Channel 4 to split live Formula 1 race day programming into three

Channel 4 are to follow in the footsteps of other commercial broadcasters by splitting their live Formula 1 race day programming into three separate chunks.

Starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix, Channel 4 will air a build-up programme, which will run until ten minutes prior to the race. On the other side, a reaction show will wrap up the race action, in the same way Sky currently do with Paddock Live. Steve Jones will continue to front their race day programming.

Channel 4’s race day schedule for Bahrain is as follows:

14:50 to 15:50 – Formula 1: Bahrain Grand Prix Live – Build-Up
15:50 to 18:15 – Formula 1: Bahrain Grand Prix Live
18:15 to 18:45 – Formula 1: Bahrain Grand Prix Live – Reaction

As noted above, this is now common place across the commercial sector both in the UK and abroad with Formula 1 and other sports, such as football. Sky have recently started to split their Super Sunday programme up into smaller bite sized piece.

In terms of Formula 1, Sky starting splitting their programme into three in late 2013, eventually moving to a four-way split in 2015. Splitting the programme into separate chunks means that viewers have the option to record only the main event, if they so desire. Inevitably, there is also a viewing figures drive behind it, in an attempt to boost the numbers for the race itself, although this can negatively impact figures for the build-up as a result.

A Channel 4 spokesperson said that the new format “makes it clearer to viewers when the live action starts. There will be those who only want to tune in for the live race so this will make it easy for them to see that on the electric programme guide.”

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7 thoughts on “Channel 4 to split live Formula 1 race day programming into three

  1. Good to see the slightly longer highlights show lengths for C4 compared to last year carry over into their live coverage.

  2. Although this doesn’t necessarily apply to C4, there is one aspect of the way Sky split up their programming that impacts negatively, though the split itself is not directly responsible.

    For those unable to record or view on demand Sky F1’s live coverage – the repeats broadcast subsequently on the F1 channel, always miss out any substantive before and after show parts.

    This applies equally to FP1/2/3, qualifying and the race, albeit the latter two have Ted’s notebook (which is probably the best thing Sky bring to F1, yet choosing to make it free online seems odd).

    It seems really strange that with races which run during the night, they don’t repeat the full pre and post-race coverage, when the actual race repeats are broadcast at more convenient times the following day.

    No doubt the C4 split will mean even more jarring ad breaks on the on demand catch-up service, but at least these splits will mean more of the breaks are timed in sync with the live show!.

  3. If the schedules continue in a similar way to 2016. The Russian GP onwards, I question if this format will continue, as Sunday Brunch would have to go on air before 9am. They should follow a format surrounding Sunday Brunch.
    09.00 – 09.45: Russian GP Preview
    12.45 – 15.15: Russian GP (Live)
    15.15 – 16.00: Russian GP – Reaction (Live)

    • The show is still set to start at 12.00 shown on the C4F1 website (which will probably change to 11.50) – they’ll more than likely put Sunday Brunch on until then. There’s no point having a preview/build-up show 4 hours before lights out as we’d miss all the live interviews, track news etc. and be thrown right into the commentary.

  4. My Sky EPG has changed and it appears the times have updated now. I have got this:

    2:50pm-3:35pm: Formula 1: Bahrain Grand Prix Live – Build-Up
    3:35pm-6:15pm: Formula 1: Bahrain Grand Prix Live
    6:15pm-6:45pm: Formula 1: Bahrain Grand Prix Live – Reaction

  5. I hope this format doesn’t continue because the split programmes were not even made visible to the viewers.

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