Scheduling: The 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix / Montreal ePrix

The 2017 Formula One season heads towards the last stop before the Summer break, the Hungarian Grand Prix. For one motor sport series though, the end of its current season is here…

This weekend marks the season three finale for the Formula E championship! Channel 5 and Spike will air the final two races, which take place in Montreal. For the second race in a row, scheduling is not great, with the series seemingly ‘demoted’ from Channel 5 to its sister channel Spike.

If it was not for a Spike Fight Night on the Saturday, the complete weekend would be airing on Spike, which suggests that Channel 5 is losing faith in the series, this coming off the back to the inaugural New York ePrix being shunted onto Channel 5’s Facebook page. The highlights of the season finale air on Channel 5 beyond midnight, the main channel taking a Dirty Dancing re-run.

Jack Nicholls is back to talk about the on track electric dancing, alongside Dario Franchitti in the Formula E commentary box. Back to the Formula 1 world, Lee McKenzie is back with Channel 4’s F1 team following her stints covering Wimbledon and the World Para Athletics Championship.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
29/07 – 18:00 to 19:30 – Qualifying Highlights
30/07 – 17:15 to 19:30 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
28/07 – 08:45 to 10:55 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
28/07 – 12:45 to 14:55 – Practice 2
29/07 – 09:45 to 11:10 – Practice 3 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
29/07 – 12:00 to 14:30 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
30/07 – 11:30 to 16:15 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 11:30 – Track Parade
=> 12:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 12:30 – Race
=> 15:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
26/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
27/07 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Driver Press Conference
27/07 – 20:00 to 20:15 – Paddock Uncut
28/07 – 15:30 to 16:30 – Team Press Conference
28/07 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The F1 Show
02/08 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
29/07 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
30/07 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula E – Montreal (online via Channel 5’s social media channels and YouTube)
29/07 – 12:55 to 14:10 – Race 1, Practice 1
29/07 – 15:25 to 16:10 – Race 1, Practice 2
30/07 – 12:55 to 14:10 – Race 2, Practice 1
30/07 – 15:25 to 16:10 – Race 2, Practice 2

Formula E – Montreal
29/07 – 16:45 to 18:10 – Race 1, Qualifying (Spike)
29/07 – 20:30 to 22:10 – Race 2 (Channel 5)
30/07 – 16:45 to 18:15 – Race 2, Qualifying (Spike)
30/07 – 20:30 to 22:15 – Race 2 (Spike)
30/07 – 00:35 to 01:15 – Race 2, Highlights (Channel 5)

British Touring Car Championship – Snetterton (ITV4)
30/07 – 10:45 to 18:00 – Races

Formula Two – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
28/07 – 10:55 to 11:40 – Practice
28/07 – 14:55 to 15:25 – Qualifying
29/07 – 14:55 to 16:25 – Race 1
30/07 – 09:15 to 10:30 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
29/07 – 08:25 to 08:55 – Qualifying
29/07 – 16:30 to 17:30 – Race 1
30/07 – 08:05 to 09:00 – Race 2

IndyCar Series  Mid-Ohio (BT Sport/ESPN)
30/07 – 20:00 to 23:00 – Race

Porsche Supercup – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
30/07 – 10:30 to 11:25 – Race

World Rally Championship – Finland
27/07 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Harju (BT Sport 1)
28/07 – 18:30 to 19:30 – Harju II (BT Sport 2)
28/07 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
29/07 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Ouninopoha (BT Sport/ESPN)
29/07 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 21:30 to 22:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (BT Sport 3)
30/07 – 08:00 to 09:00 – Oittila (BT Sport 1)
30/07 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Power Stage (BT Sport 1)
30/07 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 22:00 to 22:30 (BT Sport 3)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
01/08 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

As always, the above will be updated if anything changes.

Update on July 26th – One major update this afternoon. Martin Brundle will not be in the commentary box this weekend, as he is recovering from his Silverstone stomach bug. Expect Paul di Resta  or Anthony Davidson to be back in the co-commentator chair alongside David Croft. If it is Davidson, it will be their first live race commentary together since they were with the BBC from 2009 to 2011. Also, Jack Nicholls’ Formula E commentary means that John Hindhaugh fills his void for Sky Sports F1’s Porche Supercup coverage on Sunday.

Advertisements

Scheduling: The 2017 British Grand Prix / New York City ePrix

The 2017 Formula One season heads to Silverstone for the half stage of the championship, the British Grand Prix. For the second year in succession, the race clashes with the Wimbledon finals, which will not help domestic or international viewing figures. The weekend also symbolises the half way point of the current contract between Channel 4 and Formula One Management, with their three-year agreement due to end next season.

