Predicting the 2017 calendar pick order

For the penultimate time, the calendar prediction post returns as we look at how the 2017 Formula One season may shape up for Sky Sports F1 and Channel 4. As regular readers will be aware, this yearly post is nearing its final destination as from 2019, Formula 1 will air exclusively live on Sky Sports.

2017 will mark Sky’s sixth year of covering Formula 1. The 2017 calendar features no German Grand Prix. So, no incumbent champion and no German round. It is tradition for The F1 Broadcasting Blog each year to predict the pick order with some success!

The calendar is confirmed as follows:

f1-2017-calendar-v2

The main change is that China and Bahrain swap places, the rest of the calendar remains remarkedly stable, but as we’re about to find out some have changed dates slightly. The remainder of the calendar stays the same, I suspect 2018 may see a bigger shake up assuming Liberty Media’s takeover of the Formula One Group is successful.

The pick process goes 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 20 races on the calendar, so Channel 4 will screen ten races live with Sky screening ten races exclusively live. If a race is dropped from the calendar, the picks do not change retrospectively. Germany was dropped from the 2015 calendar after BBC’s and Sky’s plans were publicly confirmed, but the picks stayed the same, meaning BBC were able to broadcast three races in a row live.

In terms of obstacles for Channel 4 next year, there are none. No Paralympics to worry about, and horse racing is moving to ITV. However, there are other motor sport related events that may influence the pick order, such as MotoGP and Formula E. Whilst small in terms of viewing figures compared with Formula 1, both events are big enough to reduce Formula 1’s numbers slightly. When I did this post for 2016, I managed to get 19 out of the 21 picks right, only Hungary and Japan were incorrect! It would be pretty good if I managed to go the full distance this year, but I’m not expecting miracles.

Channel 4 pick Britain, Abu Dhabi and Canada (picks 1 to 3). Britain and Abu Dhabi are expected, if not mandatory picks. Britain, being the home race, and Abu Dhabi remaining the final race on the calendar. In the provisional schedule, Britain was scheduled for July 9th. Unfortunately, that changed to July 16th meaning another clash with the Wimbledon final. Alongside that, if the other motor racing schedules don’t change, it clashes with the German MotoGP and falls on the same weekend as the New York ePrix. Terrible scheduling, really. After that, it is a choice between Canada, USA, Mexico and Brazil. Because Sky cannot broadcast three races in a row exclusively live, Channel 4 are guaranteed one of USA, Mexico or Brazil live anyway. So, common sense says to go for Canada, which is not up against any sporting competition and therefore should rate well live on free-to-air television.

Moving on, I think we will see Sky pick USA, Monaco and Australia (picks 4 to 6). This may look odd at first sight, with no Brazil or Mexico. But, as referenced above, Sky are guaranteed either Brazil or Mexico as Channel 4 of the ‘three races or more’ rule. There’s no need to waste a pick on either of those two races at this stage in the game. Monaco and Australia are standard picks, Monaco being a blue ribbon race whilst Australia is the season opener and perhaps holds slightly more value being a week later this year compared with last. We could see Sky pick Bahrain instead of Monaco because of the favourable timeslot, but history in 2015 and 2016 suggests this is unlikely. One impact of Sky airing Monaco live means that Channel 4’s highlights would be up against the FA Cup final.

As of yet, no one has anything automatically, but Channel 4 picking Mexico (pick 7) means that Sky automatically get Brazil (pick 20). No surprises here. Mexico rated really well for Channel 4, so I fully expect them to pick Mexico again. With the latter stages of the calendar sorted, I’ve brought some tactical voting into the equation. Earlier, I mentioned that Sky has USA. Sky picking Singapore (pick 8) comes into play later as it increases the chances of Channel 4 airing both Japan and Malaysia live. Clearly airing Japan live would be unfavourable for the commercial broadcaster as the advertising around the race would sell at a lower price. The best time slot left is Bahrain, meaning that Channel 4 pick Bahrain (pick 9).

