Formula 1 shines as UK TV viewing figures increase at half way stage of 2018

Formula 1’s viewing figures have increased in the United Kingdom at the half way stage of the season, with Channel 4 contributing most to the increase, analysis conducted by this site suggests.

> Increases across the board for Channel 4
> Fewer people tuning into Sky’s wrap-around coverage
> Sensational Silverstone top dog so far

Audience figures for Formula 1 have generally been decreasing since 2012, when the BBC opted to share Formula 1 with Sky Sports, although the first half of both 2013 and 2015 did buck the trend.

Channel 4 took control of the BBC’s free-to-air element starting in 2016, after the corporation exited their contract at the end of 2015. The change exacerbated Formula 1’s audience decline due to Channel 4’s lower audience reach, and less cross-promotion opportunities available. How do viewing figures look for the first half of 2018?

All viewing figures presented in this piece, and across this site, are overnight audience figures supplied by Overnights.tv, known in the industry as live + VOSDAL (video on same day as live). They include anyone who watched the programme on the same day, up until the 02:00 cut-off point.

To outline two phrases referenced frequently in this piece:

  • The average audience is an average of viewers for every minute of the programme from start to finish
    • To keep calculations equal compared with yesteryear, this means using specific ‘chunks’ of Channel 4’s and Sky’s programming, more information below
  • The peak audience is the five-minute segment of the programme which attracted the most viewers
    • For a Formula 1 race, this can be either the start of a boring race, or the final phase of an exciting Grand Prix

What this post does not include is audience figures from on-demand systems such as Now TV, Sky Go or All 4, nor does include radio figures for BBC’s Formula 1 coverage on Radio 5 Live. All of them will make a difference to the overall reach of Formula 1.

Overnight audience figures only tell part of the story, but are still important in an ever-changing world, especially as broadcasters’ clamour for sports programming, which fans traditionally watch live and by harder to reach demographics.

The figures exclude the Hungarian Grand Prix, an important note because it appears Sky recorded some of their biggest figures for F1 in a long time last Sunday (more to come on that in a separate piece), and Formula 1’s largest audience of the season so far.

Sky’s 2018 story
As usual, Sky’s coverage in 2018 has aired live on their dedicated Formula 1 channel. In a change to previous seasons, simulcasts have taken place beyond the Sky Sports network, with Sky’s general entertainment channel Sky One getting in on the action. Sky’s figures exclude those who watched via Sky Go or Now TV.

To calculate the average audience on race day, we use Sky’s three-and-a-half-hour portion, from 70 minutes before lights out to around 40 minutes after the race. Typically, this takes us from 13:00 to 16:30, or equivalent. The average for 2018 encompasses the final half of Pit Lane Live, On the Grid and then the race itself. Sky’s Paddock Live show is not included.

Analysis conducted by this site indicate that fewer people are watching Sky’s wrap-around programming but are still tuning in for the race. The average audience tuning in to Sky’s programming from start to finish has decreased year-on-year, but the peak audience compared with 2017 has remained static.

The simulcasts have failed to stop Sky’s average audience at the half way point of the season from declining for the fourth season in a row. Sky’s coverage on race day have averaged 577,000 viewers from 13:00 to 16:30, or equivalent. During the first half of 2014, 746,000 viewers watched the action on Sky.

This figure has consistently dropped year-on-year: from 657,000 viewers in 2015, to 617,000 viewers in 2016 and 598,000 viewers last season. Now, another 21,000 viewers on average have stopped watching Sky’s race day broadcasts, at least via the television set.

Sky have aired six races exclusively live so far in 2018 to an average audience of 585,000 viewers. The five races Sky shared with Channel 4 averaged 568,000 viewers, a small difference between the two figures.

For the nine races this season where we can make year-on-year comparisons (France and Germany the exceptions), five races dropped compared with 2017, with four gaining ground. The Spanish and Monaco weekends are the stand-out this year for Sky, both recording year-on-year increases of nearly 25 percent, with China and Britain increasing by around 2.5 percent.

However, all five races which decreased year-on-year dropped by double-digit percentage figures. Europe (down 31.7 percent) and Austria (down 27.9 percent, shared with Channel 4 for the first time) were the main casualties for the pay-TV broadcaster, the latter also due to the World Cup. Canada struggled (down 18.3 percent), facing sporting opposition from ITV’s Soccer Aid.

