Scheduling: The 2018 Japanese Grand Prix / Thailand MotoGP

Lewis Hamilton and Marc Marquez look to take another leap towards their respective championships as Formula 1 and MotoGP head east this weekend. For MotoGP, this year marks their first visit to Thailand, whilst Formula 1’s drivers tackle the Suzuka International Circuit in Japan.

The Japanese F1 round is live on free-to-air television for the first time since 2015, with Channel 4 covering all the action. In addition, both Lee McKenzie and Susie Wolff return to Channel 4’s line-up.

Over on Sky, Martin Brundle continues his absence, returning in Austin next time out. On the scheduling front, Sky are simulcasting their F1 coverage across both Sky Sports Main Event and Sky 1 at various points during the weekend.

With the F1 race from Suzuka starting at 06:10 UK time, and the MotoGP race from Buriram starting at 08:00 UK time, any delay or red flag situation to the F1 will see it overspill into MotoGP’s time slot, there really is very little room to manoeuvre.

The World Rally Championship returns to Wales, and with it does extended coverage on Channel 5. In previous years, Channel 4 aired the Power Stage live as well as daily highlights from the first two days. The latter continues, but the former airs on tape-delay at lunchtime, as the Power Stage this year starts at 08:00.

Elsewhere, fans of the Australian Supercars series will be disappointed to learn that, following the demise of’s television network, the Bathurst 1000 will not air live in the UK, with no sign of it appearing elsewhere.

Channel 4 F1
05/10 – 01:55 to 03:35 – Practice 1
05/10 – 05:55 to 07:35 – Practice 2
06/10 – 03:45 to 05:10 – Practice 3
06/10 – 06:00 to 08:35 – Qualifying
06/10 – 10:30 to 12:30 – Qualifying Replay
07/10 – 05:00 to 09:30 – Race
=> 05:00 – Build-Up
=> 06:00 – Race
=> 08:30 – Reaction
07/10 – 12:30 to 15:15 – Race Replay

Sky Sports F1
05/10 – 01:45 to 03:50 – Practice 1
05/10 – 05:45 to 07:50 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
06/10 – 03:45 to 05:15 – Practice 3 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
06/10 – 06:00 to 08:30 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One)
=> 06:00 – Pre-Show
=> 06:55 – Qualifying
07/10 – 04:30 to 09:10 – Race
=> 04:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 05:30 – On the Grid (also Sky One)
=> 06:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One)
=> 08:30 – Paddock Live (also Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One)

Supplementary Programming
04/10 – 07:00 to 07:30 – Driver Press Conference
04/10 – 10:00 to 10:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
06/10 – 08:30 to 09:00 – The F1 Show (also Sky Sports Main Event)
10/10 – 19:00 to 21:00 – F1 eSports Pro Series (also Sky Sports Mix)

BBC Radio F1
04/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
05/10 – 01:55 to 03:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
05/10 – 05:55 to 07:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
06/10 – 03:55 to 05:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
06/10 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
07/10 – 06:00 to 08:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Thailand (BT Sport 2)
05/10 – 02:45 to 10:15 – Practice 1 and 2
06/10 – 03:00 to 10:15
=> 03:00 – Practice 3
=> 06:00 – Qualifying
07/10 – 02:30 to 10:00
=> 02:30 – Warm Ups
=> 04:15 – Moto3
=> 06:00 – Moto2
=> 07:30 – MotoGP
=> 09:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Thailand (Channel 5)
09/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

Asia Talent Cup – Thailand (BT Sport 2)
06/10 – 10:15 to 11:15 – Race 1

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport 3)
06/10 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

World Rally Championship – Britain
Every stage live via
05/10 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 00:00 to 00:30 (BT Sport 3)
=> 00:20 to 00:45 (Channel 5)
06/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Live: Stage 14 (BT Sport 2)
06/10 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 22:45 to 23:15 (BT Sport 2)
=> 00:05 to 00:35 (Channel 5)
07/10 – 08:00 to 09:30 – Live: Stage 19 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
07/10 – 12:00 to 13:30 – Delayed: Stage [Power Stage] (Channel 5)
07/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Live: Stage 23 (BT Sport 2)
07/10 – 23:00 to 23:30 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
08/10 – 00:00 to 01:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

Update on October 7th – A few points for future reference on Channel 5’s WRC coverage. Their daily highlights on Friday and Saturday night ended up airing in a Saturday and Sunday morning slot respectively. Furthermore, Sunday’s programme was live, covering Stage 23 (when it eventually started) as opposed to delayed coverage of the Power Stage.


