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
Sessions
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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Scheduling: The 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans

Delayed by three months due to COVID-19, the spectacular 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place this weekend!

As usual, live coverage of the race for UK fans airs on Eurosport, with the official World Feed commentary available via the World Endurance Championship app.

A congested weekend of action, also involving the Tour de France, British Superbikes and World Superbikes, means that their free-to-air station Quest acts as Eurosport’s overflow channel for the Superbikes.

The consequence of that means that Le Mans is not available to UK fans via any free-to-air outlet this year.

Martin Haven, Graham Goodwin and Allan McNish lead the World Feed offering, with Ben Constanduros, Peter Dumbreck, Jamie Campbell-Walter rotating in and out of commentary for the 24 hours.

Down in pit lane, Hayley Duncan and Alexandra Legouix will be grabbing all the interview snippets throughout.

We choose the best action and the best angle, thanks to some 40 cameras along the track and in the pits. It is also possible to put on-air one of the 14 cars equipped with 3 or 4 on-board cameras.

Two ‘cinéflex’, one onboard a helicopter and the other below an airship, a travelling on a 400-meter cable along the pits as well as a mobile ‘hyper-slowmo’, allows us to include exceptional footage.

Brand new motion graphics (already used during the World Endurance Championships) add a significant number of important information to ensure a better understanding of the race.

A selection of radio communication from the teams and the race director will be on-air, to explain and humanize the race.

Day and night over 300 people, who work in shifts during the 30 hours we produce, run this technical set-up to ensure that each broadcaster may offer their viewers all over the world a full coverage of the race.

Producing at the 24H Le Mans means bearing in mind that anything can happen, at any moment. This is why we continuously record from over 75 different image sources to be able to use this on air slightly offline. – 24 Hours of Le Mans

Over on Eurosport, Tom Gaymor leads the commentary line-up from off-site in the UK, joined by Mark Cole, Louise Beckett, Damien Faulkner, Sam Hancock and Chris Parsons.

Supplementing Eurosport’s coverage from on-site are Jennie Gow, Guenaelle Longy and Toby Moody who will be reporting from pit lane.

As always, Radio Le Mans will be doing their thing throughout the Le Mans festival, with John Hindhaugh leading the crew.

In a change to tradition, the race itself starts at 14:30 local time instead of the usual 15:00 local time. In addition, WEC’s cameras are not covering practice one, with coverage kicking in from practice two onwards.

Below are all the details you need, including MotoGP’s second Misano race, and World Rally Championship’s visit to Turkey…

World Endurance Championship – 24 Hours of Le Mans
Also airs live on WEC’s App (£)
17/09 – 13:00 to 17:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 13:00 – Practice 2
=> 16:00 – Qualifying
17/09 – 19:00 to 23:15 – Practice 3 (Eurosport 2)
18/09 – 09:00 to 10:00 – Practice 4 (Eurosport 2)
18/09 – 10:30 to 11:00 – Hyperpole (Eurosport 2)
19/09 – 09:30 to 11:00 (Eurosport)
=> 09:30 – Warm-Up
=> 10:00 – Road to Le Mans
19/09 – 12:30 to 13:15 – Preview (Eurosport)
19/09 – 13:15 – Race (Eurosport)
=> live coverage continues until 14:00 on 20/09

MotoGP – Emilia Romagna (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pas (£)
18/09 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
18/09 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
19/09 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
20/09 – 07:15 to 14:30
=> 07:15 – Warm Ups
=> 08:45 – MotoE
=> 09:30 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Emilia Romagna (Quest)
21/09 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

British Superbikes – Oulton Park / World Superbikes – Catalunya
World Superbikes airs live on WSB’s Video Pass (£)
18/09 – 13:25 to 14:55 – WSB: Practice (Eurosport 2)
19/09 – 09:45 to 18:00
=> 09:45 (Eurosport 2)
=> 11:45 (Quest)
20/09 – 12:15 to 18:00 (Quest)
22/09 – 20:00 to 21:00 – WSB: Highlights (ITV4)
23/09 – 19:30 to 21:00 – BSB: Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Thruxton (ITV2)
20/09 – 11:00 to 18:45 – Races

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland
18/09 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races (BT Sport 3)
19/09 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races (BT Sport 2)

Virgin Australia Supercars – The Bend (BT Sport 3)
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
19/09 – 06:30 to 08:00 – Race 1
20/09 – 03:15 to 04:45 – Race 2
20/09 – 05:45 to 07:15 – Race 2

