Formula 1 continues to spark in Baku

The 2018 Formula One season continued to perform well over the weekend in the UK, overnight viewing figures show.

Race
As a prelude to the analysis below, bear in mind that last year’s race was red-flagged and restarted a short while later, skewing the average audience figures slightly as a result.

Channel 4’s live coverage, covering both the build-up and the race itself, averaged 2.38m (22.7%) from 12:00 to 15:40, an increase on last year’s average audience of 2.26m (21.6%).

Unlike last year, where coverage aired across both Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports 1, Sky’s coverage aired only on their F1 channel, and their audience reflects this fact. Sky’s programme from 12:00 to 15:30 averaged 499k (4.7%), a steep decrease on last year’s combined figure of 730k (7.0%), but a slight increase on 2016’s audience of 465k (4.4%).

The combined average audience of 2.87 million viewers is slightly down on last year’s audience of 2.99 million viewers. Last year’s red flag period meant that the race from start to chequered flag took up a larger proportion of the overall programme (two and a quarter hours), inflating the average. The average is up on 2016’s number of 2.64 million viewers.

Arguably, a race in April should be able to attract a larger audience than in June, but there are other factors to account for, such as the weather and sporting opposition, including football and beyond.

The race started at 13:15 with 3.74m (36.0%), the same starting point as last year’s race. Following the start, the audience hovered around 3.9 million viewers for most of the race. As the two Red Bull’s hit each other, the audience in the UK hit four million, 4.17m (36.9%) to be exact, at 14:30.

A small dip followed during the Safety Car period, but once racing resumed, the race peaked with 4.47m (37.7%) at 14:50 as Lewis Hamilton claimed a surprise victory. At the time of the peak, 3.66m (30.8%) were watching on free-to-air with Channel 4, with a further 812k (6.8%) watching via Sky’s F1 channel, a split of 82:18.

The combined peak audience of 4.47 million viewers is an increase of 159,000 viewers on last year’s 5-minute peak audience of 4.31m (35.4%), and an increase of over half a million viewers compared with 2016’s peak of 3.85m (32.2%).

The peak is higher than all but one peak from last year (USA) and higher than all but three peak figures from 2016 (Britain, Mexico, and Abu Dhabi). Channel 4 can take most of the credit for that given Sky’s year-on-year decreases.

Qualifying
Live coverage of qualifying aired on Channel 4 to an audience of 1.20m (13.1%), with a further 268k (2.8%) watching via Sky Sports F1.

The combined average audience of 1.47 million viewers is down slightly on last year’s audience of 1.59 million. However, the combined peak audience increased by over 200,000 viewers, from 2.21m (25.9%) in 2017 to 2.43m (24.4%) this year.

The 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.

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5 thoughts on “Formula 1 continues to spark in Baku

  1. This really seemed like a new low point for the TV coverage, the sound from the track has been bad since the change of engines a few years ago, a problem I am convinced could be fixed simply by adjusting the sound mix, turn up the circuit/camera mics and turn down the shouty commentators. During first qualifying the wrong circuit mics were in the mix, so the cars were silent as they passed by. Really this is unbelievable that they still get this wrong.

    The graphics still look like a work in progress ,with NO TIME appearing all over the place when it is patently not true, graphics overlapping, the stupid enormous speed display sliding in and out at random, the tower shuffling itself about all the time and obscuring the lap data, or the gap data or whatever.

    The various types of soft tyres are now all represented by an ‘S’ and a random colour, when a unique letter would be so much better.

    The TV presenters should openly ignore all celebrity guests and criticise poor camera shots (crowd, pit personnel, celebrity guests, drivers families etc) Mr DC does this to some degree, remember “we’re not going to find out looking at Massas’ brother”, more power to him, put him in charge.

    The early season onboard cameras that were pointing at the driver protection apparatus with no view of the track was very revealing of the thinking behind the TV camera work, they think we want to see the driver at work, and were surprised that people complained about the poor camera view. Either they had no clue that the camera needs to show the track, or they simply did not test it at all in the 3 or 4 years the halo has been coming for.

    The director misses so much, and it never gets shown, and all replays are in slow motion, which is just so wrong.

    They could learn a lot from the Australian Supercars coverage, which is really excellent in every way.

  2. I too have big issue with the graphics, the subtitles which I need, being deaf cover the top of the leader board completely on SD and on HD cover the two right hand digits. Still its been this way for many years, why bother to fix it now, as its my last season of being able to watch?

  3. Do your Sky figures include NowTV?
    I had that and gave up as the software kept crashing,and no one at NowTV has ever heard of F1. If they offered a package of the three days, I would have bought it as I told them repeatedly but to them sport just means football!
    No subtitles on NowTv either!

  4. Well it may spark! But to me dragging the car along the ground has never sounded like it increases speed.
    While the figures may have been slightly better, it is strongly rumoured that Flavs cut is about to end as the whole physical track package has been sold and that’s the end of Baku!

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