Scheduling: The 2018 United States Grand Prix / Japanese MotoGP

“And Lewis Hamilton is a five-time Formula 1 champion!”

Well, nearly. Just 56 laps on Sunday stand in the way between him and potentially his fifth Formula 1 championship. The United States Grand Prix airs live across Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1, with Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event also getting involved in the fun.

If Hamilton wraps up the championship in America, it will almost certainly be the final time the F1 championship is finalised live on free-to-air television, until at least 2025 because of the new deal that comes into effect from 2019 onwards.

There are several points of note for Channel 4’s coverage this weekend. As in previous years where they have aired an American round live, Friday practice airs on More 4. In a decision from the sensible scheduling department, motor racing film Rush, which focuses on the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda airs following practice two on More 4.

Channel 4 is also transitioning from practice three on Saturday straight into their live qualifying show, with a 90-minute build-up currently scheduled. I should note that provisional schedules suggested that a Lewis Hamilton special would air from 20:30 to 21:00, but that has not materialised in the final schedule cut.

On the personnel front, Tom Clarkson is Lee McKenzie’s super-sub for this round, whilst Martin Brundle returns to the Sky Sports F1 commentary box after a two-race absence.

Over in Japan, Marc Marquez has the chance to become MotoGP champion for the third year in succession, with all the action airing exclusively live on BT Sport 2.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
19/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (More4)
19/10 – 19:55 to 21:35 – Practice 2 (More4)
20/10 – 18:55 to 23:35
=> 18:55 – Practice 3
=> 20:30 – Qualifying
21/10 – 18:00 to 22:15 – Race
=> 18:00 – Build-Up
=> 18:40 – Race
=> 21:15 – Reaction

Supplementary Programming
19/10 – 21:35 to 00:00 – FILM: Rush (More4)

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
19/10 – 15:45 to 17:50 – Practice 1
19/10 – 19:45 to 21:50 – Practice 2
20/10 – 18:45 to 20:15 – Practice 3
20/10 – 21:00 to 23:30 – Qualifying (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 21:00 – Pre-Show
=> 21:55 – Qualifying
21/10 – 17:30 to 22:10 – Race
=> 17:30 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky One)
=> 18:30 – On the Grid (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 19:05 – Race (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 21:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
18/10 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Driver Press Conference
18/10 – 23:00 to 23:30 – Welcome to the Weekend (also Sky Sports Main Event)
20/10 – 23:30 to 00:00 – The F1 Show (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)

BBC Radio F1
18/10 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
19/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
20/10 – 21:55 to 23:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
21/10 – 19:00 to 21:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Japan (BT Sport 2)
19/10 – 00:45 to 08:15 – Practice 1 and 2
20/10 – 01:00 to 08:15
=> 01:00 – Practice 3
=> 04:00 – Qualifying
21/10 – 00:30 to 07:15
=> 00:30 – Warm Ups
=> 02:15 – Moto3
=> 04:00 – Moto2
=> 05:30 – MotoGP

MotoGP – Japan (Channel 5)
22/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

Asia Talent Cup – Motegi (BT Sport 2)
19/10 – 08:15 to 09:15 – Race 1
20/10 – 08:15 to 09:15 – Race 2

Euroformula – Barcelona
20/10 – 13:30 to 14:30 – Race 1 (BT Sport X2)
21/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)

Formula Renault Eurocup – Barcelona
20/10 – 11:30 to 12:45 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
21/10 – 15:45 to 17:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport X2)

International GT Open – Barcelona (BT Sport X2)
20/10 – 14:30 to 16:00 – Race 1
21/10 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Race 2

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

Advertisements

Hamilton’s Suzuka dominance peaks with three million viewers

A peak audience of three million viewers watched Lewis Hamilton continue his Formula 1 winning streak during last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, overnight viewing figures show.

As referenced in previous articles, overnight audience figures are known as ‘live and VOSDAL (video on same day as live)’, meaning that the figures account for anyone who watched the race before 02:00 the next morning. Figures exclude those who watched via on demand platforms such as All 4 and Sky Go.

