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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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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Scheduling: The 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans

The most famous endurance race in the world is back! The 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place next weekend, and with it continues its live free-to-air expansion in the United Kingdom. The race marks round three of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

As revealed back in April, for the first time since 2009, ITV4 will be screening live coverage of the race. The channel will broadcast the last four and a half hours of the race live, with Richard Henwood on presenting duties.

The good news for those watching via Eurosport is that the race in its entirety will be broadcast on Eurosport’s main channel, ensuring no channel switches. Although this has not been formally confirmed, expect the usual faces of Martin Haven, Liz Halliday and Mark Cole to form part of their coverage. Part of Eurosport’s coverage will again be simulcast on Quest for the third year running.

One change to Eurosport’s programming is that the ’24 Minutes’ branding has been dropped, presumably because it was too restrictive given its name. Instead, a series of live programmes will be broadcast under the ‘Extra’ branding, wrapped around practice and qualifying. This works out to be a net gain in air-time as Eurosport used to go off-air between the on-track sessions on Thursday and Friday.

Lastly, it should be noted that neither BT Sport or Motorsport.tv are airing the 24 Hours of Le Mans live as Eurosport have retained their exclusivity deal on the race.

Wednesday 14th June (Eurosport)
14:45 to 19:10
=> 14:45 – Extra
=> 15:00 – Practice
20:45 to 23:10
=> 20:45 – Extra
=> 21:00 – Qualifying 1

Thursday 15th June (Eurosport)
17:45 to 19:55
=> 17:45 – Extra
=> 18:00 – Qualifying 2
20:10 to 23:10
=> 20:10 – Extra
=> 21:00 – Qualifying 3

Saturday 17th June
08:00 to 08:45 – Warm Up (Eurosport)
13:00 to 23:59 (Eurosport)
=> 13:00 – Extra
=> 13:45 – Race
=> five-minute updates at 15:00, 17:00, 19:00 and 21:00
13:30 to 15:00 – Race Start (Quest TV)
20:00 to 21:00 – Saturday Evening (Quest TV)

Sunday 18th June
00:00 to 14:15 – Race (Eurosport)
=> five-minute updates at 07:00, 09:00, 11:00 and 13:00
09:30 to 14:45 – Race Conclusion (ITV4)
10:00 to 11:00 – Sunday Morning (Quest TV)
13:00 to 14:30 – Race Conclusion (Quest TV)

Monday 19th June
19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Quest TV)

Saturday 24th June
08:00 to 09:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

If anything changes, or more personnel confirmed, I will update the schedule.

Update on June 13th – Thanks to all of you in the comments with links confirming the respective television line-ups, safe to say that there is a wide variety of talent on offer.

Starting with ITV4, they will be taking the World Feed commentary, which Toby Moody is leading. Alongside Moody for the race will be Allan McNish, Julian Porter, Peter Dumbreck, Duncan Vincent and Louise Beckett.

Quest will be using the same commentary as Eurosport’s coverage, with their own presentation team led by Louise Goodman, Diana Binks and Andy Jaye.

As reported on Sportscar365, Eurosport’s commentary team will consist of Mark Cole, Martin Haven, Carlton Kirby and David Addison. Additional analysis will be provided by Sam Hancock, Damien Faulkner and Liz Halliday, whilst Chris Parsons will help take viewers through the night. It is Addison’s first time with the Eurosport team, readers may recognise his voice from ITV4’s British Touring Car Championship coverage.

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.

Scheduling: The 2017 Spanish Grand Prix / Monaco ePrix

The Formula 1 paddock moves into Europe for round five of the 2017 Formula One season, the Spanish Grand Prix. The weekend’s action will be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports F1, with highlights airing each evening on Channel 4.

Anthony Davidson will be back with Sky Sports for the Spanish round of the season. As announced pre-season, Davidson will be with the team for five races this year. Elsewhere, the Formula E championship returns with round five from Monaco. Martin Haven will be back in the commentary box as Jack Nicholls will be covering the Formula 1 action for BBC Radio 5 Live. Haven will be alongside Bob Varsha and Mike Conway as Dario Franchitti is stateside for the Indianapolis 500 build-up. The electric championship speeds up now with eight races taking place in the next two and a half months!

Also in action, next weekend is IndyCar action from the Indianapolis road course, whilst the World Superbike riders will be at Imola.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
13/05 – 17:30 to 19:00 – Qualifying Highlights
14/05 – 18:45 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
12/05 – 08:45 to 11:00 – Practice 1
12/05 – 12:45 to 14:50 – Practice 2
13/05 – 09:45 to 11:15 – Practice 3
13/05 – 12:00 to 14:35 – Qualifying
14/05 – 11:30 to 16:15 – Race
=> 11:30 – Track Parade
=> 12:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 12:30 – Race
=> 15:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
10/05 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
11/05 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Driver Press Conference
12/05 – 01:30 to 01:45 – Paddock Uncut
12/05 – 17:35 to 18:15 – Team Press Conference – to be confirmed
12/05 – 18:15 to 18:45 – The F1 Show – to be confirmed
17/05 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
11/05 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
12/05 – 08:55 to 10:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13/05 – 09:55 to 11:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13/05 – 12:55 to 14:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14/05 – 12:30 to 15:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

Formula Two – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
12/05 – 11:00 to 11:45 – Practice
12/05 – 14:55 to 15:25 – Qualifying
13/05 – 14:35 to 15:45 – Race 1
14/05 – 09:30 to 10:25 – Race 2

Formula E – Monaco (online via Channel 5’s social media channels and YouTube)
13/05 – 06:55 to 07:55 – Practice 1
13/05 – 09:25 to 10:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Monaco
13/05 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Qualifying (Spike)
13/05 – 14:30 to 16:15 – Race (Channel 5)

Formula V8 3.5 – Monza (BT Sport 3)
13/05 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Race 1
14/05 – 10:30 to 12:00 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
13/05 – 08:45 to 09:20 – Qualifying
13/05 – 16:10 to 17:00 – Race 1
14/05 – 08:20 to 09:00 – Race 2

IndyCar Series  Grand Prix of Indianapolis (BT Sport 2)
14/05 – 20:30 to 23:00 – Race

Porsche Supercup  Spain
13/05 – 17:15 to 18:15 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
14/05 – 10:30 to 11:30 – Race 2 (Eurosport 1)

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport 3)
13/05 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

World Rallycross Championship – Belgium (Motorsport.tv)
14/05 – 13:00 to 14:55 – Race

World Superbikes – Imola
13/05 – 09:15 to 14:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
14/05 – 10:00 to 15:00 – Support and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
16/05 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

As mentioned, once Sky’s schedules are in shape, I will update the above information.

Update on May 9th – I have had confirmation from Sky that their original schedules were incorrect. Sky will not be broadcasting the Porsche Supercup series and GP3 practice live, so exactly the same as previous years. I have also amended the Formula E commentary line-up – Dario Franchitti is in fact stateside and not covering the event.