Scheduling: The 2020 Eifel Grand Prix

Formula 1 returns to the Nürburgring for the first time in seven years this weekend, for the inaugural Eifel Grand Prix!

Live coverage of the race weekend airs on Sky Sports with Ted Kravitz and Simon Lazenby re-joining the team. It is unclear if Martin Brundle is also back with the line-up as of writing.

Elsewhere, with Triumph’s visitor experience centre in Hinkley reopening to the public, BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage is moving.

The crew are relocating to the BT Tower in central London for the remainder of 2020.

The main races for F1 and MotoGP this weekend both begin an hour earlier. F1’s change is driven by the earlier sunset times as the European season concludes later than usual, dictating a change for MotoGP to avoid a head to head clash.

Channel 4 F1
10/10 – 17:30 to 19:00 – Qualifying Highlights
11/10 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

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

Supplementary Programming
09/10 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
09/10 – 17:00 to 18:30 – F1 Pro Series Draft
10/10 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Race to Perfection
14/10 – 19:30 to 21:00 – F1 Pro Series Race 1 and 2
14/10 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief
15/10 – 19:30 to 21:00 – F1 Pro Series Race 3

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

MotoGP – France (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
09/10 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
09/10 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
10/10 – 08:00 to 16:00
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
=> 15:00 – MotoE
11/10 – 07:45 to 15:00
=> 07:45 – Warm Ups
=> 09:30 – Moto3
=> 11:30 – MotoGP
=> 13:15 – Moto2
=> 14:30 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – France (Quest)
12/10 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

British Touring Car Championship – Croft (ITV4)
11/10 – 11:30 to 18:05 – Races

World Rally Championship – Italy (All Live)
Also airs live on WRC+ (£)
09/10 – 06:45 to 16:45 – Stages 1 to 6 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 06:50 – Stage 1
=> 07:44 – Stage 2
=> 09:40 – Stage 3
=> 10:34 – Stage 4
=> 15:14 – Stage 5
=> 15:59 – Stage 6
10/10 – 06:00 to 17:45 – Stages 7 to 12 (BT Sport Extra 3)
=> 06:38 – Stage 7
=> 07:30 – Stage 8
=> 09:07 – Stage 9
=> 10:00 – Stage 10
=> 15:00 – Stage 11
=> 16:02 – Stage 12
11/10 – 06:15 to 12:45 – Stages 13 to 16 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 07:15 – Stage 13
=> 08:00 – Stage 14
=> 10:10 – Stage 15
=> 11:00 – Stage 16

World Rally Championship – Italy
10/10 – 00:30 to 01:00 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 3)
10/10 – 07:30 to 08:30 – Stage 8 (BT Sport 3)
10/10 – 10:00 to 11:00 – Stage 10 (BT Sport 3)
10/10 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Stage 11 (BT Sport 3)
11/10 – 02:00 to 02:30 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 3)
11/10 – 08:00 to 09:00 – Stage 14 (BT Sport 1)
11/10 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Stage 16 [Power Stage] (BT Sport 1)
11/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
TBA – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

World Touring Car Cup – Slovakia (Eurosport)
11/10 – 07:55 to 12:00 – Race 1
11/10 – 11:30 to 12:30 – Race 2

This article will be updated if schedules change.

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The catalyst for change?

Last weekend, Karun Chandhok returned to the Formula 1 commentary box, partnering David Croft for the Russian Grand Prix on Sky Sports F1.

Fans enjoyed the partnership, the first time the two had worked together for the race itself since 2011.

Should Sky take the praise for Chandhok as an opportunity to review their commentary options ahead of the 2021 season? Motorsport Broadcasting investigates…

Learning from Sky’s football offering
Since Sky started covering F1 in 2012, the broadcaster has stuck with the same tried and tested commentary line-up.

Sky’s current lead commentator David Croft started his F1 commentary duties in 2006, commentating for BBC Radio 5 Live for six seasons, before making his move over to Sky.

Joining Croft in the box is a man who needs no introduction. Next year will mark Martin Brundle’s 25th season in the commentary box, having commentated for ITV, BBC and now Sky.

In recent seasons, Brundle has stood away from the booth at a handful of races, with Paul di Resta substituting him.

The exception was this past weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, where it was Karun Chandhok who replaced Brundle. Fans universally praised Chandhok’s appearance, arguably more so than di Resta’s stand-in efforts, through no fault of di Resta’s own.

