Motors TV branding to be replaced by Motorsport.tv from March 1st

The Motors TV brand will disappear at the end of this month, with Motorsport.tv taking its place from March 1st.

Social media ‘headers’ on Motors TV’s Facebook and Twitter pages officially confirm the move, a move widely expected following Motorsport Network’s acquisition of the channel last November. For the first time, content will be available in high-definition from March 1st on Motorsport.tv HD.

For UK readers, the channel will remain on the Sky and Virgin Media platforms. The only thing that will change for the moment is the channels’ branding, and the picture quality. The channel will continue to show championships such as the FIA World Endurance Championship this season.

motors-tv-move
Social media header confirming the channel move.
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Motorsport Network increases footprint with acquisition of Motors TV

Motorsport Network, the company which runs Motorsport.com and AUTOSPORT amongst others, has acquired the Motors TV network, it has been confirmed.

Zak Brown, the Chairman of Motorsport Network, said: “Today’s news to expand our commitment to automotive from the global digital presence we are building with Motor1.com and our digital motorsport estate including Motorsport.com and Autosport.com into the broadcast arena is a bold step to build a genuinely integrated platform across small and large screen alike. The investment will enable us to create the very first dedicated broadcast ‘home’ in our expert areas of performance motoring and motorsport”

As documented on this site, Motors TV has been in financial trouble historically, more of which has come to the limelight this year. In February, Motors TV’s UK channel briefly disappeared from Sky whilst court proceedings were issued against the French company in May. The takeover from Motorsport Network was due to be concluded in June, but were never finalised due to the court proceedings.

I’m undecided as to whether this takeover is a good or bad thing. We’ll start off with the good: the channel will be in high-definition from March 2017 and will be available on a vast array of devices such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. This should open the horizons and hopefully allow Motors TV to tap into a new audience. I’m all for bringing new people towards motor sport, and there is real potential that having a dedicated motor sport channel, with performance motoring also covered, ran by people with money behind them, is a very good thing indeed. The channel should find it more straightforward to attract rights holders in the future.

However, the press release implies that Motors TV will be leaving Sky in 2017. The press release states that “2017 will mark its transition from traditional linear broadcasting to a Video on Demand (VOD) service with the launch of Motorsport.tv’s new digital platform.” It is unclear whether the Motors TV name will disappear, stating that Motors TV will be “absorbed” into Motorsport.tv suggests that the Motors TV brand will cease to exist. In the short-term, I don’t see Motors TV disappearing overnight but can see it happening within the next year.

It feels like Motorsport Network has bought the Motors TV name to remove a competitor. After all the existence, or lack of, where Motors TV is concerned would not have stopped them pressing ahead with their digital platform plans. A monopoly is not a good thing. Yes, Motors TV’s picture quality is poor and a relic of the mid 2000s but it provides coverage of local, club series on a UK level. Will those series get as much coverage in 2017 on the new look Motorsport.TV if the Motors TV brand on satellite disappears? Alongside this, there are much bigger concerns about the linkages between Liberty Media, F1, Motorsport Network and Zak Brown.

Is it healthy for the motor sport media landscape on television, new media and beyond to be intrinsically linked to each other and owned by the same group of people? Personally, I don’t think so.

Update on November 23rd – It looks like Motors TV will be staying on Sky in the UK and potentially broadening its pay-TV reach abroad as well.

Scheduling: The 2016 Mexican Grand Prix

This weekend sees Formula 1 return to Mexico in its second year back on the calendar after a successful debut weekend in 2015. The weekend could also see Nico Rosberg claim his first Formula 1 championship.

Channel 4 are running extended programming on Saturday, with their practice three show 95 minutes long and their qualifying programme a whopping three hours long. This partially makes up for the fact that their race programme is shorter than usual, due to the new series of Humans following straight after the race has finished. We could see Channel 4 “running off the air” as soon as a new world champion is crowned, which I hope doesn’t happen. Hopefully More4 is used in the event of that happening. The channel have Eddie Jordan and Mark Webber back with them this weekend.

