Sky Sports F1’s Christmas schedule for 2013 begins to takes shape

Early scheduling information for Sky Sports F1’s Christmas schedules has today been released. Things are largely expected to be the same as 2012, with the news earlier this month that there will be again team reviews and The F1 Show Christmas Special, this year entitled A Record Breaking Year.

The team reviews will air in order from 11th to 1st from Friday 13th December through to Monday 23rd December:

– 13/12 – 19:00 – Caterham: Dutch Courage (with Rachel Brookes)
– 14/12 – 19:00 – Marussia: Mission Accomplished (with David Croft)
– 15/12 – 19:00 – Williams: A Long Way Back (with Rachel Brookes)
– 16/12 – 19:00 – Toro Rosso: Ricciardo on the Rise (with Ted Kravitz)
– 17/12 – 19:00 – Sauber: Hulkenberg Shines (with David Croft)
– 18/12 – 19:00 – Force India: All Tyred Out (with Natalie Pinkham)
– 19/12 – 19:00 – McLaren: 2013’s Rough Ride (with Simon Lazenby)
– 20/12 – 19:00 – Lotus: Against All Odds
– 21/12 – 19:00 – Ferrari: A Team in Transition (with Natalie Pinkham)
– 22/12 – 19:00 – Mercedes: Hamilton’s New Home (with Simon Lazenby)
– 23/12 – 19:00 – Red Bull: A World Apart

Neither Lotus or the Red Bull reviews have narrators listed. The surprise was that classic races were also making an appearance through the entire month (full details here). In summary, over the Christmas period for Sky, it is:

– classic races
– team reviews
– The F1 Show Christmas Special

The F1 Show’s Christmas Special will air on Christmas Eve at 18:00, only an hour this year versus last year’s two hours. I was planning to type the entire Christmas Eve and Christmas Day schedules here, however, now that they include the classic races, there is not much use in doing that.


Poll Results: Do you plan on following MotoGP in 2014?

A few weeks ago, I asked blog readers a simple question, baring in mind the broadcasting changes in the UK from 2014: “Do you plan on following MotoGP in 2014?”

Almost 200 people responded, thanks to each and every one of you. There are a few headlines in there, but here are the poll results:

– Yes, I do not have access to BT Sport but will continue to follow MotoGP via other means: 30.2% (57 votes)
– No, I won’t be following MotoGP in 2014: 30.2% (57 votes)
– Yes, I will continue to follow MotoGP via BT Sport: 26.5% (50 votes)
– No, I don’t currently follow MotoGP and have no interest in doing so: 8.5% (16 votes)
– Undecided: 2.6% (5 votes)
– Poll does not apply to me: 2.0% (4 votes)

Ignoring the people who don’t currently follow MotoGP, and those that the poll does not apply to brings the amount of respondents down by twenty. Hence, the percentages, and probably more accurate percentages are as follows:

– Yes, I do not have access to BT Sport but will continue to follow MotoGP via other means: 33.7% (57 votes)
– No, I won’t be following MotoGP in 2014: 33.7% (57 votes)
– Yes, I will continue to follow MotoGP via BT Sport: 29.6% (50 votes)
– Undecided: 3.0% (5 votes)

I always post disclaimers whenever doing polls that, because of the nature of this site, polls are clearly not reflecting of the general public. But hey, they are interesting to look at and analyse and also generate some good discussion.

The interesting thing is that a lot of people have decided already whether or not they are going to follow MotoGP in 2014, only three percent is undecided which is very low. If you are not a fan of football, then the question is whether you are willing to add an extra few pounds to your existing package, or whether you can miss MotoGP and get yourself out of the habit.

I do have Sky, but am unwilling to fork out an extra £12 for just MotoGP and a few Premiership games I’m not interested in. If they added NASCAR and Formula E to their coverage I would be interested though! – @deanolatino

30 percent say that they will continue to follow MotoGP on BT Sport. That number probably is not too far off what will really happen, in reality though it would be nearer 20 percent. I hate to think that viewing figures could average under 200,000, but we will only get a real indicator come Qatar.

I moved to BT Broadband from Sky last March after their broadband team proved to be completely inept when it came to customer service – I’m really happy with the TV station so far, so look forward to the MotoGP! – TMLS

There is a fairly even split too between BT Sport and ‘other means’ although ‘other means’ was deliberately such a huge parameter to see how many want to keep in touch with MotoGP, but just don’t want to switch to BT Sport.