Nevertheless, once all the statistics add up, across Sky’s nine seasons covering F1, the broadcaster has only utilised four commentators on race day: Croft, Brundle, Chandhok and di Resta.

Sky have used other voices, such as Anthony Davidson and Jenson Button to provide additional analysis, but not in a formal co-commentator capacity on race day.

Compare the above to Sky’s coverage of the football Premier League.

During their Premier League offering last season, Sky used seven lead commentators, with eleven co-commentators.

Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne, and Bill Leslie featured most in the lead role, with Alan Smith, Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville, and Andy Hinchcliffe commonly alongside them.

Compare the (at least) 12 different commentary ‘options’ on their Premier League coverage with just the 2 different ‘options’ last season for Formula 1, and only one lead.

I accept that there are far more football games than F1 races aired live on TV, and COVID-19 skews this fact further, however it also shows the breadth and depth across Sky’s Premier League operation. No Martin Tyler? No problem.

Tyler and Neville, Sky’s main Premier League combination, are both fantastic at what they do.

The former is synonymous with Sky’s offering since the league began in 1992, whilst Neville has forged a strong broadcasting career since his retirement from the game in 2011.

Although a great commentary team, hearing Martin Tyler and Gary Neville together on the majority of Premier League covered by Sky would become painstakingly dull (ignoring the logistical hurdles that prevents this).

Eventually, hearing them on most games would dilute the quality of their commentary, they would run out of interesting comments to make, they would revert to banter and ‘small talk’, all whilst reducing the amount of variety on offer.

Some of that sound familiar?

Brundle is a great commentator…
Before I move further, this is not a piece calling for Sky to get rid of either David Croft or Martin Brundle, far from it, because both are great commentators.

As mentioned earlier, Brundle has been in the F1 commentary hot-seat since 1997, working alongside Murray Walker, James Allen, Jonathan Legard, David Coulthard, and now Croft.

Brundle’s grid-walks (before COVID-19) are still worth watching, whilst his commentary and analytical viewpoints are second to none, offering a perspective no one else can.

> Flashback to 2016: Davidson and Brundle highlight strengths and weaknesses in Sky’s F1 team
> Flashback to 2019: Button stands out as Sky celebrates their 150th F1 race

However, Brundle retired from Formula 1 racing at the end of 1996, and has no wheel-to-wheel experience in the current generation of F1 machinery, outside of demonstrations for Sky’s vignettes; unlike Sky’s other F1 analysts Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and (to a lesser degree) di Resta. Two of them are World Champions!

Is Brundle therefore as relevant to current F1 in 2020? For the actual pre- and post-race punditry, it matters very little, but for the mechanics and the machinery involved, more so. Does it matter?

Compare F1 to football, whereby Neville and Carragher retired in 2011 and 2013 respectively, with Smith and Hinchcliffe retiring in 1995 and 2002. Only Smith sits comparably alongside Brundle.

If you are reading this and think “you can’t possibly compare F1 and football” given the respective talent pools available, I would counter argue to say that Sky do have recent F1 experience available within their own pool (as highlighted above) who may offer a new view on the different phases of the Grand Prix.

They just choose (through necessity or otherwise), not to utilise them in the formal co-commentary role alongside Croft. Yes, they bring in other voices from time to time to comment on the racing, but not in a formal capacity.

The point being that, in my view, Sky rely too heavily on Brundle in the commentary box, and need to review his commentary commitments in the years ahead.

Chandhok showed in Russia that having an alternative perspective on commentary can only be a good thing.

A rotating co-commentator chair would keep the show fresh; it gives others an opportunity, and may also bring in new, or lapsed, F1 viewers who may not have previously watched the sport on Sky.

…as is Croft
David Croft is also a great commentator.

Fans remember with fondness his commentary stint with Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live, for good reason because the team, with Holly Samos in pit lane as well, was a great trio.

His commentary with Brundle has also been great, and when there is a great F1 race, you can guarantee the two of them together will excel.

To the contrary, at times the commentary feels overproduced, and sound-bite-like in nature. Do not treat every DRS overtake the same in terms of volume. In addition, to compare Sky’s football offering to F1, the latter features more ‘banter’ in commentary than the former.

Whether this is the fault of Croft, or whether it is general editorial direction at Sky, I do not know. Maybe it is natural that, after 10 races in three months, talking points will dry up.

> Flashback to 2018: In conversation with David Croft

Or maybe, with 20 of the best drivers’ in the world on the grid, the commentators of the day should be able to discuss the driver in focus – their past, present and future, without heading towards a cliched sentence (for the record, Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul does not yet have a tattoo).

