Scheduling: The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix / Formula E season finale

Formula 1 celebrates seventy years, with a second race at Silverstone owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a revamp of their schedule.

The second Silverstone race will not air live on Channel 4, as their contract with Sky only allows them to air the race given the formal ‘British Grand Prix’ title live. As thus, the broadcaster reverts to their usual highlights format, however, their team will remain in the paddock, for the 70th Anniversary round at least.

In the eight years since Motorsport Broadcasting launched, this is probably the most congested scheduling piece I have written, with Formula 1, MotoGP, Formula E and World Superbikes all taking place on the same weekend.

Beneath that the British Touring Car Championship, British Superbikes, as well as all the Formula 1 and MotoGP support races, are all fighting for column inches.

The clashes mean that Jack Nicholls will not be part of the BBC’s 5 Live F1 coverage for the weekend.

Nicholls is out in Berlin for the Formula E finale, which concludes on Thursday 13th August, again another quirk due to the pandemic. The middle two races from Berlin also air live on free-to-air channel Quest. Nicholls’ 5 Live F1 replacement has yet to be confirmed.

It is worth mentioning that many people behind the scenes, whether it is camera operators, directors, floor managers, and so on, would normally work multiple of these events in a given year, the clashes meaning that some lose out on work that they would have otherwise have had.

For example, some of BT Sport’s MotoGP production team also works British Superbikes and World Superbikes for Eurosport – a clash makes it impossible to work both. Similarly, some of those working on the Formula E production may work other events during the year.

However, the net positive is that it means others within the industry may receive opportunities that they may not have received in a normal racing year, which is worth bearing in mind if some of the direction elsewhere is sub-standard over the next two weeks…

For Sky, Ted Kravitz is not with the team now until the Italian Grand Prix next month, meaning that there is no Notebook for the next three races.

Back on the scheduling front, IndyCar organisers have cancelled their Mid-Ohio double header due to the pandemic, which is one less scheduling headache for Sky Sports. Elsewhere, the Euroformula Series is absent from BT Sport’s schedule, so fans wanting to prioritise that series will need to watch on YouTube.

A huge apology below if anything is incorrect: due to the amount of sport taking place now (and cancellations), schedules are subject to change at short notice.

Channel 4 F1
08/08 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Qualifying Highlights
09/08 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
07/08 – 10:30 to 12:50 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 09:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 10:00 – Practice 1
07/08 – 14:45 to 16:45 – Practice 2
08/08 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3 (also Sky One)
08/08 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying (also Sky One)
09/08 – 12:30 to 17:00 – Race
=> 12:30 – Grand Prix Sunday (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 14:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 16:00 – Chequered Flag

Supplementary Programming
07/08 – 17:30 to 18:00 – The Story so Far
12/08 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
05/08 – 19:30 to 20:30 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
08/08 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
08/08 – 12:00 to 15:00 (BBC Radio 5 Live)
=> 12:00 – Build-Up during 5 Live Sport
=> 14:00 – Qualifying
09/08 – 12:00 to 16:00 (BBC Radio 5 Live)
=> 12:00 – Build-Up during 5 Live Sport
=> 14:00 – Race

MotoGP – Czech Republic (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
07/08 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
07/08 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
08/08 – 08:45 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
09/08 – 07:30 to 14:30
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Czech Republic (Quest)
10/08 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

Formula E – Berlin
Shakedown, Practice and Qualifying air live on YouTube
All sessions are available live on BBC’s website
05/08 – Event 1 – Race 1
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
06/08 – Event 1 – Race 2
=> 17:45 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
08/08 – Event 2 – Race 1
=> 17:30 to 19:30 (Quest)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
09/08 – Event 2 – Race 2
=> 17:30 to 19:30 (Quest)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
12/08 – Event 3 – Race 1
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
13/08 – Event 3 – Race 2
=> 17:45 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)

British Superbikes – Donington Park
08/08 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
08/08 – 15:00 to 17:30 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
09/08 – 13:30 to 14:30 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
09/08 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Race 3 (Eurosport 2)
12/08 – 20:00 to 21:30 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch (ITV4)
09/08 – 10:20 to 18:15 – Races

Formula Two – 70th Anniversary F1 (Sky Sports F1)
07/08 – 12:50 to 13:45 – Practice
07/08 – 16:55 to 17:30 – Qualifying
08/08 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
09/08 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2

Formula Three – 70th Anniversary F1 (Sky Sports F1)
07/08 – 09:30 to 10:20 – Practice
07/08 – 14:00 to 14:45 – Qualifying
08/08 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
09/08 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – 70th Anniversary F1 (Sky Sports F1)
09/08 – 11:20 to 12:05 – Race

