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.

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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.

Channel 5 set to air inaugural New York City ePrix on tape-delay

Channel 5 will air coverage of the first ever Formula E race from New York on tape-delay, schedules for the broadcaster show.

The New York double-header takes place across the weekend of Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th July. With Channel 5 airing Blind Date at 20:00 and Big Brother at 21:00 on Saturday, it means that the first New York City ePrix will be airing on tape-delay from 22:00 to 23:30, an hour after the race starts at 21:00 UK time (16:00 EST).

The news is contrary to the press release issued at the start of the season claiming that Channel 5 would air every race live. It is unknown at this stage whether the race will be streamed online for UK fans, and air live on BT Sport, as was the case with last year’s Mexico City ePrix. Live coverage of the second race will air on Channel 5 as usual from 17:30 to 19:10 on Sunday.

I can understand why Channel 5 have prioritised their hits: they are a commercial television channel and should air their highest rated programmes in the best slots. And whilst Big Brother is on the decline, there is no doubt that it would rate higher than Formula E would in that slot next weekend. However, one argument is that Channel 5 should have adjusted their schedule, bringing Blind Date forward to 19:30 (the first few episodes aired at 19:00) and pushing Big Brother back to 22:10 (the ailing reality TV series has aired as late as 22:30 this series).

As an alternative, Formula E could air live from 20:30 to 22:00 on Spike on the Saturday prior to Bellator, with extra post-race analysis contained within the Channel 5 repeat. So, Channel 5 have some options available to them. I am hopeful that this can resolved to allow UK viewers to see the first New York City ePrix race live.

Update on July 15th – At almost the eleventh hour, it has been announced that the first race will be broadcast live on Channel 5 Sport’s Facebook page. Clearly not an ideal situation for either them or Formula E, the late announcement implies that there has been some back and forth between the channel and the championship.

Scheduling: The 2017 Canadian Grand Prix

The 2017 Formula One season heads to North America, for the Canadian Grand Prix!

It is a busy week coming up: a UK general election, an international football weekend, whilst the British and Irish Lions rugby tour continues. All this means that Formula 1 is down the list in terms of headlines domestically, which will more than likely result in lower ratings for the Grand Prix year-on-year.

Channel 4’s highlights programme on Sunday starts at 22:30. The time is not unusual for an American-based round, but what is unusual is the 15-minute programme before it, billed as ‘Hamilton vs Vettel’ looking at their rivalry. It suggests that Channel 4 are contractually obliged to air highlights on or after 22:30, otherwise the show would have started at 22:15. Sky is simulcasting their race coverage on Sky Sports 2.

Karun Chandhok will not be a part of Channel 4’s team in Canada due to his Le Mans commitments. As of writing, it is unknown who, if anyone, is replacing him. Last year, Holly Samos replaced Lee McKenzie when McKenzie was covering events for the BBC so it is possible that Samos may step in again.

Over on Sky, Rachel Brookes is back in for Natalie Pinkham, who returned in Spain. Brookes will be covering the flyaway races for Sky with Pinkham covering the European based races, the exception being Silverstone where both will be on-site.

As if to compound matters for Formula 1, there is also a Formula E double header and MotoGP this weekend. I know you cannot always avoid clashes but this is a particularly heavy weekend on the sporting front. On the Formula E front, Martin Haven is back in the box alongside Bob Varsha and Dario Franchitti.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
10/06 – 22:30 to 00:00 – Qualifying Highlights
11/06 – 22:30 to 00:35 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
09/06 – 14:45 to 16:45 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports 1)
09/06 – 18:45 to 20:55 – Practice 2
10/06 – 14:45 to 16:10 – Practice 3
10/06 – 17:00 to 19:40 – Qualifying
11/06 – 17:30 to 22:10 – Race
=> 17:30 – Track Parade
=> 18:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 18:30 – Race (also Sky Sports 2)
=> 21:30 – Paddock Live (also Sky Sports 2)

Supplementary Programming
07/06 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
08/06 – 16:00 to 17:00 – Driver Press Conference
08/06 – 19:45 to 20:00 – Paddock Uncut
09/06 – 21:00 to 21:40 – Team Press Conference
09/06 – 21:40 to 22:10 – The F1 Show
14/06 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
08/06 – 21:00 to 21:55 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
10/06 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Qualifying Updates (BBC Radio 5 Live)
11/06 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

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

MotoGP – Barcelona (Channel 5)
12/06 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