We are left in this position:

March 27th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky (pick 6)
April 9th – China (Shanghai)
April 16th – Bahrain (Sakhir) – Channel 4 (pick 9)
April 30th – Russia (Sochi)
May 14th – Spain (Barcelona)
May 28th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky (pick 5)
June 11th – Canada (Montreal) – Channel 4 (pick 3)
June 25th – Europe (Baku)
July 9th – Austria (Red Bull Ring)
July 16th – Britain (Silverstone) – Channel 4 (pick 1)
July 30th – Hungary (Budapest)
August 27th – Belgium (Spa)
September 3rd – Italy (Monza)
September 17th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky (pick 8)
October 1st – Malaysia (Sepang)
October 8th – Japan (Suzuka)
October 22nd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky (pick 4)
October 29th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Channel 4 (pick 7)
November 12th – Brazil (Interlagos) – Sky (pick 20 – automatic)
November 26th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – Channel 4 (pick 2)

It is the next move though which starts a major domino effect. With no Premier League end of season clash, I can see Sky picking Spain (pick 10). This means Channel 4 automatically get Russia (pick 19) and Sky automtically get China (pick 18). On balance, that probably works out better for Channel 4 as Russia will bring in higher numbers than China, but it does mean that Sky will air the first two races exclusively live. Between Canada and Britain, we have Europe and Austria. The way the picks have worked out so far means that Sky in theory could air both races exclusively. But, I think it would be somewhat foolish for Channel 4 to allow that to happen. In fact, I’d argue that the races immediately before the Summer break should be snapped up earlier than Italy and Belgium simply because they rate higher. Italy and Belgium are great in terms of length, but the numbers do not stack up.

Furthermore, Channel 4 probably do not want to air Baku. 2016 was its first running, which is fair enough, but it wasn’t the most exciting of races, so has less appeal. With that in mind, Channel 4 pick Austria (pick 11). This means that Sky automatically get Europe (pick 16) and Hungary (pick 14). Hungary tends to rate well as either highlights or live, so I don’t think this is a major loss for Channel 4.

The schedule therefore looks like this:

March 27th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky (pick 6)
April 9th – China (Shanghai) – Sky (pick 18 – automatic)
April 16th – Bahrain (Sakhir) – Channel 4 (pick 9)
April 30th – Russia (Sochi) – Channel 4 (pick 19 – automatic)
May 14th – Spain (Barcelona) – Sky (pick 10)
May 28th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky (pick 5)
June 11th – Canada (Montreal) – Channel 4 (pick 3)
June 25th – Europe (Baku) – Sky (pick 16 – automatic)
July 9th – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Channel 4 (pick 11)
July 16th – Britain (Silverstone) – Channel 4 (pick 1)
July 30th – Hungary (Budapest) – Sky (pick 14 – automatic)
August 27th – Belgium (Spa)
September 3rd – Italy (Monza)
September 17th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky (pick 8)
October 1st – Malaysia (Sepang)
October 8th – Japan (Suzuka)
October 22nd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky (pick 4)
October 29th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Channel 4 (pick 7)
November 12th – Brazil (Interlagos) – Sky (pick 20 – automatic)
November 26th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – Channel 4 (pick 2)

With four races left of the bunch, I think we will see Sky picking Italy (pick 12) as Belgian Grand Prix clashes with the British MotoGP, which may dent that audience slightly. This means that Channel 4 automatically get Belgium (pick 17) and Malaysia (pick 15). With only one race left, Channel 4 are left with Japan (pick 13).

Which leaves us with this final calendar:

March 27th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky (pick 6)
April 9th – China (Shanghai) – Sky (pick 18 – automatic)
April 16th – Bahrain (Sakhir) – Channel 4 (pick 9)
April 30th – Russia (Sochi) – Channel 4 (pick 19 – automatic)
May 14th – Spain (Barcelona) – Sky (pick 10)
May 28th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky (pick 5)
June 11th – Canada (Montreal) – Channel 4 (pick 3)
June 25th – Europe (Baku) – Sky (pick 16 – automatic)
July 9th – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Channel 4 (pick 11)
July 16th – Britain (Silverstone) – Channel 4 (pick 1)
July 30th – Hungary (Budapest) – Sky (pick 14 – automatic)
August 27th – Belgium (Spa) – Channel 4 (pick 17 – automatic)
September 3rd – Italy (Monza) – Sky (pick 12)
September 17th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky (pick 8)
October 1st – Malaysia (Sepang) – Channel 4 (pick 15 – automatic)
October 8th – Japan (Suzuka) – Channel 4 (pick 13)
October 22nd – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky (pick 4)
October 29th – Mexico (Mexico City) – Channel 4 (pick 7)
November 12th – Brazil (Interlagos) – Sky (pick 20 – automatic)
November 26th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – Channel 4 (pick 2)

If there are any calendar changes, I will update this post as and when, otherwise we should find out the confirmed Channel 4 and Sky F1 picks close to Christmas or in early 2017.

