News round-up: Perry goes full season for BT; BBC commissions Monger/Zanardi special

As the first half of 2018 concludes following a frantic period on and off the track, here are some of the broadcasting stories you may have missed over the past few weeks…

Perry expands BT Sport’s MotoGP commitments for 2019
Suzi Perry will present every round of BT Sport’s MotoGP in 2019, she has confirmed. In response to a fan question on Twitter, Perry confirmed that she will be in the hot-seat for all of the expected 19 rounds next season.

Perry has shared presenting duties with Craig Doyle since 2016, although Doyle has been part of BT’s MotoGP coverage since its inception in 2014. However, as first reported by Motorcycle News, Doyle is ending his commitments at the end of this season to focus on his ever-expanding rugby commitments with BT.

At the half way stage of 2018, BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage has averaged 117k (1.45%) for its race day programme from 09:30 to 14:15, or equivalent according to overnight viewing figures, identical to last year’s audience figure of 117k (1.29%).

In comparison, an average audience of 403k (2.2%) have watched Channel 5’s highlights programme, a decrease on last year’s equivalent figure of 446k (2.5%). The World Cup has hit Channel 5’s MotoGP overnight viewing figures. Their audience for the Catalan round dropped by 38 percent year-on-year, thanks to a clash with England’s opening World Cup fixture against Tunisia.

Meanwhile over in Italy, MotoGP will be remaining on Sky for the next three seasons.

Formula E’s destination hinges on Channel 4’s Formula 1 future
As of writing, there is no official confirmation or additional information as to whether Channel 4 will continue to air Formula 1 in 2019, beyond what was reported during the British Grand Prix weekend last month.

If you are Formula E, the sooner Channel 4’s Formula 1 deal is finalised the better. I understand that, whilst Channel 4 has shown interest in Formula E, the series may well remain on Channel 5 should Channel 4 retain F1.

A separate obstacle between Channel 4 and Formula E concerns the finances of the contract. During season four, Channel 5 and Formula E agreed to split the production cost, something that is proving trickier to negotiate with Channel 4.

Formula E’s fifth season starts in Saudi Arabia in December, so there is no immediate rush to confirm the UK contract. In 2016, when Formula E moved to Channel 5, the announcement was made just one month before the season began.

BBC commissions motor sport special
The BBC’s World Service has commissioned a motor sport documentary to air across their networks later this year. The one-off special sees Billy Monger meet Alex Zanardi, both of whom had their lives changed following high-speed motor racing accidents.

Following his crash in 2001, Zanardi has gone on to win gold medals at the Paralympics, whilst Monger returned to racing this year after his own accident last year. Jennie Gow went with Monger to visit Zanardi in Italy, and will present the special programme.

The special will air across BBC Radio 5 Live, online and television later this year. Normally BBC World television documentaries also air on the BBC News Channel, so expect the documentary to turn up there, as opposed to one of their general entertainment outlets.

Elsewhere in the BBC spectrum, the broadcaster aired a special technology feature filmed during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend. Their weekly Click programme went behind the scenes, with presenter Spencer Kelly interviewing people from Mercedes and Formula One Management, focusing on the latest developments in F1. If you have 15 minutes spare time, this is worth a watch.

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Scheduling: The 2018 Austrian Grand Prix

The Formula 1 triple-header moves from Paul Ricard to the Red Bull Ring, for the Austrian Grand Prix. The race airs live across Sky Sports and Channel 4.

On the personnel front, Louise Goodman steps into Lee McKenzie’s shoes as Channel 4’s pit lane reporter, McKenzie will be back in action from next weekend’s British Grand Prix.

It is a busy weekend of motor sport, with MotoGP also in action from Assen. The main bike race starts at the usual 13:00 UK time, but is unlikely to clash with the F1 barring a major overrun.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
29/06 – 10:00 to 11:35 – Practice 1
29/06 – 13:55 to 16:00 – Practice 2
30/06 – 10:55 to 12:25 – Practice 3
30/06 – 12:55 to 15:45 – Qualifying
01/07 – 13:00 to 17:30 – Race
=> 13:00 – Build-Up
=> 13:40 – Race
=> 16:30 – Reaction

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
29/06 – 09:45 to 11:55 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
29/06 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2
30/06 – 10:45 to 12:15 – Practice 3 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
30/06 – 13:00 to 15:40 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
01/07 – 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
27/06 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview
28/06 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Driver Press Conference
28/06 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
30/06 – 17:15 to 17:50 – The F1 Show
04/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
29/06 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/06 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
01/07 – 14:00 to 16:30 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

