The top 10 blogs of 2015

The F1 Broadcasting Blog recorded just shy of 300,000 hits in 2015. In the last month or so, there has been one major talking point which plays a small part in the top ten below. Formula E, MotoGP, social media, viewing figures and Sky Sports Darts were a few of the topics covered on the blog in 2015.

10. Poll: Which F1 graphics set do you prefer? – March 17th
One of the main conversations in early 2015 was the new graphics set unveiled by Formula One Management (FOM) alongside their website and social media overhaul. Here, I asked readers which FOM graphics set they preferred, comparing the five different overlays.

9. Sky Sports Darts to replace the F1 channel during Christmas – November 7th
A popular post in the latter stages of 2015, as visitors wondered where the station had wandered off too. The good news is that the F1 channel will be back on Tuesday 5th January covering the 2016 season.

8. UK F1 TV viewing figures drop to eight year low – December 5th
Viewing figures are interesting given that they can either reflect interest or apathy in a product. As the headline shows, Formula 1’s overnight viewing figures hit their lowest level since 2007 despite Lewis Hamilton claiming a third championship. Whether the drop in numbers helped determine certain decisions that were made, who knows…

7. Report: ITV to take over BBC’s F1 TV coverage from 2016 – December 17th
…twelve days after the above and eight days before Christmas, it was reported by Broadcast that ITV were set to take over BBC’s Formula 1 television coverage from the 2016 season. My gut instinct was that Broadcast was right. As it turned out, they were wrong, and we would instead be welcoming Channel 4 to Formula 1.

6. Quick thoughts on the latest BBC F1 speculation – November 18th
The first hint of some change concerning BBC’s F1 coverage. The initial wave of articles did not indicate that 2016’s coverage was under threat. We found that out one day later. BBC officially confirmed their exit from covering Formula 1 on television on December 21st.

5. Sky Sports unveil 2015 pre-season trailer – February 28th
#TheChasingPack, Sky Sports F1’s 2015 pre-season trailer, was unveiled at the end of February, designed to show a pack of wolves chasing the pack leader. The trailer garnered a lot of reaction on this site and on social media, hence its high ranking for the year overall.

4. New F1 graphics set coming for 2015 – March 11th
News that FOM were overhauling the Formula 1 graphics came before the Australian Grand Prix, with a rolling blog post created as more detail came in. A poll on this site showed that the graphics set was well received on the whole, with 68 percent approval.

3. BBC confirm 2015 plans as Sky drops online Race Control – March 5th
The final BBC and Sky F1 details for 2015 were confirmed, as Sky dropped their online Race Control offering. The piece noted that “BBC’s web offering for their live races will now be more expansive than Sky’s.” One has to wonder how Channel 4 will compare in 2016…

2. Revamped Formula 1 website unveiled – March 9th
Only 44 hits behind the eventual winner, falling behind in the final hours of 2015 is the official Formula 1 website relaunch, which coincided with FOM increasing activity on YouTube and Instagram. The website received a satisfactory response from readers, with 48 percent liking the website compared to its predecessor.

1. Predicting Channel 4’s Formula 1 team (part 1) – December 22nd
The most read story of 2015 (by a whisker) following the announcement made the day before. It was time to start predicting Channel 4’s Grand Prix team. I doubt we will hear anything firm about what Channel 4 have to offer until at least the end of January.

The stage is set for 2016, as Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage begins with the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday 20th March.

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Looking ahead to 2016

The first three quarters of 2015 saw a lot of ‘mini stories’, from Formula One Management overhauling their online output to the inaugural Formula E season coming to a successful conclusion. But the events of the last two weeks have set the scene for what looks set to be a busy start to 2016.

A lot is going to unfold over the course of the next three months concerning Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage. In no particular order, Channel 4’s…

– line-up
– production
– scheduling (and pick process with Sky Sports)

Each one of those bullet points sets off a new story. Does Channel 4’s line-up have any new faces? Is Channel 4’s scheduling different to that we have seen on the BBC in the past four years since 2012? How will their production fare, will Channel 4 be on location for every race? There are endless number of questions that we do not know the answer to at this stage. The countdown is on until the Australian Grand Prix.

Aside from Channel 4, there will be inevitably be other broadcasting stories in the Formula 1 landscape. With the BBC now back to their pre-2009 coverage level, attention turns to Sky Sports F1’s coverage as Sky enter year five. Over on the social media side, surely 2016 is the year we see Formula One Management launch an official presence on Facebook. “A day late and a dollar short” is the phrase, but FOM cannot afford to be a dollar short with this one.

