Sainz’s pursuit of victory sees F1’s viewing figures double in Spain

Carlos Sainz’s pursuit of victory in last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix saw viewing figures double in Spain, audience data from overseas shows.

The race was red flagged after a major accident for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Following the restart, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly battled McLaren’s Sainz for victory, Sainz a couple of laps too short from potential victory.

Sainz’s pursuit of victory resulted in audience figures surging in his home land.

An audience of 244,000 viewers (2.1% audience share) watched the Grand Prix on pay TV station Movistar+ according to Formula TV, double the 121,000 viewers (1.2% audience share) that watched last month’s Spanish Grand Prix on the same channel.

Last weekend’s race was up by around a third on last year’s Monza figure, which averaged 173,000 viewers (1.4% audience share) in Spain.

Over in France, a peak audience of 1.24 million viewers watched Gasly’s victory on Canal+, a slight increase on last weekend’s peak audience of 1.16 million viewers.

The average audience declined from 932,000 viewers for the Belgian Grand Prix, to 841,000 viewers last weekend, a reflection of the red flag period which may have depleted the Canal+ average slightly.

The conclusion here is obvious, but worth stating: France’s viewing figures are higher than Spain, meaning that there is less room for growth, whereas F1 in Spain is underperforming massively now.

The presence of Sainz fighting it out up front – and the returning Fernando Alonso – is critical to move the needle in Spain.

Unfortunately, one of F1’s biggest territories in Europe shed over one million viewers, thanks to Ferrari’s continued woes. According to Motorsport.com, coverage of the race in Germany averaged 4.54 million viewers, a decrease on last year’s figure of 5.71 million viewers.

The 2020 figure is in-line on F1’s audiences for the year to date in Germany, whereas last year’s race over-indexed considerably.

Viewing figures for the race also dipped year-on-year in America on Labor Day weekend. 602,000 viewers watched the race on ESPN2, compared with 635,000 viewers last year.

Impressively, live coverage of the third practice session averaged 244,000 viewers at 06:00 on Saturday morning on ESPN, with 518,000 viewers tuning into qualifying, showing that increased interest in F1 in the US is filtering through to the other weekend sessions.

Formula Two viewing figures surge in UK
In the UK, viewing figures for the Formula Two championship continue to impress according to consolidated data from BARB and ThinkBox.

Whilst data for the Italian Grand Prix is unavailable, data from the Belgian Grand Prix weekend shows that 222,000 viewers watched the Formula Two feature race on Saturday 29th August, believed to be Formula Two’s highest ever figure in the UK.

185,000 viewers watched the race via Sky Sports F1, with an additional 37,000 viewers watching on Sky Sports Main Event.

To put that into historical comparison, back in 2012 during Sky’s first season covering F1, only 29,000 viewers watched the GP2 feature race during the Belgium weekend.

Viewing figures have increased rapidly in the past year and a half, Sky’s F1 exclusivity helping the cause.

Elsewhere, the Indy 500, which took place the week before, averaged 130,000 viewers, although the two figures are not directly comparable given that the IndyCar figure includes a 90-minute build-up which would have depleted the average.


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Scheduling: The 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix

Nine races. Three old favourites, three new challenges and three modern circuits is all that remains as the 2020 Formula One season heads into the Autumn.

Whilst both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships look set to be heading towards Mercedes, the COVID-19 pandemic means that everyone (from a championship perspective) has a new set of challenges ahead of them, starting this weekend at Mugello!

But, if last weekend told us anything, it is that anything can happen in Formula 1, and it usually does (just when you least expect it).

For Formula Three, the Mugello weekend marks the end of the year, with Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant fighting over the crown and almost certain promotion to Formula Two.

With the Porsche Supercup season now over, both Formula Two and Three move 45 minutes later on Sunday morning.

MotoGP returns after a few weeks off, with nine races taking place in the next eleven weeks. As revealed by Motorsport Broadcasting in our behind the scenes piece, BT Sport are remaining off-site as the season resumes.

Further afield the World Touring Car Cup finally starts its 2020 season over in Belgium, with Eurosport airing live coverage.

On the documentary front, a special 30-minute programme airs on Sky Sports F1 following the Tuscan Grand Prix and live IndyCar action from Mid-Ohio to mark Ferrari’s 1,000th F1 race.

Sky’s F1 documentary series Race to Perfection also drops this Saturday, which each of the seven episodes also airing on Sky’s F1 channel over the coming weeks.