World Rally Championship – Turkey (All Live)
Also airs live on WRC+ (£)
18/09 – 14:15 to 18:15 – Stages 1 and 2 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 15:00 – Stage 1
=> 16:18 – Stage 2
19/09 – 06:00 to 16:45 – Stages 3 to 8 (BT Sport Extra 2)
=> 06:47 – Stage 3
=> 08:00 – Stage 4
=> 09:03 – Stage 5
=> 12:47 – Stage 6
=> 14:00 – Stage 7
=> 15:03 – Stage 8
20/09 – 04:15 to 12:45 – Stages 9 to 12 (BT Sport Extra 2)
=> 05:27 – Stage 9
=> 07:00 – Stage 10
=> 09:07 – Stage 11
=> 11:15 – Stage 12 [Power Stage]

World Rally Championship – Turkey
18/09 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 1)
19/09 – 00:00 to 00:30 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
19/09 – 08:00 to 09:00 – Stage 4 (BT Sport 3)
19/09 – 22:45 to 23:15 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
20/09 – 07:00 to 08:00 – Stage 10 (BT Sport 3)
20/09 – 22:15 to 22:45 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 3)
22/09 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

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


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Scheduling: The 2020 Rally Estonia / Italian Grand Prix

After a six-month hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the World Rally Championship returns, with the Rally Estonia!

Squeezed into two full days’ worth of action, the weekend promises to be jam packed for rallying fans worldwide. Every stage airs live via WRC’s over-the-top platform, and BT Sport’s Red Button service, with free-to-air highlights airing following the rally on ITV4.

Excluding breaks, the WRC team will be on-air for almost ten hours on Saturday from 04:30 to 17:45 UK time, a mammoth shift.

Despite the COVID restrictions, WRC intend to cover the rally as normally as practically possible, with Molly Pettit and Ben Constanduros interviewing the drivers from a distance at stage end.

Becs Williams and Julian Porter remain in the commentary booth, as the series returns to action, with Paul King joining them. Jon Desborough voices the daily highlights programme.

Elsewhere, the Formula 1 paddock takes the eight-hour trip south to the temple of speed, for the Italian Grand Prix from Monza.

Joining the paddock out in Monza is Ted Kravitz, who re-joins the Sky Sports F1 team after missing the past three Grand Prix.

World Rally Championship – Estonia (All Live)
Also airs live on WRC+ (£)
04/09 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport Extra 1)
05/09 – 04:30 to 17:45 – Stages 2 to 11 (BT Sport Extra 2)
=> 05:40 – Stage 2
=> 06:20 – Stage 3
=> 07:00 – Stage 4
=> 08:00 – Stage 5
=> 09:19 – Stage 6
=> 12:37 – Stage 7
=> 13:17 – Stage 8
=> 14:00 – Stage 9
=> 15:00 – Stage 10
=> 16:19 – Stage 11
06/09 – 04:00 to 12:45 – Stages 12 to 17 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 05:35 – Stage 12
=> 06:09 – Stage 13
=> 07:00 – Stage 14
=> 08:49 – Stage 15
=> 09:28 – Stage 16
=> 11:00 – Stage 17

World Rally Championship – Estonia
04/09 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 2)
04/09 – 20:30 to 21:00 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
05/09 – 07:00 to 08:00 – Stage 4 (BT Sport 1)
05/09 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Stage 9 (BT Sport 3)
05/09 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
06/09 – 07:00 to 08:00 – Stage 14 (BT Sport 2)
06/09 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Stage 17 [Power Stage] (BT Sport 2)
06/09 – 20:30 to 21:00 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
09/09 – 21:30 to 22:35 – Highlights (ITV4)

Channel 4 F1
05/09 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Qualifying Highlights
06/09 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
04/09 – 09:30 to 11:50 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 09:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 10:00 – Practice 1
04/09 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
05/09 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3
05/09 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying
06/09 – 12:30 to 17:30 – Race
=> 12:30 – Grand Prix Sunday
=> 14:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 16:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 17:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
05/09 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far (also Sky Sports Main Event)
06/09 – 17:30 to 18:30 – Jochen Rindt: Uncrowned Champion
09/09 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
02/09 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
04/09 – 09:55 to 11:55 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
04/09 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
05/09 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
05/09 – 13:55 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
06/09 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

British Superbikes – Silverstone
05/09 – 12:00 to 12:50 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
05/09 – 16:00 to 18:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
06/09 – 12:15 to 12:55 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
06/09 – 14:00 to 18:00 – Race 3 (Eurosport 2)
09/09 – 20:00 to 21:30 – Highlights (ITV4)