Elsewhere, live coverage of the World Rally Championship returns to free-to-air television for the first time in over a decade with the Power Stage from the Wales Rally GB being aired live on Channel 5, as part of the agreement announced back in January. Channel 5’s live programme will be presented by Nicky Grist and Matthew Lorenzo; the latter name long-time readers will recognise well from Sky’s F1 Digital+ coverage back in 2002.

NOTE: Clocks go back one hour on Sunday 30th October, with the change from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time. The times listed are for BST on Saturday and before; GMT for Sunday and afterwards…

Channel 4 F1
28/10 – 15:55 to 17:40 – Practice 1 (More4)
28/10 – 19:55 to 21:35 – Practice 2 (More4)
29/10 – 15:55 to 17:30 – Practice 3 (Channel 4)
29/10 – 18:00 to 21:00 – Qualifying (Channel 4)
30/10 – 18:00 to 21:00 – Race (Channel 4)

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
28/10 – 15:45 to 17:50 – Practice 1
28/10 – 19:45 to 22:00 – Practice 2
29/10 – 15:45 to 17:15 – Practice 3
29/10 – 18:00 to 20:45 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Mix)
30/10 – 17:30 to 22:15 – Race
=> 17:30 – Track Parade
=> 18:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 18:30 – Race (also Sky Sports 1)
=> 21:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
27/10 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Driver Press Conference
27/10 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
28/10 – 22:00 to 22:30 – Team Press Conference
28/10 – 22:30 to 23:00 – The F1 Show
02/11 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
27/10 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
28/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/10 – 18:55 to 20:35 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
30/10 – 19:00 to 21:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Malaysia (BT Sport 2)
28/10 – 02:00 to 09:00
=> 02:00 – Practice 1
=> 04:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 06:00 – Practice 2
29/10 – 02:00 to 09:15
=> 02:00 – Practice 3
=> 05:00 – Qualifying
30/10 – 01:30 to 03:15 – Warm Up
30/10 – 03:30 to 08:15
=> 03:30 – Moto3 race
=> 05:15 – Moto2 race
=> 06:45 – MotoGP race

MotoGP – Malaysia (ITV4)
31/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights

Euroformula – Jerez
29/10 – Race 1
=> 14:00 to 15:00 (BT Sport X3)
=> 14:05 to 15:15 (Motors TV)
30/10 – Race 2
=> 11:15 to 12:15 (BT Sport X1)
=> 12:05 to 13:10 (Motors TV)

Formula V8 3.5 – Jerez
29/10 – 12:45 to 14:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport 2)
30/10 – 12:15 to 13:45 – Race 2 (BT Sport X1)

World Rally Championship – Wales Rally GB
28/10 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:00 to 22:30 (BT Sport 2)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motors TV)
29/10 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 21:45 to 22:15 (BT Sport 2)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motors TV)
30/10 – Live: Stage 1 (BT Sport 1 / 4K)
30/10 – Live: Power Stage
=> 11:50 to 13:10 (Channel 5)
=> 12:00 to 13:00 (BT Sport 1 / 4K)
30/10 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 22:15 to 22:45 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motors TV)
31/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Superbikes – Qatar (British Eurosport 2)
29/10 – 15:15 to 19:00 – Qualifying and Race 1
30/10 – 16:00 to 19:00 – Support and Race 2

Scheduling: The 2016 United States Grand Prix

17 down, four to go. For Nico Rosberg, there’s a very good chance that he could become Formula One Drivers’ Champion before Abu Dhabi if he secures a win in Austin this weekend. Elsewhere, the MotoGP championship was clinched by Marc Marquez in Motegi last weekend, meaning that the paddock will be slightly more relaxed than last year in Australia!

