – Europe (Baku)
    July 31 – Germany
    August 7 – Hungary
    September 4 – Belgium
    September 11 – Italy
    September 25 – Singapore
    October 2 – Japan
    October 9 – Malaysia
    October 23 – USA
    October 30 – Mexico
    November 13 – Brazil
    November 27 – Abu Dhabi

  7. Here’s the revised 2016 calendar with my new pick order:
    March 20 – Australia – Sky
    April 3 – Bahrain – BBC
    April 17 – China – Sky
    May 1 – Russia – BBC
    May 15 – Spain – Sky
    May 29 – Monaco – BBC
    June 12 – Canada – BBC
    June 19 – Europe – Sky
    July 3 – Austria – Sky
    July 10 – Britain – BBC
    July 24 – Hungary – Sky
    July 31 – Germany – Sky
    August 28 – Belgium – BBC
    September 4 – Italy – Sky
    September 18 – Singapore – BBC
    October 2 – Malaysia – Sky
    October 9 – Japan – BBC
    October 23 – USA – Sky
    November 6 – Mexico – Sky
    November 13 – Brazil – BBC
    November 27 – Abu Dhabi – BBC

  8. With the new calendar, i would change mine around a bit.
    The BBC have the first 3 picks, so i would think they would go for Britain, and Abu Dhabi, for obvious reasons, then they would go for Canada. Sky would then go for Monaco and Australia (again for obvious reasons), and then I think they’d go for Brazil. Now the broadcasters can only pick one each at a time. BBC have the first pick, so they would go for Belgium. Sky retaliate and go for Italy. BBC would then go for Bahrain, and Sky would grab the US GP. BBC would grab Hungary, and Sky, Germany. BBC would then go for Malaysia, and Sky, as they can’t pick Mexico as they cannot broadcast 3 races running, would choose Singapore. BBC would then choose Russia, and Sky, Austria. BBC would then choose Mexico, and Sky, Japan. BBC go on to pick Spain, leaving Sky with China and Europe.

    Therefore the schedule will look like this:
    March 20th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
    April 3rd – Bahrain (Sakhir) – BBC
    April 17th – China (Shanghai)
    May 1st – Russia (Sochi) – BBC
    May 15th – Spain (Barcelona)
    May 29th – Monaco (Monaco) -Sky
    June 12th – Canada (Montreal) – BBC
    June 19th – Europe (Baku)
    July 3rd – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Sky
    July 10th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC
    July 24th – Hungary (Budapest) – BBC
    July 31st – Germany (Hockenheim) – Sky
    August 28th – Belgium (Spa) – BBC
    September 4th – Italy (Monza) – Sky
    September 18th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky
    October 2nd – Malaysia (Sepang) – BBC
    October 9th – Japan (Suzuka) – Sky
    October 23rd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky
    November 6th – Mexico (Mexico City) – BBC
    November 13th – Brazil (Interlagos) – Sky
    November 27th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – BBC

    But personally, i don’t like the layout of the Calendar anyways.

  9. The 2016 Calendar has been confirmed with question marks over the US GP. The Mexican GP moves forward a week twinned with USA again (now 30th October) and Baku will be scheduled to avoid conflict with the closing stages of the Le Mans 24.

  10. Now the Euro 2016 picks have been confirmed, we should get an anwser soon. Looking back at your prediction you are very close. I think that BBC will pick Belgium over Germany and that the BBC could pick Austria but may prefer Baku so there aren’t any personel clashes. Canada should be a no-no but as stated before under previous contracts, the race would be moved to BBC2 or have the Start time changed, which happened in 2004, ITV had a Football clash so Canadian officials moved the start time and the post race programme was moved to ITV4.

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