The free-to-air broadcaster will have a broad presentation team with David Coulthard, Mark Webber, Eddie Jordan, and Susie Wolff all alongside Steve Jones. However, Whisper Films will be without Lee McKenzie for the second race in a row, this time McKenzie is part of Channel 4’s coverage of the World Para Athletics Championships, which starts on Friday evening. The main supplementary offering from Channel 4 is the latest edition of F1 Meets, this time with 1992 champion Nigel Mansell.

Sky is without Anthony Davidson, as he is in Germany for the 6 Hours of Nürburgring. Expect the usual faces of Paul di Resta and Johnny Herbert to be back with Sky, whilst Natalie Pinkham and Rachel Brookes will be appearing. Sky is the main beneficiary of the hastily arranged four-day weekend, with Formula Two and GP3 practice moved to Thursday. To be honest, I am not sure how fans will benefit from the adjusted Silverstone schedule – it feels like an attempt by Liberty and the track to extract more money from the paying punter with very little in addition, but there you are.

Elsewhere, the penultimate weekend of Formula E takes place in New York, with Martin Haven, Bob Varsha and Dario Franchitti on commentary duty. As discussed already, Channel 5 are airing the first race of the weekend on tape-delay. No word yet if there will be any legal way for UK viewers to watch the race live.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
14/07 – 08:55 to 10:35 – Practice 1
14/07 – 12:55 to 15:00 – Practice 2
15/07 – 09:55 to 11:25 – Practice 3
15/07 – 11:55 to 14:30 – Qualifying
16/07 – 12:00 to 16:30 – Race
=> 12:00 – Build–Up
=> 12:35 – Race
=> 15:10 – Reaction

Supplementary Programming
15/07 – 11:25 to 11:55 – F1 Meets… Nigel Mansell

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
14/07 – 08:45 to 11:00 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports 1)
14/07 – 12:45 to 15:00 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports 1)
15/07 – 09:45 to 11:15 – Practice 3
15/07 – 12:00 to 14:30 – Qualifying
16/07 – 11:30 to 16:15 – Race (also Sky Sports 1)
=> 11:30 – Track Parade
=> 12:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 12:30 – Race
=> 15:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
12/07 – 18:00 to 21:00 – London Live (also Sky Sports 1 and Mix)
12/07 – 21:00 to 21:30 – F1 Report: Preview
13/07 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Driver Press Conference
13/07 – 18:00 to 19:00 – The F1 Show
13/07 – 21:15 to 21:30 – Paddock Uncut
14/07 – 16:35 to 17:30 – Team Press Conference
14/07 – 17:30 to 18:00 – The F1 Show
19/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
13/07 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
15/07 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
16/07 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula E – New York City (online via Channel 5’s social media channels and YouTube)
15/07 – 12:55 to 14:10 – Race 1, Practice 1
15/07 – 15:25 to 16:10 – Race 1, Practice 2
16/07 – 11:55 to 12:55 – Race 2, Practice

Formula E – New York City
15/07 – 16:45 to 18:10 – Race 1, Qualifying (Spike)
15/07 – 20:30 – Race 1 (Channel 5 Sport’s Facebook)
15/07 – 22:00 to 23:30 – Race 1 (Channel 5)
– note: airing on a one-hour tape delay
16/07 – 13:45 to 15:15 – Race 2, Qualifying (Spike)
16/07 – 17:30 to 19:10 – Race 2 (Channel 5)

Formula Two – Britain (Sky Sports F1)
13/07 – 16:00 to 16:45 – Practice
14/07 – 15:15 to 15:45 – Qualifying
15/07 – 14:55 to 16:25 – Race 1
16/07 – 09:15 to 10:30 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Britain (Sky Sports F1)
14/07 – 16:05 to 16:35 – Qualifying
15/07 – 16:25 to 17:25 – Race 1
16/07 – 07:55 to 08:50 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Toronto (BT Sport 1)
16/07 – 20:00 to 23:00 – Race

Porsche Supercup – Britain
16/07 – Race
=> 10:15 to 11:15 (Eurosport)
=> 10:30 to 11:10 (Sky Sports F1)

World Endurance Championship – Nürburgring
16/07 – Race
=> 11:30 to 18:45 (BT Sport 3)
=> 11:45 to 18:20 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 17:15 to 18:15 (Eurosport)

Given the late changes to the British schedule in recent weeks, there is a high probability of further additions, so please keep an eye on this post for any schedule changes.

Update on July 12th – As hinted at above, the schedule change is London Live! The event will be streamed online and aired on Sky Sports 1, F1 and Mix.

Update on July 13th – A familiar face to UK F1 television viewers is back for the first time in nine years this weekend, as Louise Goodman is the super substitute for Lee McKenzie.

Update on July 15th – At the eleventh hour, its been confirmed that Channel 5 will stream the first Formula E race this weekend via their Sport’s Facebook page.

