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.

Advertisements

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 Bahrain Grand Prix

Both Formula 1 and MotoGP remain outside of Europe, as both championships embrace round two of their respective seasons.

For MotoGP, it is a trip to South America for the Argentine round of the series, whilst Formula 1 heads to the Bahrain International Circuit. The action from Bahrain airs live across Sky Sports and Channel 4 for the third year in succession.

With Channel 4’s Lee McKenzie reducing her Formula 1 commitments further this season, her former BBC F1 colleague Tom Clarkson is super substitute, for Bahrain at least. Mark Webber and Susie Wolff join Steve Jones in Bahrain. The channel’s free-to-air race day schedule changes slightly for 2018 to cater for the F1 race starting ten minutes later than in previous years.

The Formula Two season roars into life in Bahrain, with races on Saturday and Sunday. Elsewhere, the British Superbikes returns on Easter Monday (April 2nd) at Donington Park, with action remaining live on Eurosport. Rachel Stringer joins the team as race reporter, Stringer having previously covered a variety of events for the BBC and BT Sport.

Both the domestic and world touring car series’ return as well, although the latter has a new name. The former World Touring Car Championship is back, but now known as the World Touring Car Cup as the series no longer has manufacturer participation.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
06/04 – 11:55 to 14:10 – Practice 1
06/04 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 2 (More4)
07/04 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Practice 3
07/04 – 14:55 to 17:45 – Qualifying
08/04 – 15:00 to 18:45 – Race
=> 15:00 – Build-Up
=> 15:45 – Race
=> 18:20 – Reaction

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
06/04 – 11:45 to 13:50 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event from 12:00)
06/04 – 15:45 to 17:50 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
07/04 – 12:45 to 14:15 – Practice 3
07/04 – 15:00 to 17:45 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Mix)
=> 15:00 – Pre-Show
=> 15:55 – Qualifying
08/04 – 14:30 to 18:55 – Race
=> 14:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 15:30 – On the Grid
=> 16:05 – Race
=> 18:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
04/04 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview
05/04 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Driver Press Conference
05/04 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
07/04 – 17:45 to 18:20 – The F1 Show
11/04 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Review (also Sky Sports Mix)

BBC Radio F1
05/04 – 20:00 to 20:30 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
06/04 – 11:55 to 13:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
07/04 – 12:55 to 14:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
07/04 – 15:55 to 17:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
08/04 – 16:00 to 19:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

MotoGP – Argentina (BT Sport 2)
06/04 – 12:45 to 20:15 – Practice 1 and 2
07/04 – 12:45 to 20:15
=> 12:45 – Practice 3
=> 16:00 – Qualifying
08/04 – 13:30 to 21:00
=> 13:30 – Warm Ups
=> 15:15 – Moto3
=> 17:00 – Moto2
=> 18:30 – MotoGP
=> 20:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Argentina (Channel 5)
10/04 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

British Superbikes – Donington Park
01/04 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
02/04 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
04/04 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch (ITV4)
08/04 – 10:15 to 18:20 – Races

Formula Two – Bahrain (Sky Sports F1)
06/04 – 09:30 to 10:20 – Practice
06/04 – 17:55 to 18:35 – Qualifying
07/04 – 11:05 to 12:15 – Race 1
08/04 – 12:10 to 13:10 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Phoenix (BT Sport 3)
07/04 – 02:00 to 05:00 (Saturday night) – Race

World Rally Championship – France
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
06/04 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:15 to 22:45 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
07/04 – 10:00 to 11:00 – Live: Stage 7 (BT Sport 1)
07/04 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 21:45 to 22:15 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
08/04 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Live: Stage 12 [Power Stage] (BT Sport 2)
08/04 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 21:00 to 21:30 (BT Sport 2)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
11/04 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Touring Car Cup – Marrakech
08/04 – 10:30 to 11:50 – Qualifying (Eurosport)
08/04 – 16:30 to 18:55 – Race (Eurosport 2)

As always, if the schedules change, I will update the above times.

Update on April 3rd – I would not normally update schedules retrospectively, but it is important to note that British Superbike’s first race of the weekend from Donington Park was moved from Monday to Sunday, avoiding the torrential weather that hit the circuit yesterday morning. I have updated the above for future reference to show what actually happened.

