Classic F1 returns to Sky F1, but The F1 Show undergoes a major shift

Classic F1 races are returning to Sky Sports F1 again for the 2016 season, provisional schedules show. The strand returns to the channel on Friday 11th March at 21:00, with a race that is yet to be confirmed.

Alongside Classic F1 is an episode of the F1 Report, which appears to have dropped its ‘Midweek’ branding. The one-hour report will air on Wednesday 9th March at 20:30. Entitled ‘Development Special’, the programme will focus on how teams are preparing for the Australian Grand Prix. Craig Scarborough and Mike Gascoyne are the two guests, with Natalie Pinkham presenting.

The biggest absence though from Sky’s schedule is The F1 Show. There were rumours towards the back end of last year that Sky were planning to axe the live audience studio based episodes, although the show was mentioned in Sky’s press release last month. A request sent from this blog to Sky on Saturday 13th February has so far yielded no reply. It could be that Sky are simply planning to not air a pre-season episode, but that seems a bizarre decision to me.

It will be interesting to see what happens, but if Sky do axe the studio editions of The F1 Show then it is further evidence of the downscaling of the F1 operation and channel as a whole.

Update on February 19th – The announcement of Marc Priestley appearing as a regular pundit on the F1 Report notes that there will be an Australian Grand Prix preview show on Wednesday 16th March at 20:30. It therefore looks like that the F1 Report is going to air weekly, in place of the studio editions of The F1 Show.

Update on February 24th – The F1 Show, as we know it, is no more. Half an hour episodes will air on the Friday (at least) of each Grand Prix, starting on Friday 18th March at 08:00 (immediately following the Team Principles’ Press Conference). I don’t think the episodes will be airing live, but cannot confirm that. Obviously this is a clear sign of cost-cutting. I would be surprised if Sky acknowledge the change in format for the show. Confirmation too that the F1 Report will air weekly, 30 minute episodes each Wednesday at 20:30.

Update on February 27th – A half hour Testing Special will air on Saturday 5th March at 20:00, with Ted Kravitz joined by guests in Barcelona.

Update on March 9th – Interesting wording from Natalie Pinkham on Twitter, describing The F1 Show and F1 Midweek Report as merging to form the F1 Report. Normally with a merger, you take the best elements of both, combine them and come up with something better. The F1 Report is the F1 Midweek Report, renamed. There are no elements from The F1 Show that are being merged into it, the studio audience has gone as does any interactivity that went alongside it. It may be a good thing (and I think it will end up having its benefits), but in my opinion describing this change as a merger is inaccurate.

Update on March 18th at 08:10 – Correction to the main body, The F1 Show is indeed live.

Update on March 18th at 08:35 – Okay, so the new style F1 Show contains Friday reaction and analysis, live interviews and reaction with a few VT’s. The lighter content has gone. All in all, it seems a welcome change even if the show length has halved.


11 thoughts on “Classic F1 returns to Sky F1, but The F1 Show undergoes a major shift

  1. Shame about the Sky Show, but I do hope that C4 have a magazine show so Jake can return(ish). TF1 Friday? lol.

  2. If they do axe the studio F1 Show then I’m not surprised. The addition of the studio audience made it truly awful in my opinion.
    It will be interesting to see if they extend their contract, I’m not sure they will. If they were going to I would have thought that they would have added some other motorsport coverage.

  3. I know I have many doubters but I am led to the conclusion that Sky will drop F1 from 2019 and could see Channel 4 gaining exclusive rights. I think Sky only joined with the BBC as a marketing ploy which has clearly failed. If Bernie is to stick to the PTV/FTA split then BT will be massively in the frame. I would love to see F1 return to FTA fully and I know all F1 fans would but it’s unlikely. However, I will stick to my word, F1 Live and Free on Channel 4 in 2019.

    1. I have to agree, BUT Channel 4 will probably not be able or want to afford the eye watering Bernie fee. Thus I think we shall have no F1 on tv in the UK after 2 or 3 more years.
      How sky can justify a whole channel on such paltry viewing figures is a mystery. I thnk it will just become an item amongst the solid wall of football features.

      1. Well Channel 4 matched Sky in 2011, at £45 million but with the joint money they wanted £60 million, I think they can afford that, because that is what theu could spend horse racing money on.

  4. Don’t forget that Sky is a European operation now, and F1 fits the model of a rights contract across Sky’s territories. We’re not just talking about the UK scene here, and that might help Sky when it comes to renewing their contract with FOM.

    Also, the economics would not work for C4 to show all races live ad-free. It just about works out for this deal, as re-runs and highlights shows will have ads. But if they show all 21 races live, given the additional rights fee that C4 would be paying and the fact that fewer people will be watching the highlights shows, the economics for ad-free races just would not stack up.

    1. They just have to put time and effort into longer weekend build-ups which are littered with ad-breaks.

      Practice; 30 min intro & outro (3 ad-breaks before, 2 after)
      Qualifying; 60 min build-up & 45 min outro (4 ad-breaks before, 2 between, 3 after)
      Race; 90 min build up & 60 min outro (6 ad-breaks before, 1 before podium, 4-6 after podium)
      2 hour highlights programme; 8, 3 min ad-breaks or 12, 1 min ad-breaks.

      If this model was used, sponsorship would fly through the roof and costs would be neutralised.

  5. F1 needs to have a big think. We’ll lose fans if their not careful. BT could take it. I for one only have Sky because of F1.

  6. I have to say the F1 show was long overdue an overhaul. It was largely 60 minutes of filler, repeats of segments and “let’s look back” type content. Essentially, a waste of space. F1 report meanwhile was a proper (yet simple) chat show, largely with substance not showbiz nonsense.

    To be honest, I think if F1 were to go to BT, it would result in a better deal for the fans. Most people with a TV receiver can get hold of it for £15 a month. This can be bought outside of the ludicrous “all or nothing” package one has to purchase with the current arrangement at vast cost. And you get Moto GP & Champions League too. Bish bash bosh. It’s nice to see genuine competition in the area after the poor efforts from the first few channels who tried to take on the big guns.

  7. Gosh, these F1 Sky commentators have got verbal diarrhoea, hours and hours of it…hey i love F1 and a total Ferrari fan, so im smiling. In SA we had our own team of F1 commentators, excellent bunch, then Coultard on the mic, missing them since Sky took over

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