Do not underestimate though just how difficult sports commentary really is.

In the same vein that Tyler does not lead on every Premier League game for Sky, the same statement should apply to Croft’s F1 commitments. Less is more.

So should Croft, and Channel 4’s Ben Edwards, and whoever else, step aside for a handful of races each season? But…

Addressing a wider problem for a second: there are a lack of opportunities for motor sport commentators generally wanting to break through. Efficiency savings in recent years have reduced opportunities in the industry, and the COVID-19 pandemic will exasperate this issue.

The more broadcasters that take the World Feed of the sport they are covering (i.e. many territories taking Sky’s F1 offering), the fewer opportunities there are for younger personalities, although initiatives such as Formula E’s Talent Call as well as the rise of Esports will help.

One person making a more than decent impression is Alex Jacques.

After a shaky start succeeding Will Buxton as F1’s feeder series commentator, Jacques has quickly become a fan favourite, thanks to his partnership alongside the likes of Alex Brundle and Davide Valsecchi.

Whilst lead Formula Two commentator, Jacques has commentated on Charles Leclerc’s meteoric rise, also handling the tragic death of Anthoine Hubert with compassion, calmness, and gravitas.

It is easy to forget that Jacques is already in his sixth season covering Formula Two and Formula Three (then GP2 and GP3). More recently, Jacques has led F1’s Pit Lane Channel feed, putting him an excellent position to take on the World Feed duties, if such as opportunity presented itself.

Should Jacques therefore lead commentate on the World Feed, and by de facto be part of Sky’s F1 coverage, at a select few races next season?

In my view, yes.

Some reading this will consider the move a demotion for Croft, but as referenced, it is not radically different to Tyler, Hawthorne, and Leslie all lead commentating on Sky’s football coverage.

Or, to look at another sport, golf, it is no different to Ewen Murray and Nick Dougherty sharing lead commentary duties for Sky, as they currently do.

Why is motor sport considered different bearing in mind the amount of travel required each season?

What might 2021 look like?
No one really knows what next year will look for F1, but Sky need to start preparing for the future.

Based off the 2019 calendar, and considering who was on-site from Sky’s existing portfolio at that time, here is what a proposed system could look like:

Race Date Was… Proposed…
Australia 17/03 Croft and Brundle Croft and Brundle
Bahrain 31/03 Croft and Brundle Croft and Rosberg
China 14/04 Croft and Brundle Jacques and Brundle
Azerbaijan 28/04 Croft and di Resta Croft and di Resta
Spain 12/05 Croft and Brundle Croft and Brundle
Monaco 26/05 Croft and Brundle Croft and Brundle
Canada 09/06 Croft and Brundle Jacques and Button
France 23/06 Croft and Brundle Croft and Brundle
Austria 30/06 Croft and Brundle Croft and Chandhok
Britain 14/07 Croft and Brundle Croft and Brundle
Germany 28/07 Croft and Brundle Jacques and Brundle
Hungary 04/08 Croft and Brundle Croft and Davidson
Belgian 01/09 Croft and Brundle Croft and Brundle
Italy 08/09 Croft and Brundle Croft and Rosberg
Singapore 22/09 Croft and Brundle Jacques and Brundle
Russia 29/09 Croft and di Resta Croft and di Resta
Japan 13/10 Croft and di Resta Jacques and Hill
Mexico 27/10 Croft and Brundle Croft and Button
USA 03/11 Croft and Brundle Croft and Brundle
Brazil 17/11 Croft and Brundle Jacques and Brundle
Abu Dhabi 01/12 Croft and Brundle Croft and Brundle
21 x Croft 15 x Croft
18 x Brundle 12 x Brundle
3 x di Resta 6 x Jacques
2 x Button
2 x di Resta
2 x Rosberg
1 x Chandhok
1 x Davidson
1 x Hill

Brundle and Croft would remain Sky’s main commentary pairing, but instead of teaming up for 18 rounds, they would team up for eight of the 21 rounds, with a much more even spread across the current Sky F1 team. The two would remain together for F1’s biggest races: the season opener in Australia, Monaco and Britain.

In addition, the inclusion of Alex Jacques for six race weekends (when Formula Two is not racing), adds a layer of variety to the line-up, increasing the amount of potential combinations for Sky.

Brundle would commentate on 12 events, four of these alongside Jacques. The likes of Button, Rosberg, Davidson, and Hill also get a run out in the commentary box for a full race.

