Scheduling: The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

This post will be updated on Thursday with details of Channel 4’s live broadcast (info here).

Verstappen versus Hamilton. 21 races down. 1 to go. The 2021 championship fight is going down to the wire, in one of the most intense Formula 1 seasons in years, as both drivers go into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix level on 369.5 points.

If Lewis Hamilton beats Max Verstappen, he will become an eight-time Drivers’ Champion, breaking the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004.

If Verstappen wins, he will win his first Drivers’ Championship, becoming the 34th person to win the championship, and the first from the Netherlands.

As of writing, the season finale will air exclusively live on pay-TV across Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event.

Speaking to Motorsport Broadcasting last week, a Sky spokesperson said it was “unlikely” that the season finale would be made available on a free-to-air basis.

Sky will air special programming throughout the weekend, with specials on Friday and Saturday, and an extended race day broadcast on Sunday.

Highlights of the race will air on Channel 4 in an early evening time slot, with qualifying airing at 18:55 on Saturday, with race at 17:30 on Sunday, three hours after the chequered flag has fallen.

Radio coverage airs across BBC’s online platform, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, with updates also during the race itself on BBC Radio 5 Live.

The weekend could be BBC’s last for covering F1 on radio, with no formal announcement yet on who will be covering F1 from 2022 onwards.

All F1 sessions are available to listen live via BBC’s F1 website

Thursday 9th December
15:00 to 16:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
16:00 to 17:30 – F1: Drivers’ Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
20:00 to 21:00 – F1: Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Friday 10th December
07:35 to 08:20 – F2: Practice (Sky Sports F1)
09:00 to 10:45 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
12:45 to 14:25 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 12:55 to 14:05
14:25 to 15:05 – F2: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)

15:05 to 15:35 – Countdown to Abu Dhabi (Sky Sports F1)

Saturday 11th December
08:10 to 09:15 – F2: Sprint Race 1 (Sky Sports F1)
09:45 to 11:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
12:00 to 14:40 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 12:55 to 14:05
14:40 to 15:40 – F2: Sprint Race 2 (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
15:40 to 16:40 – F1: Champions Special (Sky Sports F1)
16:40 to 17:10 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook (Sky Sports F1)
18:55 to 20:25 – F1: Qualifying Highlights (Channel 4)

20:30 to 21:30 – IndyCar Season Review (Sky Sports F1)

Sunday 12th December
08:50 to 10:10 – F2: Feature Race (Sky Sports F1)
11:30 to 17:00 – F1: Race (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 11:30 – Grand Prix Sunday
=> 12:55 – Race
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 12:45 to 15:00
=> 15:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 16:30 – Ted’s Notebook
17:30 to 20:00 – F1: Race Highlights (Channel 4)

Full scheduling details for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Scheduling details correct as of Tuesday 7th December and are subject to change.

If scheduling details do change, this article will be updated.

Updated on Tuesday 7th December at 17:50.

Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal. If you wish to reproduce the contents of this article in any form, please contact Motorsport Broadcasting in the first instance.

Scheduling: The 2021 United States Grand Prix

With 6 races to go in the 2021 Formula One season, just 6 points separate Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as the championship returns to Texas for the United States Grand Prix!

For UK viewers, the weekend offering from both Sky Sports and Channel 4 looks a little different to usual – hence why Motorsport Broadcasting has opted to publish a full schedule for the weekend.

F1 – the coverage

Channel 4’s offering is the weakest from a free-to-air broadcaster in decades, partly by choice, and partly inflicted upon them.

With qualifying starting at 21:00 UK time on Saturday, Channel 4 have opted to air qualifying on Sunday morning instead of a late-night Saturday slot, as they did in 2019.

Meanwhile, the race edit begins just after midnight on Sunday, the earliest Channel 4 can contractually air the race.

Channel 4 have trimmed both shows back compared to usual: a one-hour qualifying show airs on Sunday with an 85-minute programme covering the race. Expect limited commercials, and a weekend featuring primarily World Feed content.

The actual race edits should be the same length as usual, except without the usual bells and whistles that production company Whisper usually provide.

