Sky Sports F1’s pre-season coverage: What’s going on?

One of the key questions posed to Sky Sports F1 lately on Twitter has gone along the lines of “will you be screening testing?”. The answer, at the moment, is unknown, the channel seemingly secretive about any coverage information.

As of writing, the only thing we know is that The F1 Show will be returning each Friday from February 15th. When that announcement was made, the article in question said “The F1 season kicks off on Sky Sports with The F1 Show on 15 February followed by coverage of all three February tests and car launches.” At the time, on this blog, I pointed out the inaccuracy in that sentence, as test one at Jerez and the car launches take place before February 15th. That inaccuracy is still there on the page as I write.

So, what else is Sky Sports F1 doing? The answer appears to be, not much. Schedules released, up to and including February 9th indicate that it is just 2012 repeats on a loop. Which is more than disappointing in my opinion. Let me state now that I don’t expect the channel to screen every minute of testing live, something like that is pure fantasy and never realistically going to happen. Plus, I don’t imagine many people would want to sit through live testing for an entire day. The last two days of testing, coincidentally fall on a Saturday and Sunday, so live coverage may be worth considering – depending on demand and how the ‘story of testing’ has gone down until that point.

Something more realistic in my opinion would be a thirty minute show each evening with Ted Kravitz and the Sky Sports News person on location rounding up the days events. It doesn’t need to be anything ground breaking, but just something to bring everything together for the F1 fan who has been unable to keep an eye on things during the day, a few interviews, a bit of analysis and paddock gossip interspersed with a few clips, and job done.

In terms of car launches, nothing is scheduled on Sky Sports F1. On Sky Sports News however, they will be covering it. They will also be covering testing, with live reports from Rachel Brookes and Craig Slater during testing, like they did in 2012. Whilst their coverage was very good, for the Formula 1 fan, who just wants the Formula 1 pieces all in one place, this is effectively useless. Most of the time they are live, I (and others) will be at University and at work, and I don’t think many will want to fast-forward through eight hours of recording to get to the F1 bits. It would be much better placed on Sky Sports F1 as one show with all the clips bundled into a show later on – or as a live standalone show like I noted above.

Sky will probably argue that their Sky Sports News coverage is enough and will cover the main points, or that testing does not justify extensive coverage on Sky Sports F1. I’m afraid I disagree, Formula 1 will be on Sky Sports News, yet their dedicated Formula 1 channel will still be in repeats mode? That sounds incredibly like backwards logic to me. Also, why bother having the channel on-air if it is going to remain dormant? It may be that they are going to announce something definite regarding testing and the car launches really late. But even so, it is disappointing that we are being kept in the dark about their plans. Hopefully more coverage will be announced soon, but with two weeks before the first test, it does not look highly likely.

Update on January 20th – Doing a few look arounds’ on the Sky Sports website to see if I can dig up anything more, I noticed this side bar note on an article they published on Thursday: “From dawn to dusk, Sky Sports Online will be providing live interactive commentary from trackside at both Jerez and Barcelona on every day of testing this winter, while Sky Sports News will be providing regular live updates from the tests, starting with Jerez on February 5-8.” The title of the side bar note is titled “Testing on Sky Sports F1”, yet the description shows that nothing of the sort will be on Sky Sports F1 aside from The F1 Show starting on February 15th after test one. Regular live updates is, as I noted above, similar to last year with Rachel Brookes or Craig Slater alongside Ted Kravitz every so often giving an update on proceedings. I’ll update the blog if anything changes.

Update on January 26th – Sky have added a 15 minute round-up show to each day at 21:00, not live but just edited together from the day. Hopefully this is actually 15 minutes long and not 7/8 minutes of content in a 15 minute slot. Now whether that is enough for a dedicated Formula 1 channel is open to interpretation. I’ve outlined my thoughts on that clearly above.

12 thoughts on “Sky Sports F1’s pre-season coverage: What’s going on?

  1. Plus there’s the fact that a lot of people (me included) might only have the HD pack to watch Sky Sports F1 so I don’t get Sky Sports News included with my subscription.

  2. It seems a waste to have a channel broadcasting 7 days a week, and not utilise it when there’s live track action and news worthy events.

    Also with many people saying that 20+ races a season is too many, and they’re losing interest (not me I hasten to add), then broadcasting endless repeats on SkyF1 will dull the enthusiasm of the casual fan for the start of the season.

    SkyF1 in its current form seems largely pointless, and has been responsible for a 22% drop in unique viewers in the UK.
    22% less people watching F1, so more repeats can be broadcast, madness!

    • Not off-topic at all, this is a broadcasting blog after all, so all broadcasting comments are welcome!

      Looking at those two pages, they are pan European – so British Eurosport won’t have the rights more than likely. My understanding is that Sky Sports still have GP2 and GP3 rights for 2013.