Virgin Australia Supercars – Darwin (BT Sport 3)
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
08/08 – 06:45 to 08:00 – Race 1
09/08 – 04:30 to 05:45 – Race 2
09/08 – 06:45 to 08:00 – Race 3

World Superbikes – Algarve
Also airs live on World Superbikes’ Video Pass (£)
08/08 – 10:45 to 13:00 – Qualifying 1 (Eurosport 2)
08/08 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
09/08 – 10:45 to 13:30 – Qualifying 2 and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
TBC – Highlights (ITV4)

If the schedules do change, this post will be updated.

Updated on August 7th as the Supercars round from Darwin has been moved by a week.


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal

Behind the lens with BT Sport MotoGP as racing resumes

This weekend, MotoGP roars back into life in Jerez, Spain after a four-month back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Life for all involved in the championship will be radically different as the championship adjusts to the ‘new normal.’

As revealed by Motorsport Broadcasting last month, access to the paddock will be limited to key personnel and major television crews only, with all other journalists remaining off-site.

On the UK front, television broadcaster BT Sport are remaining in the UK, opting to present their programming from Triumph’s Visitor Experience Centre in Hinckley, albeit with all social distancing regulations in place.

Lockdown life for BT
Whilst most of Europe was in lockdown, BT took the opportunity to prepare for the road ahead, presenting 36 hours of MotoGP programming remotely across 11 weeks, and exploiting MotoGP’s rich archive in the process.

Despite the natural challenges surrounding remote broadcasting, arguably the end solution was better than BT could have ever expected in the circumstances, an ‘extreme’ solution as described by Kevin Brown, BT’s MotoGP series editor at production house North One.

“The engineers at BT and our partners at Timeline are brilliant. They’ve been working on remote solutions for a while for sustainability reasons, but those plans were accelerated very, very quickly to make it work,” explained Brown.

“What it meant was that the usual gallery of people working on a TV production was spread around into their homes by using technical solutions to make that happen.”

“I think the best way to describe it is extreme because it hadn’t been done before and it ended up with us being able to make 36 hours of MotoGP programming across 11 weeks, which we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.”

The channel started off with whittling down MotoGP’s classic races over five weeks, with the 2009 Catalunya battle between Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crowned The Greatest Race. Following the initial five episodes was another series of episodes looking at MotoGP’s Greatest Years.

BT Sport MotoGP - Triumph Studio 1.png
Suzi Perry and Neil Hodgson on hand at BT’s main studio location in the Triumph building…

Fans engaged with both programming strands, each generating social media traffic in the process for BT, helping to fill the racing void for motorcycling fans around the country, all done remotely, and with no obvious teething issues from the outset, which Brown says is a “testament to all working on the production,” despite the scale of change involved.

“For all of us, it was a big change to how we’ve done things previously. The presenters had to build and set the kit up themselves remotely, engineering their own television studio essentially! Everybody has had to adapt, and I think with coronavirus, we’ve all had to do different things to get the show up and running,” Brown said.

“It was a very different kind of programme because we were generating the content rather than reacting to it, and there were fewer people working on it. It was a way of using what we know is fantastic archive, but to put a modern spin on it, encouraging viewer engagement. At the time, there was no sport on the television, there was nothing for people to talk about.”

The return of present-day sport
Fast-forward, and MotoGP returns this weekend, however social distancing regulations remain. Having perfected remote broadcasting during lockdown, BT are continuing down that path, for the moment at least, but with the experience from lockdown now in their back pocket.

Although the BT’s presentation team of Suzi Perry, Gavin Emmett, Keith Huewen, Michael Laverty, and Neil Hodgson are presenting the coverage from Triumph’s Hinckley base, the production aspect of the coverage continues to be remote.

Triumph is a relevant base for BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage, given their involvement with MotoGP as Moto2’s core engine supplier.

A skeleton crew will be present in Hinckley, three people will be based at Timeline’s production facility in London, with nine people working from home.

“The learning that we were able to do over the 11 weeks of those two series’ has stood us in good stead for this because we were able to use this remote setup,” Brown tells me.

“We couldn’t put the nine people who are working from home in a gallery because there wouldn’t be a gallery big enough to cater for social distancing. We’re trying to make it as close as possible to our normal production, but without putting anybody’s safety at risk.”

“The main thing is, we all want to make programming, we all want to see sport back again, but the overriding thing has to be that we keep people safe.”