Scheduling: The 2017 Austrian Grand Prix

The titanic battle between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton heads to central Europe for round nine of the 2017 Formula One championship, the Austrian Grand Prix.

Channel 4’s team will be missing Lee McKenzie for both the Austrian and British rounds of the season as she plays a part in the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage and Channel 4’s Women’s Euro 2017 programming. As of writing it has not been confirmed who is replacing McKenzie, last year it was Holly Samos who filled the role in her absence.

Elsewhere, the BBC’s presence on Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra is slim over the weekend. Thanks to Wimbledon and the second Test between England and South Africa, only the race itself will be broadcast live across the airwaves.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
08/07 – 17:30 to 19:00 – Qualifying Highlights
09/07 – 17:45 to 20:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
07/07 – 08:45 to 11:00 – Practice 1
07/07 – 12:45 to 14:55 – Practice 2
08/07 – 09:45 to 11:15 – Practice 3
08/07 – 12:00 to 14:30 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports 1)
09/07 – 11:30 to 16:15 – Race (also Sky Sports 1)
=> 11:30 – Track Parade
=> 12:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 12:30 – Race
=> 15:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
05/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
06/07 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Driver Press Conference
06/07 – 21:00 to 21:15 – Paddock Uncut
07/07 – 15:30 to 16:15 – Team Press Conference
07/07 – 16:15 to 16:45 – The F1 Show
12/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
09/07 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula Two – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
07/07 – 11:00 to 11:45 – Practice
07/07 – 14:55 to 15:25 – Qualifying
08/07 – 14:30 to 16:00 – Race 1
09/07 – 09:15 to 10:25 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
08/07 – 08:25 to 08:55 – Qualifying
08/07 – 16:05 to 17:05 – Race 1
09/07 – 08:05 to 09:00 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
09/07 – 10:25 to 11:05 – Race

IndyCar – Iowa 300 (BT Sport 1)
09/07 – 22:00 to 01:00 – Race

World Superbikes – Laguna Seca (Eurosport 2)
08/07 – 18:45 to 20:00 – Superpole
08/07 – 21:15 to 23:15 – Race 1
09/07 – 21:15 to 23:15 – Race 2

The above schedule will be updated if anything changes.

Looking at BBC’s 5 Live Formula 1 output

Throughout the past year and a half, most of focus on this site has been on the Formula 1 television coverage provided by Channel 4 and Sky Sports. If you have access to both of those channels, like myself, you probably do not consume much content that the third UK F1 broadcaster produces.

Whilst the BBC exited its Formula 1 television contract at the end of 2015, it extended its radio commitments until the end of 2021, also retaining a strong website presence. Jack Nicholls leads BBC’s radio coverage, with Tom Clarkson alongside him. Jennie Gow, Mark Gallagher and Allan McNish are the other regular experts, but this varies from race to race depending on their other commitments.

BBC’s 5 Live offering in terms of hours produced has stayed the same since the television team departed, but the resource involved has decreased. Cut backs meant that commentary on some of the fly away races occurred from 5 Live’s London studios. One race that fell into this category was the Canadian Grand Prix. Despite the obvious hurdles, the output that is as strong as ever.

At most races, a one-hour preview show airs preceding each race weekend, a staple of 5 Live’s programming since 2001. The Thursday show wraps up the day’s interviews along with some opinion and analysis, looking ahead to the weekend ahead. The BBC team was joined for the Canadian weekend by Nicholls’ former Blancpain sparring partner John Watson, Watson joining Nicholls in their London studio.

The main thing I appreciate about the preview show is the in-depth conversation that occurs. The preview show in Canada featured free-flowing conversation between Nicholls, Watson, Clarkson, and BBC website reporter Andrew Benson, as they discussed Ferrari’s Monaco race and Lance Stroll’s performances so far, this season (before his magnificent podium in Baku).

The big difference between commercial television and BBC 5 Live is that the latter can ‘afford’ to have chat of that nature, which the F1 team uses to their advantage. With commercial television, there is always pressure to get to the next feature or advert break, which is not an issue on radio. Yes, there may be pressure to hit the half hour news bulletin, but the pressure on commercial television producers is far greater in my view.

5 Live also airs live coverage of every practice session and qualifying, either online or through their digital radio station 5 Live Sports Extra, when there are no other sporting clashes. Their coverage focuses on the World Feed output only, with no additional analysis before or after the session. Additionally, the official F1 App takes the 5 Live commentary all season.

Most of the attention and resource is on the race itself, which can have up to half an hour of build-up, with some reaction provided afterwards. This amount is dependent on other sporting clashes, and with Formula 1 no longer on BBC television, motor sport inevitably it loses out in the event of a clash (as was the case one race later in Baku). Following the race, the team also produces a podcast for listeners to download.

