Scheduling: The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

From India, F1 heads to Abu Dhabi for round 18 of 20 in the 2012 Formula One season. Both BBC and Sky are live for this one, so full coverage is available from both sides.

On 5 Live F1, James Allen and Jaime Alguersuari are not with them this weekend, so it is John Watson alongside Jonathan Legard for the weekend. As is normal during live BBC TV weekends, however, Ben Edwards will be in the box too for practice 1, which I believe will be the first time since their A1 Grand Prix days that Edwards and Watson are commentating together!

Thursday 1st November
11:00 to 11:45 – F1: Driver Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
19:30 to 20:00 – Britain’s Next F1 Star (4/6) (Sky Sports F1)

Friday 2nd November
08:45 to 10:50 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
08:55 to 10:35 – F1: Practice 1 (BBC Red Button)
12:45 to 15:00 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
12:55 to 14:35 – F1: Practice 2 (BBC Red Button)
15:00 to 15:45 – F1: Team Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
17:00 to 18:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1)
18:45 to 19:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)

Saturday 3rd November
09:45 to 11:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
09:55 to 11:05 – F1: Practice 3 (BBC Red Button)
12:00 to 14:45 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
12:10 to 14:15 – F1: Qualifying (BBC One)
18:45 to 19:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)

Sunday 4th November
11:30 to 16:15 – F1: Race (Sky Sports F1)
12:10 to 15:15 – F1: Race (BBC One)
15:15 to 16:15 – F1: Forum (BBC Red Button)

As always, if anything changes I shall update this blog if necessary.

Sky Sports F1 channel to extend ‘opening times’ throughout November

Sky Sports F1 are to extend their channel scheduling hours throughout November, I can confirm. Normally, the channel is only open from 18:00 onwards on weekdays, however the schedules on the Radio Times website show that the channel will be open for longer, starting on Tuesday 6th November straight after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

– Tuesday 6th November – 12:50 to 00:00 (mainly Legends, GP2 and GP3 repeats)
– Wednesday 7th November – 14:00 to 00:00
– Thursday 8th November – from 17:00
– Friday 9th November – from 14:00
– Saturday 10th November – from 07:00
– Sunday 11th November – from 07:00
– Monday 12th November – from 15:00
– Tuesday 13th November – from 15:00
– Wednesday 14th November – from 15:00
– Thursday 15th November – from 13:50
—> USA race weekend
– Tuesday 20th November – from 16:00
– Wednesday 21st November – from 16:00

As far as I can see, there is no new programming listed, although I am pleased to see the hours being extended. The possible reason for this may be regarding the closure of the channel throughout the Winter. Although nothing concrete has been confirmed on that front, the advertising document published by Sky Media before the start of the season (archived here by F1Fanatic.co.uk) noted dates of “Between March 9th and November 30th”, suggesting the channel will not operate over the Winter from December 1st.

It may also be that the channel will just operate X hours a day from December 1st, say two hours a day for sake of argument in ‘Winter shut down’ mode. Finalised schedules have not been publicly released yet so I don’t know whether the channel will close for definite. It harks back a bit to F1 Digital+ in 2002, in that case the channel closed forever, it is always entirely possible (but not very likely) that Sky could take the decision to move all content from Sky Sports F1 to their main Sky Sports channels.

I’ll update the opening part of this post in any case as the schedules update further through November. UPDATE at 16:30This article has now appeared on the Sky Sports F1 website, so the above has been updated earlier than I anticipated!

The Twitter outlook

No F1 race in the past week means that things are slow in the latest update of the Twitter outlook:

Drivers – The Top 10
01 – 1,203,864 – Jenson Button (McLaren)
02 – 1,178,392 – Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
03 – 1,160,634 – Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
04 – 509,718 – Bruno Senna (Williams)
05 – 465,546 – Mark Webber (Red Bull)
06 – 322,934 – Sergio Perez (Sauber)
07 – 287,128 – Pastor Maldonaldo (Williams)
08 – 211,317 – Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
09 – 192,615 – Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
10 – 187,450 – Pedro de la Rosa (HRT)

Drivers – Biggest Increases
01 – 13,595 – Fernando Alonso
02 – 11,053 – Lewis Hamilton
03 – 8,504 – Jenson Button
04 – 7,654 – Felipe Massa
05 – 5,340 – Mark Webber

Drivers – Smallest Increases
01 – 402 – Charles Pic
02 – 632 – Jean-Eric Vergne
03 – 654 – Timo Glock
04 – 822 – Daniel Ricciardo
05 – 1,601 – Narain Karthikeyan

As predicted last week, Felipe Massa has moved up to ninth, overtaking a slow moving Pedro de la Rosa. Interestingly, the highest five increases and the lowest five increases are the same drivers to last week, only in a slightly different order.