Safety is key for BT, and to that effect the crew will be in different places across Triumph’s base, with the touch pad located in a different area of the building compared to the main socially distanced set. Floor markings identify which direction the presentation team must walk in throughout the weekend.

Similarly, Perspex screens will separate the four commentary booths, with each desk two meters long, allowing for BT to continue their usual policy of rotating their commentary team with each session.

“It’s all been set up so they don’t share lip mics, they won’t have the same talkback keys, they won’t have the same computer screens, all of those things have been carefully considered,” explains Brown, who himself will be based down in London for the duration of the weekend.

“The Perspex screen though means that they will still be able to see each other and obviously because the interaction between the commentators is quite crucial, we felt that was an important thing to be able to do.”

Only one of the pundits will be with Perry in the main studio area, and similarly only one person will be directing the touch screen at any given time.

Brown praises Dorna co-operation
The touch screen will allow Emmett to interview riders throughout the weekend, including post-race, and Brown praises the co-operation with MotoGP’s commercial rights holder Dorna during this period.

BT Sport MotoGP - Triumph Studio 2.png
…whilst Gavin Emmett takes control of the touch screen.

“I always feel the job of a sports production is to take people to an event they can’t go to, and right now they really can’t go to the event, so I think it becomes even more important for us to try to get people closer to what’s going on.”

“Not being in the paddock is always going to be a disadvantage, however Dorna have been brilliant throughout. They understand that we’re not going to be travelling and they’ve done their best to help us with that.”

“The riders and the teams have been briefed that when they do their interviews with us, they will have headphones and a mic which will allow them to interact with our studio. It means that, although we’re not there, we’re hopefully able to bring people closer by having the key characters still interacting with our presentation,” Brown says.

Although this period has been tough for everyone, Brown says that BT have learnt a lot.

“What I think we’ve learnt over lockdown is that we can be agile enough to adapt in the circumstances, and I think that’s something BT can be really proud of.”

“We were able to continue making MotoGP programmes when there wasn’t any MotoGP, and we were able to continue doing it when there wasn’t any access to any TV studios. I think that’s shown a lot of agility and a lot of resourcefulness, just to keep motorbike racing on the telly, which in the end is what people want to watch,” he tells me.

For at least the next five races, Triumph will be the home of BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage. Beyond that, is anyone’s guess. For now, let us enjoy the ride as MotoGP accelerates back off the start line.


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal

Scheduling: The 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix / Spanish MotoGP

The first triple header of the 2020 Formula One season concludes with the teams and drivers taking a 260-mile trip across the border from Austria into Hungary for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The main change from a TV perspective this weekend is that Channel 4’s highlights programme airs an hour later, from 19:30 to 22:00. The change is likely to cover up gaps in Channel 4’s own programming schedule arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unusually, the 5 Live schedule for F1 is blank, because every session is airing on the BBC website only, and there is no Preview schedule on BBC Radio 5 Live either, as Premier League football, FA Cup semi-finals and cricket pushes F1 down the BBC’s pecking order.

On the personnel front, Jenson Button is not with the Sky team in Hungary, but will be rejoining the team in Silverstone.

Over in Spain, the MotoGP season gets underway with a double-header at Jerez, as Marc Marquez looks to triumph once again.

For MotoGP, it is the first round of the year, however for Moto2 and Moto3 it is round two of the year after they managed to kickstart their season in Qatar back in March.

BT’s coverage comes from Triumph’s main base in Hinckley, with the usual team of Suzi Perry, Gavin Emmett, Keith Huewen, Neil Hodgson amongst those guiding viewers through the championship this year.

As with F1, some pay TV broadcasters are travelling to Jerez, however Dorna have prohibited all other journalists from the circuit itself.

For those that did not watch Moto2 or Moto3 from Qatar, keep an eye on MotoGP’s new graphics set for 2020 during the Jerez weekend.

Free-to-air highlights of MotoGP again air on Quest in a Monday evening time slot.

Elsewhere, in an interesting development, Sky Sports F1 are airing live coverage of the Ferrari Challenge series where possible this year, as they continue to grow their non-F1 motor sport portfolio.

It is not Sky Sports F1’s only acquisition recently: they are also airing extensive coverage of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance and Sprint Cup championships this year for the first time.

