Motorsport Broadcasting: Your 2018 Verdict

The 2018 Formula One season has ended, and with it, brings down the curtain on the motor racing year.

On-track, it has been a year of generally good racing wherever you look. Whilst neither the F1 or MotoGP seasons went down the wire, the racing in both has been worth watching on many occasions this year.

Off the track, there have been many developments on the broadcasting front. Traditionally, the end of season verdict has stuck to the UK F1 view point, but we live in a motor sport world far greater than both the UK and F1, and with that in mind it makes sense to expand the scope of the verdict to encompass all elements of broadcasting.

Whether it has been the launch of F1 TV, or World Rally Championship’s All Live service, there has been plenty of movement in the online arena. Liberty Media have made their mark on Formula 1’s graphics set, whilst closer to home, 2018 was the last year of Channel 4’s current F1 contract, the broadcaster remaining in a reduced capacity, for 2019 at least.

Now, we want your opinion. Has something irritated you with this year’s motor sport coverage? Have I missed a revolution that this site should be covering? And what would you like to be different about the motor sport broadcasting scene in 2019? Are you planning to watch a new series next season?

As always, the best thoughts and views will form a new article closer to the festive period.

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Scheduling: The 2018 Singapore Grand Prix

The 2018 Formula One season heads out of Europe and into Asia for the Singapore Grand Prix! Now in its eleventh year, action from the Marina Bay circuit airs live across Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1 over the weekend.

As we head into the fly-away period, the session times remain broadly identical between 2017 and 2018, the only change is that the races will start ten minutes later than in previous years.

Eddie Jordan returns to Channel 4’s coverage for Singapore, Jordan will be analysing the action alongside David Coulthard and Mark Webber. On the scheduling front, the only unusual note is that Channel 4 has a 20-minute build-up for the second practice session.

Singapore marks the last weekend in a little while for Martin Brundle, as Brundle will not be part of Sky’s coverage in either Russia or Japan.

Elsewhere, a variety of championships are heading towards their conclusion both domestically and overseas. In the UK, the British Superbikes series begins its ‘Showdown’ phase at Oulton Park, whilst the penultimate round of the British Touring Car Championship takes place at Silverstone.

Further afield, Sonoma plays host the final round of the 2018 IndyCar Series. The race airs live on BT Sport, with an extended build-up, which could be BT’s last covering the series, as IndyCar’s rights agreement with ESPN’s international arm is up for grabs.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
14/09 – 09:25 to 11:05 – Practice 1
14/09 – 13:10 to 15:05 – Practice 2
15/09 – 10:55 to 12:25 – Practice 3
15/09 – 12:55 to 15:45 – Qualifying
16/09 – 12:00 to 16:15 – Race
=> 12:00 – Build-Up
=> 12:40 – Race
=> 15:30 – Reaction

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
14/09 – 09:15 to 11:20 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
14/09 – 13:15 to 15:20 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
15/09 – 10:45 to 12:15 – Practice 3
15/09 – 13:00 to 15:45 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
16/09 – 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
13/09 – 11:00 to 11:30 – Driver Press Conference
13/09 – 13:00 to 13:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
15/09 – 15:45 to 16:20 – The F1 Show

BBC Radio F1
14/09 – 09:25 to 11:05 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14/09 – 13:25 to 15:05 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
16/09 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Blancpain GT Sprint Series – Nurburgring (BT Sport/ESPN)
15/09 – 12:45 to 14:30 – Race 1
16/09 – 15:00 to 16:30 – Race 2

British Superbikes – Oulton Park
15/09 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
16/09 – 12:30 to 15:15 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
16/09 – 16:15 to 18:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
19/09 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Silverstone (ITV4)
16/09 – 11:15 to 18:30 – Races

Formula Renault Eurocup – Nurburgring (BT Sport/ESPN)
15/09 – 11:30 to 12:45 – Race 1
16/09 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Sonoma (BT Sport 1)
16/09 – 23:00 to 02:30 – Race

Virgin Australia Supercars – Sandown 500 (Motorsport.tv)
16/09 – 03:55 to 08:00 – Race

