Scheduling: The 2017 Singapore Grand Prix

The fly-away races begin for the Formula 1 paddock with the Singapore Grand Prix! It is Singapore’s tenth race since it returned to the calendar in 2008. The race will air live across Channel 4 and Sky, which is great news as Singapore is one of the longest races on the calendar, meaning it receives a brutal edit when not covered live on free-to-air television.

Channel 4 have two special programmes during the weekend. The first is their usual F1 Meets output, this time Lee McKenzie interviews Sir Jackie Stewart. The special edition of Speed with Guy Martin also airs this weekend as he becomes part of the Williams team for the Belgian Grand Prix weekend. North One Television have turned the programme around quickly, with just a three-week gap between Belgium and transmission. I am slightly surprised that Channel 4 have not held this back until October and November, but at the same time it will have more of an impact airing closer to the filming date.

Singapore will play host to one of Channel 4’s stronger line-ups this year with Eddie Jordan and Mark Webber alongside Steve Jones and David Coulthard. Over on Sky, Rachel Brookes was due to return to their output for the fly-away races, except she has been ruled out through knee injury, so viewers will hear more of Craig Slater this weekend. Brookes joins NBC’s Jason Swales on the side lines, Swales having broken his ankle over the Summer break. Get well soon both!

There is no Formula Two or GP3 action in Singapore, both championships return in three weeks’ time from Jerez. This weekend does mark the end of the IndyCar Series season, with four drivers in contention for the crown, as always, the action is live on BT Sport.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
15/09 – 09:25 to 11:05 – Practice 1
15/09 – 13:25 to 15:05 – Practice 2
16/09 – 10:55 to 12:25 – Practice 3
16/09 – 12:55 to 15:45 – Qualifying
17/09 – 12:00 to 16:15 – Race
=> 12:00 – Build–Up
=> 12:35 – Race
=> 15:10 – Reaction

Supplementary Programming
16/09 – 12:25 to 12:55 – F1 Meets… Jackie Stewart
17/09 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Speed with Guy Martin: F1 Challenge

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

Supplementary Programming
13/09 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
14/09 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Driver Press Conference
14/09 – 23:45 to 00:00 – Paddock Uncut
15/09 – 15:15 to 16:00 – Team Press Conference
15/09 – 16:00 to 16:30 – The F1 Show
20/09 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
14/09 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
15/09 – 09:25 to 11:05 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
15/09 – 13:25 to 15:05 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
16/09 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
16/09 – 13:55 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
17/09 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Blancpain Sprint Series – Nurburgring
16/09 – 12:45 to 14:15 – Qualifying Race (BT Sport 3)
17/09 – 13:45 to 16:00 – Championship Race (BT Sport/ESPN)

British Superbikes – Oulton Park
16/09 – 16:00 to 18:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
17/09 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
17/09 – 16:00 to 18:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
20/09 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Silverstone (ITV4)
17/09 – 11:00 to 18:30 – Races

FIM CEV Repsol – Jerez
17/09 – Races
=> 09:45 to 13:45 (BT Sport/ESPN)
=> 13:45 to 15:00 (BT Sport X3)

Formula V8 3.5 – Austin (BT Sport 3)
16/09 – 14:45 to 15:45 – Race 1
17/09 – 15:45 to 17:00 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Sonoma (BT Sport/ESPN)
17/09 – 23:30 to 02:30 – Race

World Endurance Championship – Austin
16/09 – Race
=> 17:30 to 00:45 (BT Sport X3)
=> 17:45 to 00:20 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 17:50 to 21:55 (Eurosport)
=> 22:30 to 00:15 (Eurosport)

World Superbikes – Portimao
16/09 – 10:45 to 16:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
17/09 – 10:45 to 13:00 – Support Races (Eurosport 2)
17/09 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
19/09 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

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BT Sport likely to retain UK TV rights for MotoGP

BT Sport look likely to continue broadcasting live coverage of MotoGP beyond their existing contract, this site can exclusively reveal.

There have been rumours in recent months that BT Sport may be embroiled in a battle with Sky Sports to continue showing the championship beyond 2018, with Dorna apparently looking elsewhere. But Dorna, who are MotoGP’s commercial rights holder, have told this site that they are “very happy” with BT’s coverage. BT won the UK television rights to MotoGP in 2013, ending the BBC’s free-to-air coverage. Since then, live action has aired on pay television in the UK, with free-to-air highlights switching from ITV4 to Channel 5 more recently.

According to overnight viewing figures supplied by Overnights.tv, BT Sport’s live coverage has averaged 117k (1.3%) on race-day for the first half of 2017, 186k (1.8%) for the MotoGP race itself, regularly peaking with around 250,000 viewers. Channel 5’s highlights have averaged 446k (2.5%) at the half way stage of the season. BT’s television audiences are marginally down year-on-year, whilst Channel 5 is up by 40 percent on ITV4’s numbers from one year ago.