Channel 4 F1
18/07 – 18:45 to 20:15 – Qualifying Highlights
19/07 – 19:30 to 22:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
17/07 – 09:30 to 11:50
=> 09:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 10:00 – Practice 1
17/07 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2
18/07 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3
18/07 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
19/07 – 12:30 to 17:30 – Race
=> 12:30 – Grand Prix Sunday
=> 14:05 – Race
=> 16:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 17:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
17/07 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
22/07 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website

MotoGP – Spain (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
17/07 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
17/07 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
18/07 – 08:00 to 15:45
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
=> 15:00 – MotoE
19/07 – 07:15 to 14:30
=> 07:15 – Warm Ups
=> 08:45 – MotoE
=> 09:30 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Spain (Quest)
20/07 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

Ferrari Challenge – Catalunya (Sky Sports F1)
18/07 – 17:10 to 18:10 – Race 1
19/07 – 17:30 to 18:30 – Race 2 (tape-delay)

Formula Two – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
17/07 – 11:50 to 12:40 – Practice
17/07 – 15:55 to 16:30 – Qualifying
18/07 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
19/07 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2

Formula Three – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
17/07 – 08:30 to 09:20 – Practice
17/07 – 13:00 to 13:45 – Qualifying
18/07 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
19/07 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Iowa (Sky Sports F1)
17/07 – 22:30 to 23:30 – Qualifying 1
17/07 (Friday night) – 01:30 to 04:30 – Race 1
18/07 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Qualifying 2
18/07 (Saturday night) – 01:30 to 04:00 – Race 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)

Porsche Supercup – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
19/07 – 11:20 to 12:05 – Race

Virgin Australia Supercars – Winton
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
18/07 – 06:30 to 08:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
19/07 – 02:30 to 04:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport 2)
19/07 – 05:30 to 07:00 – Race 3 (BT Sport 2)

This post will be updated if details change.


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal

BT to present MotoGP coverage from UK as championship outlines post-COVID-19 plan

BT Sport will present their MotoGP coverage from the UK when the championship returns to action in Jerez, Spain on Sunday 19th July, multiple sources have confirmed to Motorsport Broadcasting.

The broadcaster has implemented a decentralised remote production model during the COVID-19 pandemic, with special MotoGP programming looking at their best races airing live, on and off-air personnel dotted around Europe.

Having perfected that model, I understand that BT intend to continue using it, at least for the immediate future.

Readers who have watched BT Sport’s Premier League coverage so far will know that programming has aired live from their Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park base in London (see video below), instead of on-site at the relevant grounds as was the situation previously.

Financial implications are one reason behind BT Sport’s decision. Many broadcasters are looking to cut costs, as advertising revenue slumps.

Although both BT and Sky in the UK are pay TV broadcasters, BT is still a relatively immature player in the market, meaning that they are likely to be a bigger risk moving forward.

In addition, Motorsport Broadcasting understands that MotoGP’s main broadcasters, such as Canal+, Sky Italia and Servus will be joining Dorna out in Spain.

Plans circulated to all stakeholders by Dorna in a 30-page document earlier this month, a copy of which this site has seen, shows that MotoGP will continue to allow television crews to carry out key activities.

The championship is allowing broadcasters to interview riders on the grid, as well as in parc ferme after the race, and in pit lane, all at a social distance.

From a presentation perspective, MotoGP will continue to have its podium in the usual locations, but the podium itself will be wider in length to accommodate social distancing, with no dignitaries on hand to present the trophies.

No access for written media
In contrast to the above, Motorsport Broadcasting can reveal that MotoGP has prohibited written media from accessing the circuit.

Although the plans circulated by Dorna are at a championship-level, it does allow us to compare and contrast the FIM’s approach with their four-wheel counterpart, the FIA from a broadcasting perspective.

Dorna says that they will allow around 40 people from media organisations on-site for each round, with an additional 250 people from their own organisation, the latter number covering everyone involved with the Dorna production (including the logistical side of the event).

However, Dorna have opted to exclude all written journalists from attending the event, with only a small number of television broadcasters allowed access.

The document circulated says that “no other media will be permitted on-site (no journalists, no radio reporters, no websites).”

As thus, Dorna is developing systems to allow media to interview personalities remotely from home during the race weekend, including one-on-one interview slots and press conferences.

This contrasts with F1’s approach to the new season: F1 are allowing a small number of journalists covering a wide audience to attend their races.

I understand that attempts to get Dorna to move on this subject have failed, with written media unlikely to return to the MotoGP paddock until at least the Austrian Grand Prix on the weekend of Friday 14th August to Sunday 16th August.


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal

Lockdown life: How broadcasters handled the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that all of us have had to adapt our working practices, some more so than others, everyone adjusting to the new normal.

For me, I am a public sector worker, with this site also one of my priorities. During a typical year, the site content would write itself to a degree: reacting to the action, giving my thoughts, and going behind the scenes, the list goes on.