In other news, Ted Kravitz (and his Notebook!) is not part of Sky Sports F1’s Bahrain Grand Prix team this weekend as his wife has given birth to a baby girl!

Update on April 4th – As a result of Ted’s absense, Paddock Live following the race on Sunday has been cut to 25 minutes from its normal 40 minute length.

News round-up: F1 series coming to Netflix; IndyCar domestic rights changing

In addition to all the discussion around Formula 1’s new graphics suite, the past week saw a variety of broadcasting related announcements, covering both F1 and the IndyCar Series.

F1 documentary series to air on Netflix
Netflix are to air a ten-part documentary series in 2019 focusing on the inner surroundings of Formula 1. The deal between the two parties has been mooted for several months, with an official announcement coming on the Saturday of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

Filming has already started, and will continue throughout the 2018 season, with the production team revealing “the intense fight for the heart, soul, and direction for the future of this multibillion-dollar business.” James Gay Rees, who was previously part of the making of Senna, and Paul Martin for Box to Box Films, are the executive producers.

The Netflix series builds on the foundations laid by Amazon’s Grand Prix Driver. The four-part Amazon series focused on McLaren’s pre-season exploits prior to Australia 2017, whereas the Netflix programming has a wider remit across the whole year. I enjoyed Amazon’s documentary, and if this is half as good as that, Formula 1 fans will be in for a treat.

Sean Bratches, F1’s Managing Director of Commercial Operations, said “Formula 1 is a global sport that we are actively repositioning from a motorsport company to a media and entertainment brand. This series will unleash a compelling vantage point to the sport that will delight fans and serve as a catalyst to entice new fans.”

Bela Bajaria, Vice President of Content for Netflix, said “This partnership with Formula 1 furthers our mission of working with world-class brands and production partners to produce best-in-class unscripted series. We can’t wait for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix and to embark on an incredible season across the world.”

In a second announcement from Formula 1 last week, the organisation confirmed that coverage was returning to free-to-air broadcaster CCTV in China, with all qualifying and race sessions airing live on the network throughout 2018.

ESPN’s US coverage receives complaints
Bratches’ former home ESPN was subject to numerous complaints over the Australian Grand Prix weekend. The US broadcaster, which took over from NBC as rights holder for Formula 1, was expected to take Sky UK’s pre-race build-up show ‘On the Grid’. However, the show failed to make the air at the expected time, with a variety of technical issues.

ESPN released a press statement late on Sunday evening apologising for the difficulties. “We deeply apologise to Formula 1 fans for the technical issues that caused them to miss the first 20 minutes of the pre-race show for the Australian Grand Prix. We are sorry that our first F1 telecast did not go as smoothly as we would have liked but we are taking steps to prevent those same issues from occurring in the future.”

The secondary problem is commercial breaks. Formula 1 commentary in the UK is free-flowing, as Sky Sports air F1 uninterrupted, whereas ESPN in the US take commercials. This is a major issue if something happens whilst ESPN is on a commercial break.

Historically, US viewers had a dedicated commentary team for their audience meaning that the lead commentator could re-cap the action on return. Forcing Sky’s UK commentary team to do the same thing would disturb the flow for anyone taking the UK coverage uninterrupted and would provoke a backlash from UK viewers.

One approach would be to have Sky’s F1 presentation team (i.e. Simon Lazenby) do a voice over for US viewers leading back into the UK commentary at a given point, that way the commentary flow is untouched.

In further news, ESPN’s coverage of the Grand Prix rated lower than NBC’s coverage in recent years. According to Showbuzz Daily, ESPN2’s show failed to make the top 150 for original programmes on Saturday, recording under a 0.05 share in the adults 18 to 49 metric. Last year’s NBC coverage averaged 238,000 viewers, whereas 2016’s show averaged 222,000 viewers.

International television rights for IndyCar up for grabs
The IndyCar Series is heading to NBC from 2019, with their existing US agreement with ESPN and ABC Network coming to an end after this season, the two sides confirmed last week.

The three-year deal will see eight races, including the Indianapolis 500, broadcast on NBC’s main channel with the remaining races airing on NBC Sports Network.

