2018 has been a four-wheel dominated year on The F1 Broadcasting Blog, at least in terms of hits, with eight of the top 10 articles coming from the four-wheel universe. One theme was at the forefront for many readers: “Will Channel 4 air Formula 1 in 2019?” In September, we found out the answer…
10. F1 broadcasters raised “serious concerns” about superimposed Rolex clock to FOM – August 14th
The 2016 Singapore Grand Prix unexpectedly made headlines in August as UK communications body Ofcom criticised Formula 1 for giving Rolex too much prominence in their coverage. As part of their report, Ofcom revealed that several broadcasters raised “serious concerns” about the superimposed Rolex clock at the event to Formula One Management.
9. David Croft to remain part of Sky’s F1 team in 2019 – September 25th
F1 journalist Joe Saward made Sky twitch in September, by revealing publicly on the Missed Apex podcast that David Croft’s position as lead commentator at Sky was under threat, and that Sky could replace Croft for the 2019 season. Sky quickly rebuffed Saward’s claim in a statement issued to this site, denying the rumour.
8. Channel 4 to air Formula 1 highlights in 2019 – September 12th
A running theme of 2018 concluded in September, when Channel 4 finally confirmed that they would air Formula 1 highlights in 2019. The free-to-air broadcaster will air the free-to-air element of Sky’s F1 contract next year, consisting of 20 races in highlights form, plus live coverage of the British Grand Prix.
7. F1 slumps to lowest UK audience of modern era – June 11th
By far the most read viewing figures piece of 2018 surrounded the Canadian Grand Prix, which slumped to a historic low for F1 in the UK (France went one better two weeks later). Fans shared the Canada article extensively across social media. In this instance, negative news travelled faster than the positive audience figures which preceded the Canada rating…
6. Further details emerge about Channel 4’s 2019 Formula 1 coverage – September 21st
In the week after the announcement that Channel 4 will air Formula 1 highlights next season, this site exclusively revealed new snippets of information about the Channel 4 contract. The article also referenced potential changes over at Sky for 2019, which have come to fruition recently with both Jenson Button and Karun Chandhok joining their line-up.
5. TV channel Motorsport.tv to close – September 14th
From appointments to dismissals, or in the case of one organisation, the axing of an entire television network. This site revealed in September that the Motorsport.tv traditional television channel (formerly Motors TV) was to close after almost two decades, with owners Motorsport Network prioritising their digital offering moving forward.
4. Channel 4 set to continue airing Formula 1 beyond 2018 – July 7th
The Channel 4 speculation stepped up a gear during the British Grand Prix weekend, as the BBC’s Andrew Benson noted that a deal between themselves and Sky Sports F1 for 2019 was close. In addition, I revealed that the deal would be part of a “wider ranging package”, which turned out to be an accurate statement.
3. Channel 4 “open” to showing F1 highlights in 2019 – Chandhok – January 17th
To show the interest from fans throughout the year, a quote from then-Channel 4 pundit Karun Chandhok at the Autosport Show at the start of 2018 is the third most read article of the year. Impressively, the article has raked up 49 comments, one of the highest ever figures for comments on this site.
2. Channel 5 retains MotoGP highlights for 2018 – March 2nd
The lone MotoGP entry of 2018 was the news that Channel 5 would continue to air MotoGP highlights in 2018. The high-ranking of the MotoGP article suggests that Channel 5 element did not give their element much publicity, leaving fans without BT Sport to Google to find out which station was airing highlights.
1. Brundle to step away from Sky F1 microphone for three races this season – April 24th
Prior to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Sky Sports F1 analyst Martin Brundle announced that he was stepping out of the commentary booth for three races. With Azerbaijan taking place in April, it meant that fans accessed the article in April, and then later in the year during the Russian and Japanese weekends.
Behind the Scenes
Although the above articles were the most popular during 2018, the most enjoyable aspect of writing for me is getting behind the scenes, into the detail, and chatting to those at the heart of what makes this fantastic sport tick.
From looking back at the British Touring Cars story from a broadcasting perspective, to going behind the scenes with BT Sport’s MotoGP operation (1, 2), and more recently the World Rally Championship (1, 2), 2018 has been brilliant. A further WRC piece is coming up in the build-up to the 2019 Monte Carlo rally to conclude the mini-series.
If anything, the most read articles write themselves based on the information that is breaking in front of you, whereas all the behind the scenes pieces require planning, a bit of imagination along the way, and then getting the words down on paper, a long, but rewarding process!
Have a little look around, as there have been several behind the scenes and analytical pieces throughout the year. Admittedly, there has not been much post-season analysis as a result, plus, in my view, the on-screen story has not changed much in the UK F1 TV landscape. I would be repeating words for the sake of it.
If there is anything you want me to cover in 2019, drop a line in the comments section. With more changes on the horizon, who knows what 2019 will bring. But this was how 2018 looked for readers of this site.