Speaking to me during the British Grand Prix weekend, Manel Arroyo, Dorna’s Managing Director for Media said “We are talking with BT, to extend the relationship. We are comfortable and happy with the work that has been delivered by BT. We’re very happy with the evolution of live coverage on BT compared with the BBC previously. The existing format, where we have full live coverage on BT Sport, with highlights on free-to-air, can continue in the future. We’re talking to BT at the moment.”

Perhaps an indirect worry is that the attendance for the British round of the championship was the lowest for many years, with 56,008 showing up on Sunday compared with 73,000 for the past two years. Arroyo defended the direction taken by the championship in recent years to switch from a free-to-air model to pay in various territories, noting that it is the wider industry trend and it brings opportunities for future expansion. “For me, it is not just about the money. The pay TV platforms have tools that allow fans to have a better, more expansive experience than on linear TV.”

“Pay TV gives you the possibility to have multiscreen, more data. It is a path that we started many years ago, it is the new world and the new way that fans can watch races. We still play some of our content on free-to-air, but clearly there is a switch to digital platforms. What Dorna is doing is trying to be aware of what is going on in the market and preparing for everything,” Arroyo noted.

Beyond the next television deal in the UK, there is the much wider question of whether exclusive MotoGP programming may play out on the likes of Amazon Prime or Netflix in the future. “We are aware of these services,” Arroyo said. “We haven’t been talking to Netflix, as they have said that they are not going to invest in sports, but Amazon and other social networks for sure. The live content must be paid, as it costs a lot of money to produce the quality that we offer to our fans. It is something that we need to work on seriously moving forward.”

There will be further quotes from Arroyo on this site in the next week.

Scheduling: The 2017 Italian Grand Prix

The 2017 Formula One season heads to the last stop on the European calendar, the Italian Grand Prix! The race will air live on Sky Sports F1 and their Main Event channel, with highlights on Channel 4. After this round, the next highlights programme for Channel 4 is not until Japan, with both Singapore and Malaysia live on free-to-air television.

On the Sky side of things, Johnny Herbert is back with the team, having been absent since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June. Also on Sky, as noted last week, is a new show called The Inside Line. The show, produced by Inverleigh, airs on other Sky channels around the world, so it is probably little surprise to see it turn up on the UK version.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
02/09 – 17:30 to 19:00 – Qualifying Highlights
03/09 – 17:45 to 20:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
01/09 – 08:45 to 10:55 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
01/09 – 12:45 to 14:55 – Practice 2
02/09 – 09:45 to 11:15 – Practice 3
02/09 – 12:00 to 14:40 – Qualifying
03/09 – 11:30 to 16:10 – Race
=> 11:30 – Track Parade (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 12:00 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 12:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 15:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
31/08 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Driver Press Conference
31/08 – 18:15 to 18:30 – Paddock Uncut
01/09 – 15:50 to 16:35 – Team Press Conference
01/09 – 16:35 to 17:05 – The F1 Show
06/09 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
01/09 – 08:55 to 10:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
02/09 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
03/09 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Euroformula – Silverstone (BT Sport 2)
02/09 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Race 1
03/09 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Race 2

Formula Two – Italy (Sky Sports F1)
01/09 – 10:55 to 11:40 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
01/09 – 15:20 to 15:50 – Qualifying
02/09 – 14:55 to 16:25 – Race 1
03/09 – 09:10 to 10:25 – Race 2

Formula V8 3.5 – Mexico City
02/09 – 22:30 to 23:45 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
03/09 – 15:30 to 17:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport 2)

GP3 Series – Italy (Sky Sports F1)
02/09 – 08:45 to 09:20 – Qualifying
02/09 – 16:45 to 17:45 – Race 1
03/09 – 07:55 to 08:50 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Watkins Glen (BT Sport/ESPN)
03/09 – 18:00 to 21:00 – Race

International GT Open – Silverstone (BT Sport 2)
02/09 – 15:00 to 16:30 – Race 1
03/09 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Italy
03/09 – Race
=> 10:25 to 11:20 (Sky Sports F1)
=> 10:30 to 11:30 (Eurosport 2)

World Endurance Championship – Mexico City
03/09 – Race
=> 17:45 to 00:20 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 18:30 to 01:30 (BT Sport 3)

The above schedule will be updated if anything changes.

Scheduling: The 2017 Belgian Grand Prix / British MotoGP

After a four-week Summer break, the Formula One season roars back into life at the classic Spa Francorchamps circuit for the Belgian Grand Prix! The race will air live on Channel 4 and Sky Sports, both channels with their usual offering throughout.

Mark Webber and Susie Wolff will be part of Channel 4’s team for the weekend, whilst Martin Brundle is expected to be back with Sky following his recent illness, although this has yet to be confirmed. The schedule for Spa remains at three days in length (no more four-day experiments, yet), although GP3 qualifying moves to a Friday evening time slot, and the weekend sees an extra dosage of Porsche Supercup action.