Race
Channel 4’s live airing of the race from 05:00 to 08:35, covering the build-up and the race itself, averaged 617k (21.8%), peaking with 1.13m (26.2%). This is the first time Channel 4 have aired Japan live, meaning that the comparison is with BBC One’s coverage in 2015. Their average audience decreased by 33.3 percent, with the peak audience by 26.8 percent.

Of note, Channel 4’s build-up to the race struggled badly relatively speaking, averaging 163k (13.1%) from 05:00 to 06:00, compared with 432k (41.7%) for the equivalent BBC One slot in 2015, a consequence of Channel 4 opting to split their race day programme into three sections, which is larger than usual here.

Live coverage also aired across three of Sky’s outlets to a combined weighted audience of 412k (14.4%), an increase of nearly 150,000 viewers compared with their 2015 average across two channels of 276k (10.9%). Sky’s coverage peaked with 725k (15.9%) at 07:40 across Sky Sports F1, Main Event and Sky 1.

The dedicated F1 channel brought in 337k (12.0%) from 05:00 to 08:30, with Main Event adding a further 81k (2.5%), joining Sky Sports F1 on-air from 06:05. An audience of 21k (0.8%) watched Sky 1’s simulcast from 05:30 to 08:30.

A combined peak audience of 1.84m (40.4%) watched Channel 4 and Sky’s live airings as Hamilton won the Grand Prix, this figure including those that watched the live broadcast later in the day. At the time of the split, the audience was split 61:39 in Channel 4’s favour. In comparison, the live airing in 2015 across BBC and Sky peaked with 2.00m (48.8%), a decrease of 9.1 percent.

In an early afternoon time slot, 874k (10.7%) watched Channel 4’s highlights programme from 12:30 to 15:15, a decrease of 39.5 percent on the BBC’s highlights programme from 2015. Channel 4’s show peaked with 1.17m (13.4%) at 14:40.

Whilst Channel 4’s figures are not great compared to previous Japanese races, compared to their own slot averages, the live F1 broadcasts will have brought in four or five times their usual breakfast audience, so one may consider the figures a success based on those metrics.

The combined average audience of 1.90 million viewers is the lowest for Japan on record, and considerably down on last year’s average audience of 2.42 million viewers, and back in-line with 2016’s average of 1.97 million viewers. It is the lowest average audience since France, which averaged 1.60 million viewers.

Across both live and highlights, the Suzuka round peaked with 3.01 million viewers, a decrease on last year’s figure of 3.28 million viewers, but a comfortable increase on the 2016 peak audience of 2.79 million viewers, when the race aired exclusively live on Sky Sports.

Qualifying
Like the race, coverage of qualifying aired live across Channel 4 and three of Sky’s television outlets.

Channel 4’s live broadcast of qualifying averaged 439k (16.9%) from 06:00 to 08:35, with Sky’s coverage averaging 237k (8.6%) across a slightly shorter time slot. 199k (7.2%) watched their programme on Sky Sports F1, whilst both the Main Event and Sky One simulcasts averaged an identical 19k (0.7%).

Across both channels, a peak audience of 1.25m (25.8%) watched the live qualifying broadcast, the audience split 844k (17.5%) versus 403k (8.3%) in Channel 4’s favour as Hamilton grabbed pole.

Later in the morning, highlights on Channel 4 brought in 442k (7.0%) from 10:30 to 12:35, peaking with 655k (10.0%) at 11:55.

Compared to previous years, qualifying struggled, with a combined average audience of 1.12 million viewers, the lowest average for Japan in 2007. The combined peak audience of 1.90 million is down on last year’s peak figure, but an increase on the 2016 peak audience of 1.84 million viewers.

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

overnights.tv-bannersF1

Russian Grand Prix struggles to bring in the viewers

Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the Russian Grand Prix struggled compared to the first two-thirds of the 2018 season so far, overnight viewing figures suggest.