Behind the scenes with BT Sport’s MotoGP production team: evolution

From Qatar to Valencia, from Friday morning to Sunday evening, BT Sport cover every session of the MotoGP season exclusively live. Their coverage encompasses both the main championship as well as the feeder Moto2 and Moto3 championships.

North One Television produce BT Sport’s coverage, and in the second and final part of this series, I went behind the scenes with them during the British Grand Prix weekend last month to find out how their programming has evolved.

If you have yet to read part one, head over here

When BT’s MotoGP coverage started in 2014, North One did not cover every race on-site, with BT’s Olympic Park studio in regular use. Fast forward four years, and North One now take the same size team to every race, with all the action presented on-site.

“What we want to do is make sure we offer the same service to fans, whether it is on in the middle of the night for the fly away races, or in prime time viewing hours,” explains Kevin Brown, who is MotoGP series editor for North One. “We want to serve the people who care and want to switch on in the middle of the night, they should get the same service as they would do if the race was on at 1 on a Sunday afternoon.”

2018 British MotoGP - BT commentary booth.jpg
The BT Sport commentary booth. Note that BT do not commentate from the main grandstand, or in Silverstone’s case from Woodcote. Instead, they commentate from one of their TV compound buildings, allowing them to easily rotate the commentary duo throughout the day.

26 people make up the MotoGP production team for North One, a number that includes on-air talent as well. Removing the seven on-air talent means that there are 19 people behind the lens that work on BT’s MotoGP programming race in, race out, including floor managers, researchers, producers, a sound assistant, and so on.  For Silverstone, the number is slightly higher to accommodate the additional material that BT puts out on-air.

Brown is happy with how the team currently operates with one another. “We’re very lucky that we do have a team that gets on exceptionally well with each other, and works exceptionally hard to make it happen.”

“When we get here, we have to hit the ground running, they need to know what their jobs are, what they are doing. As an example, you land in Japan, you are as jet-lagged as you can be. But you still get in a car, drive to the circuit, and have to perform as you would have done in Europe.”

“‘I’ll tell you what, let’s have a day off because we need to!’ is not an option in live sports broadcasting. Generally, everyone working for us are bike fans, we have a group of people who in some cases also work on other bike sports, and that is because they love it.”

Viewers watching at home may not realise that, but some of the production crew working on BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage also work on other aspects of motor racing. For example, Charlie Hiscott, who is a reporter for Eurosport’s World Superbikes coverage, works with North One during MotoGP weekends as a floor manager.

After an unsettled start, BT’s MotoGP coverage started to find its gear as their second season in 2015 progressed, something that Gavin Emmett acknowledges. “The first year or two we were just trying to work out what was going on, and since then we have only got better as we’ve become familiar with each other,” says Emmett.

2018 British MotoGP - BT touch-screen
The glamarous life of broadcasting. Neil Hodgson, furthest from the camera, analyses action on BT’s touch-screen device. The black tarpaulin is around the outside to prevent shadows from appearing on the screen.

“We have had changes over the years, whether it has been the presenters or Julian [Ryder] leaving at the end of last year. Like anything, as people become more familiar with it, and as fans become more familiar with us, hopefully they see the little things we throw in there.”

Suzi Perry presents BT’s output, with a six-man band led by Keith Huewen on commentary. Emmett, James Toseland, Colin Edwards, Neil Hodgson, and Michael Laverty provide analysis, Laverty the latest addition to their team for 2018. All of them bring a wealth of motorcycling knowledge from their years in the paddock and out on the race track.

The departure of Ryder from their coverage at the end of 2017 left a hole in the show, but the strength of BT’s team has allowed them to cover for Ryder’s absence. Instead of a single commentary team throughout the day, North One opted to rotate the commentary line-up. Emmett joins Huewen for Moto3, with Toseland on Moto2 duty and Hodgson giving his opinion on the MotoGP action.

“We all love Jules, but he wanted a break from all the travelling,” Emmett tells me. “The change has meant that we can experiment with commentary pairings, and I quite like that, it keeps it all fresh.”

“You keep the familiarity with each series, but you also get different voices throughout the day which keeps it interesting. When you have the same two people all through the day, it’s hard to then get ‘up’ for MotoGP at the end of it, but if you’re changing it up, the co-commentator then has energy for that race. I like it.”

For Emmett, 2018 is a return to the commentary box, having done commentary work for Dorna prior to joining BT’s coverage. His long-standing paddock reputation means that he is the ‘go-to’ man for stories, as well as his multilingual background.

