In conversation with Tony Jardine

From reporting on radio in the early 1980s, to analysing Formula 1 for audiences across the globe, Tony Jardine’s broadcasting career has spanned nearly four decades.

I reminisced with Jardine at the 2018 edition of the Autosport Show, as we looked back at his broadcasting career.

How did your broadcasting career begin?

It was by accident! I was at the 1982 South African Grand Prix, working as the JPS Lotus press officer, when the infamous drivers’ strike took place.

The Independent Radio News (IRN) news reporter at the time was not in the press box, and I took a phone call from IRN. IRN distributed the radio news, and they were desperate, they needed a voice piece. I said “I can’t do that,” and they were like “Just tell me what you see down the pit lane.”

I did my first ever broadcast from Kyalami about the strike. IRN asked me to do more pieces, and I ended up becoming their Formula 1 correspondent, as well as doing the day job.

From IRN you moved to the BBC, how did that gig come about?

The BBC deal was a very different kettle of fish, in as much that Murray Walker had a conflict between the British motorcycle Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix. The BBC decided they wanted him to do the bikes, and asked me to make my commentary debut in ’85 alongside James Hunt.

That led to me becoming the full-time pit lane commentator with the BBC, and race commentator for South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). I did a lot of live broadcasts for them, but I do want to stress that broadcasting was never my main job. The PR and communications company that I am involved with (HPS Jardine) is still my main mode of employment nearly 40 years later!

The role of pit lane reporter I imagine was quite different back then, given the archaic technology on offer.

It was quite difficult being in the pit lane as communications were not very sophisticated. It was very ancient equipment, you had to carry a lot of batteries, microphones, and headsets around with you. I was always trying to get in touch with the producer to say “I’ve got a story,” but they couldn’t always hear me.

We also could not do a proper grid walk at the BBC, as you were restricted as to where you could go by FOM.

I was literally arrested by Pasquale Lattuneddu, Bernie’s number two man, by going over some yellow line, and had to sit outside the [Formula One Management] office for several hours like a naughty school boy! You were limited as to what you could do on the grid, but I used to go to the edge of the pit lane and report in from there.

Was the pit lane role your main role with the BBC, or were there other roles you played a part in during their F1 coverage?

I started to get involved with the highlights on BBC Two in the early ‘90s. One year, we did the British Grand Prix highlights opening live on stage from the post-race concert, with David Coulthard and Johnny Herbert! I was trying to hear the opening bits of music, so I could make my cue. When I thought there was a gap, I just went for it! I could not hear a word, it was very raw, rough, and ready.

The other thing I provided is what they call a ‘guide commentary.’ When neither Murray or James were overseas, for example in Canada or Japan, but they needed to know what happened, I would lay down a ‘ghost commentary’ over the action. Murray and James would listen to the ‘ghost’ version before they did their own commentary on several hours later.

Towards the end of 1995, we found out that ITV had grabbed the rights to the F1. Did that come as a shock to you and the team?

I was offered a new contract at the end of 1995 and was asked to present the BBC Two highlights from 1997 onwards, as well as doing the pit lane reporter gig. Three days later, the news came through that the BBC had lost [the F1] and ITV had won. I was gutted, as the BBC had empowered me, I said I’d give it a shot.

Jonathan Martin [BBC’s Head of Sport] believed he had a strong relationship with Bernie, and there is a view that he was quite arrogant. “Oh, Bernie wouldn’t do that to us!”, that kind of thing, and then gone.

Tony Jardine during ITV’s coverage of the 2005 Canadian Grand Prix.

Even though my company were involved in promoting the BTCC in the ‘90s, I never really thought about staying with the BBC. My expertise was very much from working in Formula 1.

However, as luck would have it, I knew some of the production companies that were bidding for the ITV coverage. One of the guys from ITV saw me individually, and in the end, ITV said to the successful production company [Chrysalis] that they had to take me too! So, I wasn’t selected by them, but ITV had chosen me already.

That’s when they decided that I become an analyst in the studio. I did nine successful years with ITV and thoroughly enjoyed it, in TV terms that is a very long time.

How did the viewing public react to ITV’s offering in 1997?