Comparisons with previous years should be taken at face value and in the context of the slot the race was in. In 2014 and 2015, the race occurred in October, before moving to an April slot for the 2016 running. Now, the Grand Prix moves back to late-September.

In addition, last year’s race aired live on Channel 4, whereas this year the broadcaster aired highlights, as they did in 2016.

Race
Sky Sports F1’s live coverage of the Grand Prix averaged 490k (6.0%) from 11:00 to 14:30, their highest average for Russia since 2015. An average of 490,000 viewers in isolation looks low compared to other races this season, but is a reasonable number for Russia.

Nevertheless, it is Sky’s third lowest average of 2018, only ahead of Australia and Austria. In 2016, Sky’s coverage from Sochi averaged 470k (4.9%), with last year’s shared coverage bringing in 447k (4.5%).

For whatever reason, the Sochi race has never traditionally brought the punters in, whether it is because viewers know the race track is poor, or whether it has been simply unlucky with other competition.

One reason Russia may be unusually low is because of its start time, which caught viewers out again this year, as Sky’s audience increased throughout the race. The race started at 12:15 with 778k (10.3%), climbing past 800k at 12:35 and peaking with 918k (10.2%) at 13:35.

The peak audience of 918k is Sky’s second highest ever for Russia, only behind 2014 which peaked with 985k (8.2%) when BBC One also aired live coverage. This year, the competition was the bi-annual Ryder Cup golf tournament, which will have taken some viewers away from the Grand Prix.

Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor left Channel 4’s highlights programme picking up the scraps on Sunday evening. An audience of just 1.82m (9.1%) tuned into their show from 18:45 to 21:00, the broadcaster’s lowest F1 race day number since Austria in July.

Channel 4’s broadcast peaked with 2.32m (12.1%) at 19:15, just before the dancing started on BBC One. There might be an argument here that Channel 4 should have scheduled the F1 from 16:45 to 19:30, which the current contract allows them the privilege of doing so. Saying that, the qualifying number throws this train of thought into the river…

The combined average audience of 2.31 million viewers is the lowest for Russia on record, down 4.1 percent and 2.4 percent on 2016 and 2017’s average audiences. Whilst not a good number, the audience figure is not abnormal for Russia, either. The combined peak audience of 3.24 million viewers is also a low for Russia, a decrease of 0.2 percent and 5.8 percent on 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Qualifying
In a year where viewing figures have continued to decline on the whole for qualifying, the pattern continued in Russia.

Live coverage of qualifying on Sky Sports F1 averaged 232k (3.6%) from 12:00 to 14:35, an increase on last year’s figure of 197k (2.6%) when Channel 4 also aired the action live, but down on their 2016 audience of 275k (3.6%).

Channel 4’s highlights programme from 16:30 to 18:30 averaged a low 867k (7.5%), one of their lowest ever audiences for qualifying. Sporting competition was tough for them last Saturday, facing both the Ryder Cup on Sky Sports F1 and coverage of Chelsea versus Liverpool on BT Sport.

Sky’s programme peaked with 472k (6.8%) as Valtteri Bottas clinched pole, with Channel 4’s show peaking with 1.35m (10.7%) later in the afternoon.

The combined audience of 1.10 million viewers is the lowest ever for Russia, and the lowest for qualifying since the Canadian Grand Prix in June.

Formula 1 was lucky to have a close championship race, throughout the Summer months, keeping audiences engaged during the latter stages of the World Cup and through into Belgium and Italy.

Now, as Hamilton drives off into the distance, the wheels appear to be falling off the wagon, and not for the first time either. Time will tell as to whether viewing figures can recover for the final hurdle towards Abu Dhabi.

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

overnights.tv-bannersF1

Scheduling: The 2018 Japanese Grand Prix / Thailand MotoGP

Lewis Hamilton and Marc Marquez look to take another leap towards their respective championships as Formula 1 and MotoGP head east this weekend. For MotoGP, this year marks their first visit to Thailand, whilst Formula 1’s drivers tackle the Suzuka International Circuit in Japan.