Given the closeness of the championship race, one wonders whether Channel 4 should have negotiated with Sky to bring the free-to-air highlights package forward, even by an hour to 23:05.

Doing so would unlikely deplete Sky’s live audience, but boost Channel 4’s figure significantly, resulting in a net gain overall. Thankfully this is not a championship decider, because having the F1 title won at 01:00 on free-to-air television is not in anyone’s interests.

By way of comparison, 30 years ago, the BBC aired a 50-minute highlights package of the US Grand Prix from Phoenix in a late night time slot on BBC Two.

Sky have seemingly reacted to Channel 4’s qualifying conundrum by opting to simulcast their live coverage on their new Sky Showcase channel, enabling more viewers to watch qualifying across Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV.

F1 – the team and W Series

With a reduced offering comes a change in presenter, as Lee McKenzie steps into Steve Jones’s presenting shoes for Channel 4.

Martin Brundle returns to Sky’s coverage after missing both the Russian and Turkish rounds, with Jenson Button also joining the team out in Austin.

For the first time, IndyCar and NASCAR star Danica Patrick joins Sky’s offering. One person not with Sky is Ted Kravitz, Kravitz part of the W Series team during the US Grand Prix weekend.

Live coverage of the W Series airs across More4 and Channel 4, the Saturday race airing on More4 with the season finale airing on Channel 4.

All F1 sessions are available to listen live via BBC’s F1 website

Thursday 21st October
21:00 to 22:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
22:00 to 22:30 – F1: Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
23:00 to 00:30 – F1: Drivers’ Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)

Friday 22nd October
17:00 to 18:45 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
20:45 to 22:30 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)

Saturday 23rd October
18:45 to 20:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 18:55 to 20:05
20:30 to 21:00 – Hamilton vs Verstappen: The Season so Far (Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Showcase)
21:00 to 23:45 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Showcase)
=> Sky Showcase until 23:15
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 21:55 to 23:05
23:05 to 00:25 – W Series: Race 1 (More4)

Sunday 24th October
08:00 to 08:30 – W Series: Race 1 Highlights (Channel 4)

08:30 to 09:30 – F1: Qualifying Highlights (Channel 4)
16:30 to 18:00 – W Series: Race 2 (Channel 4)

18:30 to 23:00 – F1: Race
=> 18:30 – Grand Prix Sunday (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 19:55 – Race (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 19:45 to 22:00
=> 22:00 – Chequered Flag (Sky Sports F1)
00:05 to 01:30 – F1: Race Highlights (Channel 4)

Full scheduling details for the 2021 United States Grand Prix. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 15th October and are subject to change.

Meanwhile, MotoGP heads back to Misano, the Emilia Romagna race filling the void left by the cancellation of the flyaway rounds.

With a 52-point advantage, Fabio Quartararo is odds on favourite to win his first MotoGP World Championship. As always, live coverage of every session airs on BT Sport 2, with highlights airing on ITV4.

Elsewhere in motor racing, the British Touring Car Championship concludes with all the action from Brands Hatch airing live on ITV4.

Friday 22nd October
08:00 to 15:15 – Practice (BT Sport 2)
=> 08:00 – Moto3
=> 08:55 – MotoGP
=> 09:55 – Moto2
=> 12:15 – Moto3
=> 13:10 – MotoGP
=> 14:10 – Moto2

Saturday 23rd October
08:00 to 15:00 – Practice and Qualifying (BT Sport 2)
=> 08:00 – Moto3: Practice 3
=> 08:55 – MotoGP: Practice 3
=> 09:55 – Moto2: Practice 3
=> 11:35 – Moto3: Qualifying
=> 12:30 – MotoGP: Practice 4
=> 13:10 – MotoGP: Qualifying
=> 14:10 – Moto2: Qualifying

Sunday 24th October
07:30 to 14:30 – Races (BT Sport 2)
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3: Race
=> 11:00 – Moto2: Race
=> 12:30 – MotoGP: Race
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

Monday 25th October
20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

Full scheduling details for the 2021 Emilia Romagna MotoGP. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 15th October and are subject to change.