I think it was quite warmly received. There were a lot of people waiting to criticise, the adverts were a big issue. However, we had our own studio, we had new graphics, we took it up another level.

At the time, it was unheard of to have a team that size, two analysts, guests, two pit lane reporters. Apart from some of the things we missed because of the ad-breaks, I don’t remember us receiving any massive criticism. Jim [Rosenthal] was one of those consummate professionals that does the job wherever he is, and he’s still working today.

The big difference too was that ITV gave it time. With the BBC, one race would air live, and the next would air as highlights, until 1995 when the Beeb started showing everything.

One of the major revelations about ITV’s coverage was Martin Brundle, so much so that he is still involved in F1 broadcasting to this very day.

I used to regularly go to Martin, both from my company’s perspective, and from a broadcasting perspective, as he was always great at talking. Martin could explain technical things in a very simplistic manner, not talking down to people, but just bringing it to a language you could understand, and maybe even have a little quip to boot.

Towards the end of the BBC’s tenure, Jonathan was with Murray in the commentary box and they brought Martin in as a third commentator. Brundle saw the race unfolding, and made a prediction which Palmer disagreed with, and the rest of it. But, what Brundle said was concise, he had a great idea of the strategy, and it was a great drivers’ perspective of what was going on.

It was a no brainer for ITV to bring him on-board. He took all that incredible knowledge, wit, wisdom, connectivity with drivers into the grid walk which we know and love.

Post-ITV, you have been involved with many different broadcasters on various things, close to home with Sky but also overseas.

I went back to Sky after ITV, and worked the live A1 Grand Prix races with Georgie Thompson, even doing my own grid walk from Brands Hatch!

I did some Sky Sports News work as well, previewing each Grand Prix using the touch screen from 2012. I would do two previews in a day building up to a race. I would script it, say what images I wanted, and Sky would get all the graphics.

On stage, I would talk to the presenter, talk through a lap of the circuit on the touch screen and play in all the video, never once using an autocue. The nightmare of course is that sometimes the touch screen would freeze, you’re live and you only have a certain amount of time, as Sky Sports News are constantly going from sport to sport.

More recently I’ve worked with Angus Scott, another former ITV man, on BeIN Sports’ live F1 shows. Many people in that production were also ex-BBC and Sky people, and BeIN really looked after me and listened to me editorially.

I am very fortunate to have had a lot of different jobs within broadcasting, all of which I have enjoyed. The art of good broadcasting is that you make it look easy, but believe you me, when you are doing it, it’s not.

My thanks go to Tony Jardine for spending the time with me on the above interview.

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Scheduling: The 2019 French Grand Prix / Bern E-Prix

Paul Ricard in France plays host to round eight of the 2019 Formula One season, as the championship begins to hurdle towards the Summer break.

The main change to Sky’s schedule is the extension of Welcome to the Weekend to an hour, giving the team further opportunity to discuss events last time out in Canada.

Despite no Porsche Supercup action in France, the gap between the Formula Two support race and the Grand Prix on Sunday remains long. Instead, VIP and Renault parade laps fill the gap for fans in Paul Ricard.

Elsewhere, qualifying for Formula Three airs on a slight tape-delay on Sky F1 on Friday. The channel is also joining coverage of IndyCar on Sunday later than their American colleagues. NBC’s broadcast starts at 12:00 EST / 17:00 UK, with Sky’s simulcast starting at 17:30. The race itself begins at 17:40 UK time.

Channel 4’s F1 offering sees the return of Mark Webber and Billy Monger to their line-up, the pair joining Ben Edwards, David Coulthard and Steve Jones out in France.

Further afield, Formula E heads to Bern in Switzerland for the first time, as Dario Franchitti returns to the team after his Indianapolis 500 commitments last month. The BBC’s live airing is only available via their website and Connected TV, with the first Red Button airing not until 04:00 on Sunday morning.

Channel 4 F1
22/06 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying Highlights
23/06 – 19:00 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
21/06 – 09:45 to 11:50 – Practice 1
21/06 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2
22/06 – 10:45 to 12:30
=> 10:45 – Practice 3
=> 12:10 – Paddock Walkabout
22/06 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
23/06 – 12:30 to 17:30 – Race
=> 12:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 13:30 – On the Grid
=> 14:05 – Race
=> 16:00 – Paddock Live
=> 17:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
20/06 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference
20/06 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Welcome to the Weekend
21/06 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
22/06 – 16:45 to 17:15 – The F1 Show
26/06 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
21/06 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
22/06 – 14:00 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
23/06 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula E – Bern
Also airs live on YouTube
21/06 – 14:15 to 15:00 – Shakedown (BT Sport/ESPN)
22/06 – 07:45 to 09:00 – Practice 1 (BT Sport/ESPN)
22/06 – 10:15 to 12:00 – Practice 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)
22/06 – 12:15 to 13:45 – Qualifying (BT Sport/ESPN)
22/06 – 16:30 to 18:30 – Race: World Feed
=> live on BBC’s website and Connected TV
=> live on Quest
=> live on BT Sport/ESPN
=> live on Eurosport 2

Formula Two – France (Sky Sports F1)
21/06 – 11:50 to 12:40 – Practice
21/06 – 15:50 to 16:25 – Qualifying
22/06 – 15:35 to 16:45 – Race 1
23/06 – 10:15 to 11:15 – Race 2

Formula Three – France (Sky Sports F1)
21/06 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Qualifying Tape-Delay
22/06 – 09:30 to 10:15 – Race 1
23/06 – 08:55 to 09:40 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Road America (Sky Sports F1)
22/06 – 21:00 to 22:30 – Qualifying
23/06 – 17:30 to 20:00 – Race

World Superbikes – Misano
Also airs live on World Superbikes’ Video Pass (£)
21/06 – 09:25 to 10:25 – Practice (Eurosport 2)
22/06 – 09:30 to 14:15 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
23/06 – 09:30 to 15:20 – Support and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
26/06 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

World Touring Car Cup – Nurburgring
21/06 – 16:15 to 17:15 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
22/06 – 10:00 to 11:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport)

This article will be amended if schedules change.

Strong social media growth for Formula E as Hamilton continues F1 onslaught

Motorsport Broadcasting has tracked the social media figures for a range of stakeholders over the past five years.

In the latest analytical piece, we look at Formula E’s growth across social media, Lewis Hamilton’s gargantuan reach, and how Twitter is fast becoming an archaic platform.

As always, this site uses publicly available data to piece the jigsaw together, such as the number of followers.

Whilst the figures presented do not give a reliable indicator as to the engagement per series, the figures do give an idea as to whether a championship or team is attracting a new audience, which is critical for the growth of the sport moving forward.

Championships
This site tracks the social media fortunes of thirteen different championships at a variety of levels. The list ranges from the likes of Formula 1 and MotoGP on a global level, down to the domestic championships, such as the British Superbikes series and the British Touring Car Championship.

As each entity operates at a different level, expecting the same amount of growth from all of them is unrealistic.

The series on the move from a percentage perspective is Formula E, having grown its social media following by 160 percent since the middle of 2018. From 893,000 followers last Summer, the championship now has 2.33 million followers, a staggering growth for the electric series.

However, analysis of the underlying figures raises some suspicions as to whether Formula E’s growth is all natural. Whilst their Twitter reach has stalled, their Facebook following has jumped significantly from 497,000 likes last Summer to 1.60 million likes currently, an unusual rise considering that growth was slow for the first half of 2018.

In comparison, Formula E’s Instagram growth is more natural: 217,000 likes in May 2018 to 361,000 likes in December 2018, and now 544,000 likes, with the percentage increases modest along the way.

The other big mover is Formula Two, whose social media following has increased by 65 percent in the past year. However, the raw volumes are low, as Formula Two’s portfolio of channels increased from 215,000 followers to 355,000 followers in the past year, Instagram contributing most to the gain.

MotoGP and Formula 1 continue to lead the way. Between December 2018 and now, MotoGP’s portfolio has increased by 1.12 million fans, with F1 jumping by 2.36 million fans. F1’s growth has actually slowed compared to last year, a legacy of how F1 playing catch-up on social media after years of neglect from Formula 1’s owners.