The Japanese F1 round is live on free-to-air television for the first time since 2015, with Channel 4 covering all the action. In addition, both Lee McKenzie and Susie Wolff return to Channel 4’s line-up.

Over on Sky, Martin Brundle continues his absence, returning in Austin next time out. On the scheduling front, Sky are simulcasting their F1 coverage across both Sky Sports Main Event and Sky 1 at various points during the weekend.

With the F1 race from Suzuka starting at 06:10 UK time, and the MotoGP race from Buriram starting at 08:00 UK time, any delay or red flag situation to the F1 will see it overspill into MotoGP’s time slot, there really is very little room to manoeuvre.

The World Rally Championship returns to Wales, and with it does extended coverage on Channel 5. In previous years, Channel 4 aired the Power Stage live as well as daily highlights from the first two days. The latter continues, but the former airs on tape-delay at lunchtime, as the Power Stage this year starts at 08:00.

Elsewhere, fans of the Australian Supercars series will be disappointed to learn that, following the demise of Motorsport.tv’s television network, the Bathurst 1000 will not air live in the UK, with no sign of it appearing elsewhere.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
05/10 – 01:55 to 03:35 – Practice 1
05/10 – 05:55 to 07:35 – Practice 2
06/10 – 03:45 to 05:10 – Practice 3
06/10 – 06:00 to 08:35 – Qualifying
06/10 – 10:30 to 12:30 – Qualifying Replay
07/10 – 05:00 to 09:30 – Race
=> 05:00 – Build-Up
=> 06:00 – Race
=> 08:30 – Reaction
07/10 – 12:30 to 15:15 – Race Replay

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
05/10 – 01:45 to 03:50 – Practice 1
05/10 – 05:45 to 07:50 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
06/10 – 03:45 to 05:15 – Practice 3 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
06/10 – 06:00 to 08:30 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One)
=> 06:00 – Pre-Show
=> 06:55 – Qualifying
07/10 – 04:30 to 09:10 – Race
=> 04:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 05:30 – On the Grid (also Sky One)
=> 06:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One)
=> 08:30 – Paddock Live (also Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One)

Supplementary Programming
04/10 – 07:00 to 07:30 – Driver Press Conference
04/10 – 10:00 to 10:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
06/10 – 08:30 to 09:00 – The F1 Show (also Sky Sports Main Event)
10/10 – 19:00 to 21:00 – F1 eSports Pro Series (also Sky Sports Mix)

BBC Radio F1
04/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
05/10 – 01:55 to 03:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
05/10 – 05:55 to 07:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
06/10 – 03:55 to 05:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
06/10 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
07/10 – 06:00 to 08:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Thailand (BT Sport 2)
05/10 – 02:45 to 10:15 – Practice 1 and 2
06/10 – 03:00 to 10:15
=> 03:00 – Practice 3
=> 06:00 – Qualifying
07/10 – 02:30 to 10:00
=> 02:30 – Warm Ups
=> 04:15 – Moto3
=> 06:00 – Moto2
=> 07:30 – MotoGP
=> 09:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Thailand (Channel 5)
09/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

Asia Talent Cup – Thailand (BT Sport 2)
06/10 – 10:15 to 11:15 – Race 1

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport 3)
06/10 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

World Rally Championship – Britain
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
05/10 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 00:00 to 00:30 (BT Sport 3)
=> 00:20 to 00:45 (Channel 5)
06/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Live: Stage 14 (BT Sport 2)
06/10 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 22:45 to 23:15 (BT Sport 2)
=> 00:05 to 00:35 (Channel 5)
07/10 – 08:00 to 09:30 – Live: Stage 19 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
07/10 – 12:00 to 13:30 – Delayed: Stage [Power Stage] (Channel 5)
07/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Live: Stage 23 (BT Sport 2)
07/10 – 23:00 to 23:30 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
08/10 – 00:00 to 01:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

Update on October 7th – A few points for future reference on Channel 5’s WRC coverage. Their daily highlights on Friday and Saturday night ended up airing in a Saturday and Sunday morning slot respectively. Furthermore, Sunday’s programme was live, covering Stage 23 (when it eventually started) as opposed to delayed coverage of the Power Stage.