If plans change, this article will be updated.

Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal. If you wish to reproduce the contents of this article in any form, please contact Motorsport Broadcasting in the first instance.

Scheduling: The 2021 British MotoGP

After its absence last year due to the pandemic, MotoGP returns to Silverstone over the Bank Holiday weekend for the British Grand Prix!

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo has a 47 point lead following a consistent season so far and four victories to his name. Can anyone close him down, or is it too late?

MotoGP – the coverage

For the first time since 2013, coverage of the race airs live on free-to-air television, with ITV covering the action on Sunday. It is the second race to air on one of ITV’s channels this season, following the Le Mans round which aired live on ITV4.

Matt Roberts presents ITV’s coverage; the first time Roberts has presented MotoGP since the sport left the BBC in 2013. Roberts is now a regular fixture on Eurosport’s bikes coverage, presenting their British Superbikes and World Superbikes offering.

James Haydon and James Toseland join Roberts, while ITV will be taking the World Feed commentary comprising of Steve Day, Matt Birt and Simon Crafar.

For fans of motor sport on free-to-air TV, this weekend sees MotoGP, W Series, British Touring Cars and Extreme E airing live across ITV, Channel 4 and ITV4.

Suzi Perry presents BT Sport’s extensive MotoGP coverage of all three classes during the weekend, alongside the likes of Gavin Emmett, Neil Hodgson, and Sylvain Guintoli.

Alternatively, fans can watch the action throughout the season via MotoGP’s VideoPass service, giving you every session live and access to MotoGP’s rich archive. Currently, the series is offering £85.63 for the remainder of the 2021 season.

Friday 27th August
08:45 to 16:15 – Practice (BT Sport 2)
=> 09:00 – Moto3
=> 09:55 – MotoGP
=> 10:55 – Moto2
=> 13:15 – Moto3
=> 14:10 – MotoGP
=> 15:10 – Moto2

Saturday 28th August
09:00 to 16:15 – Practice and Qualifying (BT Sport 2)
=> 09:00 – Moto3: Practice 3
=> 09:55 – MotoGP: Practice 3
=> 10:55 – Moto2: Practice 3
=> 12:35 – Moto3: Qualifying
=> 13:30 – MotoGP: Practice 4
=> 14:10 – MotoGP: Qualifying
=> 15:10 – Moto2: Qualifying

Sunday 29th August
09:00 to 16:30 – Races (BT Sport 2)
=> 09:00 – Warm Ups
=> 10:30 – Moto3: Race
=> 12:30 – MotoGP: Race
=> 14:15 – Moto2: Race
=> 15:30 – Chequered Flag
12:30 to 14:30 – MotoGP: Race (ITV)

Monday 30th August
20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

Full scheduling details for the 2021 British MotoGP. Scheduling details correct as of Monday 23rd Augst and are subject to change.

Meanwhile, Formula 1 heads to Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, as the final half of the 2021 season begins.

F1 – the coverage

Despite stepping down as host of their F1 podcast earlier this week, Steve Jones continues to present Channel 4’s highlights offering.

Joining Jones in the F1 paddock are Billy Monger and Mark Webber, Monger joining Alex Jacques on commentary for both F1 and W Series.

David Coulthard will also be in Belgium, however as part of Channel 4’s W Series programming alongside Naomi Schiff.

With both of them presenting from the W Series paddock, the COVID restrictions mean that Coulthard cannot be part of the F1 ‘bubble’ at the same time.

Over on Sky, the broadcaster will be airing a special feature during their coverage, as Mick Schumacher drives the car his father first drove in F1 at Silverstone: the Jordan 191.