Elsewhere, there will be the usual articles covering BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage and ITV’s Formula E programming. MotoGP was fantastic this season, and I hope that 2016 is just as good on BT Sport. Formula E looks set to get a boost from season three onwards with Jaguar joining the fray, although the alarmingly low UK viewing figures as of late should be a cause for concern. As for Formula 1, I’m hopeful that the talking in 2016 happens on the track rather than off it as was the case in 2015.

Predicting Channel 4’s Formula 1 team (part 2)

The fun and games of predicting Channel 4’s brand new team for their Formula 1 coverage continues in earnest with part two of this series of posts. The news last Monday that Channel 4 were picking up the television rights following the BBC’s departure had caught many by surprise, with the expectation that ITV were going to broadcast Formula 1 not materialising.

I think it is probably worth outlining what I think the structure of the team would be at this stage:

– 1 x Presenter (on-site)
– 2 x Analyst
– 1 x Lead Commentator
– 1 x Co-Commentator
– 1 x Technical Expert
– 1 x Pit Lane Reporter
– 1 x Magazine (studio)

I’m hopeful that some of my predictions will turn out to be true, we will find out the answer in around a month from now. This part mainly focusses on the analyst roles because there are many possibilities, plus there is significant overlap with the co-commentator position. In part one, I predicted the following posts:

– Presenter: Suzi Perry
– Magazine: Jake Humphrey
– Lead Commentator: Ben Edwards
– Pit Lane Reporter: Nicki Shields

The idea that the lead analyst must be co-commentator has only been around since the beginning of 2011. When the BBC axed Jonathan Legard from their coverage, they promoted Martin Brundle to the lead commentator role, with both him and David Coulthard also conducting analysis before and after the race. There will be overlap, of course there will. Channel 4 may choose to do something completely different, but there will certainly be an analyst role in any structure.

The potential candidates are listed below in alphabetical order, with outsiders at the bottom of this post.

Allan McNish – The current BBC Radio 5 Live co-commentator and former driver in the World Endurance Championship had a sole season in Formula 1 with Toyota in 2002. McNish’s style of analysis makes him one of the favourites to pick up a role with Channel 4, plus his availability should no longer be an issue. I hope Channel 4 pick him up as he is one of the best analysts out there currently in my opinion, with a ton of experience in various different categories.

Anthony Davidson – The reason I am labelling Davidson here is because he is the main person that I want Channel 4 to try and poach from Sky. I’m not fussed about the remainder of Sky’s team, but if there is one-person Channel 4 should aim to get, it is Davidson. Davidson first came into the broadcasting foray full-time in 2009, commentating alongside David Croft for BBC Radio 5 Live. It was no surprise when Sky poached him for their coverage in 2012. I would like to see more of Davidson on screen, but as he is still an active race driver, I imagine he is happy with his current Sky workload. Davidson moving to Channel 4 therefore is unlikely, but never rule it out.

David Coulthard – Having retired in 2008, Coulthard immediately joined the BBC team for the 2009 season as analyst. As noted above, he has combined the analyst role since 2011 with being co-commentator alongside Brundle and then Edwards. As a successful ex-British Formula 1 driver, Coulthard is a no-brainer for Channel 4. His connection with Whisper Films makes this nailed on. However, Coulthard may want to move into a production based role rather than being in front of the camera to help assist the coverage. The issue with Coulthard becoming co-commentator is that it would be the exact same commentary line-up as the BBC had (we predicted Ben Edwards would be the lead commentator in part one). In the various UK Formula 1 broadcasting changes over the years, we have never had one commentary team successfully jump ship from one channel to the other. ITV brought in Brundle. BBC brought in Legard. Sky mashed up some of BBC TV and Radio. Are Channel 4 going to break that trend?

Eddie Jordan – Like Coulthard above, Jordan joined the BBC team in 2009 and stayed until the end of their coverage, although his commitments have reduced in the past few years during the BBC’s shared arrangement with Sky. Speaking to the Mirror, Jordan said “I’m in the twilight of my career I wouldn’t rule out anything for the future if it gives me a buzz.” If the other candidates in this post are unrealistic then Channel 4 could end up throwing money at Jordan to get him to commit to 2016. Although this post talks about 15 candidates, several of them are eliminated immediately. If Jordan is not going to be part of Channel 4’s team, you have to ask, who is going to fill his role? The list is not massive…

Graeme Lowdon – The former Manor Marussia boss left the team at the end of 2015 having been part of the operation since its inception. If Jordan decides not to be part of Channel 4’s team, and they want someone with recent paddock expertise, Lowdon fills the category nicely although there is one person who would be a better fit (see below). I suspect there are outside factors which will prevent this one from happening, however it is always a possibility.