Formula Two – Italy (Sky Sports F1)
04/09 – 11:50 to 12:40 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
04/09 – 15:55 to 16:30 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
05/09 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
06/09 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)

Formula Three – Italy (Sky Sports F1)
04/09 – 08:30 to 09:20 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
04/09 – 13:00 to 13:45 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
05/09 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
06/09 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)

Porsche Supercup – Italy (Sky Sports F1)
06/09 – 11:40 to 12:25 – Race

Virgin Australia Supercars – Townsville (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
05/09 – 06:30 to 08:00 – Race 1
06/09 – 03:15 to 04:30 – Race 2
06/09 – 05:30 to 07:00 – Race 3

World Superbikes – Aragon
Also airs live on World Superbikes’ Video Pass (£)
04/09 – 09:25 to 10:25 – Practice 1 (Eurosport 2)
04/09 – 13:55 to 14:55 – Practice 2 (Eurosport 2)
05/09 – 09:30 to 12:00 – Superpole (Eurosport 2)
05/09 – 12:50 to 16:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
06/09 – 09:45 to 12:15 – Superpole Race (Eurosport 2)
06/09 – 12:55 to 14:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
08/09 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

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

Update on September 5th – Sky are airing a special documentary following tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix to mark fifty years since the death of Jochen Rindt.


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Analysing the motor sport ecosystem and why coronavirus could cripple it

The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting motor sport in a way we have never seen before, impacting everyone involved in sport.

Collectively, the entire industry stands to lose a significant sum of money, and what the future holds is unclear. The longer this goes on, the worse the financial situation becomes, notwithstanding the fact that a global recession is likely because of the pandemic.

Who are the key players, and what are their role in the overarching ecosystem that is motor sport? Being a broadcasting site, naturally the focus is on broadcasting, although there is heavy linkage between broadcasting and the wider motor sport economy.

Speaking at the Black Book Motorsport Forum last September, Sky’s Head of Formula 1 Scott Young spoke about the delicacies of the ecosystem in a conversation around over-the-top broadcasting and pay television.

“Our investment is significant as one of the one of the investments that underpins F1, as all our rights do in every sport,” explained Young.

“I think that’s one of the differences between an OTT platform right now and major sporting broadcasters, like Sky and Eurosport, that actually invest a large amount of money that goes into those sports of which they need to help fund the teams to compete.”

“There’s an ecosystem in there that is quite delicate, and if you unravel it too quickly it can have some lasting effects,” he said.

Young quite clearly encapsulates the key themes of the ecosystem: the broadcasters, the rights holder, and the teams. If the system changes too quickly, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Coronavirus creates a gap in the chamber. The flow of money into the sport stops, meaning that money cannot flow back out the other end easily.

Who are the parties involved, and what are their roles? Let the below diagram explain, using Formula 1 and MotoGP as the key examples…

Motor sport ecosystem.png
A simplified view of the motor sport ecosystem.

Much of the above is stating the obvious, however it shows how the ecosystem joins up from one segment to another, from the customer paying the pay TV broadcaster their monthly subscription, all the way through to teams paying their staff.

The diagram is, I admit, a simplistic view of the landscape, but hopefully helps to show how some of the basic activities connect. There are many more inputs and outputs, the diagram only covers the main ones (although if you feel there is a major gap, please shout).

Motor sport ecosystem - branch 1.png
A simplified view of the motor sport ecosystem (branch 1).

Branch 1 – Pay TV > Commercial Rights Holder
Pay-TV broadcasters receive income from both their customers monthly, as well as from advertisers / sponsors who want to advertise during their programming. Not all motor sports air on pay-TV, but overall, that is the way.

Some have suggested that UK’s pay-TV broadcasters BT and Sky should refund subscribers of their sports channels during the coronavirus outbreak, however neither are planning to do so currently.

The income pay-TV broadcasters receive allows them to broadcast prestigious events, the broadcaster paying the relevant Commercial Rights Holder an agreed amount each season.

For MotoGP, the Commercial Rights Holder is Dorna, for F1 it is Formula One Management, for World Rally Championship it is WRC Promoter, and so on.

To attract subscribers, pay-TV broadcasters want to utilise the best talent, on and off-screen. For that, they use a hybrid of permanent in-house staff and freelancers.

Both bring their benefits: being a permanent member of staff gives you added security with a regular pay packet, but makes it unlikely that you can work on events not aired on their outlet.

