Fans of Formula 1 watching the sport via F1’s over-the-top platform will receive a richer offering this season.
The platform has grown since it first launched in May 2018, both in terms of size and content. Now, F1 TV Pro subscribers will receive a bespoke pre-race build-up for the first time, fronted by Will Buxton.
Buxton, who joined F1 after covering the sport with NBC from 2013 to 2017, will continue to present F1 TV’s Tech Talk output as well as their post-race programming.
In addition, F1 says that they are improving their Pit Lane Channel this season, with a co-commentator joining Alex Jacques at every race this season.
The Pit Lane Channel will also feature new camera angles from the pit wall and pit box, as well as exclusive interviews from the paddock.
The premium-tier service is available in eleven additional countries for 2020, taking the tally to 77. For fans in the US, the service is available on Roku for the first time.
However, UK fans are still unable to access F1 TV Pro, meaning fans who want to watch F1 live will need to subscribe to Sky Sports F1 in some form.
Testing gets the full World Feed treatment
As part of the announcement, F1 also confirmed that subscribers to their over-the-top platform will receive an improved live timing experience.
The improved experience for fans was clear from the first seconds of testing, with a more detailed view of lap times for each driver.
From a graphics perspective on-screen, testing now feels like an extension to a race weekend: the timing wall, split times, on-board angles, and team radio all on offer as proceedings opened in Barcelona.
In fact, it was the second day of testing when coverage came into its element: revealing the ‘Dual Axis Steering’ (DAS) device on the new Mercedes W11, only noticeable via on-board camera angles.
Mercedes would have successfully hidden the device until Australia just two years ago, something that is now impossible thanks to the level of coverage F1 is giving testing.
You can criticise live coverage of testing all you want, but on days like today, it proved its use to both fans and journalists, giving F1 publicity that it would have not received in previous years.
As was the case twelve months ago, personnel from Sky and F1 formed the hybrid team for testing, with nine people live on-air during the first day of running.
Alex Jacques, Jolyon Palmer, Rosanna Tennant, and Tom Clarkson represented F1’s in-house digital output, with David Croft, Rachel Brookes, Natalie Pinkham, and Ted Kravitz joining from Sky, Kravitz back for testing after his absence last year.
Laura Winter was the ninth person on-screen during day one, Winter joining the F1 team during ten race weekends in 2020, whilst Will Buxton also featured during the second day.
Briatore to feature on Beyond the Grid
Clarkson’s stint in the commentary box saw him confirm Flavio Briatore as one of the guests on F1’s official Behind the Grid podcast this year.
Now in its third season, the first episode of 2020 lands on Wednesday 11th March prior to the Australian Grand Prix.
Elsewhere, German Formula 1 broadcaster RTL has announced that they are producing their coverage of the Vietnam Grand Prix from their base in Cologne because of the “incalculable spread of coronavirus,” with none of their personnel set to travel to Hanoi.
“We have a high level of responsibility for our employees. When reporting from Hanoi, the risks to their health appear to be too great after careful examination,” RTL’s sports director Manfred Loppe explained.
“We came to this decision after querying numerous information points and, bottom line, none from our point of view have received a reliable assessment of the situation on site.”
Motorsport Broadcasting has reached out to UK broadcasters to confirm their current stance on the Hanoi event, which takes place across the weekend of 3rd to 5th April.