A peak audience of 954,000 viewers watched Sky’s race day coverage of Formula 1 so far this season, identical to last year’s peak figure. Fewer people are watching Sky’s race build-up and post-session analysis than in previous years but are still tuning in for the race itself. The percentage difference between Sky’s average and peak audience figures is the largest it has ever been at this point at 65.3 percent (compared with 59.6 percent last year).

Structurally, Sky have changed the format of their pre-race programming, meaning that from a recording perspective, there is no longer a jump-on point at the top of the hour, in the hour before the race, which may have caused their overall reach to decrease.

Three races have increased their peak audience on Sky this year: Monaco (up 19.0 percent) and Spain (up 14.0 percent) the highlights. The peak audiences for Australia, Canada, Europe, and Austria all decreased by over ten percent year-on-year.

When you look at the increase for Channel 4’s audience figures below, Sky’s figures may be somewhat concerning, considering what may lie ahead in 2019 if the mooted Channel 4 highlights deal collapses.

Channel 4’s 2018 story
Two components make-up Channel 4’s race day figures: their six highlight shows, combined with their five live race day broadcasts. To calculate the average audience, we use Channel 4’s build-up, plus their race block as billed in the EPG, but not their post-race reaction segment. Channel 4’s figures exclude those who may have watched via their on demand All 4 platform.

So far in 2018, Channel 4’s race day programming has averaged 1.90 million viewers, an increase on 2017’s average audience figure of 1.86 million viewers. Channel 4’s mid-year figure for 2018 includes one additional highlights programme compared with 2017. Without this highlights programme, Channel 4’s average will be slightly higher.

Channel 4’s live programming so far in 2018 have averaged 2.16 million viewers, an increase on last year’s figure of 2.11 million viewers. Their highlight shows have averaged 1.68 million viewers, compared with 1.60 million at the same stage last season.

The first half of 2018 has been excellent for Channel 4. For the nine races where we can make year-on-year comparisons, seven increased their audience volume. The first five races of the season all recorded an increased audience for the free-to-air broadcaster.

China (up 23.8 percent) and Spain (up 10.0 percent) were the highlights for Channel 4, both literally and figuratively. Canada (down 11.7 percent) and Austria (down 13.2 percent) struggled for Channel 4, although both have explanations: Canada was a late-night programme for the third year running, whilst Austria clashed with the World Cup.

The broadcaster has also set some record numbers for their highlights programming:

  • The 2018 Spanish Grand Prix averaged 2.33 million viewers, the highest since BBC’s coverage of the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix [2.77 million]
  • The 2018 German Grand Prix peaked with 3.11 million viewers, the highest figure since BBC’s coverage of the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix [3.27 million]

Whilst the figures pale in comparison to what the BBC was attracting in 2015 and before, the audience figures show that viewers prefer watching Channel 4’s highlights programming, and (assuming F1 cannot return to BBC or ITV), F1 would be in a significantly worse position without Channel 4’s highlights in 2019.

A peak audience of 2.71 million viewers have watched Channel 4’s coverage this year, an increase of 4.1 percent on the equivalent 2017 figure of 2.60 million viewers. Eight out of the nine races where we can make comparisons have increased their peak audience, only Canada lets the side down with a 5.4 percent drop compared with 2017.

The gap between Channel 4’s peak audience for their live and highlights shows has remained around one million viewers. Channel 4’s live races have attracted a peak audience of 3.27 million viewers, an increase of 5.6 percent on last year’s figure of 3.10 million viewers; whilst a peak audience of 2.24 million viewers have watched their highlights programming, also an increase on 2017’s figure.

Their highest peak figure so far this year came with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, which peaked with 3.66 million viewers, Channel 4’s highest peak figure for a lunchtime race since the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Combined audience and final thoughts
At the half way stage of 2018, the UK combined television average audience stands at 2.48 million viewers, a slight increase on the equivalent figure in 2017 of 2.45 million viewers.

Where races aired live across Channel 4 and Sky, an audience of 2.73 million viewers watched, another small increase of 10,000 viewers on the first half of 2017. Channel 4’s increases and Sky’s decreases in this regard have cancelled each other out, resulting in negligible year-on-year change.