Scheduling: The 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix

No championship battle this year, sadly, but the Formula 1 season once again finishes with the Brazilian Grand Prix from Interlagos. Expect both the full strength BBC and Sky sides out in force as usual. BBC Two’s coverage of Practice 1 is delayed by about 65 minutes due to The Daily Politics airing on the channel from 12:00 to 13:00, but is live on BBC’s Red Button service. Practice 2 and 3 are both live as normal on BBC Two. A quick note too that it may be worth putting BBC Two on record both days in the event that rain is forecast, but I will add to that possibility later should it occur!

Sky have their usual schedule, including five classic races including the 2008 thriller on Thursday evening. A very nice schedule for them actually on the Friday which I must applaud: Classic F1, FP1, Classic F1 and FP2. No reason to move from the sofa between 11:05 and 18:00. Basic, but genius scheduling idea! Obviously it is not possibly during the European season due to GP2 or GP3, but the above really shows how to maximise a schedule. Their scheduling is not always perfect (dubious placing of the classics on Sunday, which should really bookend the new content), but the Friday schedule deserves credit.

Talking of schedules, it appears weather may prove a headache next weekend for the BBC. The title race is over, so should either Qualifying or the Race get red flagged, I am certain it will be bumped off BBC One fairly sharpish – a big night for BBC One next Saturday after the F1. And here are all of the scheduling details you need:

Tuesday 19th November
20:00 to 20:40 – F1: 1993 Brazilian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Murray Walker and James Hunt
– repeated on Friday 22nd November at 11:05
20:40 to 22:40 – F1: 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from James Allen and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Friday 22nd November at 13:50

Wednesday 20th November
20:00 to 22:30 – F1: 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from James Allen and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Saturday 23rd November at 17:45
22:30 to 00:30 – F1: 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from James Allen and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Sunday 24th November at 12:15

Thursday 21st November
13:00 to 13:45 – F1: Driver Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
18:00 to 18:15 – Gear Up for USA (Sky Sports F1)
20:00 to 22:00 – F1: 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from James Allen and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Sunday 24th November at 22:15

Friday 22nd November
11:45 to 13:50 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
11:55 to 13:35 – F1: Practice 1 (BBC Red Button)
13:00 to 14:45 – F1: Practice 1 (BBC Two)
– delayed coverage
15:45 to 18:00 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
15:55 to 17:35 – F1: Practice 2 (BBC Two)
18:00 to 18:45 – F1: Team Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
20:00 to 21:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1)

Saturday 23rd November
12:45 to 14:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
12:55 to 14:05 – F1: Practice 3 (BBC Two)
15:00 to 17:20 – F1: Qualifying (BBC One)
15:00 to 17:45 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)

Sunday 24th November
14:30 to 19:15 – F1: Race (Sky Sports F1)
=> 14:30 – Track Parade
=> 15:00 – Race
=> 18:30 – Paddock Live
15:00 to 18:05 – F1: Race (BBC One)
18:05 to 19:05 – F1: Forum (BBC Red Button)
19:15 to 20:15 – Legends: John Watson (Sky Sports F1)

Wednesday 27th November
19:00 to 19:30 – Midweek Report (Sky Sports F1)

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

Live Blog: The 2013 United States Grand Prix Qualifying session

16:50 – Following on from the success of my live blog for the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying session, I thought I would take a lucky dip and do it all over again in 2013! So before the season started, I decided to put all nineteen races into a little bowl to decide which Qualifying session I was going to cover live on this blog. The result? USA. Unfortunately it is a Sky exclusive race, so no comparisons can be made between it and BBC F1. But hey ho. I should note that this live blog will not be a live “blow-by-blow” account of the Qualifying session, if you want that, I suggest you go to‘s or BBC F1‘s live text services. Basically, from 17:00 to 19:45, I will be looking at Sky’s broadcast from a broadcasting perspective, and of course the FOM World Feed too.

16:53 – Due to a dancing and singing contest on this Saturday evening, I will be watching the F1 via Sky Go. I’m happy to report though that there are no problems on that front! Sky Sports F1 on and ready to go, the channel currently showing the highlights package from the Porsche Supercup round in Abu Dhabi (alas, the only time you will hear Ben Edwards on its channel!).

16:55 – As always, the comments section is open and ready if you have any thoughts and opinions during the build-up and the session itself. Practice three looked fairly close, so hopefully we can expect the same for Qualifying.

17:00 – And exactly an hour before Qualifying, Sky Sports F1 heads to air for the penultimate Qualifying session of 2013!

