Further details about Ted Kravitz’s role with Sky Sports F1 in 2019 have been revealed, whilst Sky are revamping their on-screen output this season.
Potential scheduling changes for the upcoming season
Sky’s scheduling for the Australian Grand Prix suggests that there will be several changes to their programming slate line-up for the upcoming season.
Their preview show on Thursday’s, Welcome to the Weekend has doubled in length to an hour, whilst Sky have added an additional 30-minute wrap-up show to their Friday schedule following second practice. In addition, a 20-minute ‘Paddock Walkabout’ show will air following practice three on Saturday morning.
The F1 Show remains on Saturday’s, immediately following their qualifying broadcast. On race day, Sky have extended Paddock Live to an hour, however it also starts half an hour earlier, meaning that Sky are heading off-air earlier on Sunday’s than in previous years.
Overall, Sky’s schedules show a net increase for live content compared to previous years, for Australia at least, which is good news, and gives the channel a more all rounded feel to it.
Kravitz’s Sky role reduced
Industry sources in recent weeks have indicated to this site that Ted Kravitz will be with Sky for fewer races this season. His future was the subject of social media speculation during February, with this site revealing that the broadcaster u-turned on their decision to drop him from their F1 coverage.
During Motor Sport Magazine’s F1 Preview evening, it was noted that Kravitz will be with Sky for 14 of the 21 races this season. Alongside this, Sky’s schedule next weekend does not include Ted’s Qualifying or Race Notebook, which has been a regular fixture of Sky’s output since 2012.
It is unclear if Sky have axed Ted’s Notebook, or moved it to an online-only offering. Given that Kravitz’s commitments with Sky are reducing, one could draw conclusions that Sky have indeed axed the Notebook from their schedules.
Any reduction on this front is disappointing, but 14 of the 21 races is still two-thirds of the season, and clearly the situation could have been much worse as discussed in recent weeks. I hope the Notebook turns up on Sky’s online platforms in some format for the 14 races, but time will tell.
Whether Kravitz is working with a second broadcaster this season, where the Notebook output could end up airing on, is also unknown, but a distinct possibility.
On-screen revamp for Sky F1
According to marketing website The Drum, Sky’s in-house agency, Sky Creative Agency has led changes on Sky’s on-screen output on several fronts, including “interactive touch screen broadcast podiums, a new F1 zone and interview platform.”
I understand that Sky have discontinued the Sky Pad, which has featured on its F1 coverage since 2012. In its place is a new on-site mobile augmented reality (AR) studio, bringing Formula 1 in line with Sky’s Premier League coverage.
For the Premier League, most of the content comes from the studio, whereas I understand specific segments will come from the AR studio for Sky’s F1 coverage as opposed to the whole output.
One change that appears to be off the cards however is The Chain. Included as part of Sky’s pre-season promotional trailer, the latest from Sky responding to questions on social media is that it is “not feasible to use the track on the titles.”
Update on March 12th – Sky have confirmed that Kravitz will present a new weekly midweek show called the F1 Midweek Debrief. Rob Smedley is the guest for week one.
However, the show is not a Sky production. Instead, Kravitz is working with Formula 1 themselves on the weekly programme, which is airing on F1’s over-the-top service for premium users.
Sky are taking the show in addition to their own in-house content.
Update on March 15th – Viewers watching Sky’s coverage of practice will have noticed that the Sky Pad is, thankfully, still alive and well! Apologies for the error in this piece stating that the tool was no more.