Karun Chandhok – The former Formula 1 and Formula E driver has commentated on various motor sport events, filling in as co-commentator for both BBC and Sky at various points. Although not the most successful racing driver, Chandhok’s ‘dictionary’ has made him a favourite with viewers. Whilst Chandhok may offer better thoughts and opinions than the likes of Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill, I don’t see Chandhok forming part of Channel 4’s team purely because his Formula 1 résumé is not good enough.

John Watson – If Channel 4 do want to bring someone non-BBC/Sky to the Formula 1 line-up, Watson is an inevitable shout given his past commentary exploits with Edwards dating back the past 25 years. I am not convinced Channel 4 would approach Watson, and I do not think Watson would want a full-time 21 race commentary gig, he will be turning 70 next May. It is an option, but not a completely realistic choice.

Mark Blundell – The former ITV F1 pundit was part of their team throughout the majority of their coverage, but became main analyst from 2006 until the end of 2008. Blundell was not universally liked during the end of ITV’s coverage, mainly a victim of “wrong place, wrong time” with ITV focussing on Lewis Hamilton at that time. By the looks of his Twitter, Blundell is certainly interested in getting back involved with F1 TV coverage. I would not be surprised if Blundell turns up here and there, like he has on The F1 Show over on Sky, but I’m afraid I don’t have much interest in seeing Blundell as a permanent analyst.

Mark Webber – The former Formula 1 driver, notably Williams and Red Bull, brings with him bags of experience, both driving and broadcasting. Those of you who watched BBC’s coverage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix would have seen Webber part of their line-up for the entire weekend, Webber doing an ad hoc walk around Red Bull’s garage at one point. I would love to see Webber part of Channel 4’s Formula 1 team. My issue, and this stands for quite a lot of people, is whether Webber would want to commit himself to around 17 or 18 races (taking into account his WEC exploits). I get the impression that Webber is happy to do the gig here and there, but not on a full-time basis.

Martin Whitmarsh – There are not many people up and down the pit lane who can say they have gone from a championship winning situation to being fired a few years later. Whitmarsh is well qualified (more so than Jordan, it could be argued) to comment on the modern day dealings of Formula 1 having been in the paddock with McLaren for over twenty years. Again if Jordan decides he does not want to be part of Channel 4’s setup, Whitmarsh should be one of the first people on Channel 4’s list to contact given his high profile position in recent years. Whitmarsh has given an interview to the January 2016 issue of Motor Sport Magazine, I haven’t read it so can’t comment on what was or was not said in the interview. What I do know is that Whitmarsh is the CEO of Ben Ainslie’s racing operation, and, as quoted in an interview with CNN in June 2015: “As for whether F1 will see Whitmarsh back in the paddock, that is highly unlikely. He has been offered repeated chances to come for the odd race weekend but has opted to stay away.” There is probably a higher chance of Stefano Domenicalli joining Channel 4’s team than seeing Whitmarsh join them, based on that…

Max Chilton – Following his Marussia exploits in Formula 1, Chilton joined Carlin for the 2015 Indy Lights season, with the intention of jumping up to the IndyCar Series for the 2016 season. As of writing, nothing has been announced regarding Chilton’s 2016 plans. With Nissan pulling out of the World Endurance Championship, no IndyCar or Indy Lights drive for Chilton would mean that his 2016 schedule is empty. So Channel 4 is a possibility if Chilton’s other options fall through, it also means Chilton would remain sniffing around the F1 paddock.

Paul di Resta – My opinion of di Resta has changed significantly in the past year. I’ve never found him the most exciting voice on television, whenever he was being interviewed after a race. Last season, di Resta was part of Sky Sports F1’s coverage for several races, conducting analysis on the Sky Pad and discussing key incidents. To my surprise, I found myself warming to di Resta more than I expected and he was welcoming to hear a different voice in Sky’s coverage. di Resta would not be suited to commentary, but there is scope for Channel 4 to bring him in as an analyst during 2016.

Susie Wolff – The former Williams development driver announced her retirement from active motor sport participation at the beginning of November. I can see Channel 4 wanting to involve Wolff in aspects of their coverage to help encourage women get involved in motor sport. I don’t see Wolff being an analyst commenting on the driving aspect as she has not raced in Formula 1. I do think Channel 4 may want to do special features with her to get the ‘Women in Motor Sport’ message across, so I would expect her to turn up at some point during their coverage, probably outside of race weekends.