17:04 – The usual foursome of Simon Lazenby, Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert open the show, as one of the support sessions comes to a conclusion in the background. Definitely in agreement that the Circuit of the Americas is becoming one of the fans favourites.

17:06 – Unsurprisingly, the first main subject of Qualifying is the driver shuffle, as a VT voiced by Natalie Pinkham goes to air covering the events of the last 13 days.

17:10 – Quite amazing how quickly everything does, and can, change in Formula 1! Nice little summary for those that have not caught up with the news in the past week or so. This leads into Ted Kravitz interviewing Martin Whitmarsh. Not impressed with McLaren’s attitude where Sergio Perez is concerned, to be honest. It feels like he was always a stop gap between Hamilton and Magnussen now, but who knows if that was always the case.

17:14 – I have to say watching this actually that Sky have been very lucky that the drivers’ market has gone into overdrive, as critically for them it fills air-time at a time of the season where the championship has been long resolved and inevitably content dries up. A good start to the show, as things move to the Sky Pad!

17:16 – A bit pointless that was going to the Sky Pad for a quick minute to show a five second clip of Davidson blowing up, but a good start to the show as Sky head off to their first commercial break. Very much looking forward to Kravitz’s interview with Robert Kubica.

17:18 – Still slightly frustrating that Sky only go to commercial breaks when the BBC are not live on air, but alas, I guess we’ve got used to it now.

17:21 – And they’re back, with a Mercedes feature.

17:26 – Sometimes I do feel that those ‘face to camera’ features don’t work well, but I enjoyed that one. As always with features like that, where it is clear a lot of time and effort has gone into it across an entire race weekend sometimes, I wish an extended 30 or 60 minute cut goes out on the channel. Arguably, the longer, more rough cut is better, in my view. Part 2 airs tomorrow, and hopefully is just as good.

17:27 – Brundle claims that Sky have “never had access like this before”. Frankly nonsense sentence to say considering Jake Humphrey used to roam around multiple garages before and after sessions!

17:30 – Conversation turns to James Allison, as an interview with Kravitz is shown. Lazenby and Hill discuss Allison and Ferrari’s overall season.

17:36 – A piece by 1980’s TV star Michael Brandon airs on Americans’ in Formula 1. A rich and vast amount of archive footage is shown in the piece, some seen in the GP Uncovered series from various film makers. Some names in here who I have never heard of, so I am glad to see them paying tribute to the majority of them. Formula 1 needs an American name of the grid. Hopefully Alexander Rossi is that person, and hopefully 2014 or 2015 is that year.

17:37 – And one of those legends, Mario Andretti joins Lazenby! Sky need to get Andretti in the commentary box at some point for a practice session or maybe something more. From what I heard on Twitter a few months back, he was fantastic for NBC earlier this year.

17:43 – A lot of archive footage used in today’s broadcast so far, in three or four different segments. You can’t not love archive footage, can you? And a great little interview there. It feels like that Lazenby is totally different to last year, seemed completely at ease interviewing Andretti. Is he as good as Humphrey was for BBC F1 between 2009 and 2011? Probably not, but the Sky shows at the moment flow better this year than last, which is nice to see.

17:46 – Third commercial break done and dusted, and into a VT with Robert Kubica. A really strong show from Sky so far today.

17:47 – I will be honest. I miss Kubica driving a Formula 1 car knowing that one day he could have won a Formula 1 world championship. There is no point as well Kubica risking a day testing an F1 car if something ended up going well. Fantastic to see Kubica doing well in rallying though, and long may it continue.

17:52 – Off to another break, which means Qualifying is on its way soon! A bite to eat for me too, I think…

17:55 – Not as many updates in the next hour as the action gets under way, but there will be the occasional updates at 5 to 10 minute intervals in the respective sessions.

18:06 – And I’m back! Six minutes into Q1 so far. No 180 degree camera yet. Hopefully we get to see it soon. Already detected some virtual advertising in the form of a Pirelli logo. They had some here last year though so it is not an entirely new thing.

18:08 – A bit naughty from whoever that Sauber was, nearly had a Maldonaldo ploughing straight into the back of him.

18:10 – Ron Dennis in the garage at McLaren. Really surprised Sky have not interviewed him about Perez so far this weekend.

18:15 – David Croft notes again Mark Webber abusing track limits. Difficult to disagree, although thankfully it is only one corner here unlike India three weeks ago!