Freelancers on the other hand may work F1 one weekend, MotoGP the next, and then Formula E the weekend after, each paid on a standalone basis. Three different broadcasters and production teams, but not a problem. That approach brings risks: any cancellation will result in a loss of income.

Motor sport ecosystem - branch 1.png
A simplified view of the motor sport ecosystem (branch 2).

Branch 2 – Circuit > Commercial Rights Holder
The second area is simpler. Fans pay money to attend the circuit to watch a race, the circuit pays the Commercial Rights Holder the fee for holding the race. Investors and sponsors may pump money into the circuit to improve facilities, increasing the prospects of holding major events there.

It sounds simple, until someone cancels the race, which is where the legal complications come in. Mark Hughes over on The Race summarises the situation in relation to the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.

In the event of the cancellation of a race, someone will lose money. Opting not to refund the fans is an untenable option. The organisers refund the fans, in which case the organisers lose money. Unless the Commercial Rights Holder waives the fee and takes the financial hit.

The worst-case scenario for a circuit is that they lose so much money, they go into administration and liquidation.

Circuits need money to keep operating outside of the F1 and MotoGP race weekends, they need to pay their own employees (not labelled in the diagram) to give one example. In the UK, the Rockingham Motor Speedway closed in 2018 after financial issues.

Cancelling one race might be okay, but would be enough to disturb the cashflow of the circuit. What happens though, if the Commercial Rights Holder opted to take the hit, saving the circuit, but putting themselves at jeopardy?

Motor sport ecosystem - branch 1.png
A simplified view of the motor sport ecosystem (branch 3).

Branch 3 – Commercial Right Holder > Staff
Like the pay-TV scenario above, the Commercial Rights Holder will pay people to run the World Feed for them all the weekend, both freelancers and permanent staff. The talent varies: from directors, to vision mixers, to replay operators, to camera operators, the list is never ending.

F1 has a mixture of freelance talent and permanent talent, same as above. Same positives, same negatives, same risks.

Motor sport ecosystem - branch 1.png
A simplified view of the motor sport ecosystem (branch 4).

Branch 4 – Commercial Rights Holder > Teams
As well as receiving money off pay-TV broadcasters and circuits, the Commercial Rights Holder will receive money off advertisers, sponsors and investors, the Rolex’s of this world.

Pay-TV broadcasters may want compensation off the Commercial Rights Holder if races fall by the wayside, and the same applies for advertisers, whilst circuits may want their fees lowered.

If organisers cancel one race, most championships would be able to deal with it, however when multiple races disappear, the problem amplifies.

For hypothetical sake, assume the Commercial Rights Holder has buckled in the event of cancellation. They have waived the circuit race fee and given both advertisers and pay-TV companies some compensation. Unlikely, but let us continue the worst-case path.

But, hang on. The Commercial Rights Holder needs to the pay the teams their prize money, right? Well, yes. Oh. But, the Commercial Rights Holder has already lost money? Again, yes.

“Okay then, we will not give teams their prize money.” Good luck with that one.

Teams need to pay their permanent staff and freelancers, as well as suppliers, and need some form of income from both the Commercial Rights Holder and sponsors.

Suppliers are important here. Motor sport relies on thousands of small to medium-sized employers worldwide that rarely gets a mention. If any one of those suppliers go under, that could impact the team’s ability to go racing. Suddenly, we have a major problem…

The likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, Repsol Honda, will survive with minimal disruption. The likes of Williams in F1, and many outfits in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3, all the way down the motor sport pyramid I worry about.

I worry about the freelancers, inside and outside of broadcasting, who are out of work for at least the next month. I worry about championships who struggle to make a profit each year.

I appreciate this is a simplistic view of the world, and does not account for all factors (there are many indirect lines excluded).

The point I am getting at though is that the motor sport ecosystem will be seriously tested over the next few months, and the potential longer-term consequences for this sport do not bear thinking about…


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Scheduling: The 2020 Australian Grand Prix

Update – both F1 and IndyCar have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

An air of uncertainty surrounds motor sport as the Formula 1 paddock beckons on Melbourne, Australia for the start of the 2020 Grand Prix season.

As I write this article, the Australian Grand Prix is still set to take place on Sunday 15th March. However, the coronavirus outbreak means that nothing is certain, and that the details in this article are accurate as of right now, but could change rapidly in the days ahead.

On the broadcasting side, very little has changed in terms of personnel over the winter break, a stark contrast to twelve months ago.

Simon Lazenby continues to lead Sky’s coverage of Formula 1 in Melbourne, alongside the likes of Paul di Resta, Martin Brundle, Jenson Button, Karun Chandhok and David Croft.