There are also a few outsiders that may be considered. Rubens Barrichello currently presents a motor sport programme called Acelerados for Brazilian television, Nigel Mansell always gets mentioned whenever a new broadcaster comes into the fray, but the fact he was either not considered by BBC or Sky previously or rejected both roles indicates he is not interested. I’m noting Ross Brawn here, but will focus on him in the technical expert role in part three. The only omission in terms of recent F1 drivers here is Eddie Irvine, anyone who knows his views on current Formula 1 will know he is unsuitable for any broadcasting role. Lastly, anyone with an F1 journalistic background to fill a Simon Taylor or Tony Jardine role could be in the frame. Naming names is difficult, it could be literally anyone who covers Formula 1 in the print and online media who is coherent in front of a microphone.

The F1 Broadcasting Blog predicts: David Coulthard to become Channel 4’s Formula 1 co-commentator. Eddie Jordan and Allan McNish to become Channel 4’s Formula 1 analysts. Susie Wolff to join Channel 4 to help promote ‘Women in Motor Sport’.

Edwards and Coulthard is the obvious commentary pairing, which is why I think it will happen. But historical evidence tells us that Channel 4 may take a different route. Therefore, any combination featuring Edwards, Coulthard, McNish and Jack Nicholls should not be ruled out.

The problem Channel 4 have is time: time is not on their side. There is not much time to negotiate with talent. The easiest option is to take the majority of BBC’s existing line-up as it is, because they will already have dates set aside for Formula 1 in 2016. Anyone new who comes on-board will need some negotiation to get them out of existing contracts, especially if they work for different series. If this deal was announced six months ago, there would be more room for manoeuvre and more room for Channel 4 to broaden their horizons. But with so little time to Melbourne, I don’t see it happening. The biggest change for Channel 4 in my opinion will be how they actually present their coverage as opposed to the talent involved. As always, just my opinion.

The third and final part will be up within the next week…

Predicting the 2016 calendar pick order (version 2)

When I wrote the original BBC and Sky Sports calendar predictions post for the 2016 Formula One season back in the Summer, no one could have anticipated what was going to unfold in the months that followed. Readers are probably now well aware that Channel 4 are the new terrestrial television rights holders, succeeding the BBC who have exited their contract with immediate effect.

So yes, Channel 4 will be broadcasting the 2016 Australian Grand Prix on Sunday 20th March. My post from the Summer is completely redundant now and serves no purpose. I thought it would be easier to create a new post rather than to completely rework that post. It is apt that the biggest calendar shake-up happens alongside the broadcasting shake-up, with the 2016 season containing 21 races, starting in March. It is tradition for The F1 Broadcasting Blog each year to predict the pick order, for the next three years that will be the Channel 4 and Sky pick order (if you’re not used to reading that yet, you will be soon!).

The finalised calendar is as follows:

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

I have done the calendar above as a table, given the amount of year-on-year changes, notably Russia and Malaysia swapping on the calendar. Furthermore, I have received confirmation from Channel 4 that the ‘pick’ process is identical to the previous BBC and Sky deal. The races that Channel 4 pick will be shown live on Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1, while the races that Sky pick will be shown exclusively live on Sky Sports F1, with highlights on Channel 4. The picks go as follows:

– Channel 4 pick three races (pick 1, 2 and 3)
– Sky pick three races (pick 4, 5 and 6)
– Channel 4 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 Channel 4 will screen ten races live with Sky screening eleven races exclusively live. If a race is dropped from the calendar, the picks do not change retrospectively. Germany was dropped from the 2015 calendar, but the picks stayed the same, meaning BBC were able to broadcast three races in a row live. Channel 4’s live sporting contracts consist of the Paralympics and horse racing, the latter of which occurs on the majority of Saturdays round the year. Avoiding every race that Channel 4 show is going to be incredibly difficult, however Channel 4 will be looking to avoid the major race days where possible. Bumping either a live major horse race or Formula 1 qualifying to E4 or More4 will do no one any favours.

Another factor that we need to consider is whether Channel 4 want the majority of their live races to be European based. Whilst it may not change the end result, it will influence the picking order in my view. There have already been questions about whether Channel 4’s current deal is commercially viable. David Elstein, a former executive of both Channel 5 and Sky, believes the deal is viable based on sponsorship alone, but notes that highlights will have adverts included, as we expected. Again, this post is only for discussion and a bit of fun with the pick orders. I am doing this a bit smarter though than previously, and applying all the rules that come along with the picking process as we go through the post. My tally for 2015 of getting 11 out of 19 correct was slightly better than usual though, which is good!