World Rally Championship – Turkey
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
14/09 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (BT Sport 1)
15/09 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Live: Stage 12 (BT Sport 1)
15/09 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 00:00 to 00:30 (BT Sport 3)
16/09 – 08:00 to 09:00 – Live: Stage 14 (BT Sport 1)
16/09 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Live: Stage 17 [Power Stage] (BT Sport 1)
16/09 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (BT Sport 3)
18/09 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Superbikes – Portugal
14/09 – 09:30 to 10:30 – Practice 1 (Eurosport)
14/09 – 15:30 to 16:55 – Practice 2 and 3 (Eurosport 2)
15/09 – 10:00 to 14:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
16/09 – 11:30 to 12:30 – Support Races (Eurosport 2)
16/09 – 15:15 to 16:15 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
18/09 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

Scheduling: The 2018 Italian Grand Prix

Formula 1 heads straight from the Ardennes forest to Italy, for round 14 of the championship.

Channel 4 are showing highlights of the Monza round, with live coverage on Sky Sports F1 throughout the weekend. For those that like the added extras on Sky, you will be pleased to know the Sky Race Control from Italy onwards will be available on all devices as opposed to just the iPad.

On the personnel front, Nico Rosberg returns to Sky’s team for this weekend. Over on radio, the BBC have a half-hour special focusing on Fernando Alonso’s career on Friday evening. Into the weekend, they have truncated coverage of the race weekend, due to cricket action between England and India, and tennis action from the US Open.

Although an air-time is unconfirmed, expect Jennie Gow’s documentary featuring Billy Monger and Alex Zanardi to air on the BBC News Channel over the weekend. The documentary called Human Endeavour premieres on BBC World News at 13:30 local time next Saturday, so expect it to appear on BBC iPlayer shortly afterwards.

Elsewhere on the motor racing spectrum, the IndyCar Series heads into the final phase of its season, with the penultimate race at Portland taking place on Sunday evening.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
01/09 – 17:00 to 18:30 – Qualifying Highlights
02/09 – 18:45 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
31/08 – 09:45 to 11:50 – Practice 1
31/08 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2
01/09 – 10:45 to 12:15 – Practice 3
01/09 – 13:00 to 15:40 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
02/09 – 12:30 to 17:10 – Race
=> 12:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 13:30 – On the Grid
=> 14:05 – Race
=> 16:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
30/08 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Driver Press Conference
30/08 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
01/09 – 16:55 to 17:30 – The F1 Show

BBC Radio F1
30/08 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
31/08 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Fernando Alonso Special (BBC Radio 5 Live)
02/09 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Blancpain GT Sprint Series – Hungary (BT Sport/ESPN)
01/09 – 13:15 to 15:00 – Race 1
02/09 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Race 2

Euroformula – Silverstone
01/09 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
02/09 – 12:30 to 13:30 – Race 2 (BT Sport 1)

Formula Renault Eurocup – Hungary (BT Sport/ESPN)
01/09 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Race 1
02/09 – 12:30 to 13:45 – Race 2

Formula Two – Italy (Sky Sports F1)
31/08 – 11:50 to 12:45 – Practice
31/08 – 15:50 to 16:30 – Qualifying
01/09 – 15:40 to 16:55 – Race 1
02/09 – 09:50 to 10:55 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Italy (Sky Sports F1)
31/08 – 16:45 to 17:25 – Qualifying
01/09 – 09:25 to 10:20 – Race 1
02/09 – 08:35 to 09:20 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Portland (BT Sport 2)
02/09 – 19:30 to 22:00 – Race

International GT Open – Silverstone
01/09 – 15:00 to 16:45 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
02/09 – 13:30 to 15:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport X2)

Porsche Supercup – Italy
02/09 – Race
=> 11:00 to 12:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 11:05 to 11:50 (Sky Sports F1)

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

Scheduling: The 2018 Belgian Grand Prix / British MotoGP

12 down, 9 to go. Formula 1 returns from its Summer break, with the classic Spa Francorchamps circuit playing host to round 13 of the season, as the championship speeds towards the finish line.

Given what has been a frantic month so far for the sport, one would expect a packed weekend for all the UK’s F1 broadcasters, with no room for filler.

Sky have a new kid on the block, with a new programme on Thursday afternoons. Welcome to the Weekend is a live 30-minute show wrapping up the Thursday interviews with Natalie Pinkham presenting. The show replaces Paddock Uncut, which used to fulfil the same purpose and aired for 15 minutes on Thursdays prior to each weekend.