Sky Sports are airing F1 every session exclusively live, with the race being simulcast on Sky Sports 1. There is a special documentary on the F1 channel following the race entitled ‘Two Weeks to Win’ looking at Mercedes F1’s turnaround from the Spanish Grand Prix to the Monaco Grand Prix this season. The documentary was released by UBS in August and produced by Whisper Films, who of course also produce Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage (although a good handful of Whisper’s staff used to work for Sky F1). Either way, it is not a Sky produced exclusive.

For those of you without Sky, the bad news is that Channel 4’s highlights programme is not on until 23:00 which is frankly ridiculous. It is the latest a highlights programme has started since the shared deal started in 2012.In 2014, when the race started at 20:00, BBC One’s highlights programme aired from 22:30 to 00:00. So it isn’t that Channel 4 can’t do it, they’ve just chosen not to, instead scheduling a film premiere before the F1 from 21:00 to 23:00.

On the MotoGP front, Suzi Perry is presenting BT’s MotoGP coverage from Australia which is a nice bit of commitment from themselves, even if the timing is somewhat unlucky with the main title already wrapped up. I don’t believe this extends to their speedway coverage which is also in Australia, albeit a two hour drive away.

Channel 4 F1
22/10 – 22:00 to 23:30 – Qualifying Highlights
23/10 – 23:00 to 01:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
21/10 – 15:45 to 17:50 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Mix)
21/10 – 19:45 to 22:00 – Practice 2
22/10 – 15:45 to 17:15 – Practice 3
22/10 – 18:00 to 20:45 – Qualifying
23/10 – 18:30 to 23:15 – Race (also Sky Sports 1)
=> 18:30 – Track Parade
=> 19:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 19:30 – Race
=> 22:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
19/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
20/10 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Driver Press Conference
20/10 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
21/10 – 22:00 to 22:30 – Team Press Conference
21/10 – 22:30 to 23:00 – The F1 Show
23/10 – 23:15 to 23:45 – Two Weeks to Win: Mercedes F1
26/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
20/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
21/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
23/10 – 19:30 to 22:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Australia (BT Sport 2)
21/10 – 00:00 to 07:00
=> 00:00 – Practice 1
=> 02:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 04:00 – Practice 2
22/10 – 23:00 (Friday) to 07:15
=> 23:00 – Practice 3
==> extended following heavy rain on Friday
=> 03:00 – Qualifying
23/10 – 00:30 to 02:15 – Warm Up
23/10 – 02:30 to 07:15
=> 02:30 – Moto3 race
=> 04:15 – Moto2 race
=> 05:45 – MotoGP race

MotoGP – Australia (ITV4)
24/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 – Estoril (BT Sport 2)
22/10 – 13:15 to 14:00 – Race 1
23/10 – 10:00 to 10:45 – Race 2

European Le Mans Series – 4 Hours of Estoril (Motors TV)
23/10 – 13:10 to 18:05 – Race

Speedway Grand Prix – Australia (BT Sport 2)
22/10 – 09:45 to 13:15 – Races

V8 Supercars – Gold Coast 600
22/10 – 04:30 to 07:30 – Race 22 (BT Sport 1)
23/10 – 05:00 to 08:00 – Race 23 (BT Sport//ESPN)

As always, if anything changes I will update the schedule.

 

Scheduling: The 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

The Malaysian Grand Prix switches back to the latter stages of the season, this year playing host to round 16 of the 2016 Formula One season. It is the third time that the Sepang circuit has been at this end of the calendar, having previously played host to the penultimate round in 1999 and the season finale in 2000.

Channel 4 will be showing live coverage of this round, with Lee McKenzie returning to the fold after her second stint in Rio for the Paralympics and Mark Webber too with the team. Elsewhere in Channel 4’s portfolio, the channel will be airing a full replay of both qualifying and the race, this being their first live morning race. There will also be a special programme after qualifying, with David Coulthard interviewing Christian Horner.

Over on Sky, GP2 and GP3 return to action. It is the first time that GP2 has been in action at Sepang since 2013. For GP3, it is the first race ever at Sepang next weekend. Both take place in the early hours, but are repeated on Sky Sports F1 straight after the F1 action.