Scheduling: The 2018 Russian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton aims to leave this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix with one hand on the 2018 Formula One championship, as the paddock heads to the Sochi Autodrom for round 16 of the season.

The race airs exclusively live on Sky Sports, and with it there are some changes to usual proceedings. Martin Brundle steps aside for Russia, as well as the Japanese round next weekend. His replacement is unconfirmed as of writing, but expect Paul di Resta to step up again to commentate alongside David Croft for qualifying and the race.

On the scheduling front, Sky have again demoted the first Formula Two race of the weekend, as they did in Hungary, in favour of The F1 Show. The action airs on a tape-delay instead, which when you consider that two British drivers are battling for the championship shows how little some elements of Sky F1 care about the series.

There is no sign yet of Formula Two appearing live behind the Red Button, but I will update this article if the situation changes. A feature with di Resta and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo from Singapore gets an extended cut on Sky Sports F1 over the Russian weekend, first airing on Thursday evening.

Tom Clarkson joins Channel 4’s team for the weekend, substituting for Lee McKenzize, who is winding down her F1 commitments. Over on 5 Live, coverage is primarily on Sports Extra throughout the weekend due to the Ryder Cup. Also, a reminder for anyone watching the F1 race live, it starts earlier than usual at 12:10 UK time.

Outside of the Formula 1 circles, the British Touring Car Championship ends its season at Brands Hatch, whilst the British Superbike season continues its Showdown phase over in the Netherlands for its annual Assen pilgrimage.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
29/09 – 16:30 to 18:30 – Qualifying Highlights
30/09 – 18:45 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
28/09 – 08:45 to 10:55 – Practice 1
28/09 – 12:45 to 14:50 – Practice 2
29/09 – 09:45 to 11:15 – Practice 3
29/09 – 12:00 to 14:35 – Qualifying
=> 12:00 – Pre-Show
=> 12:55 – Qualifying
30/09 – 10:30 to 15:10 – Race
=> 10:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 11:30 – On the Grid
=> 12:05 – Race
=> 14:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
27/09 – 11:00 to 11:30 – Driver Press Conference
27/09 – 16:00 to 16:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
27/09 – 18:30 to 19:00 – When Daniel Met Paul
29/09 – 14:35 to 15:05 – The F1 Show

BBC Radio F1
27/09 – 20:30 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
28/09 – 08:55 to 10:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/09 – 12:55 to 14:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/09 – 09:55 to 11:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/09 – 12:55 to 14:55 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
30/09 – 12:00 to 13:55 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

British Superbikes – Assen
29/09 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
30/09 – 10:30 to 14:15 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
30/09 – 15:15 to 17:30 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
03/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch (ITV4)
30/09 – 10:30 to 18:30 – Races

Formula Two – Russia (Sky Sports F1)
28/09 – 10:55 to 11:45 – Practice
28/09 – 14:50 to 15:30 – Qualifying
29/09 – 15:05 to 16:20 – Race 1 (tape delay)
30/09 – 09:15 to 10:20 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Russia (Sky Sports F1)
28/09 – 15:45 to 16:25 – Qualifying
29/09 – 08:10 to 09:05 – Race 1
30/09 – 08:00 to 08:45 – Race 2

World Superbikes – Magny Cours
28/09 – 08:40 onwards (Eurosport 2)
=> 08:40 to 09:30 – SBK: Practice 1
=> 10:45 to 12:15 – SBK: Practice
29/09 – 09:00 to 14:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
30/09 – 14:15 to 15:15 – Support and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
04/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

World Touring Car Cup – China (Eurosport 2)
30/09 – 03:00 to 04:00 – Qualifying
30/09 – 07:00 to 09:00 – Races
=> 07:00 – Race 2
=> 08:00 – Race 3

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.