Scheduling: The 2017 Australian Grand Prix / Qatar MotoGP

A changing of the guard has occurred in Formula 1 over the winter. A champion retired on top of the world. A mass-media corporation ousted an elder statesman, who grappled with the sport for a lifetime. The machinery has become faster, louder and maybe even sexier.

The Formula 1 roadshow that greets us next weekend for the Australian Grand Prix is a significantly different one to the one that left us last November in Abu Dhabi. Nevertheless, for everything that changes, some aspects remain the same.

Channel 4 and Sky Sports have retained broadly the same line-up as last season. Steve Jones will continue to lead Channel 4’s line-up, with the likes of David Coulthard, Mark Webber and Karun Chandhok providing analysis. Over on Sky, Simon Lazenby begins their sixth season of covering Formula 1 as presenter, Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill are nearby as always in the wings.

The major change for Sky this season is that former Williams technical director Pat Symonds will provide commentary on a number of races alongside Brundle and David Croft. It will be interesting to see how Sky uses Symonds during the race itself, whether they will use him throughout the race or in the quieter phases only.

Over on the BBC, Jack Nicholls returns as 5 Live lead commentator with Allan McNish, Tom Clarkson, Jennie Gow and Mark Gallagher again completing their line-up. Nicholls will miss the Hungarian round this season due to his Formula E commitments. On the scheduling front, note that Friday’s timings are half an hour earlier than previous years, so practice one starts at 01:00 UK time, whilst Sky’s weekend coverage is simulcast on Sky Sports 1. For those with ultra HD, F1 will be available in 4K for the first time through Sky Q.

MotoGP also makes its return next weekend, with Channel 5 providing highlights on Monday evenings, replacing ITV4 in this respect. BT Sport will continue to cover the championship live, with Suzi Perry presenting live for 11 of the 18 races including the opening race of the season in Qatar. Keith Huewen and Julian Ryder will again be covering commentary this season, whilst the likes of Gavin Emmett and Neil Hodgson will be down in pit lane.

NOTE: Clocks go forward one hour on Sunday 26th March, with the change from Greenwich Mean Time to British Summer Time. The times listed are for GMT on Saturday and before; BST for Sunday and afterwards…

Channel 4
25/03 – 13:00 to 14:50 – Qualifying Highlights
26/03 – 14:00 to 16:40 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
24/03 – 00:30 to 02:45 – Practice 1
24/03 – 04:45 to 06:55 – Practice 2
25/03 – 02:45 to 04:10 – Practice 3
25/03 – 05:00 to 07:40 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports 1)
26/03 – 04:30 to 09:10 – Race (also Sky Sports 1)
=> 04:30 – Track Parade
=> 05:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 05:30 – Race
=> 08:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
22/03 – 20:30 to 21:00 – Report: Australia Preview
23/03 – 04:00 to 04:30 – Driver Press Conference
23/03 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut: Australia
24/03 – 07:00 to 07:30 – Team Press Conference
24/03 – 07:30 to 08:00 – The F1 Show
29/03 – 20:30 to 21:00 – Report: Australia Review

21/03 – 20:30 to 21:30 – Preview, Part 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live)
23/03 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview, Part 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live)
24/03 – 00:55 to 02:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
24/03 – 04:55 to 06:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
25/03 – 02:55 to 04:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
25/03 – 05:55 to 07:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
26/03 – 05:00 to 08:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Supplementary Programming
20/03 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Crash and Burn: The Story of Tommy Byrne (BBC One Northern Ireland)
=> also 27/03 at 21:00 on BBC Four

MotoGP – Qatar (BT Sport 2)
23/03 – 14:00 to 19:45
=> 14:00 – Preview
=> 15:00 – Practice
24/03 – 14:45 to 18:45 – Practice
25/03 – 14:30 to 18:30 – Qualifying
26/03 – 13:45 to 21:00 – Races
=> 13:45 – Warm Ups
=> 15:30 – Moto3
=> 17:15 – Moto2
=> 18:45 – MotoGP
=> 20:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Qatar (Channel 5)
27/03 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

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


Scheduling: The 2017 Barcelona test 2 on Sky Sports F1

Formula 1 is very quickly heading towards Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix, but before then there is the small matter of the final test in Barcelona.

Sky Sports F1 will again have a 15-minute round-up on each of the four days, this time with Rachel Brookes presenting for Sky Sports News. David Croft returns with #AskCrofty at 21:15 on each day. There is also a 30-minute F1 Report special looking back at testing.

Elsewhere, although I am not restarting the scheduling pieces properly until the end of the month, I should note that the IndyCar Series returns next Sunday (12th March). Live coverage of the first race from the streets of St. Petersburg airs on BT Sport//ESPN from 16:30 to 19:00.

Tuesday 7th March
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 1 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– #AskCrofty at 21:15

Wednesday 8th March
20:15 to 21:00 – Day 1 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 2 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– #AskCrofty at 21:15

Thursday 9th March
20:15 to 21:00 – Day 2 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 3 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– #AskCrofty at 21:15

Friday 10th March
20:15 to 21:00 – Day 3 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 4 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– #AskCrofty at 21:15

Saturday 11th March
20:00 to 20:30 – F1 Report

If anything changes, the above schedule will be updated.