All F1 sessions are available to listen live via BBC’s F1 website

Thursday 26th August
17:00 to 18:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1)
18:00 to 19:30 – F1: Drivers’ Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)

Friday 27th August
09:05 to 09:50 – F3: Practice (Sky Sports F1)
10:00 to 11:45 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
12:50 to 13:30 – F3: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
13:45 to 15:30 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
21:00 to 22:00 – F1: Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Saturday 28th August
09:25 to 10:25 – F3: Race 1 (Sky Sports F1)
10:45 to 12:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
13:00 to 15:30 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
15:00 to 16:20 – W Series: Race (Channel 4)
16:45 to 17:45 – F3: Race 2 (Sky Sports F1)
18:00 to 19:30 – F1: Qualifying Highlights (Channel 4)

Sunday 29th August
09:30 to 10:30 – F3: Race 3 (Sky Sports F1)
11:05 to 11:45 – Porsche Supercup: Race (Eurosport 1 and Sky Sports F1)
12:30 to 17:00 – F1: Race (Sky Sports F1)
=> 12:30 – Grand Prix Sunday
=> 13:55 – Race
=> 16:00 – Chequered Flag
18:30 to 21:00 – F1: Race Highlights (Channel 4)

Full scheduling details for the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. Scheduling details correct as of Monday 23rd Augst and are subject to change.

If details change, this article will be amended.

Updated on August 27th with further information on ITV’s MotoGP coverage.

Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal. If you wish to reproduce the contents of this article in any form, please contact Motorsport Broadcasting in the first instance.

Scheduling: The 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans

The Summer holidays may be in full force for most, but for the World Endurance Championship, this weekend marks the 89th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans!

For WEC, the weekend is round six of the 2021 season, with the Hypercar category now in the limelight.

Replacing the LMP1 category, the new category sees five cars competing for overall victory, with two Toyota’s, one Alpine, and two Glickenhaus entries in the running.

On the broadcasting side, over 300 people are involved in the production, covering both behind the scenes and on-air personnel. 104 cameras will cover the action across the week, with 44 of those cameras on-board 14 different cars.

The action in the UK airs across Discovery’s portfolio of channels, the brand having recently extended their rights agreement to cover Le Mans for an additional five years.

Live coverage of full race airs on Eurosport, with Discovery’s free-to-air station Quest airing the start and finish live.

Tom Gaymor continues to lead Discovery’s commentary team for UK viewers, alongside Mark Cole and Jake Sanson. For Sanson, it is the first time that he has commentated on Le Mans.

David Brabham, Charlie Robertson, and Chris Parson complete the UK team, whilst Tom Kristensen will continue to provide his expertise across Discovery’s output.

Ever wondered what commentators read before a season of motor racing starts? Take a look at the WEC’s graphics guide.

Alternatively, fans can watch the action via the WEC app. This year, voices including renowned commentator David Addison and five-time Le Mans winner Oliver Gavin join the World Feed team.

Gavin makes his Le Mans commentary debut, having retired from competitive action last October.

Martin Haven, Graham Goodwin and Allan McNish continue to lead the offering, alongside Addison, Gavin and Darren Turner and Gavin. In pit lane, Louise Beckett and Duncan Vincent will provide additional analysis.

Radio Le Mans will be doing their thing throughout the week, with John Hindhaugh leading the team.

The race starts at 16:00 local time (15:00 UK time) on Saturday, an hour later than in previous years and an hour and a half later than last year. As was the case last year, the World Feed will not be covering the first practice session, with live coverage kicking in from Wednesday evening onwards.

Wednesday 18th August
17:45 to 19:10 – Qualifying Practice (Eurosport 2)
20:50 to 23:10 – Practice 2 (Eurosport 2)

Thursday 19th August
13:00 to 16:00 – Practice 3 (Eurosport 2)
19:50 to 20:45 – Hyperpole (Eurosport 2)
20:45 to 23:10 – Practice 4 (Eurosport 2)

Saturday 21st August
10:15 to 11:00 – Warm-Up (Eurosport 1)
11:00 to 12:15 – Road to Le Mans (Eurosport 1)
14:15 (Saturday) to 15:30 (Sunday) – Race (Eurosport 1)
=> live coverage of the start from 14:15 to 17:00 on Quest on Saturday
=> live coverage of the finish from 13:00 to 15:30 on Quest on Sunday

Full scheduling details for the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans. Scheduling details correct as of Tuesday 17th August and are subject to change.

If details change, I will update this article.

Update on August 21st at 14:50 – Tom Gaymor is no longer commentating for Eurosport today after being admitted to hospital with suspected appendicitis.

Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal. If you wish to reproduce the contents of this article in any form, please contact Motorsport Broadcasting in the first instance.

Scheduling: The 2021 British Grand Prix

A new era dawns for Formula 1, as the championship returns home to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix!

Max Verstappen has stretched his legs at the top of the standings, but can Lewis Hamilton use the power of home turf to claw his way back into the championship fight? It is all to play for…

F1 – the coverage

Live coverage of the weekend airs across Channel 4 and Sky Sports, as the two broadcasters air F1’s new qualifying format live. On Friday evening, the traditional three-part qualifying session will take place.

Instead of setting the grid for Sunday’s race however, Friday’s qualifying session will set the grid for Saturday’s sprint qualifying race, which is a 17 lap blast around the 5.9 kilometer circuit. The result of the Saturday’s sprint race will then set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Channel 4 are back to full strength following Billy Monger’s positive COVID test prior to the Styrian Grand Prix. Monger returns to the team that also includes Steve Jones, David Coulthard, Lee McKenzie, Mark Webber, Eddie Jordan and Alex Jacques.

The free-to-air broadcaster are taking ‘the Sky approach’ to their build-up, with 90-minutes of build-up to the Grand Prix airing on Channel 4 from 13:30, followed by an additional hour after the race.

For W Series, McKenzie, Monger and Jacques are joined by Naomi Schiff and Amy Reynolds for Channel 4’s offering.

Over on Sky, Ted Kravitz returns to their programming after two races away from their coverage. Expect the likes of Martin Brundle and Jenson Button to also be back with Sky during the Silverstone weekend.

F1 – over-the-top

With Jacques focussed on his Channel 4 duties, Rosanna Tennant steps into the Formula Two hot seat, commentating on every Formula Two session for the first time.

Joining Tennant throughout the weekend are Tom Gaymor and Jordan King.

Channel 4 schedule
Friday 16th July
14:10 to 15:45 – F1: Practice 1
17:00 to 19:30 – F1: Qualifying 

Saturday 17th July
11:45 to 13:05 – F1: Practice 2
13:05 to 14:20 – W Series: Race
15:45 to 17:45 – F1: Sprint Qualifying 

Sunday 18th July
13:30 to 18:00 – F1: Race
=> 13:30 – Build Up
=> 14:45 – Race
=> 17:00 – Reaction

Channel 4 scheduling details for the 2021 British Grand Prix. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 9th July and are subject to change.

Sky Sports F1 schedule
Sunday 11th July
14:30 to 17:15 – Goodwood Festival of Speed

Thursday 15th July
18:30 to 19:30 – The F1 Show
19:30 to 21:00 – F1: Drivers’ Press Conference

Friday 16th July
11:25 to 12:20 – F2: Practice
14:00 to 15:45 – F1: Practice 1 (also Sky One)
16:45 to 17:25 – F2: Qualifying
17:25 to 19:30 – F1: Qualifying (also Sky One)

Saturday 17th July
08:40 to 09:45 – F2: Sprint Race 1
11:30 to 13:10 – F1: Practice 2 (also Sky One)
14:35 to 15:35 – F2: Sprint Race 2
15:40 to 18:00 – F1: Sprint Qualifying
18:00 to 18:30 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday 18th July
10:40 to 12:00 – F2: Feature Race
13:30 to 18:30 – F1: Race
=> 13:30 – Grand Prix Sunday (also Sky One)
=> 14:55 – Race (also Sky One)
=> 17:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 18:00 – Ted’s Notebook 

Sky Sports F1 scheduling details for the 2021 British Grand Prix. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 9th July and are subject to change.

All F1 sessions are available to listen live via BBC’s F1 website 

BBC Radio schedule
Friday 16th July
20:00 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Saturday 17th July
11:55 to 13:05 – F1: Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

BBC F1 scheduling details for the 2021 British Grand Prix. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 9th July and are subject to change.

If scheduling details change, this article will be updated.

Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal. If you wish to reproduce the contents of this article in any form, please contact Motorsport Broadcasting in the first instance.