Vettel’s win draws 4.16 million to Malaysian GP

An average audience of 4.16 million watched Sebastian Vettel win the Malaysian Grand Prix, unofficial overnight viewing figures show.

As with Australia two weeks ago, the change in start time compared with 2014 means that it is difficult to make too many direct comparisons year-on-year. Nevertheless, live coverage on BBC One from 07:00 to 10:30 averaged 2.03m (33.6%), peaking with 3.23m. In comparison, last year the race averaged 2.45m (32.7%) an hour later, from 08:00 to 11:15, peaking with 3.26m. There is a big difference in the average, which I would put down to more viewers flicking on the TV as the race progressed due to the earlier start time than last year.

Sky Sports F1 added 473k (7.7%) from 07:00 to 10:30, peaking with 720k, compared with an average of 574k (7.7%) and a peak of 826k from last year. I don’t think you can read too much into the respective numbers, both BBC’s and Sky’s live showings were down around 17 percent year-on-year. That’s no shock, the race started earlier, meaning that less people were around. Sky’s peak did suffer as well mind, whereas BBC’s peak numbers are almost identical. Any loss in live numbers was made up by BBC in their re-run programme, which averaged 1.66m (14.7%), significantly higher than last year’s 1.07m (12.5%).

What the numbers mean is that 2015’s combined average of 4.16m is up on 2014’s 4.09m, but down on 2013’s “multi 21” controversy. The combined peak of 5.77m is not too far away from 2013’s peak of 6.01m. Overall, the pattern remains the same as Australia: slight, but optimistic gains year-on-year, which should be taken as a positive.

The Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying session delivered exceptional numbers for both BBC and Sky, with increases across the board. A few disclaimers, as this was a very unusual situation – qualifying began at 09:00 UK time, whereas the race began at 08:00 UK time, although due to the clocks going forward, it really felt like 07:00, which is why the live figures look a lot closer between qualifying and the race. Also, the qualifying numbers include the rain delays of varying proportions.

Live coverage of qualifying averaged 1.83m (24.6%), peaking with 2.30m, up on 2014’s 1.41m (24.0%). Sky Sports F1 averaged 395k (5.1%) from 08:00 to 11:00, peaking with 639k. 2014’s live action on Sky averaged around 300k. BBC’s highlights programme averaged a further 1.27m (13.3%). The combined audience is a very impressive 3.49m, which is good, yet bewildering at the same time. I’m not entirely sure why qualifying did as well as it did, Saturday’s session is one of the most watched qualifying sessions in recent history. The combined peak was a whopping 4.38m.

Sebastian Vettel’s emergence for Ferrari on Sunday will only be good news for viewing figures. Yes, a British driver doing well is good for viewing figures, but a good champion needs an equally good challenger. A Vettel versus Hamilton battle this season is good news for the whole of Formula 1. It will be interesting to see how the viewing figures, both here and in Germany, fare going forward.

If you’re looking for MotoGP viewing figures, they will be posted mid-week.

The 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.

2 thoughts on “Vettel’s win draws 4.16 million to Malaysian GP

  1. I’m not surprised by this I thought the bbcs coverage was slightly better they did a bit intresting bits also sky are a bit crictical on Mercedes BECOUSE they kept winning & yet when they don’t they still critsie them they did the same thing about red bull aswell lazenby seams to be on lewis back all the time it’s getting annoying now where as the bbc provide a more balanced view I did Eddie Jordan’s crisesem of Romberg was a bit harsh one more thing lazenby never says thankyou for watching at all he takes things for granted where as lee meckenzee Suzi perry always say thankyou they apreciated the audience more than sky did out of the two I would probably choose the bbcs coverage

  2. I found Sky’s coverage very interesting.

    Clearly a feature piece on Saturday makes you persona non grata for Sunday. Sky seemed to have engaged an invisibility cloak around Williams who barely got mentioned at all on Sunday.

    I was shocked by Lazenby’s interview with Ricciardo, he was either prepped by a different member of staff or accidentally did some homework, either way I was left stunned and confused as he asked at least 2 good questions.

    Kravitz has finally succumbed to the low brow influence of Sky. His new ‘Access Hollywood’ style interview technique is disgusting and cringeworthy. Instead of presenting insightful or balanced interviews Kravitz now hand-grenades the opening of interviews by asking the most sensational, redundant and divisive questions. General politeness also seems to have go out the window with interviews often ending with a dismissive tone and no thank you.

    Croft’s impression that he’s an ex F1 engineer hit new lows as he failed to notice the initial impact to Maldonado’s car, the clearly shown bouncing of the right rear tyre as it deflated and the fact that he’d disappeared from the pack.

    Maybe if he stopped pumping out pointless trivia and plugging his Twitter account and watched the race he’d see these things and learn something. Rather than telling us about Bernie’s haircut in 1978 or misinterpreting a broken wishbone as a KERS failure maybe he should do his Mr Chips job and just say what he sees.

    Finally Ted’s Notebook answered a question I’ve had for a long time.

    Many times I’ve wondered why Herbert, Senna or Davidson have looked like hostages begging for their lives as they’ve rushed, blagged and panicked their way through pieces at the Skypad.

    In Ted’s notebook this all became clear as they revealed the hidden fact that the Skypad is a shared resource between all the Sky F1 broadcasters. All of a sudden the rushed, deer in the headlights presentation became clear, as Sky F1 UK rushes to use it’s allocated time slot at the stupid oversized tablet, while Germany or Italy are giving them evil looks as they queue for their go.

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