Scheduling: The 2016 Barcelona test 1 on Sky Sports F1

Before the eleven Formula 1 teams and 22 drivers head to Melbourne for the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, there is the small matter of eight days of testing! Both tests are being held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya during the last week of February and the first week of March.

As in previous years, Sky Sports F1 are covering the testing action with a round-up (formally called ‘Testing Uncut’), followed by Ted Kravitz’s Notebook. As usual, there will be live updates on Sky Sports News throughout each of the four days. I’ve listed below the main repeats, but there are other testing repeats dotted around Sky’s F1 channel.

Below are all the scheduling details you need:

Monday 22nd February
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 1 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

Tuesday 23rd February
20:15 to 21:00 – Day 1 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 2 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

Wednesday 24th February
20:15 to 21:00 – Day 2 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 3 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

Thursday 25th February
20:15 to 21:00 – Day 3 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 4 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

If anything changes, I will update the schedule above.

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9 thoughts on “Scheduling: The 2016 Barcelona test 1 on Sky Sports F1

    • It seems a real waste, even if there isn’t always action on track to fill a day of live programming. They could easily go to presenters for some analysis, show the pits working and maybe get some team personnel interviews. If they run out of live testing, why not just package some highlights (including previous days if necessary) – plus throw in relevant repeats of previous broadcast material previewing the new season etc.

      Also why are the highlights shows so short? Why can’t Ted Kravitz get longer slots if he can fill them?

      Last year they at least scheduled in not only the previous day’s highlights, but adding the day before that until the last day had scheduled all previous days repeats.

      Given how adventurous they were the first year with 3D live coverage – it seems daft to have gone backwards.

      Since the current Sky F1 daytime is an endless loop of the same clips, I can’t see how just showing full live days of testing could get any more tedious – no matter how limited the running is!

      They could have running commentary from a presenter and guest commentator, similar to the usual FP format. Then any gaps in action could be filled with discussion between Crofty (or whoever) and the guest.

      Since they’re going to the trouble of filming so much, it seems terribly unambitious to edit it down in this way. Presumably most daytime scheduling will still be looping the tiresome repeats.

      If I paid the price of a Sky F1 subscription – I would feel terribly short-changed by the paucity of testing coverage and the sheer lack of effort and/or ambition here!

      • couldn’t have put it better. even BT are doing MotoGP testing (yes admittedly on their website, but they still at least showing it.) But yeah, Sky have a dedicated channel taht shows nothing new all day and all night. Put some Live bloody testing on!

      • Several things to remember about that 3D testing coverage…
        1. It was in their second year not first
        2. It wasn’t very well supported
        3. They only covered the afternoon session
        4. It wasn’t a very good tv spectacle
        5. They (sky) had to go through so many legal issues and costs with FOM that it wasn’t worthwhile financially in the end
        6. Sky 3D doesn’t exist anymore so they cant do 3D again
        7. No one watched it

      • Oh and the biggie… 8. No one films testing… Not even FOM… Moto GP do yes.. And that’s pretty dire to watch… Just my opinion yes but to me testing isn’t worth showing live

  1. The fact that it’s Sky themselves who film the testing, rather than FOM, just makes it even more surprising they aren’t prepared to leverage the maximum benefit of their efforts.

    Whilst filming for edited highlights packages obviously doesn’t have the same demands as filming for live coverage, they still have all the expenses associated with any of Sky F1filming. Viewers unfamiliar with TV logistics might have seen Ted Kravitz’s notebooks, where he gives a guided tour of all the equipment and personnel we don’t see, but who are required to make their programming work.

    It’s not surprising that this season the various European Sky F1 TV crews are reducing the amount of gear and people behind the camera, by sharing as much as is practical between each country (which previously broadcast races as separate entities).

    By the time they have enough resources to produce the highlights, the extra required for a basic live broadcast would be relatively small.

    I guess if it’s true that the FOM costs versus the low viewing figures make it an unviable proposition – then that’s an indication FOM are being rather greedy. I appreciate the latter conclusion is hardly a stretch.

    FOM should be concerned about interest in F1 dropping in the off season. Given how much Sky have already paid to exclusively broadcast a succession of the world’s most expensive advertising hoardings, you’d think allowing them to do all the testing at their own expense would be included in the package of live races. FOM can surely only benefit from the added exposure of Sky broadcasting 8 live days of testing; whilst it mostly will only be of interest to hardcore fans, it’s a chance for motorsport fans to get interested in F1 at the beginning of the season – surely the best time to attract such interest?!?

    If it really is extra expense incurred via the often absurdly short-term blinkered greed of FOM, that’s stopping Sky showing it live – I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

    I don’t buy the argument that it’s not worth doing because of the poor viewing figures achieved with the 3D experiment. Firstly the 3D aspect is a gimmick and a distraction – to the point that it may have deterred interested viewers, thus lowering the viewing figures.

    Secondly I can’t believe the viewing figures for that testing – however low – can be as low as whatever they get for the tiresome repeats currently playing from midnight through to 6pm every weekday.

    The argument that it’s not a very good viewing spectacle could also be made for FP1 on Friday mornings. What makes the usual Sky coverage of both Friday practice sessions better than the BBC was the variety of co-commentators used. Often FP1 & 2 are not very spectacular – but Sky is great at keeping viewers interested via the racing driver (or other F1 personality) that gives their personal perspective on current F1 events, even if there is no running at all (for example the oil spill in Sochi last year). I like hearing from ex-racers, even failures like Sky regular Bruno Senna! Tony Jardine or Crofty chatting to a different F1 person every morning and afternoon over 8 testing days, sounds like something worth watching to me. I’d like to know the real reason Sky are not showing all the testing – so far all we seem to have is some educated guesses and Sky PR patter!

