F1 TV launches, UK fans get access to rich archive

F1 TV has this evening (Wednesday 9th May) launched for fans worldwide, with fans in the United Kingdom gaining access to Formula One Management’s (FOM) rich archive.

The over-the-top service comes in two forms: a Pro version where fans can watch live 2018 race action, and a basic Access version, where fans can access archive material. UK readers have access to that basic product, but not the premium level tier.

At launch, 72 races are available to watch in their entirety for viewers on a near worldwide basis:

  • 2017 – Bahrain, Spain, Azerbaijan, Belgium, USA
  • 2016 – Spain, Austria, Malaysia, Brazil, Abu Dhabi
  • 2015 – Bahrain, Britain, Hungary, USA
  • 2014 – Bahrain, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Abu Dhabi
  • 2013 – Australia, China, Bahrain, Britain
  • 2012 – Spain, Abu Dhabi, USA, Brazil
  • 2011 – Monaco, Canada, Italy, Japan
  • 2010 – Australia, Turkey, Canada, Belgium, Abu Dhabi
  • 2009 – Australia, Germany, Belgium, Brazil
  • 2008 – Britain, Italy, Belgium, Brazil
  • 2007 – Canada, USA, Brazil
  • 2006 – Bahrain, Turkey
  • 2005 – San Marino, Monaco, Europe, Japan
  • 2004 – Bahrain, USA, France, Belgium, Brazil
  • 2003 – Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, Britain
  • 2002 – Malaysia
  • 2001 – Malaysia, Brazil, Austria
  • 2000 – Germany
  • 1999 – France, Europe, Malaysia
  • 1998 – Belgium
  • 1997 – Hungary

Every race from 2002 onwards has highlights on F1 TV, taken either from the DVD season review of the time, or more recently from highlights uploaded to the F1 YouTube channel.

The archive starts to shrink prior to 2002 with only a few archive races present, but this will no doubt increase over time. Outside of the documentaries, the earliest archive footage is from the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Each of the races covered runs from the start of the five-minute introduction, through to the end of the press conference, with UK commentary provided (ITV until 2008, BBC from 2009 to 2011, and Sky from 2012 onwards).

Alongside the race archive, F1’s over-the-top service also contains documentaries that Sky have aired on their UK channel since 2012, such as Legends of F1, Tales from the Vault and Architects of F1. However, these documentaries are only available to those outside of the UK and Ireland.

Fans in the UK can purchase F1 TV Access for £2.29 a month, or a discounted £17.99 across the whole year.

Better than anticipated for UK fans
When F1 TV was first announced in February, it was unclear whether UK fans would have any access to the over-the-top service. As it turns out, UK have access to the rich archive at least.

The full-length races that FOM have added are like those Sky have aired as part of their Classic F1 strand of programming, although there are some differences. Over time the number of classic races will increase, in the same way that WWE’s Network has grown substantially since launch.

Uploading every classic race from 1981 onwards in the very beginning would be bad business from FOM. The logical method to upload the races would be through a series of ‘drops’, based on the season or a given theme (i.e. every race in the 1999 season, or every Malaysian Grand Prix).

This way, F1 can promotion the uploads via their social media channels, driving attention towards the service. At some stage, F1 needs to strongly consider having a @F1TV social media presence to promote content, especially as the service matures. The launch so far appears to be deliberately low-key.

Every click gives F1 access to viewing statistics, including not only the video watched, but also how long the fan continued to watch the video for, helping FOM to influence future content additions further down the line. There are some key additions that need to occur (such as the ability to search based off tags and a no spoiler option).

It is great to see F1 TV off the ground, both Access and Pro, for those have access to the latter. Now, it is time to see the platform grow and mature…

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15 thoughts on “F1 TV launches, UK fans get access to rich archive

  1. There might be 72 races listed but they don’t seem to all be available to watch. But, early days. If this gets up & bug free it’ll be a great resource…

      • I went back to 1997 initially. Hungaroring is listed but doesn’t play (iPhone SE). Only some races are listed with an embedded thumbnail & these ones play but most just have a button that says race -these ones don’t play. Just had a look there now & the contact page is all in Spanish although my settings are definitely English…

  2. Wow! £20 per year or £2.29 per month subscription – that’s pretty reasonable. I guess that will increase when the Sky deal runs out and they can OTT broadcast races live, but I’d say it bodes well for UK customers…

  3. Great news. I think once the Apple TV app is released ill subscribe then when my sky subscription runs out ill cancel it, watch highlights on youtube then watch the full races when they make it to the archive. Big saving!

  4. Hi David ! Any idea when the live broadcast of the support races will become available (I live in Belgium so I have access to F1 TV Pro) – I subscribed today but was disappointed to learn that the F2, GP3 races will not stream this weekend – support could not tell me when that will be the case so I hope you have more information? thanks a lot in advance

  5. Has anyone looked through the archive? I can watch Spa 98 from the editor pick menu but not from the archive. Anyone else experience this?

    • I can watch Spa 98 from the Archive, Hungaroring 97 also plays for me. I suspect that it’s a compatibility issue with your device rather than races not being added to the archive. My laptop doesn’t like it much when I go full screen, there were a lot of buffering issues with F1 TV Live yesterday apparently, not a successful launch.
      I’ve used the live timing app for a few years and that rarely goes through a weekend without problems, so I wouldn’t hold out much hope of a fault free TV service anytime soon.

      • Thanks Andy. Must be a device issue. I was able to look up what 97 race on my laptop, email the address to my phone & then watch it. But, I can’t open it from the archive! Weird.

  6. F1 TV are keen to promote the unseen material and original content that the archive offers. This content is only contained in the camera tape footage, the pit lane and paddock material shot by FOCA cameramen and international broadcasters every year since 1982 and residing unseen and un-catalogued in the Biggin Hill archive. The rough estimate is that this material totals in the region of 120,000 hours.
    Liberty seem to have no plans either to research this material or turn it into content. One leading Liberty executive recently described this material as worthless. Fortunately the producers of Senna a few years ago had the opposite view..
    Ignore this material, and all F1 archive fans are left with are the World Feed coverage and SKY features that have been seen a thousand times across so many different outlets.
    The digitisation of the early part of the archive is already complete despite what F1 TV tells us. All it requires is imagination to bring it to a clearly enthusiastic audience.
    Drip feeding material that is already in any fans library , with no attempt to add value, is patronising and no way to launch a high profile digital service. ,

  7. How only having access to an archive of old races a good deal for UK fans? What we want is to see the current races IN FULL not highlights on you tube. Thanks to Bernie’s stuff the fans I’m all right Jack deal with Sky UK fans can no longer watch F1 after 2018 unless they pay rip off prices to greedy Sky. We deserve better than this so come on Liberty get F1TV pro available to UK viewers. Viewing figures in UK have plummeted since Sky took over and will continue to fall after 2018. Sponsors are only interested if someone is going to see them being advertised on the cars. No viewers will mean no sponsors. No sponsors means no F1. The races don’t have to be broadcast live they just need to be available a short time after to keep most people on board.

    Apart from very rare unavoidable exceptions I’ve watched every F1 race for the last 25 years but come 2019 no more. Will I come back after a 6 year wait maybe but probably not.

    So come on Liberty. Bernie sold us out without a second’s hesitation, don’t you let us down too.

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