For the second year in a row, the British round of the MotoGP championship finds itself clashing with a Formula 1 race. Last year the race clashed with the Italian Grand Prix, this year the clash is with Belgium, partially because the race has moved forward to the Bank Holiday weekend. Again, I will be reporting for this site from Silverstone, so keep an eye over the weekend and afterwards for interviews and news from the MotoGP paddock.

Channel 5’s MotoGP highlights time have been shunted out of primetime and onto a different day, thanks to cricket highlights of the second test between England and the Windies. I understand why cricket takes priority in this instance, but if Channel 5’s agreement with Dorna does not allow highlights to air on Spike, then that is a major flaw in the contract, meaning that the viewing figures for the series suffer as a result.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
25/08 – 08:55 to 10:35 – Practice 1
25/08 – 12:55 to 14:35 – Practice 2
26/08 – 09:55 to 11:25 – Practice 3
26/08 – 11:55 to 14:30 – Qualifying
27/08 – 12:00 to 16:00 – Race
=> 12:00 – Build–Up
=> 12:35 – Race
=> 15:10 – Reaction

Supplementary Programming
26/08 – 11:25 to 11:55 – F1 Meets… David Coulthard

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
25/08 – 08:45 to 10:55 – Practice 1
25/08 – 12:45 to 15:00 – Practice 2
26/08 – 09:45 to 11:15 – Practice 3
26/08 – 12:00 to 14:40 – Qualifying
27/08 – 11:30 to 16:15 – Race
=> 11:30 – Track Parade
=> 12:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 12:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Mix)
=> 15:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
23/08 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
24/08 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Driver Press Conference
24/08 – 19:45 to 20:00 – Paddock Uncut
25/08 – 16:40 to 17:30 – Team Press Conference
25/08 – 17:30 to 18:00 – The F1 Show
26/08 – 14:40 to 14:55 – Lewis Hamilton Quiz
30/08 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
24/08 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
27/08 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Britain (BT Sport 2)
25/08 – 09:00 to 16:00
=> 09:00 – Practice 1
=> 11:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 13:00 – Practice 2
26/08 – 09:00 to 16:15
=> 09:00 – Practice 3
=> 12:00 – Qualifying
27/08 – 09:45 to 17:30
=> 09:45 – Warm-Up
=> 11:30 – Moto3 race
=> 13:30 – Moto2 race
=> 15:15 – MotoGP race
=> 16:30 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Britain (Channel 5)
29/08 – 00:00 to 01:00 – Highlights

Blancpain Sprint Series – Budapest
26/08 – 14:30 to 16:15 – Qualifying Race (BT Sport 3)
27/08 – 12:30 to 14:45 – Championship Race (BT Sport/ESPN)

British Touring Car Championship – Rockingham (ITV4)
27/08 – 10:45 to 17:45 – Races

European Le Mans Series – Paul Ricard (Motorsport.tv)
27/08  10:45 to 15:20  Race

Formula Renault Eurocup – Paul Ricard
26/08 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 1)
27/08 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)

Formula Two – Belgium (Sky Sports F1)
25/08 – 10:55 to 11:40 – Practice
25/08 – 15:20 to 15:50 – Qualifying
26/08 – 14:55 to 16:05 – Race 1
27/08 – 09:10 to 10:25 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Belgium (Sky Sports F1)
25/08 – 16:10 to 16:40 – Qualifying
26/08 – 16:30 to 17:30 – Race 1
27/08 – 07:55 to 08:50 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Gateway 500 (BT Sport/ESPN)
27/08 (Saturday night) – 02:00 to 05:00 – Race

Porsche Supercup – Belgium
26/08 – Race 1
=> 17:30 to 18:30 (Eurosport)
=> 17:30 to 18:25 (Sky Sports F1)
27/08 – Race 2
=> 10:15 to 11:15 (Eurosport)
=> 10:25 to 11:20 (Sky Sports F1)

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport 1)
26/08 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

Update on August 24th – A new show has appeared in Sky’s F1 schedule, called Lewis Hamilton Quiz. Presumably based off this feature that is airing during their coverage this weekend. With all due respect, I am pretty glad I am missing that.

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 – 17:00 to 19:15 – 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.

Update on July 28th – Sky confirmed during their practice coverage that di Resta would be alongside Croft in the commentary box. Furthermore, Channel 4’s coverage on Sunday has been brought forward by 15 minutes to 17:00 to allow for further build-up towards the England vs France football match.

Update on July 29th at 11:50 – Sky do not appear to be having any luck this weekend, as Paul di Resta is replacing Felipe Massa in the Williams from qualifying onwards. So, it looks like Davidson or Damon Hill will be alongside Croft, unless he goes solo for qualifying and the race, which would be unusual.

Update on July 29th at 12:10 – Confirmation from Sky that Davidson will be alongside Croft for the rest of the weekend in the commentary box. Great news!