Scheduling: The 2015 Jerez test on Sky Sports F1

The 2015 Formula One testing season is here! As usual, Sky Sports F1 is covering the action, with thirty minutes of highlights scheduled for each day. A fifteen minute round-up is followed by Ted’s Notebook which, if history is to go by, will almost certainly overrun on each of the four days.

No live coverage is scheduled on the channel, the reason for the lack of live action was explained by Martin Turner, Sky Sports F1’s Executive Producer, last March. The coverage level is therefore the same as last season, with live updates provided on Sky Sports News. As noted on the Sky Sports website, Rachel Brookes and Craig Slater will be covering the round-up shows and the live updates, with Ted Kravitz and David Croft covering the latter part with the Notebook and #AskCrofty respectively.

Below are all the schedule details you need…

Sunday 1st February
21:00 to 21:30 – Day 1 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

Monday 2nd February
20:30 to 21:00 – Day 1 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:30 – Day 2 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

Tuesday 3rd February
20:00 to 20:30 – Day 1 Highlights (R)
20:30 to 21:00 – Day 2 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:30 – Day 3 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

Wednesday 4th February
19:30 to 20:00 – Day 1 Highlights (R)
20:00 to 20:30 – Day 2 Highlights (R)
20:30 to 21:00 – Day 3 Highlights (R)
21:00 to 21:30 – Day 4 Highlights
– round-up at 21:00
– Ted’s Notebook at 21:15

If anything changes, I will update the schedule above.

ITV renews MotoGP contract for 2015

ITV4 will continue to broadcast MotoGP highlights during the 2015 season, The F1 Broadcasting Blog can confirm.

The channel began broadcasting MotoGP highlights last season. This followed the announcement that BT Sport were going to broadcast every race exclusively live through to and including 2018, ending the BBC’s and British Eurosport’s involvement in covering the series. Analysis half way through the 2014 season showed that viewing figures had halved year-on-year as a result of the new deal.

The news that ITV will continue to cover highlights is good for readers who do not have access to BT Sport and wish to continue following MotoGP. In a statement to The F1 Broadcasting Blog, ITV confirmed that they are showing “both the Motorsport UK [weekly round-up programme] and the MotoGP coverage.”

I will update this post if any further details come through from ITV, and also with the Qatar scheduling details nearer to March.

BBC and Sky confirm 2015 coverage details

BBC Sport and Sky Sports have today confirmed their 2015 calendar picks. The picks are as follows:

2015 Schedule Details
March 15th – Australia (Melbourne) – Sky
March 29th – Malaysia (Sepang) – BBC and Sky
April 12th – China (Shanghai) – Sky
April 19th – Bahrain (Sakhir) – BBC and Sky
May 10th – Spain (Barcelona) – Sky
May 24th – Monaco (Monaco) – Sky
June 7th – Canada (Montreal) – BBC and Sky
June 21st – Austria (Red Bull Ring) – Sky
July 5th – Britain (Silverstone) – BBC and Sky
July 19th – Germany (TBA) – Sky
July 26th – Hungary (Budapest) – BBC and Sky
August 23rd – Belgium (Spa) – BBC and Sky
September 6th – Italy (Monza) – Sky
September 20th – Singapore (Marina Bay) – Sky
September 27th – Japan (Suzuka) – BBC and Sky
October 11th – Russia (Sochi) – BBC and Sky
October 25th – USA (Circuit of the Americas) – Sky
November 1st – Mexico (Mexico City) – Sky
November 15th – Brazil (Interlagos) – BBC and Sky
November 29th – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) – BBC and Sky

Both teams appear to be the same as in 2014, with Sky confirming their team on the website. Interestingly, there are no changes, although I assume that Natalie Pinkham will not be travelling to the early races with Sky. The F1 Show will be returning to the channel (date TBC) along with GP2 and GP3, but testing will not be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1. Live updates however will be provided on Sky Sports News. Following clarification with Sky, the mention of “live pre-season testing from Barcelona and Jerez in February” in the press release refers to the live updates on Sky Sports News only.

BBC’s Head of F1, Ben Gallop said: “Like all F1 fans, we can’t wait for the 2015 season. With Lewis Hamilton as World Champion, F1 in Britain is in a great position and we’re delighted with our race package. These live races, combined with our ever-popular highlights programmes and our extensive coverage on radio and online means F1 fans can follow every step of Hamilton’s title defence on the BBC.”

Sky Sports F1’s executive producer Martin Turner said: “All eyes are on world champion Lewis Hamilton and Sky Sports F1 will be the only place to follow every race of his title defence. There are so many exciting story lines next season and we’ll cover every twist and turn from Australia to Abu Dhabi.”

There is no major surprises above. Bahrain may be considered a surprise, however it has a more prominent slot now which justifies BBC showing it live. I find it interesting how BBC are showing four out of the ten European races live, their first European race is not until July. In general, the BBC picks are more lop-sided towards the latter half of the season, which makes sense considering how the 2014 title race went. For those unfamiliar, the pick order goes as follows:

– BBC pick 1, 2 and 3
– Sky pick 4, 5 and 6
– BBC pick 7
– Sky pick 8

Shockingly, I predicted 14 out of the 20 picks correctly, which is pleasing! What this does mean is that, there is not a lot to change from my guesstimates to reality. As predicted, BBC picked Britain, Abu Dhabi and Brazil, presumably learning from their mistake in 2014 where Brazil was concerned. Sky countered with USA and Mexico, at this point things diverged. I predicted that Sky would take Canada ahead of Monaco. As it turned out, Sky considered Monaco ahead of Canada, presumably because Monaco is a blue ribboned event and is good for advertising and press releases.

