Channel 4 confirms Australian Grand Prix build-up programming

Channel 4 has revealed their confirmed schedules for up to, and including, Friday 18th March meaning that we now have official details about their build-up programming for the 2016 Formula One season.

There are two main programmes in the schedule. The first is a special edition of Speed with Guy Martin, which airs on Thursday 17th March at 21:00. The special sees Martin go head-to-head with David Coulthard, who himself will be part of Channel 4’s F1 coverage. Coulthard, in the Red Bull F1 car (I believe 2011 or 2012), with Martin in his Tyco BMW Superbike, filmed the episode at Silverstone in the middle of February. There are multiple head-to-head challenges pitting the Red Bull against the Tyco BMW, including a drag race, a brake test and a circuit race.

Martin and Coulthard also test their fitness and reaction levels during the one-hour special, with physical and mental challenges. The special was produced by North One Television, the first programme produced under the contract for them to deliver supplementary programming surrounding Channel 4’s Grand Prix coverage. In this instance, Speed with Guy Martin is normally produced by North One, so it made sense for them to produce a special Formula 1 edition alongside the other three editions commissioned for broadcast on Channel 4 this year.

The second show is a five-minute teaser on Friday 18th March at 21:00. The teaser, entitled Fast and Furious, will air directly before Channel 4’s biggest show Gogglebox, meaning that the slot will reach around 3.5 million viewers. The five-minute window is billed as “an exclusive preview of the epic launch to Channel 4’s coverage of the 2016 Formula 1 season”. Meanwhile, provisional schedules for the Australian Grand Prix weekend are now available. As with all provisional listings, the following is caveated as the schedules are subject to change.

Currently, highlights of the qualifying session from Melbourne are in a 105 minute slot from 12:30 to 14:15. Preceding it is an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with Channel 4 Racing following it at 14:15. Highlights of the race on Sunday 20th March are provisionally billed in a 135 minute slot from 13:30 to 15:45. Preceding it is Channel 4’s three-hour magazine programme Sunday Brunch (which has been pushed back an hour from 09:30 to 10:30), and following it is a repeat of Guy Martin’s programme Last Flight of the Vulcan Bomber.

At this stage, the main information to take out of the provisional schedules is the length of both programmes. Both shows are longer than their BBC counterparts in previous years. As discussed before, the highlights programming on Channel 4 will contain adverts. I don’t expect the weekend schedule to radically change when we see the finalised copy on Wednesday, nevertheless the above should give us an idea as to what to expect.

18 thoughts on “Channel 4 confirms Australian Grand Prix build-up programming

  1. That is great from Channel 4, but i did think that they might slot SHIELD in before The Superhumans Show, to avoid major collision with the Racing. Wondering why they moved Sunday Brunch back though. seems weird, but does sorta tell me that on live european weekends, that it will be from 9:00-12:00. I didnt expect the quali show to be that long tbh, i was expecting a 90 min show. but yeah looking very much forward to the new season, on Channel 4. I’ll probably miss it live due to the early starts, so my debut of the new season will be on C4!

    • Contractually, it will be the same as the BBC. Except Channel 4 need more airtime to cover the same amount because of adverts.

      I would expect around 45 minutes for qualifying and 65/70 minutes for the race.

  2. That special edition of Speed looks interesting. I have seen some of Guy Martin’s shows and they are always a good watch!
    Also, not the main point of the article, but I can confirm that is the 2012 Red Bull car. The stepped nose gives it away.

  3. I have worked out exactly what Channel 4 should do. They should show most of qualifying, skip the first couple of minutes of each session if nothing happens and show the rest, have ad-breaks between each session. For the race, they should show all but safety car periods, including adverts. If ad-breaks are taken every 15 minutes, out of a 1 hour 45 minute race, that is 30 minutes removed, leaving around 75 minutes broadcast, within the contract.

    Qualifying:
    – 40 mins of action (total 45 mins).
    – 6 × 5 mins adverts = 30 mins.
    – 10 mins build-up, 15 mins outro.

    Race:
    – 75 mins action (ad-free)
    – 8 × 5 mins adverts = 40 mins
    – 7.5 mins build-up, 12.5 mins outro.

    It will basically work in the same vein as MotoGP highlights, cut-aways will account for the highlights, rest of the action delayed-as-live and it is just like a Live F1 race on ITV.

  4. That’s the kind of thing I’d have expected Guy Martin to be used for, not in a presenting capacity as some suggested. Sounds interesting and, as Michael above says, Guy’s shows are always a good watch.

    It may be that C4 do some longer shows for Melbourne so they can include a bit more introductory stuff to start the season with (runners and riders etc.). Future races would not need that.

  5. Am looking forward to channel 4 broadcast, I feel like they are dedicated to put money into it. Although it would be nice to have a half hour magazine type show on a Friday or Sunday evening… Or maybe even on a f1 ‘off weekend’, if done well it could build a fan base. Sadly doesn’t look like it will happen

    • Good idea.