Updated on December 3rd, 2016. My original post had to be heavily re-edited otherwise Sky would have ended up with four exclusive live races in a row. The actual races picked by each side are identical, apart from Belgium which switches from Sky to Channel 4.

16 thoughts on “Predicting the 2017 calendar pick order

  1. Can’t see C4 giving away both Spa and Monza, both very popular classic events. Spa in particular has always been picked by BBC / C4.

  2. C4 don’t lose out by letting Sky have Belgium and Italy exclusively live as they’re 2 of the shortest races of the season (unless it rains or long SC periods). They could show more or less all of Italy in the highlights slot due to the short running time, same to a lesser extent with Belgium, especially if laptimes get so much quicker next season. Ok they may not show the whole of Italy, but they wouldn’t be far off really, plus it’s not always a great race.

  3. I think you have looked at this from a tactical stand point as usual, but most of your choices seem quite strange. This is how I reckon the picks will fall:

    Australia – Sky
    China – Sky
    Bahrain – C4
    Russia – Sky
    Spain – Sky
    Monaco – C4
    Canada – C4
    Austria – Sky
    Britain – C4
    Hungary – Sky
    Germany – Sky
    Belgium – C4
    Italy – Sky
    Malaysia – C4
    Singapore – C4
    Japan – Sky
    USA – C4
    Mexico – Sky
    Brazil – C4
    Abu Dhabi – C4

  4. Given what’s happened over past seasons I think it’ll probably be this pick (Maybe swap Mexico & Brazil depending on how Mexico live performs this year)

    Aus Sky
    Chi C4
    Bah C4
    Rus Sky
    Spa C4
    Mon Sky
    Can C4
    Az Sky
    Aust Sky
    GB C4
    Hun Sky
    Ger Sky
    Bel C4
    Ita C4
    Mal Sky
    Sing Sky
    Jap C4
    USA Sky
    Mex Sky
    Bra C4
    AD C4

  5. Looking at some of the time differences, I think this is a possible outcome.

    Australia – C4
    China – Sky
    Bahrain – C4
    Russia – Sky
    Spain – Sky
    Monaco – C4
    Canada – Sky
    Azerbaijan – C4
    Austria – Sky
    Britain – C4
    Hungary – C4
    Germany – Sky
    Belgium – C4
    Italy – Sky
    Malaysia – Sky
    Singapore – C4
    Japan – Sky
    USA – C4
    Mexico – Sky
    Brazil – Sky
    Abu Dhabi – C4

    If the three provisional races fell off the calendar, Channel 4 would have more Live races than Sky have Exclusively Live. This is a clever tactic and people love getting up early for the season opener in Australia.

  6. Looking at a few of the timing changes and certain clashes, I predict a few pick order changes in 2017.

    Australia – 4
    China – Sky
    Bahrain – 4
    Russia – Sky
    Spain – Sky
    Monaco – 4
    Canada – Sky
    Europe – 4
    Austria – Sky
    Britain – 4
    Hungary – Sky
    Germany – Sky
    Belgium – 4
    Italy – Sky
    Malaysia – 4
    Singapore – 4
    Japan – Sky
    USA – 4
    Mexico – Sky
    Brazil – Sky
    Abu Dhabi – 4

    This is also a clever tactic as if Germany, Canada and Brazil drop off the calendar, Channel 4 would have more races live than Highlights, if Canada is secured, I would switch Canada and Baku.

  7. Australia – Sky
    China – Sky
    Bahrain – Channel 4
    Russia – Sky
    Spain – Channel 4
    Monaco – Channel 4
    Canada – Sky
    Azerbaijan – Channel 4
    Austria – Sky
    Britain – Channel 4
    Hungary – Sky
    Germany – Sky
    Belgium – Channel 4
    Italy – Sky
    Malaysia – Channel 4
    Singapore – Channel 4
    Japan – Sky
    USA – Channel 4
    Mexico – Sky
    Brazil – Sky
    Abu Dhabi – Channel 4

  8. Let me give this a try….

    Australia – Sky
    China – Sky
    Bahrain – Channel 4
    Russia – Sky
    Spain – Channel 4
    Monaco – Sky
    Canada – Channel 4
    Azerbaijan – Sky
    Austria – Sky
    Britain – Channel 4
    Hungary – Channel 4
    Germany – Sky
    Belgium – Channel 4
    Italy – Channel 4
    Malaysia – Sky
    Singapore – Channel 4
    Japan – Sky
    USA – Sky
    Mexico – Channel 4
    Brazil – Sky
    Abu Dhabi – Channel 4