Channel 4 F1
12/09 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Qualifying Highlights
13/09 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

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

Supplementary Programming
11/09 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
13/09 – 20:00 to 20:30 – Scuderia Ferrari 1,000th Race Celebration
16/09 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
10/09 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
11/09 – 09:55 to 11:55 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
12/09 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
12/09 – 13:55 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13/09 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race Updates (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – San Marino (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
11/09 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
11/09 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
12/09 – 08:00 to 15:45
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
=> 15:00 – MotoE
13/09 – 07:15 to 15:00
=> 07:15 – Warm Ups
=> 08:45 – MotoE
=> 09:30 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – San Marino (Quest)
14/09 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

Formula Two – Tuscan (Sky Sports F1)
11/09 – 11:50 to 12:40 – Practice
11/09 – 15:55 to 16:30 – Qualifying
12/09 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
13/09 – 10:45 to 11:50 – Race 2

Formula Three – Tuscan (Sky Sports F1)
11/09 – 08:30 to 09:20 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
11/09 – 13:00 to 13:45 – Qualifying
12/09 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
13/09 – 09:20 to 10:20 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Mid-Ohio (Sky Sports F1)
12/09 – 21:30 to 00:00 – Race 1
13/09 – 18:00 to 20:00 – Race 2

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport 3)
12/09 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

World Touring Car Cup – Belgium
13/09 – 09:15 to 10:15 – Race 1 (Eurosport)
13/09 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport)

As always, this article will be updated if plans change.

Updated on September 10th.

Update on September 12th – The Ferrari special is airing live, right now at 20:12, on the F1 channel.


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Scheduling: The 2020 Belgian Grand Prix

Six down, eleven to go…

The legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium plays host to round seven of the 2020 Formula One season, and the start of the third triple header.

The big news from a UK perspective is that Channel 4 are back in the paddock on foreign soil, with Steve Jones and David Coulthard reporting on-location throughout the weekend.

Most of Sky’s coverage from Spa also airs on Sky Sports Main Event, including four out of the five F1 sessions.

Elsewhere, a packed weekend of sport across ITV’s portfolio of channels means that the latest British Touring Car Championship round from Knockhill airs live on ITV2.

The start of the Tour de France occupies ITV4, with horse racing coverage on ITV3, meaning ITV2 is the next best thing for BTCC. As usual, ITV have opted to show repeats on their main channel, in this instance an old Bond film and a Marple repeat.

Speedway returns to BT Sport this weekend, with the start of the Grand Prix season. The season starts with a double-header event in Poland.

Although the Belgium weekend promises to be action filled, there will also be an air of poignancy over the Spa paddock, as we remember Anthoine Hubert, one year on from the accident that claimed his life.

Channel 4 F1
29/08 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying Highlights
30/08 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
28/08 – 09:30 to 11:50 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 09:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 10:00 – Practice 1
28/08 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
29/08 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3
29/08 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
30/08 – 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
29/08 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
02/09 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
28/08 – 09:55 to 11:55 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/08 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/08 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
29/08 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/08 – 13:55 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/08 – 14:30 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
30/08 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

British Touring Car Championship – Knockhill (ITV2)
30/08 – 10:40 to 17:50 – Races

Formula Two – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
28/08 – 11:50 to 12:45 – Practice
28/08 – 15:55 to 16:30 – Qualifying
29/08 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
30/08 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)

Formula Three – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
28/08 – 08:30 to 09:20 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
28/08 – 13:00 to 13:45 – Qualifying
29/08 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
30/08 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Gateway (Sky Sports F1)
29/08 – 20:00 to 23:00 – Race 1
30/08 – 20:00 to 23:00 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
30/08 – 11:20 to 12:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland
28/08 – 17:30 to 21:15 – Races – Round 1 (BT Sport 1)
29/08 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races – Round 2 (BT Sport 2)

Virgin Australia Supercars – Townsville (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
29/08 – 06:30 to 08:00 – Race 1
30/08 – 04:15 to 05:30 – Race 2

World Superbikes – Aragon
Also airs live on World Superbikes’ Video Pass (£)
28/08 – 09:30 to 10:30 – Practice 1 (Eurosport 2)
28/08 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (Eurosport 2)
29/08 – 09:45 to 12:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
29/08 – 12:30 to 15:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
30/08 – 09:45 to 15:00 – Support and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
01/09 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

If schedules change, this post will be amended.


