One thing that I very briefly noted in part 3 of ‘The Verdict so Far’ series was F1 Digital+’s airtime and how long they were on-air before and after practice sessions for their lone season in the UK back in 2002, which I thought would make for an interesting summary in a short blog.
For Friday’s, F1 Digital+ stayed live for the entire day, although the gap between practice sessions was must smaller than what it was now. They were on-air for four hours, with the drivers’ on track for two x 1 hour sessions. As a result, they had half an hour build-up, a gap of approximately one hour in the middle with half an hour of analysis afterwards. On Saturday’s, the two morning practice sessions were 45 minutes each, with a half an hour gap in the middle. Again, F1 Digital+ had half an hour of build-up, and and half an hour of analysis afterwards.
Moving onto Qualifying and the Race however, the airtime was similar to that of ITV F1. For Qualifying they, like with practice, had half an hour of build-up and half an hour of analysis. ITV F1 in the middle of their contract had 30 minutes of build-up for Qualifying (after initially only having 20 minutes of Qualifying build-up for 1997 through to 1999), with 20 minutes approximately of analysis.
F1 Digital+’s warm-up programme on Sunday mornings was two and a half hours, although this is due to the Porsche Supercup, but the build-up is again longer than what Sky Sports F1 have for their practice sessions. For the race, F1 Digital+ had similar on-air length to that of ITV for the pre-show, but like with Qualifying their analysis after the Race was more comprehensive than ITV F1, with F1 Digital+ not going off-air until 15:30 (significantly later than ITV F1 at most races). Of course, F1 Digital+ was only experienced by ten thousand viewers at most per race, the highest figure being twenty five thousand viewers for the 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix. The rest of the three and a half million viewers had to put up with the ITV F1 service, which I shall look at briefly mid-week.