Teams – The Top 10
01 – 355,983 – Ferrari
02 – 249,007 – McLaren
03 – 174,275 – Red Bull
04 – 158,791 – Mercedes
05 – 146,141 – Lotus
06 – 90,113 – Caterham
07 – 86,430 – Marussia
08 – 85,019 – Force India
09 – 84,440 – Sauber
10 – 78,093 – Williams

Teams – Biggest Increases
01 – 3,158 – Ferrari
02 – 3,120 – Red Bull
03 – 1,918 – McLaren

Teams – Smallest Increases
01 – 423 – Williams
02 – 613 – Toro Rosso
03 – 759 – HRT

Driver and Team statistics as of Monday 22nd October 2012.

Behind the scenes show with Williams airing on Sky Sports F1 soon

As noted on their Twitter page, a behind the scenes show with Williams will be airing on Sky Sports F1 soon focussing on this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix. I suspect the show will be similar to the Marussia programme that aired last Friday.

Given that the Marussia programme focussed mainly on the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, I would expect the Williams programme to air on either Friday 2nd November or Friday 9th November after The F1 Show.

I can’t spot it in the schedules yet, but will update this page when it appears.

Formula 1 websites and their popularity

One thing I have not really focussed on during this blog is how well Formula 1 sites perform and which sites receive more hits than others. So I thought it would be a good time to have a look at a few Formula 1 websites and see where they rank in the world.

The key here is “the lower the rank, the higher the hits”.

– 2,367 – The official Formula 1 website
———–———–———–———–———–
– 01 – 6,395 – AUTOSPORT
– 02 – 7,435 – ESPN F1
– 03 – 8,748 – Auto Motor Und Sport
– 04 – 16,684 – PlanetF1.com
– 05 – 17,133 – GPUpdate.net
– 06 – 32,329 – Crash.net
– 07 – 33,942 – F1Fanatic.co.uk
– 08 – 68,531 – Motorsport.com
– 09 – 90,149 – James Allen on F1
– 10 – 138,396 – GrandPrix.com
– 11 – 145,747 – Pitpass.com
– 12 – 226,531 – F1Today.net

For reference, I have included the official Formula 1 website, which is significantly higher than the highest dedicated Formula 1 news site. Also, BBC F1 and Sky Sports F1 are excluded from the list as the figures are not on the Alexa Web Company website, and besides, their figure would dwarf the ones listed above.

AUTOSPORT unsurprisingly is top of the websites worldwide thanks to its weekly magazine, with ESPN and Auto Motor Und Sport in third. The latter is Germany’s main Formula 1 site so a lot of its traffic is generated from Central Europe from countries such as Germany along with Austria and Switzerland to name two examples. ESPN surprised me though given that it does not screen any Formula 1 in the United Kingdom, or in America. What you have to remember though is that ESPN is a big brand in America, so although they do not hold the broadcasting rights in America, it may well be the first portal for news for the majority of American Formula 1 fans. It is a bit like ITV over here, although they relinquished the Formula 1 rights in 2008, their website was so successful that they kept it for a further three years until traffic dropped significantly.

Behind the top three you have a gap in rank before PlanetF1 and GPUpdate are clustered together. PlanetF1 may surprise some, but as an indirect subsidiary of BSkyB it means that their website appears among many at the footer of the Sky Sports website, including the Sky Sports F1 homepage. So even if PlanetF1 may not be the most credible of news sites, the link may go some way to explain why it appears fourth in the twelve websites above. Crash.net follows up in sixth, but considering the Crash website has both MotoGP and Formula 1 content, one of the few websites to do so, I do think that it should be further up in that both two wheel and four wheel fanbases should be attracted to the website.

F1Fanatic.co.uk has done well for itself, but the same cannot be said for Motorsport.com and GrandPrix.com. Both have been online for nearly twenty years, but I would have thought that they should be higher because of their URL names, they are generic terms you would type into Google. So from that perspective, I would have expected them to be higher up. I do note that the latter is not being updated as much now, so I am not sure if it is on its way out. James Allen’s is not a news website as such, but I thought it would be an interesting inclusion as a personal blog while Pitpass and F1Today.net round off the list.

Source: Alexa Web Company. The ranks above are the three month average global traffic rank for each website taken on October 22nd, 2012. I think Alexa is the most reliable for tracking web analytics, but even if it is not, I thought it would be interesting to put these figures up for anyone interested.