During a pandemic, that becomes more difficult, and the enthusiasm wanes along the way. Balancing both the day job (where COVID-19 is a key focus), taking time out to do other things (gaming), as well as looking myself and my house (I live on my own) has meant that Motorsport Broadcasting did fall down the list of priorities.

Now, three months after the lockdown restrictions, motor racing is back on the agenda, and we are less than two weeks away from the start of the Formula 1 season. “Lights out, and away we go,” is not far away…

On the broadcasting front
Given my work priorities, I did not consume masses of motor sport content during the main lockdown, sticking to what I am familiar with, primarily in the UK space.

From a pay TV perspective, BT Sport and Sky Sports took different, but equally valid positions over the past three months.

BT focused on quality rather than quantity with their main MotoGP offering.

‘The Greatest Race’ aired on Sunday’s in a four-hour time slot, whittling down 16 of MotoGP’s best races to a final four, with BT’s viewers voting the 2009 Catalunya MotoGP battle between Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo as MotoGP’s best race.

Intertwined in the race edits each week were live interviews from an impressive calibre of MotoGP legends, such as Valentino Rossi, Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi. BT’s own presentation team, led by Gavin Emmett, Suzi Perry, and Neil Hodgson, were on hand to ask the questions.

The new content presented a new spin on old classics, generating both social activity during the show, and news stories in the week following.

BT’s remote production model during the pandemic was a major success, not just for MotoGP but across their entire portfolio of shows, including their Early Kick Off football show, and we should applaud the whole team both in front and behind the camera their efforts.

In contrast, Sky opted to air a plethora of material during the pandemic for fans to digest, some hitting the mark perfectly.

At first post-Australia, the broadcaster aired little content, but quickly built it up into April, a wise decision in hindsight to avoid burn out straight away.

The F1 channel has since aired the Sky F1 Quiz, many Vodcasts, classic races in watch along form, as well as other content on the side, such as The Notebook feat. Ted Kravitz with a selfie stick.

Given the amount they aired, I doubt Sky expected everyone to watch every Vodcast and F1 Show, but from what I watched, they do exactly what they say on the tin, with a wide variety of guests from across the F1 landscape.

Irritatingly, the Vodcasts never turned up on Spotify, which was an opportunity missed in my view for those who go on post-work walks and would like a podcast to listen to (others are available, naturally).

A fixture on Wednesday evenings on Sky Sports F1 has been their Classic F1 watch along programming. Unlike their cricket and football counterparts, the F1 team went down the pre-recorded route, opting also to trim the race into a smaller edit.

The decision to air on Wednesday’s in my view was short-sighted: clashing with F1’s in-house classic races on their YouTube channel. Despite these forthcomings, like BT Sport with MotoGP, Sky’s decision to air these helped present a new spin on classic races, with guests relevant to that race.

For example, Sky re-aired the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, but with Felipe Massa and Rob Smedley as guests, getting their view on the events of that weekend.

I hope the channel repeats these over the forthcoming months: for reasons described earlier in this article, I did not watch all the classic races that Sky aired in watch along form.

Over the past few months, Sky have also released features that were due to air during the early pre-race build-ups, releasing interviews between Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton, a Hamilton feature on Monaco and segments filmed for the Australian Grand Prix (also At Home with Sky F1).

In the circumstances, we should be thankful for the content all parties have produced recently, irrespective of quality, to keep us going through this period.

…but what does it mean for the future?
Inevitably, broadcasters have had no choice but to speed up thought processes because of the pandemic.

As this site has covered for years, the industry has begun transitioning to remote broadcasting (or at least thinking about), without any loss of service or quality to the end viewer.

COVID-19 has resulted in the reprioritisation of long-term business objectives into immediate deliverables for the likes of F1.

In January, F1 touted sustainability as part of their Strategic Plan, wanting to “‘minimise the amount of equipment and people sent to each race.” A strategic vision has become a short-term reality.

If you are a broadcaster, who needs to save money (and quickly), why would you not go with the cheaper option if quality is unimpacted?

On an operational level, it may mean motor sport companies begin working on a much smaller footprint than before, with smaller offices, remote working, fewer flights, video conferencing, and so on.

Of course, it is bad news for those in the industry who like the travel associated with the job.

Unless there is a major shift in ideology, it is highly unlikely that broadcasters will revert to the 2019 ways of working, when the past few months has taught the industry that remote production can work.

From a broadcasting perspective, the ‘new normal’ is here, and it is here to stay…


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal