Scheduling: The 2013 Italian Grand Prix

It is the final race of the European season, which means a trip to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix! And, both BBC and Sky are live. Whilst it is indeed the end of the European season, there are of course two more races that are held in the daytime for European viewers, that being Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

The only notable mention this week is that I believe this is Allan McNish’s last race of the season with the Radio 5 Live team. It was noted back in March that McNish would only be with the team for six races with Italy being his last. Whether he will be back in the paddock with them for 2014 remains to be seen. After the race concludes, it is the fourth edition of F1 Legends this year, this time featuring Alain Prost as Steve Rider’s guest.

Saturday 31st August
20:00 to 20:40 – F1: 1988 Italian Grand Prix Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Murray Walker and James Hunt
– repeated on Friday 23rd August at 18:00

Sunday 1st September
20:00 to 20:45 – F1: 1995 Italian Grand Prix Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Murray Walker and Jonathan Palmer
– repeated on Sunday 25th August at 11:15

Monday 2nd September
20:00 to 22:00 – F1: 2001 Italian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Murray Walker and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Friday 23rd August at 17:15

Tuesday 3rd September
20:00 to 22:00 – F1: 2008 Italian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from James Allen and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Saturday 24th August at 22:05

Wednesday 4th September
19:00 to 20:00 – Lotus: Chapman’s Winning Formula (Sky Sports F1)
– more details can be found here
20:00 to 22:00 – F1: 2010 Italian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle

Thursday 5th September
14:00 to 14:45 – F1: Driver Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
21:30 to 21:45 – Gear Up for Italy (Sky Sports F1)

Friday 6th September
08:45 to 11:00 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
08:55 to 10:35 – F1: Practice 1 (BBC Two)
11:00 to 11:35 – GP2: Practice (Sky Sports F1)
12:45 to 14:50 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
13:00 to 14:35 – F1: Practice 2 (BBC Two)
14:50 to 15:35 – GP2: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
16:15 to 17:00 – 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 7th September
08:45 to 09:20 – GP3: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
09:45 to 11:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
09:55 to 11:10 – F1: Practice 3 (BBC Two)
12:00 to 14:35 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
12:10 to 14:30 – F1: Qualifying (BBC One)
14:35 to 16:00 – GP2: Race 1 (Sky Sports F1)
16:15 to 17:05 – GP3: Race 1 (Sky Sports F1)
18:45 to 19:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)

Sunday 8th September
08:20 to 09:05 – GP3: Race 2 (Sky Sports F1)
09:30 to 10:35 – GP2: Race 2 (Sky Sports F1)
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)
16:15 to 17:15 – F1 Legends: Alain Prost (Sky Sports F1)

Wednesday 11th September
19:00 to 19:30 – Midweek Report (Sky Sports F1)

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


“Lotus: Chapman’s Winning Formula” to air on Sky Sports F1 next week

Following on from last week’s great three part documentary focussing on The Lost Generation, Sky Sports F1 will be airing another new documentary in the run up to the Italian Grand Prix weekend.

“Lotus: Chapman’s Winning Formula” is a 1 x 60 minute documentary that will first air on the channel on Wednesday 4th September at 19:00. The description is as follows: “To mark the 50th anniversary of Lotus’ first Formula 1 triumph, Steve Rider examines the legacy of founder Colin Chapman. Drivers, staff and family share their thoughts.” The full list of air times during the weekend are as follows:

– Wednesday 4th September, 19:00 (first airing)
– Wednesday 4th September, 23:30
– Friday 6th September, 19:00
– Saturday 7th September, 07:45
– Sunday 8th September, 23:20

There’s several more slots after the weekend, but those are the first bunch of air times. I’ll publish the full Italian Grand Prix weekend schedule in a few days.

Motor sport ratings (week ending 18th August, 2013)

The Summer break may have continued for Formula 1, but MotoGP was back in action and is therefore the pick in this week’s BARB weekly official ratings.

The championship remained in America, heading to the Indianapolis circuit. An average of 1.26 million viewers watched the coverage on BBC Two from 18:30 to 20:00 on Sunday (18th August). It is the first time the race has made BBC Two’s top thirty in the past five years, so a positive sign there. Over on ITV4, highlights of the Silverstone Classic were shown on Thursday (15th August), with an audience of 264,000 viewers tuning in.

Sky Sports F1 was in ‘Summer shut down’ mode with the channel’s main offering being The F1 Show’s Season so Far programme, in which 33,000 viewers watched. Unsurprisingly it was one of the lower rated of the season, but that should not be seen as particularly season. What is disappointing is that highlights of the 1985 Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday (17th August) only averaged 6,000 viewers. Thankfully, the 1998 Grand Prix averaged 19,000 viewers a day later. Bear in mind that all the figures account for any one who watched within seven days. It seems that the classic races either do not appeal to many people, or many people just are not watching their recording within that time period.

Finishing off with Motors TV, six programmes averaged over 10,000 viewers. Bike World 2013 on Thursday was their highlight, bringing 22,000 viewers to the channel.

Belgian Grand Prix increases slightly versus 2012

The Belgian Grand Prix increased slightly in the ratings versus 2012, overnight viewing figures show. However, as has been the pattern since the start of the year, only BBC seen an increase year-on-year, with Sky Sports F1’s ratings again dropping. The BBC’s coverage, from 12:10 to 15:15 averaged 2.89 million viewers, a 28.5 percent share, up 120,000 viewers against last year’s overnight figure. Sky Sports F1 averaged 336,000 viewers, a 3.4 percent share from 11:30 to 16:15. The channel from 12:10 to 15:15 averaged 453,000 viewers, exactly in line with the 35 percent increase which is typically seen between the two measures. Year-on-year, Sky is down about 30,000 viewers, and the 336,000 viewership average is their lowest so far this year.

It goes without saying that the Belgian Grand Prix is always one of the lowest rated races of the season due to its position in the calendar. The August Bank Holiday is the last Summer get away of the year which depletes ratings across the board, including the F1. In ratings term, the Belgian round is a ‘write off’ and it is difficult to do a lot of analysis or read too many conclusions into it. Of course, another reason for the low ratings is the other sporting competition (albeit, not an excuse) and the fact that Spa is normally over within 90 minutes.

Belgian Grand Prix – Official Ratings
2002 – 2.39 million
2003 – no race
2004 – 2.90 million
2005 – 2.10 million
2006 – no race
2007 – 2.67 million
2008 – 3.87 million
2009 – 3.47 million
2010 – 4.18 million
2011 – 3.90 million
2012 – 3.17 million / 3.29 million (using ‘35 percent theory‘)
– overnight figures were 3.10 million / 3.26 million
2013 – 3.23 million / 3.35 million (overnight rating)

By any measure, it is not a great rating, but not a particularly surprising one either. The combined peak, which I’ll get into first was at 13:45, with 4.49 million viewers (41.6 percent share) tuning in, which I believe is the lowest since 2009 for Belgian. You know the race is not great when the viewership is flat across the 90 minutes. 4.39 million viewers were watching at the start, 4.46 million viewers were watching at the end. On another day, it would have been a great race to watch and it would have increased substantially throughout broadcast. Alas, it was not to be.

At the time of the combined peak, BBC One held 3.88 million viewers, whilst the other 618,500 viewers were watching Sky. BBC One was up 190,000 viewers, Sky was down 270,500 viewers, meaning that the ratio between the two channels at the time of the peak was 86.4 percent versus 13.6 percent. It appears that there are a proportion of viewers who, over the past few months for whatever reason are gravitating back to the BBC’s programming. One question that could be asked, and therefore is probably worth briefly discussing here: “Would Sky ever consider getting rid of the F1 channel and putting content onto the main Sky Sports channels?” The answer to that question I think is no. Six Sky Sports channels looks more attractive to Sky than five, it is a simple as that. And, at a time when they are trying to fight off BT Sport, it would not make any logistical sense for them to do that.

Qualifying averaged 2.32 million viewers across both channels, with a peak of 3.04 million at 14:00. BBC’s coverage averaged 2.00 million viewers, with Sky adding 319,000 viewers. Both channels were up year-on-year, but it was the lowest rated Qualifying session of the year. Next up is Italy, which is also a traditionally low rated race, although 2012 did buck that trend, so it will be interesting to see what happens this year.

The 2012 Belgian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.

BT Sport to broadcast classic MotoGP races this week

In a positive sign of things to come for 2014, BT Sport are to broadcast five classic MotoGP races this week, it has been confirmed.

The BT Sport website will be uploading the 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997 and 2000 MotoGP races, with the first two already online, and free to view for anyone to watch. The 1992 and 1994 races will also be shown on BT Sport 2, 1992 on Monday at 21:30 and 1994 on Tuesday at 21:30.

Considering their rights don’t kick in until 2014, I’m pleasantly surprised to see these turn up this week, although I imagine the broadcasting rights are not as ‘tight’ as Formula One Management’s control over what current or future rights holders can or cannot do.

Monday 26th August
21:30 to 22:30 – 1992 British MotoGP (BT Sport 2)
– repeated on Tuesday 27th August at 09:00
22:30 to 23:30 – 1993 British MotoGP (BT Sport 2)
– repeated on Tuesday 27th August at 10:00

Tuesday 27th August
21:30 to 22:30 – 1994 British MotoGP (BT Sport 2)
– repeated on Wednesday 28th August at 10:00

Wednesday 29th August
21:30 to 22:30 – 1997 British MotoGP (BT Sport 2)
– repeated on Thursday 29th August at 10:00

Thursday 30th August
22:00 to 23:00 – 2000 British MotoGP (BT Sport 2)
– repeated on Friday 30th August at 10:00