Channel 4 pick Britain, Abu Dhabi and Mexico (picks 1 to 3). Whether Britain and Abu Dhabi are compulsory picks I do not know, but given that one is the home race and the other is the final race, both of these are expected picks. Unfortunately, Britain will not rate well again in 2016 as it clashes with the first part of the Wimbledon final on BBC One. Channel 4’s third pick is between Canada, USA, Mexico and Brazil. Canada is not an option this early due to Euro 2016. USA starts at 20:00 and would mean interrupting Homeland mid-run (I know the F1 would rate higher, but let us not annoy Channel 4’s existing audience). Mexico therefore gets the nod over Brazil because it starts in primetime, but would still finish before 21:00. If anything, you could do something different and ‘wrap’ the F1 around Homeland, with studio based post-race analysis following Homeland at 22:00 (more on that line of thinking in a separate blog post in the next week or so).

The above means Sky automatically get Brazil (pick 21). Sky cannot have three exclusive races in a row, and Channel 4 cannot broadcast three live races in a row. Just to clarify, the above text says ‘pick 21’ as Sky would not waste a pick up front for Brazil when they know they are guaranteed the race regardless. Channel 4 will not be too fussed about losing Brazil given that it clashes with Sky’s second Ford Super Sunday game and the live viewing figures would be dented as a result. Therefore, Sky pick USA, Canada and Monaco (picks 4 to 6).  USA and Canada are primetime races, whilst Monaco is the blue ribbon race on the calendar. I do think there is a choice between Monaco and Bahrain. Bahrain is the better timeslot, but it overlaps with the Premier League season, so I think Sky will opt for Monaco.

By Sky picking Monaco, it means Channel 4 automatically get Spain (pick 17) and Channel 4 automatically get Europe (pick 19). Europe does fall in the same weekend as the Royal Ascot, but the time difference means that the Grand Prix qualifying session in Baku should have wrapped up before the horse racing action gets underway. In fact, having the two back-to-back could lead to a bumper day for Channel 4 on June 18th. In turn, Sky automatically get Austria (pick 20), otherwise Channel 4 would be screening Europe, Austria and Britain live consecutively. Next up, Channel 4 pick Bahrain (pick 7). The logic here is that it is simply the best timeslot left to pick from. In response, Sky pick Hungary (pick 8). The other choice is Australia, but Hungary is the much better timeslot and tends to pick up good numbers with it being the last race before the Summer shutdown. Plus, Sky may want to try and force Channel 4 to pick Australia knowing that it will be their first race, but let’s see if that tactic works in our predictions.

We are left in this position:

March 20th – Australia (Melbourne)
April 3rd – Bahrain (Sakhir) – Channel 4 (pick 7)
April 17th – China (Shanghai)
May 1st – Russia (Sochi)
May 15th – Spain (Barcelona) – Channel 4 (pick 17 – automatic)
May 29th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky (pick 6)
June 12th – Canada (Montreal) – Sky (pick 5)
June 19th – Europe (Baku) – Channel 4 (pick 19 – automatic)
July 3rd – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Sky (pick 20 – automatic)
July 10th – Britain (Silverstone) – Channel 4 (pick 1)
July 24th – Hungary (Budapest) – Sky (pick 8)
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 (pick 4)
October 30th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Channel 4 (pick 3)
November 13th – Brazil (Interlagos) – Sky (pick 21 – automatic)
November 27th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – Channel 4 (pick 2)

I think at this point; Channel 4 will be looking for live early morning races where they can screen highlights/replays at a later time with adverts to a higher audience. Personally, Channel 4 pick Malaysia (pick 9). Malaysia is the best choice because of its unique timeslot. At 08:00, it means Channel 4 can screen it live and then broadcast highlights with adverts at around 15:00, so it is a win-win race for them. In response, Sky pick Russia (pick 10). It is either Russia or Italy, Italy is more prestigious, but Russia has a longer runtime and is therefore likely to bring in higher ratings. It also means that Channel 4 can now kill three birds with one stone.  Channel 4 pick Italy (pick 11). Italy is the shortest race on the calendar, so there will only be around 90 minutes of air time without adverts which makes it more attractive to the commercial station.