“Gavin is the best-connected man in the paddock, he knows everyone,” says Brown. “Gavin finds the stories that you can see, but also those that you can’t see, that people will tell him because of who you are.”

“I’ve been lucky because I’ve been in this paddock since 2001. I’ve seen most of these riders grow up. I remember giving Jorge his first interview I remember on his birthday in Jerez. I speak Spanish, French and Italian, so I’ve got to know them in their own language, you get to know them on a different level which helps.

“We all have different ways of getting information as well, mine are through getting to know people, everyone feeds in their own little bit and that comes together over a weekend.” – Gavin Emmett

Brown is confident that North One have plugged the gap left by Ryder, thanks to the strength and depth of their team. “Our audience are people who know and care about bikes, and we can’t pull the wool over their eyes, we have to make sure we are providing the right information. That comes from a great on-screen talent team.”

“We have these people who know it so deeply, and that then feeds back into the production team,” Brown tells me. “Editorially we’re joining up as well as we have ever been. I would say that story-telling is our strongest aspect at the moment. We have story-tellers, we have the access to the people in the paddock to tell the stories properly.”

“The teams help us out an awful lot, and when we ask, we tend to get the right people even though they know we’re going to ask a difficult question. They know we’re not trying to mess around with them, we’re just asking a genuine question and we’d like a genuine answer. We’re not trying to misrepresent anything, we’re always trying to tell the right story.”

What does the future hold for BT’s coverage of MotoGP? Earlier this year, BT retained the rights to the championship, keeping the series until the end of 2021. A new aspect for 2018 has been the touch-screen. Like the Sky Pad seen in Sky’s coverage of Formula 1, it allows BT to give viewers a perspective they have not seen before.

“With the touch-screen, we can show people things that they wouldn’t otherwise have seen. We can have a feed of the helicopter to show different lines, or for example the sheer power of the Ducati compared to the Honda, just things that help people’s understanding. It’s easy to tell them ‘what’ but it’s harder to tell them ‘why’,” says Brown.

And Brown is keen to continue using the touch-screen moving forward. “I think that’s what our guys are very good at, and if we can give them the tools to do that better then that’s good. BT are a technology company, and they want us to be using technology, and we are happy to use it, to help people’s understanding of what is a brilliant sport.”

You can argue about BT’s pricing structure, and whether the service is too expensive. But one thing is for certain. Neither BT or North One leave MotoGP fans short-changed. And long may that continue.

2018 British MotoGP - BT on Saturday.jpg

Behind the scenes with BT Sport’s MotoGP production team: planning

From Qatar to Valencia, from Friday morning to Sunday evening, BT Sport cover every session of the MotoGP season exclusively live. Their coverage encompasses both the main championship as well as the feeder Moto2 and Moto3 championships.

North One Television have produced BT Sport’s coverage since it started in 2014, and in this two-part series, I went behind the scenes with them at last weekend’s British Grand Prix to find out how their programming has evolved…

Kevin Brown has been involved in BT’s MotoGP coverage since its inception, and moved into the Series Editor role following the 2017 season. In his role, Brown has the final say on what goes out on-screen.

“My role is to develop the programmes and to make the coverage as good as it can be,” says Brown, who sat down with me on the Thursday of the Silverstone weekend. “It involves working with our on-screen talent to get the best out of them. BT own the rights, it’s their coverage, and I do it for them. If they have feedback then they certainly give it to me.”

Whilst North One are not responsible for MotoGP’s World Feed, that being in the hands of commercial rights holder Dorna, they are responsible for all of BT Sport’s pre-race build-up and post-race analysis, as well as providing their own commentary over the top of the MotoGP feed.

BT’s coverage of a race weekend consists of around eight hours per day, totalling 25 hours. Although the broadcaster does not go on-air until 15 minutes before Friday practice, planning for the weekend starts the moment the previous race ends.

“You can’t turn up at a live outside sports broadcast event unprepared otherwise you’ll get caught out,” explains Brown. “Immediately following the previous race, you start to think about what the upcoming stories are. There’s a lot of contact between myself, the on-screen guys, and the producers. We spend a lot of time talking between races, it must drive our families mad!”

2018 British MotoGP - BT on Friday.jpg
During the Friday lunch break at Silverstone, the BT Sport team of Gavin Emmett, Michael Laverty and James Toseland interview British GP2 rider Josh Owens, a series that runs alongside the British Superbikes championship.