  3. when i was using the app last night. it did say british eurosport and did find some info on the net that player was for uk only. Which does seem ask question. if they knew was for uk only why was gp3 mention in the google store. miss print maybe?

    The youtube app also had intresting channel feature. there appears to a offical v8supercars channel and fia gt channel. Both have full races on from lastyear. FIA gt is streamed live and free on web last year.

  4. I find this hilarious reading every time I stumble onto one of your ill-informed, poorly written blogs.

    Firstly, if you have the HD pack or the Sports pack for the F1 then you get SSN. SSN is watched by many people and indeed is on in the background of most pubs thus allowing people to catch F1 action.

    Indeed rather than complaining you should be paying a huge compliment to Sky and the team for covering everything, which was not done before 2012. The fact that Lotus asked Sky to show the launch and no other media are there is a key of how well respected the channel is.

    As for testing coverage – unlike a GP there is not an FOM set-up providing pictures. Thus even to broadcast the final 2 hours of testing each day live would cost upwards of £200,000. And let’s be honest – testing is not exactly thrilling viewing.

    Thus, a round up each evening is the best way of covering it. As usual you make no mention of the pack Sky are carrying the coverage yet the BBC are not screening anything it would appear. Perhaps you are not as impartial as you like to claim!

    I also notice how you like to rant about you being at uni – well the interviews on SSN are always cut and put on the Sky Sports F1 website – maybe you just need to look a little harder.

    Every other sport copes fine with SSN coverage – indeed F1 is the only one to have its own channel to allow more in-depth coverage, allow more people to subscribe and bring the entire race weekend to the British public.

    I would also expect to see the Force India launch on Friday, for example, to be screen live on SSN. Just because they have not felt the need to tell you (and why would they) does not mean it will not happen.

    Car launches will then all probably be shown on SSF1 as well at some point.

    So, I have taken the time to write a considered comment. You will most likely reject it, however, let’s hope you show this poster more respect than you show Sky, and reply to my points!

    • Firstly, I’m not going to reject the comment, the only comments I have rejected in the past are those has already filtered out as spam.

      With regards to your point about the round-up, in the blog, do I not suggest that a round-up is the best way to go to present testing? “Something more realistic in my opinion would be a thirty minute show each evening with Ted Kravitz and the Sky Sports News person on location rounding up the days event.”

      I don’t expect Sky to screen live testing, because let’s be honest, nobody would watch, as I mention clearly in the blog. Plus such an idea is pure fantasy. As for the BBC, unlike Sky, they do not have a dedicated F1 channel so I don’t expect their testing coverage to be as in-depth as Sky’s. BBC will have a live text commentary and interviews along with a few clips, as in previous years. In my opinion, that is sufficient for them. Sky have a channel, therefore one would expect them to make use of that channel.

      The interviews bit is untrue, not all of the Sky Sports News F1 content is put onto the website – some of it is, but not all. Last year, 45 minutes of content was recorded live on the first day and last day of each test, not all of it was put online. It’s not a “rant about me being at Uni”, how are F1 fans meant to find content if it is not billed correctly? Take the Lotus launch tomorrow at 7pm on Sky Sports News, it is not billed as such which is unhelpful to those looking purely for that. The same will presumably apply for the Force India launch, it will just fall under the generic daily Sky Sports News descriptions.

      If the car launches will probably be shown on SSF1, then why are the McLaren, Force India, Ferrari, Sauber and Red Bull launches not billed in the Sky Sports F1 EPG for next weekend?

      • As I said I would expect them to be packaged up and aired later in the month. As for not having a dedicated channel – there was nothing to stop anyone doing that in the past.

        As for listings. Do you really think every little thing should be broken up – oh I want to record an interview from Wembley, make it a separate programme? Exactly, it is a format that has worked for years. Just because it is F1 does not make it a special case compared to football, golf or rugby.

        And I stand by my point – every time I see anything you have done or tweeted it is anti-sky. And by having the name “F1 broadcasting” to me it seems you are trying to make yourself appear as the gospel on it, when things I have read demonstrate a clear lack of understanding and knowledge of broadcasting and website reporting

      • I’m pretty certain a dedicated BBC Sport channel or a dedicated BBC F1 channel would fall outside the remit of the licence fee.

        No, but the point I’m making is that these things such as the car launches should be simulcast live on Sky Sports F1 in addition to being shown on Sky Sports News.

        Your last point is untrue I’m afraid, I have praised Sky as well on this blog – The F1 Show has been the best part of Sky’s output alongside their F1 Legends show, whilst Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson’s contributions I have thoroughly enjoyed as part of the Sky team. The idea that everything I have said is ‘anti Sky’ is absurd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.