An average audience of 2.8 million watched Nico Rosberg win the the Mexican Grand Prix in the UK yesterday, overnight viewing figures show.
Live coverage of the race, broadcast on Sky Sports F1 from 18:00 to 21:30, averaged 690k (3.1%), with Sky Sports 1’s simulcast from 18:30 averaging a further 227k (1.0%), bringing a combined weighted Sky Sports average of 885k (3.9%). Highlights, which aired on BBC One from 22:30 to 00:00, averaged 1.96m (20.1%).
Being a new race in the modern era, we have no historical comparisons, and you cannot compare a viewing figure from 1991 to one in 2015. The combined average across BBC and Sky of 2.85 million is unsurprising when you consider that the championship has been resolved, but low nevertheless. The best comparison I can think of is with the 2013 United States Grand Prix which was held under similar circumstances with Sebastian Vettel having claimed the championship two rounds earlier in India. That race averaged 2.42 million, which remains Formula 1’s lowest figure in many years. Mexico yesterday was at least higher than that, and higher than Japan last month.
It does mean that a Grand Prix has not recorded an overnight viewing figure average of above 3.5 million since the Italian Grand Prix in September. As always, these figures exclude viewing from BBC iPlayer, Sky Go and Now TV. How much of a difference other forms of viewing actually makes is up for debate.
Highlights of qualifying, broadcast on BBC Two from 22:45 to 00:00, averaged 920k (8.3%). Sky Sports F1’s live coverage, airing from 18:00 to 20:45, averaged 344k (1.7%). The number does not take into account various BBC Two opt-outs yesterday evening. With a combined average of around 1.26 million viewers, it is below the average number for qualifying of 2 million viewers. I have not looked into the qualifying numbers recently, but 1.26 million is a throwback to the ITV days in the mid 2000s, when qualifying would struggle over the one million barrier.