Sky Sports F1’s magazine programme The F1 Show is to move to Saturday’s for the 2018 season, provisional schedules show, whilst Classic F1 races again form part of the channel’s output this year.
The show started life on Friday nights when Sky F1 launched in 2012, with Georgie Ainslie and Ted Kravitz at the helm. Outside of race weekends, the show aired from Sky’s London studios. At the start of 2014, Sky brought in a live studio audience for the London element having experimented with it the previous season. However, this format also lasted just two seasons.
Now in its efficiency saving phase, The F1 Show’s London-based shows disappeared for 2016, and the programme length was reduced, only airing during race weekends following practice. Now, Sky’s production team, led by new Head of F1 Scott Young, have opted to move the 30-minute show to Saturday’s following their main qualifying programme.
The description provided by Sky indicates a transition back to the 2012 to 2015 race-weekend format. “The F1 Show will be a celebration of the glitz and glamour of motorsport, taking fans into the heart of each of the season’s exotic locations and capturing the eclectic personalities that surround each grand prix,” Sky said.
“Broadcast live after qualification, the show will be an opportunity for viewers to experience life backstage at a Formula 1 race, with a lighter format that is not exclusively focused on events on the track. Figures from around the sport will join the Sky Sports F1 team for discussions, challenges and more, giving a fresh insight into what goes on away from the paddock.”
From Sky’s perspective, you can see the logic in moving The F1 Show to Saturday’s, and into the heart of the weekend. Whilst the change in 2016 was welcome, the show turned into a glorified practice round-up, with viewing figures remaining lower than live coverage of practice. It is currently unknown if the show will air directly after qualifying in the European season, as Formula Two would typically fill that slot.
Elsewhere in Sky’s output, The F1 Report and Classic F1 both return to the channel in forthcoming weeks. Classic F1 returns the weekend before the Australian Grand Prix, with the focus firmly on McLaren’s heyday.
Update on March 8th – Further updates to Sky’s provisional schedules show that their race day output is undergoing a structural change as well for 2018. An example for the European races is as follows:
|11:30 – Track Parade||12:30 – Pit Lane Live|
|12:00 – Pit Lane Live||13:30 – On The Grid|
|12:30 – Race||14:05 – Race|
|15:30 – Paddock Live||16:30 – Paddock Live|
Instead of Sky’s race element starting 30-minutes before the race, from 2018 the element is billed at starting five-minutes before the race, for the benefit of those viewers who only want to watch the race and nothing else. The Track Parade segment has disappeared, morphing into Pit Lane Live, whilst Martin Brundle’s grid walk gets its own EPG billing under the title of On The Grid.
The qualifying programme is split into two for 2018, the build-up covering the first 55 minutes, and the qualifying session itself after that. For viewing figures purposes, this site will continue to use the full qualifying show, and the three and a half hours from 13:00 to 16:30 (was 12:00 to 15:30), or equivalent, as a basis.