Ted Kravitz remains with Sky for 2020, in what Motorsport Broadcasting understands will be a similar arrangement to 2019, with Kravitz part of Sky’s output for most of the 22 races this year.

Meanwhile, Steve Jones continues to steer Channel 4’s ship, with David Coulthard, Mark Webber and Ben Edwards again alongside the Welshman. Over on BBC Radio 5 Live, Jack Nicholls, Jolyon Palmer and Jennie Gow preside over events from Melbourne.

As reported earlier, close sources have indicated to this site that Sky will be presenting their output from Melbourne on-site, however the situation for Channel 4 and BBC is unclear.

On the scheduling front, Sky’s build-up for the 22 races extends to 130 minutes this season, which must be some kind of record. The change means that their live race day shows clock in at five and a half hours when also accounting for the Notebook.

There are other smaller changes to Sky’s schedule, namely Welcome to the Weekend moving from Thursday’s to Friday’s immediately before the first practice session.

Channel 4’s highlights programming also changes for 2020, moving back towards its previous ‘Extended Highlights’ format, as revealed exclusively by this site in January.

The free-to-air broadcaster can now air 60 minutes of the race itself, instead of 45 minutes as was the case last year.

Elsewhere, the IndyCar Series is back for its second season on Sky Sports F1, whilst the World Rally Championship heads to Mexico for round three of 2020.

Channel 4 F1
14/03 – 12:00 to 13:30 – Qualifying Highlights
15/03 – 14:10 to 16:40 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
13/03 – 00:30 to 02:45 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 00:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 01:00 – Practice 1
13/03 – 04:45 to 06:45 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
14/03 – 02:45 to 04:30 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 02:45 – Practice 3
=> 04:10 – Paddock Walkabout
14/03 – 05:00 to 07:30 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 05:00 – Pre–Show
=> 05:55 – Qualifying
15/03 – 03:00 to 08:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 03:00 – Sunday Social
=> 04:00 – Grand Prix Sunday (also Sky One)
=> 05:05 – Race (also Sky One)
=> 07:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 08:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
12/03 – 05:00 to 05:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference
13/03 – 07:30 to 08:00 – The Story so Far (also Sky Sports Main Event)
14/03 – 07:30 to 08:00 – The F1 Show (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
18/03 – 20:00 to 20:30 – F1 Weekend Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
12/03 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
13/03 – 00:55 to 02:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13/03 – 04:55 to 06:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14/03 – 02:55 to 04:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14/03 – 05:55 to 07:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
15/03 – 04:30 to 07:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

IndyCar Series – St. Petersburg (Sky Sports F1)
14/03 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying
15/03 – 18:30 to 22:00 – Race

World Rally Championship – Mexico (All Live)
Also airs live on WRC+ (£)
13/03 – 01:15 to 03:00 – Stages 1 and 2 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 02:08 – Stage 1
=> 02:31 – Stage 2
13/03 – 13:45 to 03:00 – Stages 3 to 12 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 15:08 – Stage 3
=> 16:16 – Stage 4
=> 17:14 – Stage 5
=> 18:12 – Stage 6
=> 21:35 – Stage 7
=> 22:43 – Stage 8
=> 23:41 – Stage 9
=> 01:21 – Stages 10 and 11
=> 02:14 – Stage 12
14/03 – 13:45 to 02:30 – Stages 13 to 21 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 14:58 – Stage 13
=> 16:01 – Stage 14
=> 17:08 – Stage 15
=> 20:56 – Stage 16
=> 21:59 – Stage 17
=> 23:08 – Stage 18
=> 00:38 – Stages 19 and 20
=> 01:26 – Stage 21
15/03 – 13:30 to 18:45 – Stages 22 to 24 (BT Sport Extra 2)
=> 14:38 – Stage 22
=> 15:56 – Stage 23
=> 17:18 – Stage 24

World Rally Championship – Mexico
13/03 (Thursday night) – 02:00 to 03:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 2)
14/03 (Saturday morning) – 06:00 to 06:30 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 3)
14/03 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Stage 15 (BT Sport 3)
15/03 (Saturday night) – 04:30 to 05:00 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
15/03 – 17:00 to 18:30 – Stage 24 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
16/03 (Sunday night) – 03:00 to 03:30 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
17/03 – 22:30 to 23:30 – Highlights (ITV4)

Of course, the listings above are subject to change, so keep an eye on both this site and the official championship social channels for the latest up to date information.


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