Scheduling: The 2019 Singapore Grand Prix / Aragon MotoGP

Formula 1 heads out of Europe and over to Singapore for the start of the flyaway season, as the countdown continues to Abu Dhabi.

The night-race from Singapore falls on the same weekend as the Aragon MotoGP round, with a clash initially looking likely. However, a late switch from Dorna to move the main MotoGP race earlier means that both avoid a direct clash. The F1 begins at 13:10 UK time, with MotoGP’s main event from Aragon beginning at 12:00.

Both races air exclusively live on pay-TV, F1 live on Sky Sports, with MotoGP on BT Sport. Highlights of the latter air on Quest, which reverted to two airings as of recent races after a bit of back and forth from a scheduling perspective over the Summer.

Ted Kravitz is not with Sky in Singapore (sorry Lando, if you are lurking), but will be back with Sky in Russia. There is no Formula Two or Formula Three this weekend, both returning in Russia.

Elsewhere, the IndyCar season concludes, returning to Laguna Seca for the first time in 15 years. The action airs live on Sky’s F1 channel, as IndyCar concludes the first of a multi-year deal with the broadcaster.

Channel 4 F1
21/09 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying Highlights
22/09 – 19:00 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
20/09 – 09:15 to 11:15 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
20/09 – 13:15 to 15:15 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
21/09 – 10:45 to 12:30
=> 10:45 – Practice 3 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 12:10 – Paddock Walkabout
21/09 – 13:00 to 15:30 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
22/09 – 11:30 to 16:00 – Race
=> 11:30 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 12:30 – On the Grid (also Sky Sports Main Event until 13:00)
=> 13:05 – Race
=> 15:00 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
19/09 – 13:30 to 14:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference
19/09 – 16:30 to 17:00 – Welcome to the Weekend
20/09 – 16:00 to 16:30 – The Story so Far
21/09 – 15:30 to 16:00 – The F1 Show
25/09 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
19/09 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
20/09 – 09:25 to 11:05 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
20/09 – 13:25 to 15:05 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
22/09 – 13:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

MotoGP – Aragon (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
20/09 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
21/09 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
22/09 – 07:30 to 15:30
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – MotoGP
=> 13:15 – Moto2
=> 14:30 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Aragon (Quest)
23/09 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

British Superbikes – Assen
21/09 – 14:00 to 16:30 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
22/09 – 11:30 to 17:00 – Races (Eurosport 2)
26/09 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

Euroformula – Barcelona
Also airs live on YouTube
21/09 – 14:30 to 15:30 – Race 1 (BT Sport Extra 2)
22/09 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport Extra 3)

IndyCar Series – Laguna Seca (Sky Sports F1)
21/09 – 21:30 to 23:00 – Qualifying
22/09 – 19:30 to 23:00 – Race

International GT Open – Barcelona
Also airs live on YouTube
21/09 – 15:30 to 17:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport Extra 2)
22/09 – 14:00 to 15:30 – Race 2 (BT Sport Extra 3)

Red Bull Rookies Cup – Aragon (BT Sport 2)
21/09 – 15:15 to 16:15 – Race

Speedway Grand Prix – Britain
20/09 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Qualifying (BT Sport 1)
21/09 – 16:15 to 20:30 – Races (BT Sport 2)

As always, the schedule will be updated if timings change.


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News round-up: Bratches set to exit F1 role; Eurosport executive joins Formula E

In the latest Motorsport Broadcasting round-up, news emerges of potential upcoming changes to Formula 1’s leadership team.

The round-up gives a bite sized view of the latest news making the waves, as well as interesting snippets that I have picked up along the way.