The fact that Davidson and Croft have only worked on one race together for Sky (Hungary 2017) is bewildering considering the two worked together for three years on BBC Radio 5 Live.

If you like variety, you will like this approach, but if you like hearing consistency, then you may not be fond to hearing a different voice in the box each week.

Is having the same commentary team for the full season the right approach when (prior to COVID-19), the F1 calendar is expanding? F1 themselves have rotated their in-house commentary team during the COVID affected season, with a wealth of faces joining Jacques on commentary.

The point of these changes would be so that, when we do get Brundle and Croft in commentary, they are both at their best, and neither is running through the motions, as has appeared the case at several stages this year.

By being away from the box, it gives both an opportunity to refresh, taking the time to bring in new insightful information from elsewhere. And best of all, they would remain part of the line-up for at least the next five to ten years with a streamlined schedule, essentially extending their stay.

This should not be a contentious change, given it would bring Formula 1 in-line with the Sky’s other major sports, and future proof the team.

However, we must also remember that countries take Sky’s F1 coverage in all areas of the globe, so Sky are unlikely to make any rash decisions without full consideration.

More variety can only be positive, in my view, inside and outside of the commentary box, across the spectrum.

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How Motorsport Broadcasting has covered F1’s transformation under Chase Carey

Last week, Liberty Media announced that Stefano Domenicali would be succeeding Chase Carey as Chairman of Formula 1.

The news, first revealed by RaceFans, is not a huge surprise given rumours about Carey’s replacement were swirling for a while (even if Domenicali himself was not publicly linked). Nevertheless, the announcement means that Carey will depart his role at the end of 2020, ending a near four-year tenure.

Carey’s tenure began in January 2017, when Liberty Media completed their acquisition of Formula 1 from CVC Capital Partners. In that time, Liberty Media have overhauled the sport in many different areas.

Here, we look back at some of the key broadcasting moves from across the past four years, as covered by Motorsport Broadcasting…

Before Liberty – Although Liberty have made huge strides in recent times, we cannot thank them for everything.

For example, Formula 1 launched their social media platforms in 2014 and 2015, whilst preparation for F1’s over-the-top platform began in the ‘Bernie age’ as well, with rumblings around an app featuring on-boards from every car swirling in October 2016.

So, whilst Liberty under Carey did oversee the eventual execution of the likes of F1 TV, some work in the background did pre-date them.

March 2017 – One of Liberty’s first actions was to encourage teams and drivers to exploit social media. To begin with, Liberty gave teams and drivers flexibility to upload short form videos to their social channels. Boy, we really have come a long way in three and a half years, have we not?

June 2017 – Whilst Carey could (and did) change many aspects of Formula 1, one aspect they could not change was Sky Sports’ UK deal to broadcast F1 exclusively live from 2019 to 2024. In Liberty’s first public comment on the matter, then-Managing Director for Commercial Operations, Sean Bratches said that Liberty intended to ‘honour and respect’ the Sky deal.

On all fronts, the genie is out of the bottle. There will be bad moves; there will be experiments that fall flat on their face, by both the teams and Liberty Media. Now is the perfect time for mistakes to happen when fans are generally accepting that change is happening, and are prepared to accept that there will be early bumps in the road. You would rather make mistakes now when these forms of communication are niche for Formula 1, working to establish common ground, themes and decision-making as the season progresses. I would much rather see risk taking over the next few races instead of an organisation that is clearly relaxing or unable to adjust, as was clearly the case with FOM in previous years. – Me writing in March 2017

July 2017­ – Arguably Liberty’s first statement of intent, hosting a live event in the centre of London on a Wednesday evening, prior to the British Grand Prix.

Well received by fans, the likes of Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard and Martin Brundle hosted the event. Liberty has tailored follow up events to the respective follow audiences, and to date there has not been a repeat of the London iteration… yet.

November 2017 – Who knew a logo could prove to be so controversial? If ever there was an instance where Liberty was spot on, and the fans were wrong, it was here.

Fans online panned the new Formula 1 logo, including myself. I admit, I was wrong. The reaction was a little over-the-top. And speaking of OTT, that was where F1 was heading next, as Liberty concluded year one in charge of F1. For them, it was about laying the foundations for the future: kick start future initiatives (Esports), whilst also strengthening every area of the business, which they seen as flailing under Bernie.

February 2018 – The official announcement from F1 that they were heading into the OTT space. Joining F1’s in-house team? None other than ex-NBC F1 colleagues Will Buxton and Jason Swales. The platform, which launched behind schedule in May, gave select territories access to the live action across a multitude of feeds.

