Scheduling: The 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix / Paris E-Prix

Host of a thrilling race last year, the Baku Street Circuit returns in an earlier slot on the 2018 Formula One calendar.

Because of the domino effect surrounding France, it means that Baku takes the slot previously taken by Russia, with Russia moving into the late-September slot held by Malaysia; Malaysia of course no longer on the calendar for 2018.

The race weekend airs live on both Sky Sports and Channel 4. Eddie Jordan returns to Channel 4’s line-up for the first time in 2018, whilst Lee McKenzie returns after missing Bahrain and China.

Elsewhere, Formula E returns, but the race is only live on 5Spike this weekend. Channel 5’s main station at the same time is airing live coverage of the Premiership Rugby, whilst Eurosport’s duties are split between the World Snooker Championship and cycling’s Tour of Romandy.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
27/04 – 09:55 to 11:45 – Practice 1
27/04 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2
28/04 – 10:55 to 12:25 – Practice 3
28/04 – 12:55 to 15:45 – Qualifying
29/04 – 12:00 to 16:30 – Race
=> 12:00 – Build-Up
=> 12:40 – Race
=> 15:55 – Reaction

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
27/04 – 09:45 to 11:50 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
27/04 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2
28/04 – 10:45 to 12:15 – Practice 3
28/04 – 13:00 to 15:45 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
29/04 – 11:30 to 16:10 – Race
=> 11:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 12:30 – On the Grid
=> 13:05 – Race
=> 15:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
25/04 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview (also Sky Sports Mix)
26/04 – 12:00 to 12:30 – Driver Press Conference
26/04 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
28/04 – 15:45 to 16:20 – The F1 Show
02/05 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
26/04 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
27/04 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/04 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/04 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/04 – 13:55 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/04 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula E – Paris (online via YouTube)
28/04 – 06:55 to 07:55 – Practice 1
28/04 – 09:25 to 10:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Paris
28/04 – 10:30 to 12:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 10:30 – Preview
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
28/04 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Qualifying (5Spike)
28/04 – 14:30 to 16:20 – Race (5Spike)
28/04 – 16:35 to 18:00 – Race Delayed (Eurosport 2)
29/04 – 11:40 to 12:45 – Highlights (Channel 5)

British Touring Car Championship – Donington Park (ITV4)
29/04 – 10:40 to 18:20 – Races

Formula Two – Azerbaijan (Sky Sports F1)
27/04 – 07:55 to 08:55 – Practice
27/04 – 11:55 to 12:35 – Qualifying
28/04 – 08:55 to 10:10 – Race 1
29/04 – 10:05 to 11:05 – Race 2

World Rally Championship – Argentina
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
26/04 – 23:00 to 00:00 – Live: Stage 1 (BT Sport 1)
28/04 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 12:30 to 13:00 (BT Sport 2)
28/04 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Live: Stage 10 (BT Sport 2)
28/04 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Live: Stage 14 (BT Sport/ESPN)
29/04 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 12:30 to 13:00 (BT Sport 2)
29/04 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Live: Stage 16 (BT Sport 2)
29/04 – 16:00 to 17:30 – Live: Stage 18 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
30/04 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (BT Sport 1)
01/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

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

Advertisements

A quick-fire guide to your motor racing streaming services for 2018

Over the years, this site has tended to cover television coverage more than other forms of media, with weekly television schedules whenever there is a Formula 1 race on. The site also has a dedicated page covering all the key UK television and radio contracts.

But, alongside your traditional methods, many championships allow you to watch their action online. Here, we look at what each championship offers directly to the consumer, bypassing the broadcasters, or not as the case may be. This article is aimed at UK readers, but the information may be useful for overseas readers as well.

Note – This is an experimentation post and may not cover every single series out there. Please leave a comment if you find this useful and would like to see this repeated in future with updated information.

Dorna Sports (review)
The commercial rights holder for MotoGP and World Superbikes, Dorna Sports have over-the-top platforms for both. Every session, including support races, airs live on the over-the-top platform with a dedicated on-site team. Full-length replays are available if you missed the action first time round, with the fan able to view the action from a variety of on-board camera angles. Access to the respective platforms also unlock MotoGP’s and World Superbikes’ rich archive.