The numbers are more positive when looking at races that aired in highlights form on Channel 4. A combined audience of 2.27 million viewers watched on these occasions, an increase of 3.4 percent compared with 2017’s figure of 2.19 million viewers. Considering Canada and France brought in low audiences, this is an excellent figure suggesting Channel 4’s highlights are punching above their weight – a strong case you might argue for Channel 4 airing highlights in 2019. Three of the top five races this year aired live on free-to-air television:

01 – 3.06 million viewers – British Grand Prix (live)
02 – 2.99 million viewers – Spanish Grand Prix (highlights)
03 – 2.95 million viewers – German Grand Prix (highlights)
04 – 2.89 million viewers – Bahrain Grand Prix (live)
05 – 2.87 million viewers – Azerbaijan Grand Prix (live)

As referenced earlier in the article, the Hungarian Grand Prix has since usurped the British Grand Prix to the top of the tree for 2018, Hungary not part of the calculations in this post since it falls into the second half of the season.

What is notable is how the top five races all averaged above 2.85 million viewers. In the same table at the half-way stage last year, the fifth highest race averaged 2.55 million viewers! If anything, it demonstrates how three races this season (Canada, France, and Austria) have had a significant impact on the mid-year audience figures. Those three races averaged under two million viewers. We cannot ‘not’ count them, the races happened after all.

The sensational British, German, and Azerbaijani rounds all enter the top five, with Spain and Bahrain rounding out proceedings. The presence of the World Cup might have dented France and Austria significantly; however, it did not have a profound effect on the rounds that followed, with Formula 1 bouncing back immediately from its brief slump.

A combined peak audience of 3.65 million viewers have watched Formula 1 so far in 2018, an increase on last year’s figure of 3.54 million viewers. For races that aired in highlights form on free-to-air television, a combined peak of 3.23 million viewers watched, compared with 4.16 million viewers for live races. Both figures are up by around 150,000 viewers on the equivalent 2017 figures of 3.07 million viewers and 4.01 million viewers respectively.

Unpredictably is helping Formula 1 this year, with Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull all capable of winning on a good day. An interesting question is whether Formula One Management’s decision to move races 70 minutes later than in previous years has helped UK viewing figures.

Given that races across the board, irrespective of whether the race has aired on free-to-air television in highlights form or aired live have increased year-on-year, looking at the figures, I feel that the time change has made very little difference to the overall numbers, if at all. Which is a good thing for Liberty Media.

It is also possible looking at the figures that Sky’s F1 audience is healthier compared to previous years when factoring in Sky Go and Now TV. They all could make up the difference, but we simply do not know as Sky do not release these figures publicly.

This site has reached out to the BBC, Channel 4, and Sky Sports for comment.

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Scheduling: The 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

After a sensational victory for Lewis Hamilton in Sebastian Vettel’s back yard, the two championship protagonists head for the Hungarian Grand Prix, the final stop on the Formula 1 calendar before the Summer break.

It is a weekend packed with motor sport, on tarmac, gravel, two wheels and four to whet the appetite. This weekend is special for the British Touring Car Championship, as the championship holds an endurance style race lasting double the usual length at 60 miles. The special race takes place on Sunday at 17:15 UK time live as usual on ITV4.

> Feature: 60 years of British Touring Cars – the broadcasting story

Further afield, Julian Ryder returns to commentary duties with Eurosport for the 8 Hours of Suzuka, Ryder having stepped down from his MotoGP duties at the end of 2017. Alongside Ryder for the endurance race are Jack Burnicle and Terry Rymer, amongst others.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
28/07 – 17:30 to 19:00 – Qualifying Highlights
29/07 – 18:45 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
27/07 – 09:45 to 11:50 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
27/07 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2
28/07 – 10:30 to 12:15 – Practice 3
28/07 – 13:00 to 15:30 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
29/07 – 12:30 to 17:10 – Race
=> 12:30 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 13:30 – On the Grid (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 14:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 16:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
25/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview
26/07 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Driver Press Conference
26/07 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
28/07 – 15:30 to 16:05 – The F1 Show (also Sky Sports Main Event)
01/08 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
27/07 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/07 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/07 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
28/07 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/07 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
29/07 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula Two – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
27/07 – 11:50 to 12:45 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
27/07 – 15:50 to 16:30 – Qualifying
28/07 – 15:40 to 17:00 – Race 1
=> 15:40 to 16:05 (Sky Sports Red Button)
=> 16:05 to 17:00 (Sky Sports F1)
29/07 – 10:15 to 11:15 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
28/07 – 09:40 to 10:20 – Qualifying
28/07 – 17:25 to 18:20 – Race 1
29/07 – 09:00 to 09:50 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Hungary
29/07 – Race
=> 11:30 to 12:15 (Eurosport 2)
=> 11:25 to 12:15 (Sky Sports F1)