  2. Absolutely agree with Guys comments, especially:-
    ‘I can’t believe the viewing figures for that testing – however low – can be as low as whatever they get for the tiresome repeats currently playing from midnight through to 6pm every weekday.’
    I pay £30 pm for those 3 months of looped repeats, on my F1 Sky boost, (with talktalk) am definitely going to opt out of those nxt year, got a deal with talktalk this year, over paying for darts!!! So that’s 3 months free Sky F1 channel,brilliant talktalk !!!
    Get Ted back off his jollys for some of his notebooks, they give us such an insight into what’s happening.

    • I agree that even via the reduced price of accessing Sky F1 via TalkTalk, it’s still far too expensive for 3 months of repeats. I’ve enjoyed some coverage of the Autosport show, but had expected that filming over the course of those few days would have produced significantly more content than we are seeing right now.

      Ted Kravitz is deservedly Sky F1’s best asset! Right now he should at least be covering the car launches and driver news. Admittedly this has been the worst off-season I can remember, in terms of so few drivers changing teams – hence much less news of that nature than normal.

      I still think Sky owes paying customers far more than has been provided so far, since the end of last season. Why can’t we have just a few hours of content from Ted (or others, but he’s by far the best) covering any important new developments, as well as some “look ahead” panel discussions etc regarding how rule (and other) changes are likely to impact the forthcoming season?

      That kind of programming is cheap and easy to make. Surely they must be able to access any archive footage that might be included? Even without such, I’d like to hear some journalists and team staff talk about the changes for the upcoming season.

      I’d like to hear about how the current situation, where rules are mostly stable and aero and power unit engineering will not change much compared last season. For example it could be combined with a look back to previous seasons where there wasn’t much change from the season before.

      Likewise with the stability in the driver market – I’d like to see discussions looking back at previous years where there was not much movement between teams, or new names coming in. I’d be happy even if they just repeated old shows made about the start of previous seasons – to refresh our memories and give some context to current events.

      We’re not even getting The F1 Show! Half an hour of studio based news doesn’t seem like much to ask for. I appreciate the regular staff deserve a break; why not let some new talent through? I’d be interested to hear journalism from drivers and technical staff, who are probably too busy to make programmes during the season. Not just F1 or ex-F1 stars, but other motorsport names who would like a chance to audition for potential career opportunities once they have to retire from racing.

      Also programming doesn’t need to be strictly limited to F1. Why not have some in depth looks at the supporting formulas? I find it hard to enjoy all the GP2 and 3 races, when I can find time to watch them. With so much space in the current Sky F1 schedule – surely they could manage to produce a few hours of content about the fundamentals of those race series? I’d like to learn more about how the teams are structured, how they fit around the principal F1 events of a race weekend, and any other potentially interesting and educational information that would make me better informed when it comes to watching racing from these support series.

      I’d love to learn more about the Japanese Super Formula Vandoorne is going to drive in this year. Similarly shows about the various regional F3 series, DTM, plus any other open wheel or sports car series we hear about due to drivers coming to and from F1. Comparisons with Indycars, Indylights and NASCAR would be interesting. Surely Sky could afford to buy ready-made programmes from the principal broadcasters of that type of racing? There must be other broadcasters who produce racing-related content we never normally get to see in the UK, and don’t usually sell to other countries – hence wouldn’t need to charge prohibitive amounts for the rights.

      What about profiles of drivers who’ve gone from F1 to try their hand at other racing series? For example, I’d be interested to hear how Max Chiltern is doing, having managed well enough in Indylights to move up to the main event. Anyone like that who has a reasonable amount of F1 experience, then goes into another racing series that looks superficially similar to F1 – but is in fact organised very differently; that sounds like an interesting perspective to hear about. I understand it might be expensive to actually show lots of footage from such racing – but even without that, a combination of technical analysis of the differences in the cars and the racing, plus the human story of individual driver’s experience moving from F1 to another country and culture – that could make fascinating television for a hardcore racing fan, prepared to spend the significant amounts demanded to access the Sky F1 channel.

      Lastly whilst I enjoy the 1 hour repeats of recent F1 races – why not put some context around them, via existing content originally broadcast on the race weekend? I know if I search I can find them online, but I’d much prefer to see Ted’s Qualifying Notebook before each repeated race, plus the Race Notebook afterwards. Also package together highlights of the analysis that was originally broadcast live in between the actual FOM content from a race weekend.

      Plus as well as repeating races, lets have some of the more exciting quali sessions from recent years. Since the 2014 rule changes and Mercedes dominant era, qualifying has often been the most exciting hour of the whole race weekend. I’m emphatically NOT criticising the current F1 racing; I’m sick of hearing folks moaning all over the various F1 websites that allow comment and debate. I’ve genuinely began to look forward to quali as much as I do the race. Sky could easily edit some race weekend footage – to produce programmes focussing on the key qualifying battles of the last 2 seasons. They could even have panel discussions about how this aspect has changed the dynamic of a race weekend, in an era of one team dominating.

      Why not have some shows that compare and contrast how the Mercedes dominance differed from the preceding Red Bull dominance? Every race currently repeated is from the last 2 seasons. I’d also like to see some of the best races from the 4 seasons Vettel won his WDC titles, especially if they can show the same tracks – allowing fans to see how driving styles (and car designs) have changed, since the dramatic new rule changes that began in 2014.

      I have loads more ideas as to how Sky could work harder to justify their outrageous price for their dedicated F1 channel, but that’s enough for now 😉 At the moment it seems like Sky are not even trying. I’d think since they are opening up more flexible ways to watch Sky F1: from TalkTalk to the NowTV options – they should make some effort to provide additional content in the 3 month gap. The current paucity of ambition is appalling, and could cost them lucrative potential new subscribers!

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