The team starts to arrive to a race weekend on the Wednesday, but it is Thursday when the action steps up a gear. A production meeting on Thursday morning sets the scene for the weekend ahead, before all the key interviews take place in the afternoon.

That sounds easy enough, except the interviews take place in a very short period at the respective motor homes. Broadcasters cannot attend every media scrum, they pick which ones to attend depending on where the stories are within the paddock. It also depends on what questions the broadcaster may want to ask the rider.

The key topic prior to the Silverstone weekend was the new surface that could cause riders issues (little did we know at the time, the poor condition of the track led to the cancellation of all three races on Sunday). For North One as the production company for a UK broadcaster, the priority is the British riders, Cal Crutchlow leading the way. Thursday morning threw a curve ball, a positive one, as Crutchlow signed with LCR Honda for an additional year until the end of 2020.

“We usually have an extended sit-down interview set up with Cal before the British round, but his news changes the emphasis of the interview as it would have been slightly different otherwise,” explains Brown. “We have to be able to respond and adapt quickly to emerging stories.” Thursday is also an opportunity to film any features with riders, typically a track guide, and to ensure all the systems are working as expected, ironing out any loose ends that crop up.

Gavin Emmett leads the ship on Fridays, presenting BT’s coverage of practice, encompassing Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP. However, whilst the race track is silent during the lunch break, BT Sport remains live on-air during the 75-minute gap, using the break to their advantage.

2018 British MotoGP - Emmett and Rossi
Gavin Emmett interviews Valentino Rossi in the Silverstone media centre following Thursday’s press conference.

“Not many people know about it, but for those that do, it is something we’ve built on this year, by staying live during the break,” notes Emmett. “We take our time over that break, bringing everyone up to speed with what’s been happening and what’s going on.” Here at Silverstone, Emmett and Neil Hodgson used the gap to analyse Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo’s last-lap battle during the Austrian Grand Prix, an excellent use of the down-time over the lunch break.

Suzi Perry takes over hosting duties for Saturday and Sunday, whilst Emmett juggles different roles depending on the series that is on-track. “For Moto3, I am up here in the commentary box, and in parc ferme for MotoGP grabbing those interviews.”

“What people don’t realise is when you’re not on-air, while Moto2 is on, I’m doing interviews with the MotoGP riders as they’ve just finished their session. It’s pretty much the same on Sunday. You are non-stop, but that’s what it takes.”

But Emmett is happy to be covering multiple classes is his BT role. “At the end of the day Moto2 and Moto3 are World Championships. The names may have changed, but they are the pinnacle of the light weight and middle weight classes.” Of course, what the above does not consider is rain delays, which the MotoGP pit lane encountered frequently during the Silverstone weekend.

“The on-screen chemistry that our team have is as good as any time that I have worked with. What you see on-screen is genuine, and it continues off-screen as well. We get in the car to go home, and if there has been a debate on TV about a nudge on-track, that continues afterwards into dinner!

“It’s not just about the sport, it’s about our personal lives, we all care about each other and I think that is really important, and that applies for the whole crew. We’ve got cameramen who are ex-speedway riders, their opinion is relevant. There’s no one who feels that another person’s opinion is not good enough. We all listen to each other. It’s an important dynamic, but it’s one that I think we have perfected.” – Kevin Brown

In between delivering the core elements of the weekend, Brown emphasises that the team is continuously striving to improve.

“I spend most of the time between races on the phone or in the WhatsApp group, where we’re all chucking in thoughts and ideas. Some of them make it, some of them don’t, but it’s nice that we all have the ideas. We all care about the product we’re putting on-air.”

As part of an ongoing effort to bring the sport closer to the fans, an additional hour of MotoGP programming aired on BT Sport during last weekend’s British Grand Prix as a trial. New for this season, ‘In Case You Missed It’ has been BT’s Friday evening wrap-up show, but for Silverstone, BT aired the show live for the first-time directly from the Woodlands campsite.

“For me, it is all about taking people to an event they can’t go to, that’s always the important thing,” says Brown, who was also part of the North One team who produced ITV’s Formula 1 coverage.

“It’s easy to get a bit blasé about going to another race track, and another, and another, but there are thousands of people out there who would give their right arm to go to Brno or the Sachsenring. It’s really important to capture the flavour of the event.”

“Here at Silverstone, one of the things we can do is get them in the campsite and see that there’s 10,000 people in there, who are giving up their time, spending their money to be a part of what the British Grand Prix is.”

In part two, we take a look at how BT’s coverage of MotoGP has evolved since 2014, and what the future may hold…

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
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
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 (
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.

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.