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup – 24 Hours of Spa (Motorsport.tv)
28/07 and 29/07 – Race
=> 15:20 to 21:30 [Saturday]
=> 22:00 [Saturday] to 15:50 [Sunday]

British Touring Car Championship – Snetterton (ITV4)
29/07 – 10:30 to 18:30 – Races

Formula Three European Championship – Spa (BT Sport 1)
27/07 – 09:45 to 11:00 – Race 1
27/07 – 13:45 to 14:45 – Race 2
28/07 – 08:00 to 09:15 – Race 3

Formula Renault Eurocup – Spa (BT Sport 1)
27/07 – 14:45 to 16:00 – Race 1
28/07 – 10:30 to 11:45 – Race 2

Suzuka 8 Hours (Eurosport 2)
29/07 – 03:15 to 11:45 – Race

IndyCar Series – Mid-Ohio (BT Sport/ESPN)
29/07 – 20:00 to 23:00 – Race

World Rally Championship – Finland
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
26/07 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Live: Stage 1 (BT Sport 1)
27/07 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Live: Stage 11 (BT Sport 3)
27/07 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:00 to 22:30 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
29/07 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Live: Stage 17 (BT Sport X3)
28/07 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 21:30 to 22:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 22:15 to 22:45 (BT Sport 1)
29/07 – 07:30 to 08:30 – Live: Stage 21 [Special Stage] (BT Sport 2)
29/07 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Live: Power Stage (BT Sport 2)
29/07 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 21:15 to 21:45 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
31/07 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

The schedule will be updated if anything changes.

Update on July 27th – From the “you have got to be kidding me” department, Sky have moved The F1 Show to 15:30, pushing the first half of Formula Two onto the Red Button. Yes, really. I believe this is the first time Sky have done this since they started showing Formula Two (then GP2) in 2012.

UK broadcasters reap rewards of dramatic German Grand Prix

A peak audience of 4.3 million viewers watched the German Grand Prix across Channel 4 and Sky Sports yesterday, overnight viewing figures in the UK show.

Race
The race aired live on Sky Sports F1, with Channel 4 airing highlights later, both broadcasters reaping the rewards from a dramatic race. Sky Sports dropped its Paddock Live show after thunderstorms disrupted their post-race broadcast, the pay-TV broadcaster opting to head off air at 16:40 UK time.

Sky’s broadcast from 13:00 to 16:40 averaged 685k (7.7%), their third highest average of the season so far, only behind Monaco and Canada. Their coverage peaked with 1.19m (12.5%) at 15:20 as Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the Grand Prix. It is Sky’s highest peak for a European round since last season’s Italian Grand Prix, which peaked with 1.39m (15.0%).

Although the figures for Sky are good, both metrics are down by 20 percent when compared with the 2016 German Grand Prix. In 2016, the Hockenheim round averaged 932k (11.8%) across Sky Sports F1 and 1, with 1.48m (17.4%) watching Sky’s coverage at its peak, although it should be noted that those figures were very strong for Sky even at that time.

The difference between Sky’s 2016 and 2018 audience figures could suggest that more viewers are watching via Sky Go and Now TV, both of which are unaccounted for as Sky do not release these publicly. Sky’s core audience was likely split yesterday between the F1 and the Open Golf championship, so Sky are unlikely to be concerned by the drop in F1’s audience figure.

Following on from its Spanish Grand Prix success, Channel 4’s highlights programme recorded its highest ever peak figure yesterday. A peak audience of 3.11m (17.8%) watched Channel 4’s highlights broadcast at 20:15, the highest since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix.