MotoGP – Assen (BT Sport 2)
29/06 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
30/06 – 07:55 to 15:15
=> 07:55 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
01/07 – 07:30 to 15:00
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Assen (Channel 5)
02/07 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

Formula Two – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
29/06 – 11:55 to 12:55 – Practice
29/06 – 15:50 to 16:35 – Qualifying
30/06 – 15:40 to 17:15 – Race 1
01/07 – 09:55 to 11:05 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
29/06 – 16:45 to 17:30 – Qualifying
30/06 – 09:20 to 10:15 – Race 1
01/07 – 08:45 to 09:35 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Austria
01/07 – Race
=> 11:10 to 11:55 (Sky Sports F1)
=> 11:15 to 12:15 (Eurosport 2)

Speedway Grand Prix – Denmark (BT Sport 2)
30/06 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

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

 

Scheduling: The 2018 Berlin E-Prix / French MotoGP

Formula E and MotoGP are back in action this weekend, in the heartland of Europe.

The electric single seater series heads to Germany for the Berlin E-Prix. The scheduling of the E-Prix at first sight is odd, with the E-Prix scheduled to satisfy domestic viewers rather than international ones. Domestically, the race takes place between the women’s and men’s football domestic cup final; however internationally this results in a clash with the English FA Cup final! Expect a lower than usual UK number as a result.

On the punditry front, it is a newsworthy weekend, with Channel 4’s Formula 1 analyst David Coulthard joining Jack Nicholls and Bob Varsha in the Formula E commentary box. As readers will know, Coulthard is also part of the Whisper Films production company, and Whisper have not yet collaborated with Formula E. Coulthard replaces Dario Franchitti, who is on Indianapolis 500 duty.

MotoGP returns with the French round of the championship, the action as usual live on BT Sport. Elsewhere on BT Sport, it is qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, live coverage airing on both Saturday and Sunday evenings.

In a further scheduling oddity from the outside, the main World Touring Car Cup action from Zandvoort takes place on Monday, but this is because Monday is Whit Monday in Netherlands and many other parts of the world.

MotoGP – France (BT Sport 2)
18/05 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
19/05 – 07:45 to 15:15
=> 07:45 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
20/05 – 07:30 to 15:00
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – France (Channel 5)
22/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

Formula E – Berlin (online via YouTube)
19/05 – 07:55 to 08:55 – Practice 1
19/05 – 10:25 to 11:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Berlin
19/05 – 12:30 to 14:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 12:30 – Preview
=> 13:00 – Qualifying
19/05 – 12:45 to 14:10 – Qualifying (5Spike)
19/05 – 16:45 to 18:15 – Race (Eurosport 2)
19/05 – 16:45 to 18:30 – Race (Channel 5)

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup – Silverstone
19/05 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Race Start (Motorsport.tv)
19/05 – 14:30 to 18:30 – Race (BT Sport X2)
19/05 – 17:05 to 19:30 – Race Finish (Motorsport.tv)

British Touring Car Championship – Thruxton (ITV4)
20/05 – 11:15 to 18:00 – Races

Formula Renault Eurocup – Silverstone
19/05 – 13:15 to 14:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
20/05 – 13:15 to 14:30 – Race 2 (BT Sport X2)

IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500
19/05 – 21:00 to 23:00 – Qualifying – Day 1 (BT Sport 2)
20/05 – 21:00 to 23:00 – Qualifying – Day 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)

World Rally Championship – Portugal
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
17/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Live: Stage 1 (BT Sport/ESPN)
18/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Live: Stage 8 and 9 (BT Sport 2)
18/05 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (BT Sport 2)
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (Motorsport.tv)
19/05 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Live: Stage 13 (BT Sport 3)
19/05 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 00:00 to 00:30 (BT Sport 1)
20/05 – 09:00 to 10:00 – Live: Stage 17 (BT Sport 3)
20/05 – 12:00 to 13:30 – Live: Stage 19 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
20/05 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 00:30 to 01:00 (BT Sport 3)
23/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Touring Car Cup – Netherlands
21/05 – 07:30 to 08:50 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
21/05 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport)
21/05 – 15:30 to 16:30 – Race 3 (Eurosport)

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

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 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.