Elsewhere, a special 90-minute edition of Speed with Guy Martin airs on Bank Holiday Monday on Channel 4. As noted last month, the show sees Williams Heritage rebuild their FW08C car for Martin to race at Silverstone in a challenge that occurred prior to the British Grand Prix weekend.

Martin challenges Jenson Button, who will be in the banned six-wheel Williams FW08B car, which the team were going to race in the 1983 Formula One season. As with his two previous Formula 1 orientated programming in March 2016 (bike versus racing car) and September 2017 (pit stop challenge), the turnaround time from filming the challenge to airing has been short, with a six-week gap in total.

On two wheels, MotoGP are the ones heading to Silverstone this weekend, with live coverage as always on BT Sport 2. In addition to their usual coverage, BT are also covering both British Talent Cup races live, whilst a one-hour live magazine show will air live from Woodlands campsite on Thursday evening, with Suzi Perry presenting.

Because the F1 races this year are starting 70 minutes later, it means that the British MotoGP round starts at 13:00 UK time instead of 15:30 as it has done for the past few years, avoiding a clash with the F1.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
24/08 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1
24/08 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2
25/08 – 10:55 to 12:25 – Practice 3
25/08 – 12:55 to 15:45 – Qualifying
26/08 – 13:00 to 17:35 – Race
=> 13:00 – Build-Up
=> 13:40 – Race
=> 16:30 – Reaction

Supplementary Programming
27/08 – 21:00 to 22:30 – Speed with Guy Martin: Classic F1 Special

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
24/08 – 09:45 to 11:50 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event from 10:00)
24/08 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
25/08 – 10:45 to 12:15 – Practice 3
25/08 – 13:00 to 15:40 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
26/08 – 12:30 to 17:10 – Race
=> 12:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 13:30 – On the Grid
=> 14:05 – Race (also Sky1 from 14:00)
=> 16:30 – Paddock Live (also Sky1)

Supplementary Programming
23/08 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Driver Press Conference
23/08 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
25/08 – 16:55 to 17:30 – The F1 Show

BBC Radio F1
23/08 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
24/08 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
24/08 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
25/08 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
26/08 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Britain
24/08 – 08:45 to 16:15 – Practice 1 and 2 (BT Sport 2)
24/08 – 19:00 to 20:00 – ICYMI Live (BT Sport 1)
25/08 – 09:00 to 16:15 (BT Sport 2)
=> 09:00 – Practice 3
=> 12:00 – Qualifying
26/08 – 08:45 to 16:00 (BT Sport 2)
=> 08:45 – Warm Ups
=> 10:30 – Moto3 MotoGP
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 12:45 – Moto3
=> 14:15 – Moto2
=> 15:30 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Britain (Channel 5)
28/08 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

British Talent Cup – Silverstone (BT Sport 2)
25/08 – 16:15 to 17:15 – Race 1
26/08 – 16:00 to 16:45 – Race 2

British Touring Car Championship – Knockhill (ITV4)
26/08 – 11:00 to 18:15 – Races

Formula Three European Championship – Misano
25/08 – 16:45 to 17:45 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
26/08 – 07:00 to 08:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport 2)
26/08 – 16:30 to 17:30 – Race 3 (BT Sport X2)

Formula Two – Belgium (Sky Sports F1)
24/08 – 11:50 to 12:45 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
24/08 – 15:50 to 16:30 – Qualifying
25/08 – 15:40 to 16:55 – Race 1
26/08 – 09:45 to 10:50 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Belgium (Sky Sports F1)
24/08 – 16:45 to 17:25 – Qualifying
25/08 – 08:30 to 09:25 – Race 1
26/08 – 08:30 to 09:15 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Gateway 500 (BT Sport/ESPN)
25/08 (Sunday morning) – 01:00 to 04:00 – Race

Porsche Supercup – Belgium
26/08 – Race
=> 10:45 to 11:45 (Eurosport 2)
=> 11:15 to 12:00 (Sky Sports F1)

Virgin Australia Supercars – The Bend (Motorsport.tv)
25/08 – 07:30 to 09:00 – Race 1
26/08 – 04:45 to 07:00 – Race 2

The above schedules will be amended if anything changes.

Update on August 21st – It appears Sky have also dropped the F1 Report from their weekly schedule. I am chasing up an official line on this, and will post further in the forthcoming days with an update.