Available via desktop, Android and Apple devices, the MotoGP package is priced at £174.36 for the complete season, or £44.45 in four instalments. The World Superbikes offering is considerably cheaper than MotoGP at £60.98 for the season, or £13.00 per month. Even considering the smaller calendar, on a per-race weekend basis, the MotoGP price works out at £9.18, whilst the Superbikes offering is just £4.69, a sign of their respective popularity.

Formula E
Despite being one of the newer series in this list, surprisingly the electric Formula E championship does not have an over-the-top platform. Fans wanting to watch the action can find some live coverage on Formula E’s YouTube channel, but the availability depends on territory. UK fans can watch live practice on their YouTube channel, but no further than that.

The geo-blocking restrictions are lifted after the session for practice and qualifying, whilst full races are made available several weeks after the race, although one might argue that they have lost their value by that point in time. The lack of an over-the-top platform currently may come and bite them back in a few years’ time, especially considering the recent developments from Formula 1.

Formula One Management
Announced in February, Formula 1 has confirmed that their streaming service will launch ready for the Spanish Grand Prix in May. At launch, F1 TV Pro will be available via desktop and will only contain Formula 1 coverage; with other devices, and the appearance of the feeder series’ coming later in the year.

However, UK fans will not have access to the premium version due to the television agreements already in place. Barring some form of new arrangement between Formula One Management and Sky, do not expect UK fans to be able to access F1 TV Pro until 2025. F1 TV Access though, is another question…

GT Sport Organisation
GT Sport created and is responsible for the Euroformula Open and the International GT Open, both of which air live in the UK on BT Sport.

As with other championships on a similar footing, GT Sport live streams the action on their two YouTube channels, covering qualifying and the race: EuroFormulaOpen and GTOPENseries. English commentary comes from Ben Evans, who fans in the UK may recognise from BT Sport’s IndyCar coverage.

IndyCar
Unlike Supercars below, IndyCar does not currently offer an over-the-top product for overseas fans of the championship. Race Control only extends as far as live timing, but no visual imagery is involved. However, its social media offering is comprehensive, with live streaming of its feeder Indy Lights series, as well as live action from practice via their various outlets.

For fans without access to BT Sport, the full US race programme from either ABC, ESPN or NBC is uploaded to IndyCar’s YouTube channel around four days after the event. With IndyCar’s domestic rights in the US changing for 2019 in NBC’s favour, the streaming picture could change as well.

SRO Motorsports Group
Not to be confused with GT Sport’s portfolio of championships, SRO Motorsports Group is the commercial rights holder for several of the leading GT championships worldwide. If you are into GT racing, the GTWorld YouTube channel, operated by SRO, is the place to be.

It is on YouTube where SRO live stream the likes of the Blancpain GT Series and the British GT, for free. In addition, the Blancpain website plays host to live streaming of the GT Series.

Supercars
Not in Australia? No problem. The Virgin Australia Supercars streaming service SuperView gives fans outside of Australia the ability to live stream, rewind and replay every Supercars qualifying and race session in 2018. The restriction that previously applied to the Australian Grand Prix weekend was lifted for 2018, meaning that all events are now available on the service.

Priced at £32.80 based on the current conversion rate for the complete season, SuperView is a steal if you are looking to watch some motor racing action at your leisure throughout 2018. With 16 races across the year, the series costs UK fans just £2.05 per race weekend.

World Rally Championship (review)
From 2018, rally fans can view every World Rally Championship stage live. For £7.79 a month, or £77.98 for a complete year, fans can watch every stage either live or on-demand across a variety of devices.

However, you can only do that up and until the next rally comes along: there is no way to view the ‘All Live’ content once it disappears from the schedule a few days after the event finishes. Whilst the live element is great, WRC’s over-the-top product is still rough around the edges which is worth bearing in mind if you are unlikely to watch the action in a timely fashion. Nevertheless, WRC’s pricing structure remain extremely good value for money.

Are there any other major championships that have streaming capability that I have not mentioned? Have your say in the comments below.

Scheduling: The 2018 Chinese Grand Prix / Rome E-Prix

The Chinese Grand Prix plays host to round three of the 2018 Formula One season from the Shanghai International Circuit.