    • Updated to reflect new schedule:

      Australia – Sky
      China – Sky
      Bahrain – Channel 4
      Russia – Sky
      Spain – Channel 4
      Monaco – Sky
      Canada – Channel 4
      Azerbaijan – Sky
      Austria – Sky
      Britain – Channel 4
      Hungary – Sky
      Belgium – Channel 4
      Italy – Channel 4
      Singapore – Sky
      Malaysia – Channel 4
      Japan – Sky
      USA – Channel 4
      Mexico – Channel 4
      Brazil – Sky
      Abu Dhabi – Channel 4

  9. Looking at the revised calendar, I think Channel 4 will want to avoid Brazil but fight for 2/3 primetime/early evening events. I also am annoyed with Wimbledon Final/British GP clash again but WMSC have done well to avoid Le Mans and Baku clash again. My new pick order is:

    Australia – Sky
    China – Sky
    Bahrain – C4
    Russia – Sky
    Spain – C4
    Monaco – Sky
    Canada – C4
    Azerbaijan – C4
    Austria – Sky
    Britain – C4
    Hungary – Sky
    Belgium – C4
    Italy – Sky
    Singapore – C4
    Malaysia – C4
    Japan – Sky
    USA – Sky
    Mexico – C4
    Brazil* – Sky
    Abu Dhabi – C4

  10. AUS – Sky
    CHN – Sky
    BAH – C4
    RUS – Sky
    ESP – Sky
    MON – C4
    CAN – C4
    AZB – Sky
    AUT – C4
    GB – C4
    HUN – Sky
    BEL – C4
    ITA – Sky
    SIN – C4
    MAL – C4
    JAP – Sky
    USA – C4
    MEX – Sky
    BRA – Sky
    UAE – C4

  11. Looking at the way Channel 4 picked last year, I think they will follow a similar pattern, however, my prediction is an aim to build the viewership. It is:

    Australia – C4
    China – Sky
    Bahrain – C4
    Russia – Sky
    Spain – Sky
    Monaco – C4
    Canada – C4
    Azerbaijan – Sky
    Austria – Sky
    Britain – C4
    Hungary – Sky
    Belgium – C4
    Italy – Sky
    Singapore – C4
    Malaysia – C4
    Japan – Sky
    USA – Sky
    Mexico – C4
    Brazil – Sky
    Abu Dhabi – C4

    This is not my preferred choice, but from an advetising perspective could boost viewing figures. Australia could lead to false hope (+ Replay in Primetime). Hungary rates well as Highlights, in an early evening TV slot. Singapore is a long race, as seen with Brazil (2016), viewers easily picked up/more casual viewers. Finally, primetime races, Canada and Mexico rate very well. The only problem; as you’ve previously stated, is USA, shorter programme (less adverts/shorter adverts. At key moments of the year, C4 need to continue with the extended builds, e.g. Monaco: Qualifying – 1hr 45 and Race – 2hr 15.

    • As much as I’d love this to happen, I just can’t see Sky letting C4 have Australia (the first race of essentially a new aero era of Formula 1), Monaco or Singapore (both are always regarded as the more spectacular races).

  12. The Picks will be very stagnant, but I agree that Channel 4 could end up with two Primetime races, if they play tactically with their picks. This is my shout:
    Australia – Sky
    China – Sky
    Bahrain – C4
    Russia – Sky
    Spain – C4
    Monaco – Sky
    Canada – C4
    Azerbaijan – C4
    Austria – Sky
    Britain – C4
    Hungary – Sky
    Belgium – C4
    Italy – C4
    Singapore – Sky
    Malaysia – C4
    Japan – Sky
    USA – Sky
    Mexico – C4
    Brazil – Sky
    Abu Dhabi – C4

    I think having both races live in June, will advertise better, as there is less sport on TV at this time of year. Whereas, two races at start of July will clash with Wimbledon (Austria possible; if play on Middle-Sunday).

  13. I believe that this will be the final pick order:
    Australia – Sky
    China – Sky
    Bahrain – C4
    Russia – C4
    Spain – Sky
    Monaco – Sky
    Canada – C4
    Azerbaijan – Sky
    Austria – C4
    Britain – C4
    Hungary – Sky
    Belgium – C4
    Italy – C4
    Singapore – Sky
    Malaysia – C4
    Japan – Sky
    USA – Sky
    Mexico – C4
    Brazil – Sky
    Abu Dhabi – C4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s