ICYMI: Round-Up #4 (July 23rd): New Formula Two documentary coming soon; Facebook touts MotoGP success

ICYMI: Round-Up #3 (July 1st): Sky F1 to air special Williams documentary; Formula E wins award for TV product

ICYMI: Round-Up #2 (May 28th): F1’s US audience figures increase; Formula E hits the big screen

ICYMI: Round-Up #1 (May 13th): Turner returns to F1 fold; F1 adjusts OTT pricing; Barrat joins Formula E’s TV team

Formula 1

  • Earlier in the season, news outlets revealed that Netflix’s cameras would be getting up close to Mercedes during the German Grand Prix weekend, as part of filming for series two of Drive to Survive. Unfortunately for Mercedes, race day turned into a bit of a disaster.
    • The Press Association reports that, after the Germany disaster, Mercedes invited Netflix back for the closing phase of the Hungarian Grand Prix one weekend later. The race saw Lewis Hamilton come from behind to take victory away from Max Verstappen in the closing laps.
  • According to RaceFans, Formula 1 and Sky are rumoured to be working on a multi-part documentary to be released in Summer 2020. The series will coincide with Formula 1’s 70th anniversary, although no details have been officially confirmed as of writing.
  • Sean Bratches is set to leave his role as F1’s Managing Director of Commercial Operations at the end of the year, the BBC’s Andrew Benson is reporting.
    • Bratches joined F1 following Liberty Media’s acquisition of the group in 2017, and has spoken in recent times about F1’s free-to-air and pay TV mix.
    • Benson also reports that Chase Carey and Ross Brawn are set to remain in their existing roles.

DTM / W Series

  • The DTM touring car series is holding a joint event with Super GT at Fuji in November, in what both are billing as a ‘Dream Race’. The joint event presents many decisions about which drivers will take part.
    • However, speaking to Autosport last month, Audi motor sport boss Dieter Gass said that having drivers’ share duties is unlikely as DTM believes there are “complication[s] in explaining the rotation to TV audiences.”
  • As of last month, there was no word on where W Series’ documentary will air. I understand that series bosses are flexible as to where the series eventually ends up, and in what format. Production company Whisper filmed documentary content throughout, from the first driver selection test through to season finale.

Formula E

  • One of Eurosport’s leading figures is to join Formula E, e-racing365 reports. Sebastian Tiffert, who was Eurosport’s former executive producer for their Olympics Games offering, is to join Formula E as the head of their media content department. Tiffert is set to “manage the broadcast, social and digital media elements” of Formula E.

MotoGP

  • Vislink Technologies have extended their contract with Dorna to be MotoGP’s official RF systems supplier. Vislink, who have held the contract since 2002, will continue to partner with MotoGP for the next three seasons.
    • “The continuation of our engagement with Dorna is testament to our leadership in live sports broadcasting, and delivering reliable, crystal-clear video to MotoGP fans around the globe,” said John Payne, President and COO of Vislink.

Elsewhere…

  • Dieter Rencken reports that negotiations are ongoing to sell Motorsport Network.
    • Billionaire Mike Zoi leads the group, which owns the likes of Motorsport.com, Autosport and F1 Racing, as well as a stake in Formula E. Other stakeholders within the group include McLaren boss Zak Brown (chairman) and James Allen (EMEA President).
    • Rencken adds that Dmitry Mazepin, whose son Nikita Mazepin races in Formula Two, is in the running to purchase the group.
  • The promotor of the World Rallycross series is reporting strong interaction figures over on Facebook. Using figures from Crowdtangle, IMG’s Vincent Haas notes that the series has the highest interaction rate of any motor sport series on the social media platform, as well as over 50 million video views.
  • Netflix subscribers will soon be getting a slice of NASCAR action, but maybe not in the way they expected. The two parties are collaborating on a new comedy series starring Kevin James.
    • The Crew sees the action play out in a NASCAR garage, with James acting as crew chief.
    • NASCAR’s Matt Summers (Managing Director, Entertainment Marketing & Content Development) and (Senior Vice President & Chief Digital Officer) will serve as Executive Producers from NASCAR’s perspective.

See anything else worth mentioning on the news front? Drop a line in the comments section below.


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New circuit, new challenges: preparing for MotoGP’s KymiRing adventure

A new circuit on the motor racing calendar is a challenge, not only for the racers, but for everyone involved in the championship, with many hours involved to ensure everything goes swimmingly.

Next year, MotoGP heads to the new KymiRing circuit in Finland for the first time, and preparations are already underway to ensure that the event happens without a hitch. Last week, six riders participated in a two-day test session, inaugurating the track.

The test was also the first time that MotoGP’s production team had visited the facility. Sergi Sendra, who is Dorna’s Senior Director for Media Content, Television and Production, gave me the low-down on how the test went, from a broadcasting perspective.