Elsewhere, there is a huge amount of motor sport, as the British Touring Car Championship comes to a close, whilst other championships such as the British Superbikes hurdles towards its conclusion.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
30/09 – 02:55 to 04:40 – Practice 1
30/09 – 06:55 to 08:40 – Practice 2
01/10 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Practice 3
01/10 – 09:00 to 11:30 – Qualifying
01/10 – 16:30 to 18:30 – Qualifying Replay
02/10 – 07:00 to 10:45 – Race
02/10 – 16:50 to 19:30 – Race Replay

Supplementary Programming
01/10 – 11:30 to 12:00 – David Coulthard meets Christian Horner

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
30/09 – 02:45 to 04:50 – Practice 1
30/09 – 06:45 to 08:55 – Practice 2
01/10 – 06:45 to 08:15 – Practice 3
01/10 – 09:00 to 11:45 – Qualifying
02/10 – 06:30 to 11:15 – Race
=> 06:30 – Track Parade (also Sky Sports Mix)
=> 07:00 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Mix)
=> 07:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Mix)
=> 10:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
28/09 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
29/09 – 08:00 to 08:30 – Driver Press Conference
29/09 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
30/09 – 09:30 to 10:00 – Team Press Conference
30/09 – 10:00 to 10:30 – The F1 Show
05/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
29/09 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
30/09 – 02:55 to 04:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
30/09 – 06:55 to 08:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
01/10 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
01/10 – 09:55 to 11:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
02/10 – 07:30 to 10:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Blancpain Sprint Series – Barcelona (BT Sport 2)
02/10 – 08:00 to 09:30 – Qualifying
02/10 – 12:45 to 14:30 – Race

British Superbikes – Assen
01/10 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
02/10 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
02/10 – 13:00 to 17:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
13/07 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch (ITV4)
02/10 – 10:15 to 18:30 – Races

Euroformula – Monza
01/10 – Race 1
=> 14:05 to 15:00 (Motors TV)
=> 14:15 to 15:15 (BT Sport 3)
02/10 – Race 2
=> 12:00 to 13:00 (BT Sport//ESPN)

FIM CEV Repsol – Jerez
02/10 – Races
=> 09:45 to 11:45 (BT Sport 2)
=> 11:45 to 14:45 (BT Sport X4)

Formula 3 Europe – Imola
01/10 – 10:00 to 11:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
02/10 – 14:45 to 16:00 – Race 3 (BT Sport X4)

Formula V8 3.5 – Monza
01/10 – 13:00 to 14:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
02/10 – 14:30 to 16:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport//ESPN)

GP2 Series – Malaysia (Sky Sports F1)
29/09 – 09:05 to 09:40 – Practice
30/09 – 08:55 to 09:30 – Qualifying
01/10 – 04:45 to 06:15 – Race 1
02/10 – 04:15 to 05:30 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Malaysia (Sky Sports F1)
30/09 – 10:30 to 11:05 – Qualifying
* note: this appears to be airing on a 40-minute tape-delay
01/10 – 03:25 to 04:25 – Race 1
02/10 – 03:00 to 04:00 – Race 2

International GT Open – Monza
01/10 – Race 1
=> 15:00 to 16:50 (Motors TV)
=> 15:15 to 17:00 (BT Sport 3)
02/10 – Race 2
=> 13:00 to 14:30 (BT Sport//ESPN)

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport 1)
01/10 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

TCR International Series – Malaysia (Motors TV)
01/10 – 10:45 to 12:05 – Race

World Rally Championship – France
30/09 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:00 to 22:30 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motors TV)
01/10 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 21:45 to 22:15 (BT Sport 3)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motors TV)
02/10 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Power Stage (BT Sport 2)
02/10 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 22:15 to 22:45 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motors TV)
03/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Superbikes – France (British Eurosport 2)
01/10 – 09:15 to 13:00 – Qualifying and Race 1
02/10 – 10:00 to 11:00 – Support Race
02/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Race 2

As always, if anything changes, I’ll update the schedule.