A cheaper tier gave fans worldwide (including the UK) access to a wealth of archive material, F1 also taking the opportunity in recent years to stream classic races on YouTube. Not everything was straightforward: US broadcaster NBC cited the launch of F1 TV as a key factor for them dropping out of the sport at the end of 2016.

March 2018 – A new graphics set, a new weekend schedule, and a new theme greeted fans watching F1’s coverage of the Australian Grand Prix. Brian Tyler’s F1 theme is brilliantly awesome, inspiring many different renditions.

Some of the early mooted changes, such as a mid-race highlights package, never really came to fruition (other than Heineken’s floating stars, which I want to forget about). F1 canned other ideas, such as mini-sectors during qualifying, the previous year.

August 2018 – Liberty continued making moves across their social media output, bringing fans closer to the sport. From a broadcasting perspective however, not much gets better than seeing how F1 operates inside the gallery in the heat of the moment.

The team released a fantastic video (below) showing how they handled Sebastian Vettel crashing out from the German Grand Prix, which this site dissected in detail. For anyone who inspires to get into motor sport broadcasting, the video remains a must watch.

Year two really built on Liberty Media’s research from year one, the sport expanding into new areas of growth, such as podcasting. The sport also began to pay more attention to Formula Two and Formula Three, both of which have become far more integrated with F1 in recent times.

Under Liberty’s watch, F1 has given some new voices a go behind the microphone on commentary, with the likes of WTF1’s Matt Gallagher benefiting as a result.

February 2019 – Live testing! Yes, F1 aired the entirety of the first test live in 2019 on their over-the-top platform in selected territories, with Sky Sports taking each afternoon live as well. Fans enjoyed F1’s offering, and coverage returned earlier this year, with both of the three day tests airing live.

Also launching prior to the 2019 season was Netflix’s Drive to Survive, which has helped bring the sport to a new, younger audience.

October 2019 – F1 began to live stream races on platforms such as Twitch, with the Mexican Grand Prix airing live on the platform in selected territories. In a fortnight from now, the Eifel Grand Prix will air live on YouTube for fans in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

January 2020 – First revealed by this site the previous July, a new documentary series focusing on Formula Two premiered on F1 TV. The tragic death of Anthoine Hubert shone a different light on the documentary, as fans witnessed events through the eyes of his rivals, and friends, at the time.

COVID-19 pandemic – The COVID pandemic has meant that many of F1’s plans for their 70th anniversary year have not gone as anticipated. A documentary series produced by Sky in collaboration with F1 celebrating the seventy years premiered earlier this month. Other developments concern F1 in the UK and Germany: with F1 TV Pro mooted to launch in the UK next season, whilst F1 in Germany will move behind a pay wall.

Overall, there have been more up’s than down’s when you look at the broadcasting and social media picture in totality for F1 at the end of Carey’s regime compared to where they were at the end of 2016.

As Dieter Rencken on RaceFans recently highlighted, however, the incoming Domenicali has many waves to battle through over the forthcoming months and years.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and many broadcasters may seek to reduce their investment in F1 at rights renewals stage, although F1’s recent deal with Sky in Germany should give Liberty confidence that the news may not be all bad.

Then, there is F1 TV, and continuing to monetise that, whilst ensuring that the technical issues that have plagued the platform since launch do not continue.

Of course, the above achievements do not cover all avenues, merely a reflection of how Motorsport Broadcasting has covered recent events.

What do you think is F1’s biggest improvement, or misstep, on the broadcasting and social media front in recent years? Have your say in the comments below.

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Scheduling: The 2020 Russian Grand Prix

The Sochi Autodrom in Russia plays host to round ten of the 2020 Formula One season.

As the paddock heads to Russia, Sky’s presentation team will look a little different for the race, with neither Simon Lazenby or Ted Kravitz with the team.

For Lazenby, it is his second absence of the season following Spain in August; expect Natalie Pinkham to step into the presenting shoes again.

After having to depart Mugello early due to family issues, Steve Jones returns to his role as Channel 4’s F1 presenter for Russia, alongside the likes of David Coulthard and Mark Webber.

The time difference means that the F1 race starts at 12:10 UK time. As thus, MotoGP from Catalunya moves an hour later to 14:00 UK time, avoiding a clash with the F1.

Elsewhere, the British Touring Car Championship season continues from Silverstone, and remains on ITV2, but this time due to the French Open.