The logistics of a new event
For readers unaware, Dorna are MotoGP’s commercial rights holder, and have been since 1992. “I remember at the beginning it was tougher for us to arrive to a place and design which positions we would have, but now it is easier with experience,” Sendra tells me.

Races on the MotoGP calendar broadly fit into two categories from a logistical perspective: European and non-European. Sendra does not expect any surprises on the logistical front for Finland, as all the logistics from a broadcasting perspective sits within Dorna instead of third-party suppliers.

“The resources to accomplish the goal of having a stable Grand Prix in terms of logistics is going to be the same as at any other European round,” Sendra adds.

“We shouldn’t have any surprises on that front. We bring the scaffolds, the power supplies (with a triple generator group), the posts for the antennas, the cables, the fibre, it’s all ours. We never expect the local people to provide the key things. We make sure we have the same conditions, comfort, and practicability that we have in other circuits.”

The main difference, of course, is the layout of the circuit which varies from weekend to weekend. A typical MotoGP event has between 20 to 25 cameras track side, which gives Dorna enough scope to change the perspective on offer lap-by-lap.

“One camera should have a wide range of coverage from the in-point to the end-point,” he says. “This will help to have no gap in the coverage, when you cut from camera to camera.”

“What you want is a comfortable zone, where both cameras overlay for us to cut and have a good continuity for the viewer.”

Even with existing events, Dorna are always reviewing the existing camera angles on offer, to see if there is further room for refinement. Sendra gives Brno as an example, where Dorna have changed some angles in recent years to give MotoGP fans a different view of the circuit, whilst keeping to the core principles.

> Behind the scenes with BT Sport’s MotoGP team [2018] (planning, evolution)

What Dorna does not currently have for new circuits is the ability to simulate camera angles using 3D graphics months before the event which, although Sendra says would be beneficial, is not worthwhile given that new races are rare.

“This map [for Finland] in 3D will arrive later. We would make simulations if we had a 3D map that we could put in our computer and then start playing.”

“We wanted to do this a long time ago, but it takes a team to prepare the maps, and we don’t have this yet,” Sendra explains. “If we had five or six new circuits every year, then we should have it, but actually going to the circuit is better.”

“When you go to the circuit, you see it changing in front of your eyes, you can experiment with it, take cameras and film, which is the best way. We take the GPS positions exactly, and photos of everything to refer to later.”

“In any case, I think with the knowledge we have, we can presume and predict things that can also be done with computer.”

Visiting KymiRing
Normally when a new race is added to any Grand Prix calendar, whether it be Formula 1, Formula E, or in this case MotoGP, the production team working on the series will visit the circuit to perform a recce. The purpose of the recce is to firm up the exact details (i.e. deciding camera angles), and to iron out any potential risks ahead of time.

On the desk in front of myself and Sendra at Silverstone is a map of the KymiRing circuit, which Sendra and his team have heavily annotated, during and following their two-day visit.

2019 MotoGP - KymiRing.jpg
A map of the KymiRing, annoted by Dorna showing their current line of thinking ahead of MotoGP’s inaugural race at the circuit. All the red circles with numbers written inside (from 1 to 23) are the current proposed track side camera positions.

With only a handful of laps on the board during day one due to heavy rain, the TV team walked the track to scope out their initial thinking.

Immediately obvious to all was the scenery that surrounds the circuit, the nearest city twenty minutes away by car. The scenery, along with the elevation change from corner to corner, presents Dorna with an opportunity to highlight the best of Finland.

“The nice thing about this track is that it is surrounded by beautiful trees, nice Finland forest. We were looking for positions where we can see more of the nature,” Sendra tells me.

“It’s quite wild, and I’m sure we will look for the animals to capture the atmosphere. There are a lot of animals, not here, but close to here!”

“The second thing is the shape of the corners, the vision of the corners from the positions. It’s very different to Thailand, which is flat and very easy from that perspective, whereas Finland has a lot of up’s and down’s.”

“Here, there are spots that you cannot see, where there are trees in between. We like that, because it will give personality to the event.”

Throughout their visit, Sendra and his team are comparing KymiRing to MotoGP’s existing portfolio of circuits, although this is a challenge (in a good way for Sendra). Sendra says that KymiRing “is a completely different shape which is very good, because it enriches the championship.”