Channel 4’s average audience of 2.26m (13.8%) was slightly lower than Spain over a 135-minute time slot, but in-line with the 2016 average audience of 2.27m (14.1%). These figures come at a crucial time for Channel 4 as it looks to broadcast Formula 1 in highlights form from 2019. Certainly, audience figures indicate that would be the best course of action…

The combined average audience of 2.95 million viewers is the third highest of 2018, only behind Britain and Spain. Compared with the 2016 German round, the average audience is down by around 252,000 viewers, largely a result of Sky’s audience figures dropping.

A peak audience of 4.30 million viewers watched the race across Channel 4 and Sky, a split of 72:28 in Channel 4’s favour. The peak is in-line with 2016’s peak audience of 4.33 million, although the split on that day was 66:34 in Channel 4’s favour. In fact, the peak audience yesterday was the highest for a free-to-air highlights race since the 2016 Grand Prix!

Qualifying
Live coverage of qualifying averaged 335k (4.5%) across Sky’s F1 channel and their Main Event outlet. An audience of 260k (3.5%) watched via the F1 channel from 13:00 to 15:45, with 112k (1.5%) watching via Main Event from 13:55 onwards.

Later in the day, Channel 4’s highlights programme averaged 1.08m (9.6%) from 17:30 to 19:00, resulting in a combined average audience of 1.41 million viewers. Both broadcasters’ audience figures dropped by over 10 percent compared with 2016’s average of 1.69 million viewers.

The 2016 German Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.

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Where next for live free-to-air coverage of Formula E in the UK?

Generation 1 of the electric Formula E series ended last weekend in New York, with Jean-Eric Vergne picking up the season four crown. In December, the next iteration blasts off the starting grid in Saudi Arabia.

For fans in the UK, whilst coverage will remain on Eurosport, the free-to-air home of the championship is again up in the air. I look at where the series may end up…

ITV
The UK’s largest commercial free-to-air broadcaster, ITV aired the championship during its first two seasons. Live coverage aired on ITV4, with Jennie Gow fronting the extensive coverage from ITV’s London Studios. ITV4 typically dedicated an hour of build-up to the race, followed by half an hour of reaction following the podium celebrations.

In Formula E’s first season, ITV aired the season ending London E-Prix live on their main channel, to a peak audience of 1.18 million viewers, which remains Formula E’s biggest audience to date. Unfortunately, audience figures slipped for season two, and both sides parted company. This was not all Formula E’s fault, and ITV should take some blame for the drop in audience figures.

Is a return to ITV4 likely? On the basis that audience figures have not improved significantly since ITV left the party, one would think not. However, North One Television have created a well-oiled product on Channel 5 with Vernon Kay at the helm, and persuading ITV4 to get back in on the act might be easier if North One remain involved. After all, North One and ITV have history on four-wheels…

Channel 5
Channel 5 took on the Formula E baton from ITV, in a two-season deal covering the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that Channel 5 were unprepared, having had little experience in broadcasting live motor sport.

Eventually, studio coverage did appear, but technically was far behind what ITV had been producing beforehand. With problems from the outset, North One Television coming into the Formula E fold came at an opportune time, as they also grappled control of Channel 5’s live coverage ready for Channel 5’s second season covering the sport.

It was clear though that Channel 5’s executives were not in the game for their second year, with live coverage regularly demoted to 5Spike in favour of repeats on their main channel. In their defence, and regrettably for the series, repeats would regularly out-rate Formula E. I would be surprised if Channel 5 continue to cover Formula E moving forward.

BBC
After ditching Formula 1 at the end of 2015, are the BBC likely to get back involved in top-level motor sport? Bear in mind that the reason F1 left the BBC was purely financial, which does not apply to Formula E given that its contract value is currently very small.

Back in March, highlights of the Mexico City E-Prix surfaced on the BBC Sport website as part of efforts from Formula E to try to boost its mainstream media profile in the UK. The BBC described the agreement at the time as a one-off, which remains the case today. Formula E averaged around 300,000 viewers when it aired on Channel 5, so it is feasible that its audience would double if races aired live on BBC Two.

At this stage, I do not see BBC getting involved, at least in the television space. One possibility is that an online-only offering could appear, with television rights heading elsewhere. A presence on the BBC’s online platforms would help Formula E significantly, in turn helping their audience figures wherever Formula E turns up.

The decision here could hinge on whether the metrics for the short-form Mexico highlights were any good. If they were, who knows, maybe an online offering could become a regular thing from season five onwards.