The French Open also causes problems for Eurosport’s coverage of the World Touring Car Cup. Owing to the tennis, the touring car series airs exclusively live for UK fans via Eurosport’s online Player, with late night highlights airing on their linear TV channels.

Channel 4 F1
26/09 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying Highlights
27/09 – 17:30 to 20:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
25/09 – 08:30 to 10:45 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 08:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 09:00 – Practice 1
25/09 – 12:45 to 14:45 – Practice 2
26/09 – 09:45 to 11:10 – Practice 3
26/09 – 12:00 to 14:30 – Qualifying
27/09 – 10:30 to 15:00 – Race
=> 10:30 – Grand Prix Sunday (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 12:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

Supplementary Programming
25/09 – 15:30 to 16:00 – The Story so Far
26/09 – 14:30 to 15:45 – Race to Perfection
30/09 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
25/09 – 08:55 to 10:55 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
25/09 – 12:55 to 14:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
26/09 – 09:55 to 11:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/09 – 12:00 to 14:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

MotoGP – Catalunya (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
25/09 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
25/09 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
26/09 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
27/09 – 08:30 to 15:30
=> 08:30 – Warm Ups
=> 10:15 – Moto3
=> 12:00 – Moto2
=> 13:30 – MotoGP
=> 15:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Catalunya (Quest)
28/09 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

British Touring Car Championship – Silverstone (ITV2)
27/09 – 11:00 to 18:25 – Races

GT World Challenge – Zandvoort (Sky Sports F1)
27/09 – 15:00 to 17:00 – Race (tape-delay)

Ferrari Challenge – Misano (Sky Sports F1)
26/09 – 16:10 to 17:10 – Race 1
27/09 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Race 2 (tape-delay)

Formula Two – Russia (Sky Sports F1)
25/09 – 07:30 to 08:20 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
25/09 – 11:55 to 12:35 – Qualifying
26/09 – 08:05 to 09:20 – Race 1
27/09 – 08:45 to 09:50 – Race 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)

Virgin Australia Supercars – The Bend (BT Sport 3) TBC
Also airs live on SuperView (£)

World Touring Car Cup – Germany
Only available live via Eurosport Player

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

Update on September 26th – Whilst Pinkham is on site for Sky, it is in fact Rachel Brookes presenting their programming. As mentioned on his Instagram, Martin Brundle is not with Sky either, with Karun Chandhok partnering David Croft in the box. Meanwhile, Channel 4 are not out in Russia, instead they are presenting the weekend from Red Bull’s HQ in Milton Keynes.

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F1’s Tuscan Grand Prix coverage prompts 133 complaints to Ofcom

Coverage of the inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix across Channel 4 and Sky Sports has generated 133 complaints, statistics released by the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom reveal.

Although their weekly bulletin does not outline what the complaints relate to, it is likely a result of Lewis Hamilton’s decision to wear a t-shirt related to the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Hamilton’s t-shirt contained the words “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” on the front, with the words “Say her name” on the back.

Viewers logged 75 of the complaints against Channel 4’s highlights programme, with 55 complaints for Sky Sports’ live offering. For the week, F1 attracted the second highest number of complaints.

Britain’s Got Talent led the chart, due to a Black Lives Matters routine from Diversity on September 5th, which has attracted over 20,000 complaints.

Ofcom have yet to confirm if they plan to investigate the F1 matter further.

How often do people complain about F1 races?
Whilst the number of complaints recorded here is far higher than usual for Formula 1, it still only comprises of around 0.004 percent of the three million viewers that watch each Grand Prix.

Two other races in the past 15 years have recorded over 10 complaints.

126 people complained to Ofcom about ITV’s coverage of the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix, where the broadcaster took a commercial break in the closing stages of the Grand Prix, in the middle of a close contest between Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.

Three years later, Ofcom received 14 complaints about the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, as Martin Brundle used the word ‘pikey’ to describe those relaying the tarmac prior to the start of the race.

Ofcom considered the grid walk matter resolved, whilst they deemed ITV to be in breach regarding the ad-break situation.

Other complaints in recent year have primarily surrounding swearing over the team radio, as well as before and after the race. The most recent complaint however came because of a superimposed Rolex clock during coverage of the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying session.

Although Imola 2005 and Mugello 2020 currently have a similar level of complaints, it is likely that will change over the coming days.

Outside of the Ofcom spectrum, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) slapped Sky with a warning for misleading advertising following their 2019 pre-season promotional campaign.

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