Update on August 25th at 20:30 – If you are recording MotoGP tomorrow, I strongly advise scheduling a massive amount of overrun. Inclement weather has prompted organisers to move the MotoGP race to 11:30 UK time. I suspect that on its own is not going to be enough, but we shall see. I’ve updated what the BT schedule is at the moment above.

Update on August 26th at 12:00 – Sky snuck in a Sky1 simulcast in their final exchanges last week, which I have added above.

Scheduling: The 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

After a sensational victory for Lewis Hamilton in Sebastian Vettel’s back yard, the two championship protagonists head for the Hungarian Grand Prix, the final stop on the Formula 1 calendar before the Summer break.

It is a weekend packed with motor sport, on tarmac, gravel, two wheels and four to whet the appetite. This weekend is special for the British Touring Car Championship, as the championship holds an endurance style race lasting double the usual length at 60 miles. The special race takes place on Sunday at 17:15 UK time live as usual on ITV4.

> Feature: 60 years of British Touring Cars – the broadcasting story

Further afield, Julian Ryder returns to commentary duties with Eurosport for the 8 Hours of Suzuka, Ryder having stepped down from his MotoGP duties at the end of 2017. Alongside Ryder for the endurance race are Jack Burnicle and Terry Rymer, amongst others.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
28/07 – 17:30 to 19:00 – Qualifying Highlights
29/07 – 18:45 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
27/07 – 09:45 to 11:50 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
27/07 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2
28/07 – 10:30 to 12:15 – Practice 3
28/07 – 13:00 to 15:30 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
29/07 – 12:30 to 17:10 – Race
=> 12:30 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 13:30 – On the Grid (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 14:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 16:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
25/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview
26/07 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Driver Press Conference
26/07 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
28/07 – 15:30 to 16:05 – The F1 Show (also Sky Sports Main Event)
01/08 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
27/07 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/07 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/07 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
28/07 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/07 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
29/07 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula Two – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
27/07 – 11:50 to 12:45 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
27/07 – 15:50 to 16:30 – Qualifying
28/07 – 15:40 to 17:00 – Race 1
=> 15:40 to 16:05 (Sky Sports Red Button)
=> 16:05 to 17:00 (Sky Sports F1)
29/07 – 10:15 to 11:15 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
28/07 – 09:40 to 10:20 – Qualifying
28/07 – 17:25 to 18:20 – Race 1
29/07 – 09:00 to 09:50 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Hungary
29/07 – Race
=> 11:30 to 12:15 (Eurosport 2)
=> 11:25 to 12:15 (Sky Sports F1)

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup – 24 Hours of Spa (Motorsport.tv)
28/07 and 29/07 – Race
=> 15:20 to 21:30 [Saturday]
=> 22:00 [Saturday] to 15:50 [Sunday]

British Touring Car Championship – Snetterton (ITV4)
29/07 – 10:30 to 18:30 – Races

Formula Three European Championship – Spa (BT Sport 1)
27/07 – 09:45 to 11:00 – Race 1
27/07 – 13:45 to 14:45 – Race 2
28/07 – 08:00 to 09:15 – Race 3

Formula Renault Eurocup – Spa (BT Sport 1)
27/07 – 14:45 to 16:00 – Race 1
28/07 – 10:30 to 11:45 – Race 2

Suzuka 8 Hours (Eurosport 2)
29/07 – 03:15 to 11:45 – Race

IndyCar Series – Mid-Ohio (BT Sport/ESPN)
29/07 – 20:00 to 23:00 – Race

World Rally Championship – Finland
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
26/07 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Live: Stage 1 (BT Sport 1)
27/07 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Live: Stage 11 (BT Sport 3)
27/07 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:00 to 22:30 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
29/07 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Live: Stage 17 (BT Sport X3)
28/07 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 21:30 to 22:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 22:15 to 22:45 (BT Sport 1)
29/07 – 07:30 to 08:30 – Live: Stage 21 [Special Stage] (BT Sport 2)
29/07 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Live: Power Stage (BT Sport 2)
29/07 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 21:15 to 21:45 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
31/07 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

The schedule will be updated if anything changes.

Update on July 27th – From the “you have got to be kidding me” department, Sky have moved The F1 Show to 15:30, pushing the first half of Formula Two onto the Red Button. Yes, really. I believe this is the first time Sky have done this since they started showing Formula Two (then GP2) in 2012.