An adrenaline filled Hungarian Grand Prix, won by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, helped the race hit its highest number since 2011, unofficial overnight viewing figures show.
Live coverage of the race, broadcast live on BBC One from 12:15 to 15:15, averaged a strong 3.87m (32.5%), peaking with 4.97m (36.8%) at 14:45. It is BBC’s highest number for Hungary since 2011, perhaps unsurprising given the fact that they have only covered Hungary in highlights form in recent years. Nevertheless, it is another reminder that live action does draw viewers, and that viewers do prefer watching something live – if they have the choice. Over on Sky Sports F1, their live coverage from 12:00 to 15:30 averaged 625k (5.3%), peaking with 830k (6.1%). Including the simulcast on Sky Sports 1, those numbers rise to 745k (6.3%), with a peak of 1.00m (7.4%), again at 14:45.
The combined average of 4.61m is the third highest on record, since at least the late 1990s. In recent times, 2009 averaged 4.81m (42.5%), whilst 2011 averaged 4.65m (42.2%), both slightly higher than 2015. The combined peak of 5.98m (44.2%) as Vettel won the race yesterday compares extremely well, only behind 2011’s peak audience of 6.10m (50.0%). It is no surprise that all of the highest peaks this year have been recorded when BBC are covering the race live, and all of those peaks have been in the six million viewer ballpark. I think I should underline that the Hungarian round has traditionally rated well with viewers, the last time the race rated under 4 million viewers was 2008.
The great number from Hungary, combined with some recent solid audiences, means that the 2015 Formula One season is currently 8 percent up year on year. I’ll have more analysis in a few weeks time, but the numbers bode well heading into the latter half of the season.
The 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.