Formula 1’s presence on Netflix, with Drive to Survive, should help the figures grow, but to what effect is difficult to say. Although the Netflix documentary launched to a huge buzz within F1 circles during March, the impact it has may serve as an undercurrent to these statistics throughout the remainder of 2019 as non-F1 fans find the series, rather than present a ‘big bang’ effect immediately.

In addition to Netflix, F1 has made significant movements on the social media front in recent years, so any movement will be down to a multitude of reasons for them. The series has experienced a good first half of 2019 on Instagram, with F1’s number of followers increasing by 24.6 percent, from 5.60 million fans to 6.97 million fans.

An extra emphasis on Instagram helped the World Rally Championship in the first half of 2019. Their following on the platform increased from 734,000 fans to 996,000 fans, representing a larger than usual jump at 35.7 percent, and helping the series to a 9.8 percent increase overall across the main social media platforms.

F1’s teams
The same core principles apply when analysing Formula 1’s ten teams: Instagram growing, Twitter slowing and Facebook holding the core of the audience. However, Instagram is making serious inroads on Facebook on this front, and again is the place for stakeholders to direct their resources.

F1 and F1.5 gap is prevalent across social media, although McLaren joins the top three teams, with the remaining six teams forming F1.5. The story remains the same as before, as Red Bull continues to close the gap on Mercedes.

Between July 2018 and now, Red Bull’s following increased by 1.99 million fans, with Mercedes’ increasing by 1.50 million followers. Mercedes’ following continues to reach the edge, with McLaren recording a larger gain.

Red Bull continues to seize the initiative on Facebook. The Milton Keynes based team increased their following by 835,000 likes in the past year, compared with an average increase across the grid of just 135,000 likes. Mercedes have failed to improve their Facebook reach in nearly three years (stagnating at around 11 million followers), with Racing Point further down the grid also struggling.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari remain in close formation on Twitter with Ferrari having the edge, but Instagram is where all teams have seen their reach increase significantly. Since July 2018, McLaren’s audience on the image sharing platform has increased by over one million fans, with the other three big teams following behind.

The Netflix effect appears to have had, at headline level, a positive impact for Renault and Haas. Helped by the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo, Renault’s following has increased from 3.66 million followers last Summer to 4.27 million followers currently, a strong increase considering their growth figures had slowed somewhat up until that point.

Being a newer team means that the full impact of Haas’ increase is not apparent in raw volume, but a percentage jump of 39 percent cannot be overlooked. The increase helped them claw over the one million figure as well, just ahead of the now defunct Manor outfit at the time of their administration.

Outside of Haas and Renault, there are no other unusual increases. There may have been minor bumps due to Netflix, but nothing significant in the grand scheme of things.

F1’s drivers
Standing far above everyone is Lewis Hamilton, with 21.20 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a gulf that increases by the day.

The combined following of the next nine drivers, from Ricciardo on 4.83 million followers down to Carlos Sainz on 1.33 million followers, is 21.48 million. In other words, nine smaller F1 drivers equals one Lewis Hamilton from a social media perspective!

Hamilton’s following on Facebook and Twitter have stalled, however his reach on Instagram has almost doubled since last Summer, moving from 6.89 million followers to 11.50 million followers, cementing his place at the top of the Grand Prix tree.

Behind Hamilton, Verstappen and Ricciardo made respectable increases, but further down the pecking order there are three success stories.

Despite being in only his second season, Charles Leclerc is already the sixth popular F1 driver on social media, and rising, with an increase of over a million followers in the past year, helped by his move to Ferrari and an ever-increasing Instagram presence.

The aura around Kimi Raikkonen has resulted in him becoming the fourth most popular driver on Instagram, despite having zero presence elsewhere on social media. Elsewhere, Lando Norris’ following is increasing rapidly across all social media platforms, as Norris’ following cross cuts both F1 and eSports.

As new drivers enter the sport, it is interesting to note how the skew for each driver moves increasingly towards Instagram and away from Facebook and Twitter. For example, 50.8 percent of Nico Hulkenberg’s following comes from Twitter, compared with 13.8 percent for Charles Leclerc. In contrast, 37.0 percent for Hulkenberg is Instagram related, versus 78.9 percent for Leclerc.