Channel 4
Having filled 170 hours with Formula 1 action in 2017, Channel 4 have a gaping hole in their schedules from next year. Even if the broadcaster airs highlights from 2019, they still have ten empty daytime weekends that need original content and repeats of Come Dine with Me and The Simpsons only go so far.

2018 Santiago EPrix - Vernon Kay and Felix Rosenqvist
Channel 5’s Formula E presenter Vernon Kay interviews Mahindra driver Felix Rosenqvist.

Formula E is a perfect fit for the network and would help fill some of the Formula 1 hole. There are a lot of questions around what Formula E would look like for Channel 4, and arguably until we know the answer with F1, we are unlikely to find out the Formula E answer.

For Channel 4, retaining Formula 1 in some form is their number one priority. The terms of that deal dictate the way forward. Is Channel 4’s F1 programming a Whisper Films production or a Sky Sports one? How long will their highlights shows be? Will Channel 4 take Sky Sports F1’s commentary? Would Liberty Media have a problem with Formula 1 and Formula E on the same network?

Until we know those answers, only then can we start to wonder whether Whisper or North One will produce Formula E for Channel 4 if they are interested in the electric championship. David Coulthard is certainly interested, he has been around the Formula E paddock lately, and did commentate on the Berlin E-Prix back in May alongside Jack Nicholls.

Quest
If all else fails, as it appeared to with live coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, the fall-back option could be Discovery-owned Quest. Eurosport currently airs Formula E live, so a deal where a specific number of races air live on Quest could be an option.

But for Formula E, this option will send the series into oblivion in the UK and should be avoided. In its fifth season, Formula E still needs free-to-air television more than a free-to-air station needs Formula E. Like in the first four seasons, any new television deal is unlikely to come with a significant financial cost to whichever network chooses to air the championship.

Only once viewing figures and prestige increases can Formula E start to ask for cash. Until then, they are unlikely to get much, if any. Free coverage on Formula E’s social media channels such as YouTube is unlikely as this could be in violation of Eurosport’s current agreement with the series.

Whoever does air Formula E next season, do not throw the series into a graveyard time slot, or onto a sister network because it under performs initially. Give it a hug, wrap your arms around it. Perseverance does pay off and viewers do not come overnight. It takes time, and future Formula E broadcasters in the UK must be prepared to give it that time and not expect big numbers on day one.

Where do you think Formula E is heading next? Have your say in the comments below.

A further piece analysing Formula E’s season four viewing figures will be posted in August.

Scheduling: The 2018 German Grand Prix

The penultimate hurdle before the Summer break takes Formula 1 back to Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix for a double-header twinned with Hungary.

Unusually for a European race weekend, Formula 1 stands alone without its little brothers, as neither Formula Two or GP3 are present this weekend. However, there is still tin-top action in the form of Porsche Supercup.

BBC’s coverage of the race weekend airs across their online platform and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, priority given instead to the Open Golf championship on the main station. Outside of Formula 1, it is a quiet weekend of motor racing as the Summer shut down takes hold for many championships around the globe.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
21/07 – 17:30 to 19:05 – Qualifying Highlights
22/07 – 18:45 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
20/07 – 09:45 to 11:50 – Practice 1
20/07 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2
21/07 – 10:30 to 12:15 – Practice 3
21/07 – 13:00 to 15:45 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
22/07 – 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
18/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview
19/07 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Driver Press Conference
19/07 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
21/07 – 15:45 to 16:20 – The F1 Show
25/07 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
19/07 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
21/07 – 13:55 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
22/07 – 13:45 to 16:30 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

British Superbikes – Brands Hatch
21/07 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
22/07 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Races (Eurosport 2)
25/07 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

European Le Mans Series – Red Bull Ring (Motorsport.tv)
22/07 – Race
=> 10:45 to 12:00
=> 14:00 to 15:00
=> 17:30 to 20:00

Formula Renault Eurocup – Red Bull Ring
21/07 – 13:45 to 14:45 – Race 1 (BT Sport/ESPN)
22/07 – 08:45 to 10:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport 1)

Porsche Supercup – Germany
22/07 – Race
=> 10:45 to 11:45 (Eurosport 2)
=> 11:00 to 11:45 (Sky Sports F1)

Speedway Grand Prix – Cardiff (BT Sport 1)
21/07 – 16:15 to 20:30 – Races

The schedule will be updated if anything changes.