F1 2017 swan song peaks with 3.5 million viewers

A peak audience of 3.47 million viewers watched the 2017 Formula One season finish on a whimper in the UK, overnight viewing figures show.

Race
With both championships decided prior to Abu Dhabi, audiences were down across all metrics on Channel 4 and Sky Sports over the weekend.

Live coverage of Channel 4’s full programme, on air from 12:00 to 16:30, averaged 1.53m (15.1%), down on last year’s equivalent full-slot average of 2.25m (19.1%). The race itself from 12:00 to 15:10 averaged 1.86m (18.7%).

Sky’s average audience was down by 28 percent year-on-year. Their programming in 2017 averaged 454k (4.6%) on Sky Sports F1, with a further 97k (1.0%) watching on Sky Sports Mix. However, Sky should take solace in the fact that their audience is up on the 2015 average audience of 399k (3.0%), which occurred in similar circumstances.

The combined average audience of 2.41 million viewers is the lowest for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on record. Compared with 2015, the average audience is down by around 200,000 viewers. In the context of the season, 2.41 million is slightly below the average, but up on Mexico and Brazil, neither of which were live on free-to-air television.

The race started with started with 2.90m (29.5%) at 13:00, hovering around 3.1 million viewers for the duration, climbing slightly after 14:00 to reach a combined peak audience of 3.47 million viewers (30.8%) at 14:35 as Valtteri Bottas won the final race of the season.

At the time of the peak, 2.66m (23.6%) were watching on Channel 4, with 811k (7.2%) watching via Sky Sports F1 and Mix, a split of 77:23. Last year’s coverage peaked with 4.99m (38.3%), a drop of 30 percent year-on-year, arguably less than expected given that there was little to fight for in the final race of the season.

Qualifying
Channel 4’s live coverage of qualifying aired from 11:55 to 14:45, and averaged 945k (11.7%). Sky Sports F1’s programme added a further 319k (3.9%) from 12:00 to 14:35, resulting in a combined audience of 1.26 million viewers. The peak audience of 2.01 million viewers (22.2%) came at the end of qualifying, down around 14 percent on last year’s peak audience of 2.34 million viewers.

As in previous years, this site will in forthcoming weeks analyse the 2017 Formula One viewing figures picture from a UK audience perspective: increases, decreases, the peaks and the troughs, and what lies ahead for 2018.

The 2016 Abu Dhabi ratings report can be found here.

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