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.

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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.

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.

Channel 5 retains MotoGP highlights for 2018

Channel 5 will continue to broadcast MotoGP highlights in 2018, this site can confirm.

The highlights offering has been available to free-to-air broadcasters since live coverage of MotoGP left free-to-air television at the end of 2013. ITV4 aired highlights in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but the package switched to Channel 5 starting with the 2017 season.

A spokesperson for Dorna, MotoGP’s commercial rights holder, has confirmed that Channel 5 will air highlights of the MotoGP championship in 2018.

According to overnight viewing figures supplied by Overnights.tv, Channel 5’s highlights offering averaged 406k (2.4%) in 2017, a strong increase on the 285k (1.4%) that watched ITV4’s highlights programme the previous season.

Furthermore, for fans worried that the free-to-air highlights package may disappear as a result of the new deal between MotoGP and BT Sport, Dorna have confirmed to this site that a free-to-air highlights package will continue to be available to UK broadcasters from 2019 onwards.

The channel for the highlights package beyond this year is unconfirmed as of writing.

Update on March 17th – In response to a few commenters on this piece. Channel 5 are showing highlights from Qatar, but on Wednesday evening at 19:00.

MotoGP and BT Sport extend relationship until 2021

BT Sport will continue to show MotoGP until the end of 2021, after signing a new rights deal with Dorna.

The sport has aired on BT Sport since 2014, after leaving the BBC at the end of the 2013 season, heralding a new era for MotoGP live on pay television. BT’s extension covers the 2019, 2021 and 2021 seasons, their original contract was due to expire at the end of this season. The agreement ends speculation from media outlets about the future of MotoGP’s UK live television rights.

Andy Haworth, BT managing director of content and strategy, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to continue as the home of MotoGP in the UK and Ireland. Over the past four seasons we have given MotoGP fans the very best race coverage ever seen on TV in the UK. The team will bring every single minute of the action from this fantastic sport to our viewers for another four seasons.”

Manel Arroyo, Managing Director at Dorna Sports, commented: “We are delighted to have extended our agreement with BT Sport for another three years. During our current agreement with BT Sport, MotoGP fans in the UK and Ireland have been treated to live coverage of all sessions of all Grands Prix on the BT Sport channels, with a fantastic team of presenters onsite to bring all the behind the scenes news and action from the paddock.”

“We look forward to BT Sport continuing to provide fans in the British Isles with such high-quality coverage of the Championship during the 2019 – 2021 seasons, as well as their promotion of the MotoGP World Championship to a wider audience.”

“We also look forward to cooperating with BT Sport around the newly launched British Talent Cup, which will debut in 2018. This is an example of BT Sport and Dorna working together to support and develop young riders from the British Isles in the first step on their journey towards the MotoGP World Championship.”

Changes ahead of the 2018 season for BT
Ahead of the 2019 season, the 2018 championship will be one of change for BT.

Following Julian Ryder’s retirement from his full-time MotoGP position at the end of last season, Neil Hodgson succeeds Ryder in the commentary box for the premier MotoGP class at all 19 rounds this season. Beyond that, the colour commentator role will rotate around the rest of BT Sport’s team for practice and qualifying. During BT’s announcement on Facebook Live, presenter Suzi Perry emphasised that there is “no direct replacement” for Ryder.

Perry will continue to present BT’s coverage. This year she fronts 14 races, with Craig Doyle presenting the remaining five rounds. Ex-MotoGP rider Michael Laverty joins the team during six race weekends. Laverty is new to the team for 2018, as Laverty juggles both MotoGP off the track, and British Superbike activities on the track.

The Facebook Live stream also revealed that BT’s offering will expand for the 2018 season, with enhanced coverage of Friday practice. The practice sessions will now feature a full presentation team, instead of just the World Feed, with a new bite-sized 15-minute catch-up show beginning on Friday evenings. From Jerez onwards, BT are bringing their version of the Sky Pad to MotoGP this season, with a new touch screen device in the paddock, giving Neil Hodgson and the rest of the team the ability to conduct in-depth analysis.

The start of the British Talent Cup means more coverage of motorcycling on BT Sport, with MCN’s Simon Patterson reporting that BT will air the Silverstone and Valencian rounds of the series live, whilst the other rounds will be covered as part of their MotoGP programming.

Good news continues for BT Sport
The past two weeks have been positive for BT Sport, and have helped cement the broadcasters’ future heading into 2021, with two significant rights agreements now in place. Whilst MotoGP is much smaller than the Premier League, it is important for BT to have good, solid ‘tier two’ content, and the championship clearly fits into that category with 20 hours of coverage for each of the 19 rounds.

Speaking to this site last August, Dorna said that they were “very happy” with BT’s MotoGP coverage, so it is no surprise that the two sides agreed to renew. I think, had the Premier League rights gone in a different direction then we might have seen the trajectory change for MotoGP, but as soon as the Premier League announcement, it felt natural that MotoGP would soon follow on from that.

The increase in Friday coverage is natural progression for BT, whilst the touch screen analysis is long overdue. Bringing in Michael Laverty feels like a wise move considering the hole that Ryder’s departure has left in BT Sport’s line-up. Elsewhere, BT seem to be playing down the fact that Neil Hodgson is alongside Keith Huewen for every MotoGP race this season, given that no one mentioned it in their Facebook Live stream.