In addition, NBC’s over-the-top platform, dubbed NBC Sports Gold, will offer an IndyCar package consisting of every race from the feeder series Indy Lights, plus all practice and qualifying sessions from the main series not broadcast on one of NBC’s linear television channels.

As part of the press release, NBC touted the fact that IndyCar’s viewing figures have grown in recent years with the broadcaster as part of the shared contract with ESPN/ABC. “We’re honoured to bring the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, to NBC, further enhancing NBC Sports’ Championship Season,” said Jon Miller, NBC’s President of Programming.

“We’ve seen consistent growth for INDYCAR on NBCSN in the past decade, and we hope to continue that growth throughout the series by leveraging the television, digital, production and marketing assets that make NBC Sports a powerful media partner.”

IndyCar officials have also confirmed that the international broadcasting rights for the series are up for grabs at the end of 2018. For UK fans, it helps clear up a few things. BT Sport have a deal to with ESPN’s international arm to air a range of content up to and including the end of 2022. Separately, IndyCar’s non-domestic rights sit with ESPN’s international arm.

ESPN International are the ‘middle man’ here, if that man changes then BT Sport will need to negotiate with the new ‘middle man’ if they want to continue to air IndyCar, unless IndyCar go direct to a broadcaster, for example Eurosport (see below).

Mark Miles, the CEO of IndyCar’s parent company Hulman and Company, said “We will now move to working on the international rights licensing right away. We’ve had a lot of those very early conversations to understand both from an agency perspective and individual broadcaster perspective who wants to talk to us.”

“[The NBC deal] does not preclude an ongoing involvement by ESPN International. Although with any result, I think it will change. There may be countries where we go direct to broadcasters in any major country with IndyCar interests. I see us being at the table, even if we go with a distributor or packager like ESPN International.”

“There are a number of agencies that would love to compete with ESPN International for whatever we’re willing to license as part of a package, and there are a number of countries where we’re already having direct conversations with broadcasters. It will be some kind of a mixed approach undoubtedly.”

Scheduling: The 2018 Barcelona test 2

After a truncated first test of 2018 in Barcelona, the ten Formula 1 teams return to the circuit this week hoping for a bit more action on track.

For Sky Sports, the schedule for the four days remains the same as the first test, with Craig Slater fronting the round-up at 21:00 each day, followed by Ted Kravitz’s Notebook. There is no #AskCrofty, as there was in previous years at testing. The Sky Sports Digital and News teams as always will provide updates throughout each day of testing.

There are two special editions of the F1 Report looking back at testing, one a general review, and one a technical overview. The presentation line-up for both is unconfirmed as of writing.

The BBC’s radio coverage also kicks off this week, with Jennie Gow presenting a preview of the new season on Thursday alongside website editor Andrew Benson and new recruit Jolyon Palmer.

Elsewhere, the IndyCar Series begins in St. Petersburg, live coverage continuing on BT Sport. The third round of the World Rally Championship takes place in Mexico, with UK TV coverage airing from Saturday through to Tuesday.

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
06/03 – 21:00 to 21:45 – Day 1 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15
– schedule repeated for following three days
07/03 – 21:00 to 21:45 – Day 2 Highlights
08/03 – 21:00 to 21:45 – Day 3 Highlights
09/03 – 21:00 to 21:45 – Day 4 Highlights

Supplementary Programming
10/03 – 17:30 to 18:00 – F1 Report: 2018 Testing Special
14/03 – 20:00 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Development Special

BBC Radio F1
08/03 – 20:30 to 21:30 – Season Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

IndyCar Series – St. Petersburg (BT Sport/ESPN)
11/03 – 16:00 to 19:15 – Race

World Rally Championship – Mexico
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
10/03 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 11:00 to 11:30 (BT Sport 1)
10/03 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Live: Stage 13 (BT Sport 3)
11/03 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 15:30 to 16:00 (BT Sport 1)
11/03 – 16:00 to 17:00 – Live: Stage 21 (BT Sport 1)
11/03 – 18:00 to 19:30 – Live: Stage 22 [Power Stage] (BT Sport Extra 1)
12/03 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 11:00 to 11:30 (BT Sport 1)
13/03 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

If anything changes, the above schedule will be updated.