The second day allowed Dorna to confirm their thinking from day one, adjusting the positions slightly based on the action that was unfolding in front of them.

During the visit, Dorna try to ‘second guess’ where the hot spots are in terms of action. Turns 1, 4, 5 and 13 all have two camera angles to capture potential overtakes, whilst the 1.2 kilometre back straight requires a different approach.

Sendra continues “At the end of a straight, there will be braking points, so two cameras are necessary. If the straight is as long as this, we will have to split it, because with one camera will be boring. In the case of Finland, there are three spot cameras.”

“One at the beginning, let us say 350 meters, another one at 300 more, and then two at the end. There will be, for sure, overtaking at the end of this straight.”

One area of the circuit that Dorna believes will be a hot spot is the final bend, which may remind readers of the Fuji Speedway in Japan. Sendra expects the final corner to be “crazy” with Dorna opting to place more cameras down at that section than they usually would, for 2020 at least.

“It’s quite wide here, and we wanted to see a camera from outside and inside at the same time. We believe the corner is going to be better seen from outside than inside, but then all the cameras are inside so this is something you solve when you’re directing.”

“The final bend goes up, then goes down [heading to the finish line], it’s really very different compared to other places. All are quite flat to the finish line, only Saschsenring goes up.”

“We will have more cameras here the first time to make sure we don’t miss anything. If somebody likes to make a last lap overtake here like in Austria, then we must see it from various angles.”

Outside of the circuit itself, Dorna are figuring out their own logistics. The paddock being on the outside as opposed to the inside means that the television compound will be in a different location to usual, more than likely on the outside of turn one, Sendra tells me.

Moving forward
Whilst the track itself is finished, the surrounding area is still under construction, and it will not be long before the production team are back.

“Once we’ve set the camera spots, then it will be the people from the technical side to calculate lengths, accesses and everything else that surrounds this,” Sendra says.

“Normally we do two or three rehearsals. For TV, two rehearsals is the minimum to make sure we arrive during the week of a Grand Prix and nothing is forgotten, and everything is on the spot.”

Even with rehearsals, nothing is better preparation than a race weekend, and Sendra says that, it can take two or three year for the direction to gel on a new circuit.

“Honestly, we will have to wait until the first race, wet or dry, to understand if we made the right choices. The first weekend we will spend in Finland with a real experience, with three classes, races and practices, it will allow us to improve for the next year.”

“And I can more or less tell you that for us it takes between two and three years to stabilise the circuit, to have a good knowledge, because one year it will be hotter than the other, maybe it rains, it’s never the same.”

Now with a lot more information than before following the inauguration of the circuit, Dorna’s television team have a better sense of what they are dealing with ahead of the first MotoGP race at KymiRing next year.


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Scheduling: The 2019 W Series finale / Austrian MotoGP

This weekend, Jamie Chadwick and Beitske Visser take to the track in the hope of becoming the inaugural W Series champion! The two join 16 other drivers’ on-track at Brands Hatch in the final round of the W Series season.

Live coverage of the finale airs on Channel 4 in an extended two-hour broadcast. The race itself starts at 15:10 on Sunday, with Lee McKenzie fronting coverage as usual. Ted Kravitz remains alongside McKenzie, whilst David Coulthard re-joins Claire Cottingham in the commentary box.

W Series supports the German touring car series DTM, which airs live for UK viewers on Freesports TV.

Motorsport Broadcasting will be reporting on-site from Brands Hatch, so keep an eye on this site and on the Twitter feed over the weekend and beyond for snippets from Brands.

Elsewhere, MotoGP heads to Austria, with both MotoE and the Red Bull Rookies Cup joining them at the Red Bull Ring.

W Series – Brands Hatch (Channel 4)
Qualifying airs live across Facebook and Twitter
11/08 – 14:30 to 16:30 – Race

MotoGP – Austria (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
09/08 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
10/08 – 08:00 to 16:00
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
11/08 – 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 – Austria (Quest)
12/08 – 23:00 to 00:00 – Highlights

DTM – Brands Hatch (Freesports TV)
10/08 – 13:15 to 14:45 – Race 1
11/08 – 13:15 to 14:45 – Race 2

Red Bull Rookies Cup – Austria
10/08 – 16:00 to 17:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 2)
11/08 – 14:15 to 15:15 – Race 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)

As always, please check back in case scheduling details for the weekend change.


