Channel 4 has revealed their confirmed schedules for up to, and including, Friday 18th March meaning that we now have official details about their build-up programming for the 2016 Formula One season.
There are two main programmes in the schedule. The first is a special edition of Speed with Guy Martin, which airs on Thursday 17th March at 21:00. The special sees Martin go head-to-head with David Coulthard, who himself will be part of Channel 4’s F1 coverage. Coulthard, in the Red Bull F1 car (I believe 2011 or 2012), with Martin in his Tyco BMW Superbike, filmed the episode at Silverstone in the middle of February. There are multiple head-to-head challenges pitting the Red Bull against the Tyco BMW, including a drag race, a brake test and a circuit race.
Martin and Coulthard also test their fitness and reaction levels during the one-hour special, with physical and mental challenges. The special was produced by North One Television, the first programme produced under the contract for them to deliver supplementary programming surrounding Channel 4’s Grand Prix coverage. In this instance, Speed with Guy Martin is normally produced by North One, so it made sense for them to produce a special Formula 1 edition alongside the other three editions commissioned for broadcast on Channel 4 this year.
The second show is a five-minute teaser on Friday 18th March at 21:00. The teaser, entitled Fast and Furious, will air directly before Channel 4’s biggest show Gogglebox, meaning that the slot will reach around 3.5 million viewers. The five-minute window is billed as “an exclusive preview of the epic launch to Channel 4’s coverage of the 2016 Formula 1 season”. Meanwhile, provisional schedules for the Australian Grand Prix weekend are now available. As with all provisional listings, the following is caveated as the schedules are subject to change.
Currently, highlights of the qualifying session from Melbourne are in a 105 minute slot from 12:30 to 14:15. Preceding it is an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with Channel 4 Racing following it at 14:15. Highlights of the race on Sunday 20th March are provisionally billed in a 135 minute slot from 13:30 to 15:45. Preceding it is Channel 4’s three-hour magazine programme Sunday Brunch (which has been pushed back an hour from 09:30 to 10:30), and following it is a repeat of Guy Martin’s programme Last Flight of the Vulcan Bomber.
At this stage, the main information to take out of the provisional schedules is the length of both programmes. Both shows are longer than their BBC counterparts in previous years. As discussed before, the highlights programming on Channel 4 will contain adverts. I don’t expect the weekend schedule to radically change when we see the finalised copy on Wednesday, nevertheless the above should give us an idea as to what to expect.