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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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 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.

519,000 viewers watch Le Mans climax

The 24 Hours of Le Mans performed well in the United Kingdom over the weekend despite hot weather depleting the total available audience, overnight viewing figures show.

Live coverage of the race aired across Eurosport, Quest TV and ITV4. Eurosport and Quest TV had the same arrangements as 2015 and 2016, with Eurosport airing the whole race live. ITV4 joined the fray this year, airing the last four and a half hours live. The viewing figures in this piece exclude those who watched via the Eurosport Player, FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) App or via other online means.

The race from 13:45 on Saturday to 14:15 on Sunday averaged 98k (1.6%), when taking into account the various outlets, an increase on last year’s number of 73k (0.9%) and in-line with 2015‘s average audience of 98k (1.5%). To be level with 2015’s number, despite a live presence from ITV4 could appear disappointing, but television over the weekend took a hit due to the weather.

Eurosport’s coverage of the complete race averaged 58k (0.99%) from 13:45 on Saturday, peaking with 166k (2.52%) as the race ended at 14:00 on Sunday. Their 2016 average is in-line with last year’s number of 60k (0.79%), although the audience share is significantly up. Both metrics are down on 2015, which averaged 70k (1.1%).

For the second year in a row, Quest TV’s coverage struggled compared to 2015, with all their shows recording under 100,000 viewers. An audience of 89k (1.59%) watched the race start on Quest from 13:30 to 15:30 on Saturday, whilst 98k (0.66%) watched their evening update.

Quest TV’s Sunday programming struggled badly, suggesting a significantly overlap between their demographic and ITV4’s core audience. Quest’s Sunday update at 10:00 averaged just 14k (0.25%), with the race conclusion from 13:00 to 14:30 averaging 39k (0.62%). Certainly, the evidence would suggest that live coverage should air on Quest or ITV4, but not both at the same time.

ITV4’s live programme on Sunday aired from 09:30 to 14:30 and averaged 146k (2.4%). Considering that the broadcasters’ coverage was relatively unadvertised, with little promotion from series organisers, this is a solid number. ITV4’s coverage grew to a peak of 284k (4.3%) at 14:00.

The combined peak audience of 519k (7.9%) came on Sunday at 14:00 as the race ended, with 284k watching on ITV4, 166k on Eurosport and a further 69k on Quest TV. It is the highest Le Mans peak in the UK for many years, with an excellent combined share as well across the three networks.

However, whilst it is great to see Le Mans broadcast on three networks, there is evidence to suggest that one network with full live coverage and another free-to-air network broadcasting some action live. Assuming there are no clashes, I think the free-to-air network in question should be ITV4 given that the network reaches more viewers than Quest.

Most of the talent working on Quest’s coverage had either or currently do work on ITV4’s motor sport portfolio, so it would make sense to rationalise the output with emphasis on promoting ITV4’s live coverage as well. To the contrary though, Quest is part of the Discovery family (which Eurosport is a part of), so they get Le Mans as a ‘freebie’ to promote Eurosport’s programming which Discovery would probably be keen to keep.

The 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans ratings report can be found here.

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