The younger drivers are far more likely to build a platform on Instagram in 2019, whereas the 2009 to 2014 generation of drivers focused far more on Twitter at that time, hence the wildly different skews.

If you manage any championship on social media, Instagram is the place to divert your resources. Facebook is still growing from a motor sport perspective, and remains by far the biggest social media platform, but has now fallen Instagram in terms of growth.

Facebook is better for long form content with Instagram primarily intended for short-form videos. Twitter is great for your existing audience, but not great if you want to hook new fans in, as the figures throughout this article demonstrate.

What content across social media has made your eye-brows raise recently? Have your say in the comments below.

Scheduling: The 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans

The third of motor racing’s triple crown events takes place this upcoming weekend, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans!

As usual for UK fans, the race airs live on Eurosport for its entirety. Whilst the linear television channel will take commercials, the full race will air uninterrupted via Eurosport Player, with fans able to access up to three on-board angles.

Nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen will feature throughout Eurosport’s coverage, providing analysis during the race from their augmented reality (AR) studio alongside Neil Cole.

Although the broadcaster has not officially confirmed the other personalities involved in their line-up, Motorsport Broadcasting understands that Terry Rymer, Mark Cole, and Carlton Kirby will lead the commentary team.

Thirteen hours of Eurosport’s offering will also air on Quest, the free-to-air broadcaster covering the start and finish, as well as proceedings throughout the night.

For those of you wanting a different flavour to Le Mans, organisers of the World Endurance Championship are providing their own service via the WEC app.  Martin Haven and Allan McNish lead the in-house team for Le Mans.

Elsewhere, MotoGP heads to Spain, while Italy plays host to round eight of the World Rally Championship.

World Endurance Championship – 24 Hours of Le Mans
Also airs live on WEC’s App (£)
12/06 – 15:45 to 19:20 – Practice (Eurosport 2)
12/06 – 20:50 to 23:15 – Qualifying 1 (Eurosport 2)
13/06 – 17:50 to 23:10 – Qualifying 2 and 3 (Eurosport)
=> 17:50 – Qualifying 2
=> 20:50 – Qualifying 3
15/06 – 07:55 to 09:00 – Warm-Up (Eurosport)
15/06 – 13:00 to 13:45 – On the Grid with Tom Kristensen (Eurosport)
15/06 – 13:45 – Race (Eurosport)
=> live coverage continues until 14:45 on 16/06
15/06 – Race (Quest)
=> 13:45 to 16:00 – Start
=> 00:00 to 06:00 – Through the Night
=> 10:00 to 14:45 – Finish

MotoGP – Catalunya (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)

14/06 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
15/06 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
16/06 – 07:30 to 15:00
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Catalunya (Quest)
17/06 – 22:00 to 23:00 – Highlights

British Superbikes – Brands Hatch
15/06 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
16/06 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Races (Eurosport 2)
19/06 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Croft (ITV4)
16/06 – 11:15 to 18:15 – Races

Speedway Grand Prix – Czech Republic (BT Sport 2)
15/06 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

Virgin Australia Supercars – Darwin (BT Sport 1)
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
15/06 – 07:15 to 09:15 – Race 1
16/06 – 04:30 to 07:00 – Race 2

World Rally Championship – Italy (All Live)
Also airs live on WRCPlus.com (£)
13/06 – 17:00 to 19:00 – Day 1 (BT Sport Extra 2)
14/06 – 07:00 to 18:00 – Day 2 (BT Sport Extra 2)
15/06 – 07:00 to 19:30 – Day 3 (BT Sport Extra 2)
16/06 – 06:45 to 12:45 – Day 4 (BT Sport Extra 1)

World Rally Championship – Italy
13/06 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 3)
14/06 – 22:30 to 23:00 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
15/06 – 07:00 to 08:00 – Stage 10 (BT Sport 3)
15/06 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Stage 13 (BT Sport 1)
16/06 – 08:00 to 09:00 – Stage 17 (BT Sport 1)
16/06 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Stage 19 [Power Stage] (BT Sport 1)
17/06 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (5Spike)

As always, the schedule will be updated if details change.

