Scheduling: The 2017 Mexican Grand Prix

The 2017 Formula One season rolls into Mexico where it looks like, barring any reliability trouble, Lewis Hamilton will become a four-time Formula 1 champion.

The race is exclusively live on Sky Sports, the second time that Sky are likely to screen the championship winning race. The first occasion the 2015 US Grand Prix, where Hamilton secured his third championship with three races to spare.

It may be a weekend of championship deciders, with the Australian Grand Prix moving Marc Marquez closer to the MotoGP Riders’ Championship, which he is more than likely to secure in Malaysia.

NOTE: Clocks go back one hour on Sunday 29th 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 – 22:00 to 23:40 – Qualifying Highlights
29/10 – 22:30 to 00:45 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
27/10 – 15:45 to 18:00 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
27/10 – 19:45 to 22:00 – Practice 2
28/10 – 15:45 to 17:15 – Practice 3
28/10 – 18:00 to 20:40 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event from 19:00)
29/10 – 17:30 to 22:15 – Race
=> 17:30 – Track Parade
=> 18:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 18:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 21:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
26/10 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Driver Press Conference
26/10 – 20:15 to 20:30 – Paddock Uncut
27/10 – 22:00 to 22:50 – Team Press Conference
27/10 – 22:50 to 23:20 – The F1 Show
01/11 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
26/10 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
27/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/10 – 19:55 to 21:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/10 – 15:55 to 17:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/10 – 18:55 to 20:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/10 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Malaysia (BT Sport 2)
27/10 – 02:00 to 09:00
=> 02:00 – Practice 1
=> 04:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 06:00 – Practice 2
28/10 – 02:00 to 09:15
=> 02:00 – Practice 3
=> 05:00 – Qualifying
29/10 – 02:30 (BST) to 02:45 (GMT) – Warm Up
29/10 – 03:30 to 08:15
=> 03:30 – Moto3 race
=> 05:15 – Moto2 race
=> 06:45 – MotoGP race

MotoGP – Malaysia (Channel 5)
30/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights

Euroformula – Barcelona (BT Sport/ESPN)
28/10 – 13:45 to 14:45 – Race 1
29/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Race 2

Formula Renault Eurocup – Barcelona
28/10 – 11:15 to 12:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
29/10 – 09:15 to 10:30 – Race 2 (BT Sport 2)
29/10 – 14:30 to 16:00 – Race 3 (BT Sport/ESPN)

International GT Open – Barcelona (BT Sport/ESPN)
28/10 – 14:45 to 16:30 – Race 1
29/10 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Mexico
28/10 – Race 1
=> 21:05 to 22:00 (Sky Sports F1)
=> 22:45 to 23:15 (Eurosport)
29/10 – Race 2
=> 16:25 to 17:20 (Sky Sports F1)
=> 16:30 to 17:15 (Eurosport 2)

Speedway Grand Prix – Australia (BT Sport 1)
28/10 – 08:45 to 12:15 – Races

World Rally Championship – Wales Rally GB
27/10 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 00:00 to 00:30 (BT Sport 1)
28/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Live: Gartheiniog II (BT Sport 2)
28/10 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 23:00 to 23:30 (BT Sport 1)
29/10 – 09:00 to 10:00 – Live: Brenig I (BT Sport 3)
29/10 – Live: Power Stage
=> 12:00 to 13:30 (Channel 5)
=> 12:00 to 13:30 (BT Sport 3)
29/10 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 22:15 to 22:45 (BT Sport 3)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
31/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Touring Car Championship – Japan (Eurosport 2)
29/10 – 03:45 to 07:15
=> 03:45 – Qualifying
=> 04:30 – MAC3 race
=> 05:00 – Race 1
=> 06:15 – Race 2

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

Update on October 27th – Due to a tropical storm heading its way, the WTCC action will now all take place on Sunday, with Eurosport 2 on air for three and a half hours.

Advertisements

Formula 1 records highest peak audience since 2015

The United States Grand Prix performed well across Channel 4 and Sky Sports over the weekend, overnight viewing figures show.

Race
For the first time since 2007, the race was broadcast live on free-to-air television, and the audience figures reflect that fact. Live coverage aired on Channel 4 from 19:00 to 22:15, with an audience of 2.78m (12.8%) tuning into their show. It is Channel 4’s second highest average audience, only behind last year’s Mexican Grand Prix, which averaged 2.89m (12.6%) over a slightly shorter slot.

Sky Sports’ coverage aired across their dedicated Formula 1 channel and Main Event, with 730k (3.5%) watching from 19:00 to 22:30. As this is the first time that Sky have shared coverage of the USA round of the championship with a free-to-air broadcaster, year-on-year comparisons are not possible. An audience of 499k (2.4%) watched via the F1 channel, with the remaining 231k (1.1%) watching via Main Event, a split of 68:32. In total, around a fifth of the F1 audience opted to watch Sky’s programming.

The combined average audience of 3.51 million viewers is the highest average audience of the year so far, and the highest since last year’s Mexican Grand Prix, when an average of 3.77 million viewers tuned into watch the broadcast. The first fact is unsurprising, the second part might be a little more surprising. The pre-race build-up was up against Strictly Come Dancing, which depleted the audience more than usual compared to if the race itself clashed with Strictly. Lastly, the drop off effect after the flag was greater due to the late finish.

An audience of 5.01m (21.8%) tuned in to the race start at 20:05, an excellent number for the start of the race. The audience trickled downwards during the 20:00 hour, hitting a low of 4.34m (18.3%) at 20:50, as The X Factor on ITV came to a conclusion. Arguably, Lewis Hamilton overtaking Sebastian Vettel as early as he did hurt the viewing figures further, meaning that more of The X Factor’s core audience switched back to the singing show instead of watching the F1.

Once The X Factor finished, the Grand Prix jumped back up above 4.5 million viewers, peaking with 5.19m (25.2%) at 21:30. The combined peak of 5.19 million viewers is the highest peak audience since the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix! At the time of the peak, 4.13m (20.0%) were watching on Channel 4, with 1.06m (5.1%) watching via Sky, a split of 80:20 in Channel 4’s favour. In further good news, an average of 4.39m (21.4%) were watching the F1 during the 21:00 clock hour across Channel 4 and Sky, comfortably beating BBC One and ITV.

USA marks Formula 1’s fifth audience increase in a row, a brilliant streak. It is therefore unfortunate that next Sunday in Mexico, not only could Lewis Hamilton win the championship, but also UK’s F1 viewing figures could come crashing back down thanks to highlights of the race being aired in a graveyard time slot.

Qualifying
Live coverage of qualifying suffered due to its late time slot, resulting in a clash with the BBC’s Match of the Day highlights programme.

An audience of 1.18m (7.0%) watched Channel 4’s live broadcast from 21:00 to 23:30, with a further 315k (1.9%) watching via Sky Sports’ F1 and Mix channels. The combined average audience of 1.50 million viewers is marginally up on last year’s average of 1.31 million viewers. But even so, compared to the race day average, the qualifying number is nothing to shout about.

Evidence of the late slot affecting audiences comes with the qualifying peak, which occurred at the end of Q1, with a combined audience of 2.21m (13.0%) watching. You would normally expect the audience to further grow heading towards Q2 and Q3, but that did not happen here due to the late finish and the football clash as noted above. I suspect the timing, to persuade fans on-site to stay for a Justin Timberlake concert, hurt viewing figures worldwide for qualifying.

The 2016 United States Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.

overnights.tv-bannersF1

Eurosport to broadcast Formula E live in the UK

Eurosport are to broadcast Formula E live in the UK alongside Channel 5, the broadcaster confirmed this morning.

The press release left room for interpretation, but speaking to this site, Eurosport say that they “will be broadcasting Formula E in the UK live on a non-exclusive basis.” The contract is part of a wider Eurosport deal with Formula E across Europe, where the channel will broadcast the series in 54 markets. The deals vary from exclusively live coverage to sub-licencing to a free-to-air broadcaster.

The 2017-18 Formula E season will be the second and currently final year of Channel 5’s contract, and the first of three seasons with Eurosport. I have heard suggestions that Channel 5 may have a greater on-air presence for some rounds this season, implying that they see Formula E as a medium to long-term investment. Channel 5’s coverage of season three averaged 280,000 viewers according to overnight viewing figures.

For readers unaware, Liberty Global and Discovery Communications are minority investors in Formula E. And Eurosport is part of the Discovery family, meaning that it is no major surprise to see Formula E’s presence on Eurosport expanded across their various outlets. The UK situation beyond season four with regards free-to-air television remains to be seen…

Based on their track record with other motor racing series’, I would expect Eurosport to use their own commentary line-up. Eurosport’s resident lead commentator Martin Haven did stand-in for Jack Nicholls as lead commentator for Formula E’s World Feed last season, and would be prime contender to lead Eurosport’s coverage of the electric series.

Scheduling: The 2017 United States Grand Prix

For the first time in a decade, UK viewers will be able to watch the United States Grand Prix live on free-to-air television. The race is the sixth from the Circuit of the Americas and could see Lewis Hamilton clinch his fourth world title.

Channel 4’s live coverage will feature Mark Webber and Eddie Jordan on punditry alongside Steve Jones and David Coulthard. After missing Japan, Lee McKenzie will be back with the team, whilst Rachel Brookes is expected to return to Sky’s F1 team following injury.

On the scheduling front, there is an unusual four-hour gap between the end of practice three and the start of the qualifying. The explanation is that the organisers want to persuade fans to stay for the Justin Timberlake concert following qualifying (yes, really).

Qualifying does not start until 22:00 BST as a result, the latest I believe qualifying has started for viewers in Europe since the 1983 United States Grand Prix West from Long Beach!

On Sunday, to allow for drivers to be introduced individually by legendary announcer Michael Buffer, the pit lane will open 15 minutes earlier. Hopefully the UK broadcasters cover the festivities throughout their race day build-up.

Channel 4 F1
20/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (More4)
20/10 – 19:55 to 21:35 – Practice 2 (More4)
21/10 – 16:55 to 18:30 – Practice 3 (Channel 4)
21/10 – 21:00 to 23:35 – Qualifying (Channel 4)
22/10 – 19:00 to 23:15 – Race (Channel 4)
=> 19:00 – Build–Up
=> 19:35 – Race
=> 22:10 – Reaction

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
20/10 – 15:45 to 18:00 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
20/10 – 19:45 to 22:00 – Practice 2
21/10 – 16:45 to 18:15 – Practice 3
21/10 – 21:00 to 23:40 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Mix)
22/10 – 18:30 to 23:15 – Race
=> 18:30 – Track Parade
=> 19:00 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 19:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 22:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
18/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
19/10 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Driver Press Conference
19/10 – 20:30 to 20:45 – Paddock Uncut
20/10 – 22:00 to 22:50 – Team Press Conference
20/10 – 22:50 to 23:20 – The F1 Show
25/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
19/10 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
20/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
21/10 – 21:55 to 23:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
22/10 – 19:00 to 22:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Australia (BT Sport 2)
20/10 – 00:00 to 07:00
=> 00:00 – Practice 1
=> 02:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 04:00 – Practice 2
21/10 – 00:00 to 07:15
=> 00:00 – Practice 3
=> 03:00 – Qualifying
22/10 – 00:30 to 02:15 – Warm Up
22/10 – 02:30 to 07:15
=> 02:30 – Moto3 race
=> 04:15 – Moto2 race
=> 05:45 – MotoGP race

MotoGP – Australia (Channel 5)
23/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

European Le Mans Series – Portimao (Motorsport.tv)
22/10 – 12:45 to 17:20 – Race

World Superbikes – Jerez
21/10 – 09:15 to 14:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
22/10 – 10:00 to 15:00 – Support Races and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
24/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

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

Japanese Grand Prix continues positive ratings patch for Formula 1

The Japanese Grand Prix continued what is turning into a stronger than expected ratings period for Formula 1 in the UK, overnight viewing figures show.

Race
The race aired across Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event on Sunday morning from 05:00 to 08:30 to an audience of 384k (20.0%), a strong increase on last year’s figure of 316k (14.8%). These figures include viewers who recorded Sky’s live broadcast and watched it before 02:00 on Monday morning (Live + Video on Same Day as Live [VOSDAL]).

It is Sky’s third highest number for the Japanese round of the championship, only behind 2012 and 2014, which aired an hour later than this year. An audience of 302k (15.9%) watched via the F1 channel, with 82k (4.1%) watching via Main Event.

Live coverage of the race itself started with 594k (40.3%), staying above 500,000 viewers for the duration. A peak audience of 672k (20.8%) watched as Lewis Hamilton won the Grand Prix, this figure split 517k (16.0%) and 162k (5.5%) across F1 and Main Event respectively.

Channel 4’s highlights programme also performed strongly, averaging 2.03m (17.7%) from 15:00 to 17:15. Of course, Formula 1 benefited from no Premier League football action on Sunday, but for Channel 4’s highlights number to be only 300,000 viewers behind the 2.36m (20.9%) who watched the BBC programme in 2012 is a real achievement.

A peak audience of 2.61m (20.4%) caught Channel 4’s highlights show at 16:45 as their edit concluded. Channel 4’s audience figures are comfortably up year-on-year, and higher than both Australia and China earlier this season.

The combined average audience of 2.42 million viewers is an increase of 23 percent on last year’s average of 1.97 million viewers. Japan has historically rated lower than the season average. To give two examples, in 2012, the average audience was 2.77 million viewers, whilst the average in 2015 was 2.64 million viewers. Certainly, Sunday’s average is promising for the rest of the season.

At its peak, 3.29 million viewers watched Channel 4’s and Sky’s programming on Sunday, an increase of around 18 percent year-on-year. Both metrics increased for the fourth race in succession, a rare trend for Formula 1 considering the channel switch from the BBC to Channel 4 at the end of 2015.

Qualifying
Live coverage of qualifying, broadcast across Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event, averaged 240k (8.1%) from 06:00 to 08:40. The average is Sky’s highest ever for a Japanese qualifying broadcast, beating last year’s figure by 4,000 viewers.

Although it is Sky’s highest figure, it should be noted that from 2012 to 2014, qualifying started an hour earlier than what it currently does, so the comparison is not necessarily like-for-like. An average of 196k (6.6%) watched via the F1 channel, with the remaining 43k (1.5%) watching via Main Event.

Channel 4’s highlights programme averaged 1.16m (13.8%) from 13:00 to 14:30, an increase of 151,000 viewers compared with 2016. Both broadcasters posted solid numbers, resulting in a combined audience of 1.40 million viewers, an increase on last year’s audience of 1.24 million viewers, but still below the two million barrier numbers seen when F1 was on the BBC.

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

overnights.tv-bannersF1