British Touring Car Championship – Croft (ITV4)
11/06 – 11:15 to 18:00 – Races

Euroformula – Paul Ricard (BT Sport 3)
10/06 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Race 1
11/06 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Race 2

Formula E – Berlin (online via Channel 5’s social media channels and YouTube)
10/06 – 06:55 to 07:55 – Race 1, Practice 1
10/06 – 09:25 to 10:10 – Race 1, Practice 2
11/06 – 06:55 to 07:55 – Race 2, Practice 1
11/06 – 09:25 to 10:10 – Race 2, Practice 2

Formula E – Berlin
10/06 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Race 1, Qualifying (Spike)
10/06 – 14:30 to 14:15 – Race 1 (Channel 5)
11/06 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Race 2, Qualifying (Spike)
11/06 – 14:30 to 14:15 – Race 2 (Channel 5)

IndyCar Series  Texas 600 (BT Sport 1)
10/06 (Sunday morning) – 01:00 to 04:00 – Race

International GT Open – Paul Ricard (BT Sport 3)
10/06 – 15:00 to 16:45 – Race 1
11/06 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Race 2

Speedway Grand Prix – Czech Republic (BT Sport 2)
10/06 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

World Rally Championship – Italy
09/06 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 21:30 to 22:00 (BT Sport 2)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
10/06 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport/ESPN)
10/06 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 21:30 to 22:00 (BT Sport 2)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
11/06 – 08:00 to 09:00 – Stage 2 (BT Sport 1)
11/06 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Power Stage (BT Sport 1)
11/06 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 21:30 to 22:00 (BT Sport 3)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
13/06 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Rallycross Championship – Norway (Motorsport.tv)
11/06 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race

If anything changes, the above schedule will be updated.

Update on June 10th – The Hamilton vs Vettel filler on Channel 4 has now been replaced with a 15-minute Gogglebox filler.

Alonso effect helps IndyCar’s UK audience soar to six-year high

The Indianapolis 500 started in fine fashion last weekend, with the IndyCar Series recording its highest UK audiences in nearly six years, overnight viewing figures show.

Indy qualifying impresses
Live coverage of the first day of qualifying, broadcast on Saturday evening from 21:00 to 00:00 on BT Sport/ESPN, averaged 44k (0.31%). The scheduled slot from 21:00 to 23:00 averaged 45k (0.27%), meaning that the audience stayed very stable during the overrun.

Coverage started relatively low, with an audience of 14k (0.06%) watching at 21:10. This quickly built up though, hitting 30k at 21:25, 40k at 21:50 and then peaking with an excellent 68k (0.41%) at 22:05. Audiences stayed above 50k until 22:55, partly attributed to Sebastian Bourdais’ horrific crash, which stopped the session for around 40 minutes.

The audience for day one is the highest ever for the IndyCar series on BT Sport, and the highest since Sky Sports’ broadcast of the 2011 Indianapolis 500. Viewing figures dropped for day two of qualifying. An average audience of 29k (0.17%) watched qualifying on BT Sport/ESPN from 21:00 to 23:00 on Sunday evening, peaking with 43k (0.26%), again during the segment when Fernando Alonso was on circuit.

Although there is a larger audience around on Sunday evenings, coverage of on-track action was sporadic: Saturday had action without commercials from 21:00 until Bourdais’ crash at around 22:30, giving a chance for the audience to build. On the other hand, Sunday’s qualifying programme had twenty minutes with no on-track action from 21:40 to 22:00, which would have depleted viewing figures.

Next Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 is likely to be the biggest figure for an American domestic motor race in a generation in the UK, with more than 100,000 viewers expected. It is difficult to be more specific than that at this stage as warm weather is likely to knock audiences.

Formula E jumps to second highest figure of season
It was a good weekend as well for the electric Formula E championship. Round six of the season took place last Saturday in Paris. The race, which aired live on Channel 5 from 14:30 to 16:20, averaged 381k (4.4%), peaking with 468k. Last year’s action from Paris, which aired on ITV4, peaked with 187k (2.1%) in a similar time slot.

It is the highest share of the season for Formula E and the second highest audience of the season, behind Buenos Aires. It is also comfortably the highest non-London race ever for the championship (also beating part one of last year’s London ePrix which aired on ITV).

Whilst it is too early to say whether the championship is drawing in new viewers as this is just one race in isolation, the audience figure for Paris is an encouraging sign for the series. Formula E should be able to maintain some momentum going forward, with no elongated gaps between now and the end of the season.

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