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Scheduling: The 2020 Indianapolis 500

“And we go green for the 500!”

There may be no fans in attendance, but the Indianapolis 500 promises to remain a spectacle on the circuit as 33 cars head into turn one for the start of the famous race.

The race itself begins in a primetime slot for UK fans at 19:30, later than in previous years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marco Andretti followed in the footsteps of grandfather Mario, taking pole position last Sunday. Can he convert that to race victory this Sunday?

As they did last year, Sky Sports F1 are taking NBC’s stateside offering, with Leigh Diffey leading the commentary alongside the likes of Townsend Bell.

Sky are supplementing NBC’s commentary with their own commentary during the US ad-breaks. Tom Gaymor joins Formula Two lead commentator Alex Jacques to discuss the action from the UK.

Elsewhere, MotoGP concludes its triple-header of races with a second race weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Closer to home, the British Touring Car Championship heads to Oulton Park, with the action starting on ITV4 slightly later than usual at 11:50 on Sunday.

IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500 (Sky Sports F1)
21/08 – 16:00 to 18:30 – Carb Day Practice
23/08 – 18:00 to 23:00 – Race

MotoGP – Styria (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
21/08 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
21/08 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
22/08 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
23/08 – 07:30 to 15:00
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Styria (Quest)
24/08 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

British Superbikes – Snetterton
22/08 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
23/08 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Races 2 and 3 (Eurosport 2)
26/08 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Oulton Park (ITV4)
23/08 – 11:50 to 18:35 – Races

DTM – Lausitzring
22/08 – 12:15 to 14:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 1)
23/08 – 09:45 to 10:15 – Qualifying (BT Sport/ESPN)
23/08 – 12:15 to 14:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)

As always, I will update this article if broadcasters change their plans.


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Scheduling: The 2020 Spanish Grand Prix

After Max Verstappen’s shock victory at Silverstone, Formula 1 heads to Spain to complete their second triple header of the season.

Channel 4 are remaining in the UK for the next hurdle of races. After basing themselves at Silverstone’s Experience Centre for the first three rounds, the team move to the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking for this weekend’s race.

Over on 5 Live F1, Jack Nicholls is back in the booth after Marc Priestley substituted for him last weekend while he was out in Berlin covering Formula E.

Elsewhere, the World Endurance Championship returns with three races between now and November to complete the 2019-20 season.

The action from Spa airs live in full behind BT Sport’s Red Button, with the opening and closing phases of the race also airing on Eurosport 1.

The weekend also marks the start of the Indianapolis 500, with qualifying airing across the weekend on Sky Sports F1.

Understandably given other scheduling clashes, coverage is less than in previous years, with four of the 7.5 hours airing live on Sky, Sky taking a simulcast of America’s main NBC broadcast.

Channel 4 F1
15/08 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Qualifying Highlights
16/08 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
14/08 – 09:30 to 11:50
=> 09:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 10:00 – Practice 1
14/08 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2
15/08 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3
15/08 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying
16/08 – 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
14/08 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
19/08 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
13/08 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
16/08 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Austria (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
14/08 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
14/08 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
15/08 – 08:45 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
16/08 – 07:30 to 14:30
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Austria (Quest)
17/08 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

Formula Two – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
14/08 – 11:50 to 12:40 – Practice
14/08 – 15:55 to 16:30 – Qualifying
15/08 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
16/08 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2

Formula Three – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
14/08 – 08:30 to 09:20 – Practice
14/08 – 13:00 to 13:45 – Qualifying
15/08 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
16/08 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500 Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
15/08 – 20:00 to 22:00 – Day 1
16/08 – 18:00 to 20:00 – Day 2

Porsche Supercup – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
16/08 – 11:20 to 12:05 – Race

Virgin Australia Supercars – Darwin
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
15/08 – 06:45 to 08:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
16/08 – 04:30 to 05:45 – Race 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)
16/08 – 06:45 to 08:00 – Race 3 (BT Sport/ESPN)

World Endurance Championship – 6 Hours of Spa
15/08 – 12:00 to 19:00 – Race (BT Sport Extra 1)
15/08– 12:15 to 13:30 – Race Start (Eurosport 1)
15/08– 16:30 to 19:00 – Race Finish (Eurosport 1)

This article will be updated if plans change.

Update on August 15th – For the first time since their coverage started in 2012, Simon Lazenby is not with Sky for the action, with Natalie Pinkham stepping into his presenting shoes for the weekend.


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