18:16 – An interesting thermal camera on Sebastian Vettel’s car. Still t-cam shot, but at a slight offset and angle it appears.

18:23 – Horrific for the Ferrari’s, but they manage to squeeze through to Q2. Solid direction, but disappointed that the 180 degree angle has gone AWOL for the moment.

18:31 – Q2 has began in earnest, four minutes in so far.

18:34 – Always amusing when Brundle makes a reference to ‘new viewers’. Sky bring in new viewers? Although to be fair to Brundle of course Sky’s commentary is beamed around the world to various other countries, some of which may well be new viewers. Looking competitive in Q2 so far.

18:41 – And the 180 degree camera makes an appearance! On Valtteri Bottas’ Williams as he locks up.

18:44 – Fairly major knock-out in Q2 for Nico Rosberg! The Sky commentators missed that completely, it seems. They mentioned it, but underplayed it, they did not notice it as much as they should have. Fascinating as always to see how much the track conditions play a part, the smallest of changes makes a huge difference. Q3 is up next!

18:48 – Regarding the above, Davidson brilliantly demonstrates this with Rosberg’s sector one yesterday compared with his sector one in Q2.

18:50 – Q3 has began. A Red Bull will be on pole, just a matter of which one. I hope Bottas gets up the grid, he deserves it.

18:54 – Enjoyable commentary from Croft and Brundle so far today. Five minutes to go…

18:58 – Considering the 180 degree camera on Bottas’ car, it must be an aerodynamic advantage on the Williams! Hoping he sets a competitive lap time.

19:03 – How did Vettel do that? Webber’s lap was brilliant, then Vettel beats it. Unsurprisingly, the gap between Red Bull and the rest is huge, nearly a second.

19:06 – A great Qualifying session. I am sticking around though for the next 30 minutes as Sky wrap proceedings up.

19:12 – Sky head off to a quick break, and back with the press conference.

19:17 – Onto the Sky Pad with Davidson. One thing I think would be brilliant to see tomorrow in the pre-race show is a comparison between Vettel and Grosjean in all three sectors, as the Red Bull is equal to others in sector one, but streets ahead in sectors two and three.

19:20 – Clear as daylight to see the difference between Vettel and Webber in the final sector. One mistake for Webber and the lap unravelled badly for him there. Badly, obviously in comparison to Vettel but no one else.

19:26 – Good interview with Lazenby and Claire Williams, Lazenby trying to press on the Maldonaldo issues, to his credit.

19:29 – Mostly pen interviews filling the time now as you would expect, Craig Slater interviewing Nico Hulkenberg. One good thing about 2013 is that more Sky Sports News interviews have been used on the Sky broadcast, the two sides are more integrated, with Rachel Brookes also being used on the Sky Sports F1 shows when she is around.

19:38 – A few more pen interviews are shown, including an ever unhappy Adrian Sutil.

19:41 – And that is a wrap! Highlights of Qualifying are on BBC Two at 22:30, whilst Classic F1 is on Sky Sports F1 next with highlights of the 1991 United States Grand Prix (not that they mentioned it in their various archive pieces!). Enjoy the race, and as always, thanks for reading.

Motor sport ratings (week ending 3rd November, 2013)

Again as with last week there is only Sky Sports F1 ratings to report from BARB for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Thankfully this time the race day number has indeed been split into three which breaks down as follows:

570,000 – Live Race (Sunday, 11:30)
=> 212,000 – 11:30 to 12:00
=> 748,000 – 12:00 to 15:20
=> 167,000 – 15:20 to 16:10

When you consider that 570,000 viewers is the average for an exclusive race, I imagine Sky will be quite disappointed as that is only 5 percent up year-on-year. Okay, the title race is over, but I imagine they were hoping for a higher average than that.

Elsewhere on Sky Sports F1:

457,000 – Live Qualifying (Saturday, 12:00)
106,000 – Live Practice 3 (Saturday, 09:45)
56,000 – Live Practice 1 (Friday, 08:45)
54,000 – Live Practice 2 (Friday, 12:45)

No promotion means that none of the GP2 or GP3 championship deciding races made it into Sky Sports F1’s top ten. Okay, things did not go Sam Bird’s way, but I don’t think I even seen cross promotion on Sky Sports News. A lesson to learn for 2014, I feel. Qualifying fared impressively, one of Sky’s higher ratings of the year, but the rating may have been influenced by only 20 minutes reaction afterwards (which probably makes GP3’s first race failing to make Sky’s top ten even more disappointing).