Verstappen’s Malaysian victory peaks with 4.1 million viewers

A peak audience of 4.1 million viewers watched Max Verstappen claim a surprise victory in the final Malaysian Grand Prix, overnight UK viewing figures for the show.

Live coverage of the race aired on Channel 4 from 07:00 to 10:40, and averaged 1.22m (18.7%), slightly down on last year’s programme average of 1.30m (21.1%) across the same time slot. The decrease in audience share is a result of the total TV audience building faster across the 09:00 and 10:00 clock hour compared to the same day last year.

Alongside Channel 4, Verstappen’s victory aired across three Sky Sports channels: F1, Main Event and Mix. An audience of 361k (5.6%) watched via the F1 channel from 07:00 to 10:30, with 98k (1.5%) and 31k (0.5%) watching via Main Event and Mix respectively. Sky’s combined average of 486k (7.5%), accounting for the shorter run-time on Sky Sports Mix, is an increase of 104,000 viewers on last year’s audience of 382k (4.2%).

Channel 4’s highlights programme performed well later in the day, averaging 941k (9.2%) from 13:30 to 16:10, an increase on last year’s figure of 747k (4.8%), last year’s programme airing much later in the afternoon. The combined audience of 2.64 million viewers is lower than both Italy and Singapore before it, but is a healthy increase of 9 percent on last year’s average of 2.43 million viewers.

The race itself started on Sunday morning with 1.94m (35.8%) at 08:00, growing throughout to a peak audience of 2.88m (33.2%) at 09:30. At the time of the peak, 2.15m (24.8%) were watching on Channel 4, with 730k (8.4%) watching via Sky’s three channels. However, Sky’s coverage peaked earlier in the race: at 08:45, an audience of 739k (10.0%) were watching their broadcast. The peak audience for the live broadcast is up on last year’s peak audience of 2.69m (32.8%)

A peak audience of 1.26m (11.6%) watched Channel 4’s highlights programme, resulting a combined peak audience of 4.15 million viewers, a strong peak to end Sepang’s stay on the Formula 1 calendar. The recent viewing figures have been positive for Formula 1, with increases at the last three rounds compared with 2016, a trend that will hopefully continue with the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend.

A similar number of viewers watched Lewis Hamilton’s pole position effort compared with 2016, audience figures show.

Live coverage of the session on Saturday morning aired across Channel 4, Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event. Channel 4’s broadcast averaged 782k (11.6%) from 08:55 to 11:45, slightly down on last year’s audience of 811k (11.4%) over a slightly shorter slot.

A combined average of 329k (4.8%) watched Sky’s programming, with 274k (4.1%) watching via the dedicated F1 channel and a further 59k (0.9%) tuning into the premier Main Event channel. The slight difference is because Main Event cut away from the F1 to football at 11:30, whereas the live show on the F1 channel ran until 11:40. Sky’s audience is up on last year’s figure of 278k (3.9%).

Later, an audience of 514k (6.8%) tuned into Channel 4’s highlights broadcast from 13:35 to 15:30, down in audience but up in share on last year’s number of 658k (4.8%). The combined audience, across live and highlights of 1.63 million viewers is a decrease year-on-year of around 100,000 viewers.

The live qualifying session peaked with 1.76m (24.7%) at 10:55 as Hamilton clinched pole position. At the time of the peak, the audience split 68:32, with 1.21m (16.9%) watching on Channel 4 and 555k (7.8%) watching via the pay-TV broadcaster.

Channel 4’s highlights programme peaked with 710k (9.2%), resulting in a cumulative combined peak audience of 2.47 million viewers, a drop of 226,000 viewers year-on-year.

The 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.


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