Sky Sports F1’s coverage sees the return of Anthony Davidson for the first time this season. In what might be a first for their coverage, every on-track session is simulcast live on Sky Sports Main Event.

Over on Channel 4, Louise Goodman is the super substitute this weekend for Lee McKenzie. McKenzie returns to Channel 4’s output in Azerbaijan. Aside from the race starting ten minutes later, Saturday’s on-track action takes place one hour earlier than last year.

Formula E heads to Rome for the first time, with the action airing live on 5Spike and Eurosport. In Channel 5’s defence, the race clashes with live coverage of the Premiership Rugby, hence why Formula E finds itself on Channel 5’s sister station again.

Elsewhere, the Euroformula and International GT series’ return to BT Sport for the start of the 2018 season.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
14/04 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Qualifying Highlights
15/04 – 14:15 to 16:30 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions (also Sky Sports Main Event)
13/04 – 02:45 to 04:50 – Practice 1
13/04 – 06:45 to 08:50 – Practice 2
14/04 – 03:45 to 05:15 – Practice 3
14/04 – 06:00 to 08:45 – Qualifying
=> 06:00 – Pre-Show
=> 06:55 – Qualifying
15/04 – 05:30 to 10:10 – Race
=> 05:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 06:30 – On the Grid
=> 07:05 – Race
=> 09:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
11/04 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview (also Sky Sports Mix)
12/04 – 08:00 to 09:00 – Driver Press Conference
12/04 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
14/04 – 08:45 to 09:20 – The F1 Show (also Sky Sports Main Event)
18/04 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview

BBC Radio F1
12/04 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
13/04 – 02:55 to 04:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13/04 – 06:55 to 08:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14/04 – 03:55 to 05:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14/04 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
15/04 – 06:30 to 09:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula E – Rome (online via YouTube)
14/04 – 06:55 to 07:55 – Practice 1
14/04 – 09:25 to 10:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Rome
14/04 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Qualifying (5Spike)
14/04 – 14:30 to 16:15 – Race (5Spike)
14/04 – 13:45 to 16:15 (Eurosport)
=> 13:45 – Qualifying
=> 14:45 – Race
15/04 – 11:50 to 12:50 – Highlights (Channel 5)

British Superbikes – Brands Hatch
14/04 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
15/04 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Races (Eurosport 2)
18/04 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

Euroformula – Estoril
14/04 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport X2)
15/04 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport 1)

European Le Mans Series – Le Castellet (Motorsport.tv)
15/04 – Race
=> 10:45 to 13:00
=> 15:00 to 16:00
=> 18:00 to 19:30

IndyCar Series – Long Beach (BT Sport/ESPN)
15/04 – 21:00 to 00:00 – Race

International GT Open – Estoril (BT Sport/ESPN)
14/04 – 15:00 to 16:45 – Race 1 (BT Sport/ESPN)
15/04 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Race 2 (BT Sport 1)

World Superbikes – Aragon
14/04 – 09:00 to 14:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
15/04 – 10:00 to 13:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
17/04 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

The above will be updated if anything changes.

Update on April 13th – As several people have pointed out, it is FOM’s feeder series commentator Alex Jacques in the 5 Live commentary box today. Jacques will remain there for tomorrow, with Jack Nicholls returning for the F1 race on Sunday.

Scheduling: The 2018 Qatar MotoGP / Punta del Este E-Prix

The excitement, anticipation and tension has reached fever pitch on the eve of the new MotoGP season, which begins in Qatar!

Whether you are listening to the MotoGP app, or to BT Sport’s television coverage, the soundtrack to your weekend will be different, following the retirements of Nick Harris and Julian Ryder from the paddock at the end of 2017.

Simon Crafar, who raced in MotoGP and World Superbikes in the 1990s, partners Steve Day on the MotoGP World Feed, whilst Neil Hodgson will commentate on the 19 MotoGP races alongside Keith Huewen for BT Sport.

Ex-MotoGP rider Michael Laverty joins BT’s team for six races in 2018, with more an emphasis on the analytical side of things from BT this year. BT have overhauled their Friday offering, with a full presentation team now covering the action on practice day, and a 15-minute wrap-up show in the evening.