Hamilton’s Monaco victory performs solidly in UK

Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Monaco Grand Prix performed solidly, official consolidated figures from BARB show.

Consolidated audience figures include viewers who watched via the TV set within seven days of broadcast, and exclude commercial breaks. Figures in this article should not be compared to previous overnight ratings posted on this site.

Race
Due to incomplete data, comparisons for Sky’s F1 coverage are difficult, however, all of Channel 4’s figures are publicly available. In addition, Channel 4 aired the Grand Prix live in 2017 and 2018, which also should be factored into the viewing figures.

Unfortunately, the ever-changing slot lengths also make direct comparisons tricky, meaning that the figures must be taken at face value.

Live coverage of the race aired across Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event. At press time, audience figures for Main Event are unavailable. The race airing from 14:03 to 16:24 averaged 845,900 viewers on Sky’s F1 channel. Including Main Event will push the race average for Sky to around one million viewers.

Last year, a combined audience of 707,000 viewers watched across F1 and Main Event (excluding an additional simulcast on Sky One) from 14:05 to 16:36. In 2017, 688,000 viewers watched across the two channels across a longer slot from 12:30 to 15:37.

Sky’s 2019 figures are also significantly higher than 2016, when the race last aired exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 to an audience of 786,000 viewers from 12:30 to 15:50, although this is over a longer time slot.

As mentioned, exact comparisons are extremely difficulty, however it does appear that Sky made noticeable gains on race day compared to previous years. On Sky Sports F1 alone, Pit Lane Live averaged 247,700 viewers from 12:30, On the Grid brought in 507,000 viewers, with Paddock Live averaging 227,900 viewers from 16:24.

The F1 increase helped the Indianapolis 500, which recorded excellent figures following the Grand Prix.

Highlights of the Grand Prix aired on Channel 4 from 19:00 to 21:00 to an audience of 2.02 million viewers, their highest audience of the year so far.

Last year, the free-to-air broadcaster aired Monaco live, with 1.01 million viewers watching the build-up (12:59), 2.50 million watching the race itself (13:33) and 970,000 viewers watching the post-race analysis (16:29). In 2017, the same three components averaged 920,000 viewers (11:59), 2.30 million (12:32) and 720,000 viewers (15:20) respectively.

If you use the first two components to pull out a rough three and a half hour average, encompassing the build-up and the race itself, then 2017 averaged 2.07 million viewers, with 2018 averaging 2.26 million viewers.

Compared to 2017 and 2018, the 2019 highlights show does not fare too badly. However, the 2016 highlights comparison averaged 2.48 million viewers over a slightly longer time slot. Whilst the 2019 figure is still down, it is down less than compared to previous races.

Looking at the figures in totality, the Monaco round rated in a similar ballpark to previous years, with a slight Channel 4 decrease being countered by a good increase for Sky. How well it rated is difficult to say given that the picture is incomplete, but the figures are promising nevertheless.

Qualifying and Analysis
Live coverage of the qualifying session on Sky Sports F1 averaged 476,100 viewers from 13:50, compared with 332,000 viewers from twelve months ago. An average of 228,400 viewers watched Sky’s build-up, also an increase on 2018’s figure of 169,000 viewers.

Both figures exclude their respective simulcasts. In 2018, the session also aired on Sky One, with this year’s session simulcast on Main Event.

Highlights on Channel 4 jumped to their highest Monaco figure on record. An audience of 1.59 million viewers tuned in from 18:30 to 20:00, an increase on last year’s live average audience of 1.26 million viewers from 12:55.

Considering the way the season is turning out, the audience figures across the Monaco weekend are surprisingly good. By no means are they spectacular, but neither do they show signs that F1’s audience figures are collapsing across the board.

Up next, the championship heads to Canada, where Channel 4’s highlights programme airs late at night. Expect the viewing figures between Channel 4 and Sky to be relatively even as a result, with Sky recording some of their highest figures of the year.

The only downside for them is the clash with the UEFA Nations League final, which could severely dent the potential audience on offer.