Update on March 11th – I know that test two has already happened, but I’m not in a position to publish the Australia schedule yet. So a note that there will be an F1 Report Development Special on Wednesday 15th March at 20:00 with Natalie Pinkham alongside Mike Gascoyne and Craig Scarborough. Tonight’s special for those wondering will be David Croft alongside Chris Medland and Jon Noble.

Scheduling: The 2017 Buenos Aires ePrix

After an extended absence, Formula E returns for the second half of its third season with the Buenos Aires ePrix.

Returning to the fray are two names familiar to site readers. Jack Nicholls returns as lead commentator for this round having been absent from the Hong Kong and Marrakech ePrix due to his BBC Radio 5 Live F1 commitments. Nicholls will be around for the Mexican ePrix on April 1st, before missing the Monaco and Berlin ePrix.

Marc Priestley is the second name returning to the fold, in a move officially confirmed on the Formula E website. Priestley replaces Ben Constanduros as Formula E’s YouTube presenter. Priestley has previously been part of ITV’s Formula E coverage when they were the UK broadcaster, but never part of the host feed’s coverage. It is a good move to bring Priestley into the picture.

Channel 5’s sister channel Spike is airing live coverage of qualifying, with the main channel airing the race live, which should be a good shop window for the championship in primetime next Saturday. The channel will cut away from the World Feed before the end of the post-race analysis, finishing slightly earlier at 20:10. After this race, there will be a further six week break until the Mexico City ePrix on April 1st.

Formula E – Buenos Aires (online via Channel 5’s social media channels and YouTube)
18/02 – 10:55 to 11:55 – Practice 1
18/02 – 13:25 to 14:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Buenos Aires
18/02 – 14:45 to 16:20 – Qualifying (Spike)
18/02 – 18:30 to 20:15 – Race (Channel 5)

If anything changes, I will update the above schedule.

Update on February 17th – In a u-turn, It looks like Channel 5 are adding a studio element, with Andy Jaye confirming on Twitter that he will be presenting tomorrow’s live race broadcast.

Scheduling: The 2017 Barcelona test 1 on Sky Sports F1

One of the most frantic winter periods in recent Formula 1 history is ending. On February 27th, 2017 the sound of Formula 1 machinery will again be heard as the drivers and teams head to Barcelona in Spain for the first pre-season test session!

Sky Sports F1 will be covering the action, with brief interviews interspersed with track footage on each of the four days, followed by Ted Kravitz’s usual Notebook material. Sky Sports News will also have their usual reporter (either Rachel Brookes or Craig Slater) at the circuit.

Given that the sport is now under the ownership of Liberty Media, we might see more activity than previous years from Formula One Management (FOM) at these tests. As of writing, I do not know if they have any new plans for covering testing as a whole, but I will update this post if they are planning to do something different this year.

On the subject of car launches, there is nothing currently in Sky’s schedules. However, Natalie Pinkham and David Croft are presenting the Force India car launch from Silverstone on February 22nd, so I would expect something to turn up on the channel. Likewise, I would be surprised if the Mercedes launch the following day was not covered, either.

The Barcelona test one schedule currently stands as follows:

Thursday 16th February
19:30 to 20:30 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Wednesday 22nd February
13:00 to 16:00 – Afternoon Edition (BBC Radio 5 Live)
live from the Mercedes factory with Jack Nicholls

Monday 27th February
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 1 Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

Tuesday 28th February
20:15 to 21:00 – Day 1 Highlights (Sky Sports F1) (R)
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 2 Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

Wednesday 1st March
20:15 to 21:00 – Day 2 Highlights (Sky Sports F1) (R)
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 3 Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

Thursday 2nd March
20:15 to 21:00 – Day 3 Highlights (Sky Sports F1) (R)
21:00 to 21:45 – Day 4 Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

If anything changes, I will update the schedule above.

Update on February 15th – The BBC are airing a 5 Live Formula 1 special on Thursday 16th February with Jennie Gow, Mark Gallagher, Andrew Benson, Toto Wolff, Ross Brawn and Claire Williams.

Scheduling: The 2017 Race of Champions

Sky Sports have confirmed that they will broadcast live coverage of the 2017 Race of Champions from Miami.

The Saturday programme will be simulcast across the dedicated F1 channel and Sky Sports Mix. Sky are wrapping the World Feed around with their own studio coverage presented by Natalie Pinkham, with Marc Priestley and Max Chilton alongside her.

Jennie Gow and John Hindhaugh will present the World Feed coverage, with Neil Cole and Bob Varsha on commentary.

Race of Champions – Miami (Sky Sports F1)
21/01 – 20:00 to 23:00 – Race of Champions (also on Sky Sports Mix)
22/01 – 17:00 to 20:00 – Nations Cup

Channel 4 will be airing highlights the weekend prior to the Australian Grand Prix.

If anything changes, I will update the schedule.