      If they don’t want to commit a whole show to it C4 could just make it a regular (and quietly dropped if not popular) segment within the Sunday Brunch show on ‘off weekends’. C4 F1 have plenty of pundits to pick from so one at least should be free when required. It would make a change from all the football the hosts talk about.

  6. Ofcom state that programmes can cut 15 minutes out of a 1 hour show. That leads me to think that Qualifying will have 6 ad-breaks leaving an on-air time of 75 mins. The race will have 8 ad-breaks and cut 40 minutes from 2 hr 15 mins, leading to being on air for 95 mins. I hope they show the whole race with adverts throughout as Australia is only usually 95 minutes long. Same applies to most races, cut outs can be done at ad-breaks, doesn’t annoy the viewer because ot is hidden.

    • The OFCOM rules mean that in a 1 hr 45 minute show they can take 5 ad breaks (extend it to 1 hr 50 mins and they could take six). For a 2 hr 15 min show they can take 7 ad breaks. Each break can contain 3 minutes 30 seconds of ads plus one 20 second station promo, plus any sponsorship stings – so essentially a break is 4 minutes long. However no more than 12 minutes of advertising (excluding promos/sponsorship) can air in one clock hour (i.e. from 1-2pm)

      Therefore, assuming a full break at the end of the programme as well, qualifying would see the actual programme content be 1 hour 21 minutes long and the race 1 hour 43 minutes.

      I suspect highlights shows will follow the standard break format but OFCOM does allow the break format to be adjusted for live events – I was always surprised that ITV took full breaks every 15-20 minutes rather than taking advantage of those rules and just airing more frequent but shorter breaks – I’d have thought more frequent 60-90 second breaks would probably work better for F1 (though I’m here as someone interested in sports broadcasting, not F1 itself!)

  7. I think the timings will do something like this:
    Qualifying:
    12:30-12:43 Build Up
    12:47-12:58 Q1
    13:02-13:12 Q1 & Q2
    13:16-13:26 Q2
    13:30-13:40 Q2 & Q3
    13:44-13:54 Q3
    13:58-14:11 Analysis

    Race Show
    13:30-13:46 Build Up
    13:50-14:02 Race Part 1
    14:06-14:18 Race Part 2
    14:22-14:34 Race Part 3
    14:38-14:50 Race Part 4
    14:54-15:06 Race Part 5
    15:10-15:22 Race Part 6
    15:26-15:41 Analysis

    • It means that the quali show will be:
      77 mins in length
      51 minutes of action
      28 mins worth of ads

      The race show is:
      103 mins in length
      72 mins of action
      32 mins of ads

  8. I think that Channel 4 will show Qualifying and the Race delayed-as-live because adverts account for highlights, as with MotoGP on ITV and BT. I think their adverts will only be 3 minutes long for the race but 5 minutes long for Qualifying.

    Qualifying:
    12.30 – 12.40: Build-up
    12.40 – 12.45: Adverts
    12.45 – 13.05: Q1
    13.05 – 13.10: Adverts
    13.10 – 13.30: Q2
    13.30 – 13.35: Adverts
    13.35 – 13.40: Interviews
    13.40 – 13 57: Q3
    13.57 – 14.02: Adverts
    14.02 – 14.15: Analysis

    Race:
    13.30 – 13.37: Build-up
    13.37 – 13.40: Adverts
    13.40 – 15.25: Grand Prix (6 × 3 min adverts = 87 mins of race shown)
    15.25 – 15.28: Adverts
    15 28 – 15 45: Analysis

    • Great format idea, think they will have adverts of 4 minutes in length, but would still allow 80 minutes of race shown based on your plan. I would be happier with this. Hope C4 keep these programme lengths and follow a similar format as this will be great for the fans, cut out Safety Cars and just have a few ad-breaks and these shows will be spot on.

  9. Do you suppose the adverts intro will be a vroom with a yellow flag waving and the return to the action a vroom with a green flag rather than repetitive Chain samples?

  10. Using the Sporting Ofcom rules, ammended by Brekkie above. This is my timing prediction:

    Qualifying:
    12.30 – 12.40: Build-up
    12.40 – 12.44: Ad-break
    12.44 – 13.04: Q1
    13.04 – 13.08: Ad-break
    13.08 – 13.26: Q2
    13.26 – 13.30: Ad-break
    13.30 – 13.48: Q3
    13.48 – 13.52: Ad-break
    13.52 – 13.58: Press Conference
    13.58 – 14.02: Ad-break
    14.02 – 14.12: Reaction

    Race:
    13.30 – 13.36: Build-up
    13.36 – 13.40: Ad-break
    13.40 – 15.30: Race (5 ad-breaks)
    15.30 – 15.34: Ad-break
    15.34 – 15.43: Reaction

    I know it looks very little Race reaction but I think Channel 4 will show races delayed as live, with 20 minutes of ad-breaks, cutting it from 1hr 50min to 1hr 30min, no need for cut-aways during the race with the amount of airtime given. Only Qualifying needs a longer build-up for Australia because that is when they release teams and driver details, no need to repeat it on Sunday’s show. We are due to get most of these answers on Wednesday.

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