Suzi Perry continues to present BT’s coverage, covering 14 rounds, with Craig Doyle hosting the remainder.

MotoGP highlights programme remains on Channel 5 for 2018, however highlights from Qatar do not air until Wednesday evening, which seems like a waste on Channel 5’s behalf given that there are diminishing returns the further away from live you air.

Elsewhere, Punta del Este is the next stop on the Formula E calendar, replacing Sao Paolo which was meant to fill this slot. Live action returns to Channel 5 for the first time since Marrakesh in January.

MotoGP – Qatar (BT Sport 2)
16/03 – 09:30 to 17:15 – Practice 1 and 2
17/03 – 09:30 to 12:30 – Practice 3
17/03 – 13:00 to 17:30 – Qualifying
18/03 – 10:30 to 18:00
=> 10:30 – Warm Ups
=> 12:15 – Moto3
=> 14:00 – Moto2
=> 15:30 – MotoGP
=> 17:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Qatar (Channel 5)
21/03 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

Formula E – Punta del Este (online via YouTube)
17/03 – 10:55 to 11:55 – Practice 1
17/03 – 13:25 to 14:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Punta del Este
17/03 – 14:45 to 16:15 – Qualifying (5Spike)
17/03 – 17:30 to 20:10 (Eurosport 2)
=> 17:30 – Preview
=> 18:05 – Qualifying
=> 19:00 – Race
17/03 – 18:30 to 20:10 – Race (Channel 5)

Asia Talent Cup – Qatar (BT Sport 2)
17/03 – 17:30 to 18:30 – Race 1
18/03 – 09:45 to 10:30 – Race 2

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

Formula E highlights on BBC’s platforms “a one-off” – for now

Eagle eyed readers and followers of this site will have spotted that highlights from the Mexico City E-Prix appeared across the BBC’s platforms after the Formula E race last weekend.

The short-form content appeared on the BBC Sport website, as well as their social media channels, prompting speculation that the two sides had agreed some sort of deal. However, this site can confirm that there is no formal agreement yet between the BBC and Formula E, yet.

Speaking to this site, a BBC spokesperson said “The video was used as a one-off, rather than as part of a longer-term rights deal.”

The one-off video appearance was likely brokered by marketing firm CSM, whose partnership with Formula E has resulted in Formula E content appearing on a variety of UK-based news websites, including The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mirror.

On the television front, Channel 5’s free-to-air contract with Formula E expires at the end of the current season in July, with no word yet on the series’ destination from season five.

Mexico City E-Prix shows why Formula E needs free-to-air
The E-Prix itself, won by Daniel Abt, peaked with just under 150,000 viewers on Saturday evening according to overnight viewing figures.

Live coverage of the race aired on 5Spike from 21:30 to 23:20, averaging 63k (0.4%). Eurosport 2’s coverage added a further 26k (0.16%), bringing the combined audience for the live race showing to 89,000 viewers.

At its peak, 103k (0.7%) watched the race on 5Spike, with 45k (0.3%) on Eurosport 2. Both 5Spike and Eurosport 2’s viewing shares were in the same ballpark to 1.d.p. between Santiago and Mexico City, even though the latter E-Prix was aired in highlights form on Channel 5 the following morning.

For Santiago, Channel 5 did not air a highlights show on its main channel, whereas for Mexico they opted to do so. Channel 5’s Mexico City E-Prix highlights programme averaged 202k (2.6%) on Sunday morning from 10:45 to 11:50, peaking with 254k (3.2%), marginally above the slot average.

The numbers suggest that the highlights programme attracted ‘new’ viewers, who were unaware that the race aired live on 5Spike the previous evening, showing why Formula E needs prominence on free-to-air television, otherwise races fly under the radar. Three races have aired on 5Spike, and all have peaked with fewer than 200,000 viewers.

If Formula E wants to become mainstream in the UK, it needs to look closely at turning deals with the likes of the BBC permanent, even if it is not necessarily a television deal with the broadcaster. By giving Formula E a ‘shop window’, the exposure of the series increases, hopefully boosting television viewing figures in the medium to long term.

overnights.tv-bannersF1