Furthermore, Channel 4 picking Italy means that Sky automatically get Singapore (pick 18). This is good news for Channel 4 because Singapore clashes with the Paralympic Games, it is not in Channel 4’s interests to have two of their biggest events clashing with each other. Having Singapore as a highlights race means that Channel 4 can have a live race elsewhere.

The schedule therefore looks like this:

March 20th – Australia (Melbourne)
April 3rd – Bahrain (Sakhir) – Channel 4 (pick 7)
April 17th – China (Shanghai)
May 1st – Russia (Sochi) – Sky (pick 10)
May 15th – Spain (Barcelona) – Channel 4 (pick 17 – automatic)
May 29th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky (pick 6)
June 12th – Canada (Montreal) – Sky (pick 5)
June 19th – Europe (Baku) – Channel 4 (pick 19 – automatic)
July 3rd – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Sky (pick 20 – automatic)
July 10th – Britain (Silverstone) – Channel 4 (pick 1)
July 24th – Hungary (Budapest) – Sky (pick 8)
July 31st – Germany (Hockenheim)
August 28th – Belgium (Spa)
September 4th – Italy (Monza) – Channel 4 (pick 11)
September 18th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky (pick 18 – automatic)
October 2nd – Malaysia (Sepang) – Channel 4 (pick 9)
October 9th – Japan (Suzuka)
October 23rd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky (pick 4)
October 30th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Channel 4 (pick 3)
November 13th – Brazil (Interlagos) – Sky (pick 21 – automatic)
November 27th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – Channel 4 (pick 2)

With not many races left, Sky have no exclusivity in the first part of 2016, until Sky pick China (pick 12). It is 50/50 between China and Australia, but the latter has lost a lot of its potential with the race starting at 05:00 UK time.

Australia, Germany, Belgium and Japan are the four races left to choose from. Inevitably, Channel 4 pick Belgium (pick 13). The shorter the race, the more adverts Channel 4 can cram in around the race, so Belgium is a great race for them in that respect. It also means that Sky automatically get Germany (pick 16). The weekend of Germany clashes with Glorious Goodwood, so Channel 4 will be happy that Sky get Germany exclusively live. Which leaves Australia and Japan. As they have done every year since 2012, Sky pick Australia (pick 14), meaning Channel 4 pick Japan (pick 15).

Which leaves us with this final calendar:

March 20th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky (pick 14)
April 3rd – Bahrain (Sakhir) – Channel 4 (pick 7)
April 17th – China (Shanghai) – Sky (pick 12)
May 1st – Russia (Sochi) – Sky (pick 10)
May 15th – Spain (Barcelona) – Channel 4 (pick 17 – automatic)
May 29th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky (pick 6)
June 12th – Canada (Montreal) – Sky (pick 5)
June 19th – Europe (Baku) – Channel 4 (pick 19 – automatic)
July 3rd – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Sky (pick 20 – automatic)
July 10th – Britain (Silverstone) – Channel 4 (pick 1)
July 24th – Hungary (Budapest) – Sky (pick 8)
July 31st – Germany (Hockenheim) – Sky (pick 16 – automatic)
August 28th – Belgium (Spa) – Channel 4 (pick 13)
September 4th – Italy (Monza) – Channel 4 (pick 11)
September 18th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky (pick 18 – automatic)
October 2nd – Malaysia (Sepang) – Channel 4 (pick 9)
October 9th – Japan (Suzuka) – Channel 4 (pick 15)
October 23rd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky (pick 4)
October 30th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Channel 4 (pick 3)
November 13th – Brazil (Interlagos) – Sky (pick 21 – automatic)
November 27th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – Channel 4 (pick 2)

We should know the final picks early into the New Year, definitely within the next few weeks I imagine. But that is how I imagine the picks turning out.

Updated on December 26th, 2015.

Merry Christmas from The F1 Broadcasting Blog

My fourth calendar year of running The F1 Broadcasting Blog is coming to an end. The past month and a half has been more packed and crammed than the previous ten months combined, but that is the way the broadcasting land works. You just never know what might come next! I’d like to wish all my blog readers and beyond a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thanks for all the comments and thoughts throughout the year, it is much appreciated as the blog speeds into 2016. Unfortunately, some battles were lost this year, and some battles continue. Jules and Justin: we remember you. And almost two years on: #KeepFightingMichael.

The start of 2016 looks set to be fascinating as Channel 4 unveil their Formula 1 line-up. For the moment, please stay safe over the holiday period and I hope 2016 gives us a lot more to talk about.

Cheers,
Dave
Owner of The F1 Broadcasting Blog