So, BBC at this stage went for Canada in my opinion. I thought Sky would go for Bahrain, but again Australia is probably the better pick because of its season opening slot, with BBC grabbing Bahrain. Bahrain previously would be one of the least preferred races, but its mid-afternoon slot, and potentially the great 2014 race, has upped its stock. Sky picking Spain is surprising given that BBC have aired it live from 2012 to 2014, so that must have been earlier in the pick process. From there, the picks alternate between the two sides until all races have been picked.

I think both sides will be pleased with how things have turned out. The important thing for the BBC was getting a good run in, which they have with four of the last six races live, whilst Sky have the season opener and Monaco.

PL 100 – F1 style

Yesterday before The FA Cup action began, I was watching an episode of PL 100 Club on Sky Sports.

The idea behind PL 100 Club is simple. It is “a celebration of some of the finest goalscorers in Barclays Premier League history”, those that have scored over one hundred goals have an episode dedicated to them, hence the programme title. The episode that I watched featured Robbie Keane. At thirty minutes in length, it showed some of his best goals from his time in the Premier League. I did not count the number of goals, but I’d estimate that about 25 to 30 goals were shown, this was interspersed with mini VT’s as Keane moved between clubs.

As I say, its an incredibly simple programme, making great use of the Premier League archive. You don’t need to know a lot about Keane to watch the programme, it can be background viewing at times. I also think that you can apply programming of this nature to Formula 1. I’ve suggested before about how Sky could utilise the Summer break where Classic F1 races are concerned so that viewers can follow a single season, or potentially create retrospective documentaries of a race weekend.

I suggest a programme called F1 20 Overtakes if you’re to use the same style as the Premier League programme. To continue along those lines, the programme would be a celebration of some of the finest overtakers in Formula 1 history. Making sure that a programme like that would actually be possible, I went on YouTube, typed in “schumacher overtake” and listed the first twenty below.

Schumacher overtakes
1. Alain Prost (1993 Belgium Grand Prix)
2. Jean Alesi (1995 European Grand Prix)
3. Jean Alesi (1996 Spanish Grand Prix)
4. Jacques Villeneuve (1996 Spanish Grand Prix)
5. Alex Wurz (1998 Monaco Grand Prix)
6. Damon Hill (1998 Canadian Grand Prix)
7. Mika Hakkinen (1998 British Grand Prix)
8. Mika Hakkinen (1998 Italian Grand Prix)
9. Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli (2000 Belgium Grand Prix)
10. David Coulthard (2000 US Grand Prix)
11. Kimi Raikkonen (2003 Austrian Grand Prix)
12. Jarno Trulli (2003 German Grand Prix)
13. Fernando Alonso (2006 Chinese Grand Prix)
14. Kimi Raikkonen (2006 Canadian Grand Prix)
15. Giancarlo Fisichella (2006 Brazilian Grand Prix)
16. Nick Heidfeld (2006 Brazilian Grand Prix)
17. Kimi Raikkonen (2006 Brazilian Grand Prix)
18. Fernando Alonso (2010 Monaco Grand Prix)
– the illegal overtake
19. Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa (2011 Canadian Grand Prix)
20. Kamui Kobayashi (2012 Italian Grand Prix)

Whilst it is great to have Classic F1 races and Legends shows on the channel, you have to appreciate that there is a portion of the audience who want something to ‘dip in and out’ of during non-race weekends, I question whether any of Sky F1’s programming achieved that during 2014. Plus, many can put 30 minutes aside to watch a programme of the nature described, whereas two hours for classic races is more difficult. You could have a lot of different episodes in an overtaking strand: Schumacher as mentioned, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Juan Montoya and Ayrton Senna to name a few. In the case of the latter two, it would be a nice companion programme to their respective Legends of F1 programming already aired.

As always, the issue is getting access to the footage. Sky have been broadcasting the Premier League since its inception, but only Formula 1 since 2012. This means that Sky would need to get the footage for the races mentioned from Formula One Management (FOM), BBC or ITV if they wanted to screen programmes of that nature. Or better still, FOM could produce programmes such as F1 20 themselves, and distribute it to broadcasters.

Scheduling: The 2015 Buenos Aires ePrix

The 2014-15 Formula E season continues through South America, stopping in Argentina for the Buenos Aires ePrix!

The race marks race four of the nine round season, the unofficial halfway stage of the season. I say unofficial as, following this race, the championship goes on a two month break, returning in March from Miami on the same weekend as the Australian F1 Grand Prix. The reason for the large gap is because the round in Rio, scheduled originally for early February, failed to materialise. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt as this is season one, but the calendar has to be paced better for season two. Eleven or twelve races, with two or three week gaps, would be better for the 2015-16 season.

On location is the usual team of Nicki Shields, Jack Nicholls and Dario Franchitti, with Jennie Gow in the ITV Sport studio alongside guests to be confirmed as of writing. If one of your New Year resolutions was to watch a Formula E race, then you’ll be happy to learn that ITV4’s coverage has no adverts during the race itself, so you don’t miss a thing. There are plenty of adverts during the pre and post-race coverage, but this is a good compromise in my opinion.

Formula E – Buenos Aires (online via FIAFormulaE.com)
10/01 – 13:25 to 14:10 – Practice 2
10/01 – 14:45 to 16:10 – Qualifying

Formula E – Buenos Aires (ITV4)
10/01 – 18:00 to 20:30 – Race
11/01 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Highlights

As always, I’ll update the schedule if anything changes.