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Scheduling: The 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix

After one of the best Formula 1 races of the modern era, the Grand Prix paddock heads to the Hungaroring for the final stop before the Summer break.

At least two on-screen talent have already started their F1 break. Germany was Ted Kravitz’s last race for Sky until Italy, meaning that neither him nor his Notebook output will be present this weekend in Hungary, or in Belgium after the break.

Over on the BBC, Jennie Gow is not with 5 Live out in Hungary, instead W Series lead commentator Claire Cottingham takes up station in pit lane.

The Budapest schedule takes up a different feel this weekend, with Formula Two and Formula Three swapping places on Saturday. The reason for this is that Formula Three qualifying takes place on Saturday morning, not Friday evening as at earlier rounds.

For UK viewers, Sky have opted to prioritise The F1 Show over the first Formula Three race, the latter airing on a short tape-delay.

Elsewhere on the scheduling front, MotoGP returns from its Summer break in the Czech Republic. But fans without BT Sport will discover that free-to-air highlights on Quest are now airing in an even later slot. The broadcaster has moved their highlights from 22:00 to 23:00, likely due to poor viewing figures.

It is a busy weekend, with the British Touring Car Championship and World Rally Championship also returning from their Summer holidays.

Channel 4 F1
03/08 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying Highlights
04/08 – 19:00 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
02/08 – 09:45 to 11:55 – Practice 1
02/08 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2
03/08 – 10:45 to 12:30
=> 10:45 – Practice 3
=> 12:10 – Paddock Walkabout
03/08 – 13:00 to 15:30 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
04/08 – 12:30 to 17:00 – Race
=> 12:30 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event from 13:00)
=> 13:30 – On the Grid (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 14:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 16:00 – Paddock Live (also Sky Sports Main Event until 16:30)

Supplementary Programming
01/08 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference
01/08 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
02/08 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
03/08 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The F1 Show
07/08 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
01/08 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
04/08 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race Updates (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Czech Republic (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
02/08 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
03/08 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 07:45 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
04/08 – 07:30 to 15:00
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Czech Republic (Quest)
05/08 – 23:00 to 00:00 – Highlights

British Superbikes – Thruxton
03/08 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
04/08 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Races (Eurosport 2)
07/08 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Talent Cup – Czech Republic
03/08 – 15:15 to 16:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport 2)
04/08 – 14:15 to 15:15 – Race 2 (BT Sport 3)

British Touring Car Championship – Snetterton (ITV4)
04/08 – 10:45 to 18:30 – Races

Formula Two – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
02/08 – 11:55 to 12:45 – Practice
02/08 – 15:50 to 16:30 – Qualifying
03/08 – 09:00 to 10:15 – Race 1
04/08 – 10:15 to 11:15 – Race 2

Formula Three – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
03/08 – 07:55 to 08:30 – Qualifying
03/08 – 16:00 to 16:55 – Race 1 Tape-Delay
04/08 – 08:55 to 09:45 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
04/08 – 11:40 to 12:15 – Race

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport 3)
03/08 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

World Rally Championship – Finland (All Live)
Also airs live on WRCPlus.com (£)
01/08 – 17:00 to 19:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport Extra 3)
02/08 – 06:00 to 19:15 – Stages 2 to 11 (BT Sport Extra 1)
03/08 – 06:00 to 18:00 – Stages 12 to 19 (BT Sport Extra 1)
04/08 – 05:30 to 12:45 – Stages 20 to 23 (BT Sport Extra 1)

World Rally Championship – Finland
01/08 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 1)
02/08 – 01:00 to 02:00 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 3)
02/08 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Stage 11 (BT Sport 1)
02/08 – 22:30 to 23:00 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
03/08 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Stage 18 (BT Sport 1)
03/08 – 21:15 to 21:45 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 3)
04/08 – 07:30 to 08:30 – Stage 21 (BT Sport 1)
04/08 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Stage 23 [Power Stage] (BT Sport 1)
05/08 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (5Spike)

As always, the schedule will be updated if details change.


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