Despite Nicholls and Watson presence in London, you would have not known that from a cursory glance at their commentary. If anything, the difference for being ‘off tube’ in 2017 is significantly less than twenty years ago. The BBC would have used a single monitor, a microphone and a ghost commentator back in the 1990s, whereas nowadays you have monitors showing multiple feeds (World Feed, on-board, driver tracker). There is also social media, which will help commentators (irrespective of location) gather facts if the World Feed does not pick something up. So being off site is less of a disadvantage in 2017 than previous eras.

The post-race discussion after the podium is concise, allowing 5 Live to head off to their next sporting commitment. However, the BBC team produces a post-race review show, also in podcast form for listeners to download, useful for the Monday morning commute. Whilst I listen to the podcast far less than what I probably should, on this occasion it is an enjoyable listen, with a variety of interviews from drivers and team personnel.

At 24 minutes in length for the Canada podcast, there is enough time to discuss the Mercedes and Ferrari battle, with discussion not just on Hamilton and Vettel, but also on the number two role that Valtteri Bottas played. The Force India squabbles (which boiled over one race later) and the contrasting fortunes of the Red Bull drivers were also up for discussion. The only disappointment is that Lance Stroll’s strong performance (at the time) only got a passing mention, so there is some restriction on the time length involved, the show is replayed overnight in a 30-minute slot, which may explain the restriction.

The BBC deciding to get out of their television contract at the end of 2015 inevitably had a knock on effect for their radio coverage, who no longer had the TV team alongside them to share personnel with. Nevertheless, BBC’s 5 Live output for Formula 1 remains remarkedly strong from a programming perspective despite the obvious funding constraints: yes, being in London for the flyaways is not an ideal situation, but on the other hand I’m grateful that we (as a result, you could argue) hear voices that we don’t usually hear – and I would be keen to hear Watson more in 5 Live’s output.

Scheduling: The 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The second Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit takes place this weekend, but on this occasion under the Azerbaijan Grand Prix banner. Last year’s race was the first to in Baku, but under the perhaps slightly dubious European Grand Prix banner.

With the Baku race starting at 14:00 UK time, MotoGP organisers over in Assen have moved their main attraction to 12:00 UK time, avoiding any potential overlap that may occur. Nevertheless, it will be a clash that Dorna and Liberty Media will be looking to avoid next year, as difficult as it is with many key motor sport events around this time of the year.

Channel 4 will again be broadcasting Baku live. If, like last year, the race turns into a ‘dud’, it will be their third live ‘dud’ in a row, following poor on-track showings in Russia and Monaco. Sky’s F1 action will be simulcast on Sky Sports 1, except for the final practice session.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
23/06 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1
23/06 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2
24/06 – 10:55 to 12:25 – Practice 3
24/06 – 12:55 to 15:30 – Qualifying
25/06 – 13:00 to 17:00 – Race
=> 13:00 – Build–Up
=> 13:35 – Race
=> 16:10 – Reaction

Supplementary Programming
24/06 – 12:25 to 12:55 – F1 Meets… Toto Wolff

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
23/06 – 09:45 to 11:50 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports 1)
23/06 – 13:45 to 15:55 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports 1)
24/06 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3
24/06 – 13:00 to 15:40 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports 1)
25/06 – 12:30 to 17:10 – Race (also Sky Sports 1)
=> 12:30 – Track Parade
=> 13:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 13:30 – Race
=> 16:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
21/06 – 20:50 to 21:20 – F1 Report: Preview
22/06 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Driver Press Conference
22/06 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
23/06 – 16:00 to 16:45 – Team Press Conference
23/06 – 16:45 to 17:15 – The F1 Show
28/06 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
22/06 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
23/06 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
23/06 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
24/06 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
25/06 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Assen (BT Sport 2)
23/06 – 08:00 to 15:00
=> 08:00 – Practice 1
=> 10:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 12:00 – Practice 2
24/06 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
25/06 – 07:30 to 09:15 – Warm Up
25/06 – 09:30 to 15:30
=> 09:30 – Moto3 race
=> 11:15 – MotoGP race
=> 13:15 – Moto2 race
=> 14:30 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Assen (Channel 5)
26/06 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

Formula Two – Europe (Sky Sports F1)
23/06 – 08:00 to 08:45 – Practice
23/06 – 12:00 to 12:45 – Qualifying
24/06 – 08:55 to 10:25 – Race 1
25/06 – 10:55 to 12:15 – Race 2

IndyCar – Road America (BT Sport/ESPN)
25/06 – 17:30 to 20:30 – Race

The above schedule will be updated if anything changes.

Update on June 23rd – There will be a further live show following Channel 4’s broadcast at 17:00 on the Channel 4 website, as confirmed on their Twitter.