After a shorter than usual winter break, both Formula 1 and MotoGP are back!
Coverage of Formula 1, along with feeder series Formula 2 and Formula 3, airs live on Sky Sports in 2021, the broadcaster now entering their tenth season of covering the sport.
In addition, highlights of every race will air on Channel 4, with the free-to-air broadcaster also airing live coverage of the British Grand Prix weekend.
F1 – the personnel
The big change from a personnel perspective is the departure of Ben Edwards from Channel 4’s line-up, Edwards deciding to step down from his position at the end of last season.
Replacing Edwards in the box is Alex Jacques, who will commentate on Channel 4’s coverage alongside his existing Formula 2 and Formula 3 commitments.
Joining Jacques in the Channel 4 box is David Coulthard, whilst Mark Webber and presenter Steve Jones also remain part of Channel 4’s line-up. The crew will be out in Bahrain presenting coverage, as opposed to remotely in the UK.
Over on Sky, Simon Lazenby continues to front their coverage, with David Croft and Martin Brundle remaining in the commentary box.
Ted Kravitz and his Notebook return in an increased capacity. ‘Ted’s Notebook’, as it was affectionally known, returns after being absent from the 2019 and 2020 schedules during Scott Young’s previous tenure as Sky’s Director of F1.
Ted’s Notebook as a programme will not only be present post-race, but will also return to cover qualifying as well during 2021.
Elsewhere on Sky’s presentation line-up, expect the likes of Anthony Davidson, Karun Chandhok, Johnny Herbert, Natalie Pinkham, Paul di Resta and Rachel Brookes to feature as the season progresses.
Over on the radio airwaves, Jack Nicholls, Jennie Gow and Jolyon Palmer return to BBC Radio 5’s offering to talk listeners through the 23-race season.
F1 – the coverage
The championship reverts to a weekend structure last seen 15 years ago, with the two Friday practice sessions reduced to 60 minutes, a throwback to the 2006 season.
Furthermore, races will now start on the hour instead of ten past the hour, again a throwback to yesteryear.
The structure of Formula 2 and Formula 3 changes radically for 2021: less weekends, more races, intended to reduce costs.
Each race weekend will now feature 3 races, the two series alternating their way through 2021.
As well as adapting to the above, Sky have moved The F1 Show to a Thursday evening time slot, with both Welcome to the Weekend and The Story so Far dropped from their schedules.
Plans for a Sunday Social show preceding the main build-up on Sunday’s have not materialised after being in Sky’s pre-COVID plans for 2020.
Channel 4’s scheduling remains identical to 2020, with a 90-minute show for qualifying and a 150-minute show for the race itself, both including ad-breaks.
F1 – over-the-top
The only way to watch F1 live legally in the UK is via Sky Sports F1 in some form.
Fans cannot access the premium tier of F1’s over-the-top service, despite F1 and Sky exploring this openly last year.
For those outside of the UK watching via F1 TV Pro, access to on-board angles from every car is available, as well as the Pit Lane Channel.
With no Jacques on the Pit Lane Channel this season, F1 says that Alex Brundle, Sam Collins, Rosanna Tennant, Matt Gallagher, and Jordan King will provide commentary this year.
All F1 sessions are available to listen live via BBC’s F1 websiteFull scheduling details for the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 26th March and are subject to change.
Friday 19th March
19:30 to 21:30 – The F1 Show: Season Launch (Sky Sports F1)
All Day – Drive to Survive: Season 3 (Netflix)
Tuesday 23rd March
21:00 to 22:00 – F1: Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
Thursday 25th March
13:00 to 16:35 – F1: Drivers’ Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
17:00 to 18:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
Friday 26th March
10:00 to 11:00 – F2: Practice (Sky Sports F1)
11:00 to 12:45 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
– also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 11:25 to 12:35
13:45 to 14:25 – F2: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
14:45 to 16:30 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
– also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 14:55 to 16:05
Saturday 27th March
10:15 to 11:20 – F2: Sprint Race 1 (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
11:45 to 13:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
14:00 to 16:30 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
– also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 14:55 to 16:10
16:30 to 17:35 – F2: Sprint Race 2 (Sky Sports F1)
18:30 to 20:00 – F1: Qualifying Highlights (Channel 4)
21:00 to 21:30 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook (Sky Sports F1)
Sunday 28th March
11:40 to 13:00 – F2: Feature Race (Sky Sports F1)
14:30 to 19:30 – F1: Race (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 14:30 – Grand Prix Sunday
=> 15:55 – Race
– also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 16:00 to 18:00
=> 18:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 19:00 – Ted’s Notebook
20:30 to 23:00 – F1: Race Highlights (Channel 4)
Live coverage of MotoGP remains on BT Sport for 2021, the pay-TV broadcaster having recently extended their deal with MotoGP to continue airing the sport until 2024.
MotoGP – the key details
In a similar vein to Edwards on the F1 front, BT’s lead commentator Keith Huewen also decided to step away from the day-to-day commentary role at the end of 2020.
Huewen cited the “unexpected positive effect of the pandemic” as to the reason for his departure. Gavin Emmett succeeds Huewen as lead commentator, with Natalie Quirk stepping into Emmett’s previous role as reporter.
For fans not wanting to subscribe to BT, coverage is also available via MotoGP’s over-the-top VideoPass service.
Available to fans for €199.99 (£171.73) across the season, the service gives fans the ability to watch from multiple angles, as well as access to MotoGP’s rich archive from 1992 onwards.
On the free-to-air highlights front, coverage will return to ITV4 this season after negotiations between Dorna and prospective broadcasters went to the eleventh hour.
Highlights will again air on Monday evenings, moving from Quest where it has aired for the past two seasons, but with limited success.
Friday 26th March
10:45 to 18:00 – Practice (BT Sport 2)
=> 10:50 – Moto3: Practice 1
=> 11:45 – Moto2: Practice 1
=> 12:40 – MotoGP: Practice 1
=> 15:10 – Moto3: Practice 2
=> 16:05 – Moto2: Practice 2
=> 17:00 – MotoGP: Practice 2
Saturday 27th March
10:15 to 13:15 – Practice (BT Sport 2)
=> 10:25 – Moto3: Practice 3
=> 11:20 – Moto2: Practice 3
=> 12:15 – MotoGP: Practice 3
14:00 to 18:00 – Qualifying (BT Sport 2)
=> 14:30 – Moto3: Qualifying
=> 15:25 – Moto2: Qualifying
=> 16:20 – MotoGP: Practice 4
=> 17:00 – MotoGP: Qualifying
Sunday 28th March
11:45 to 19:30 – Races (BT Sport 2)
=> 11:45 – Asia Talent Cup
=> 12:30 – Warm Ups
=> 14:15 – Moto3: Race
=> 16:00 – Moto2: Race
=> 17:30 – MotoGP: Race
=> 19:00 – Chequered Flag
Monday 29th MarchFull scheduling details for the 2021 Qatar MotoGP. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 26th March and are subject to change.
20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)
As I announced in my piece last month, I will not be publishing scheduling articles for every single F1 and MotoGP race weekend this season.
Instead, this site will publish schedules for key events in the motor racing calendar throughout the year, such as the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, Indianapolis 500, and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Last updated on Friday 26th March.
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