Scheduling: The 2020 British Grand Prix

Formula 1 heads home for the second of its triple-headers this season, with the British Grand Prix!

As usual, the race airs live on free-to-air television, this year’s race airing across Channel 4, Sky One, Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event, as well as on radio via BBC Radio 5 Live, giving fans plenty of options.

Although the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire hosts two races this season, only the first one will air live on Channel 4.

As revealed by Motorsport Broadcasting earlier this year, Channel 4’s contract with Sky only allows them to air the race titled the ‘British Grand Prix’ live, and not any race held at Silverstone live.

However, the site can confirm that Channel 4’s live coverage from both Silverstone races will come from the paddock for the first time this year, the team having based themselves from the Silverstone Experience during the first triple-header.

Joining Steve Jones from Silverstone will be David Coulthard, Ben Edwards, Mark Webber, Billy Monger and Lee McKenzie.

Over on 5 Live in the build-up to the weekend, Jennie Gow presents a special show looking back at 70 years of Silverstone, with guests including Coulthard, Webber and double World Champion Mika Hakkinen joining her.

Outside of the F1 sphere, both the World Superbikes and Formula E seasons get back underway, the latter restarting on Wednesday 5th August.

Scheduling clashes with the Snooker World Championship mean that Formula E’s first two races from Berlin will primarily air across Eurosport 2 and the BBC Sport website, the snooker taking priority for both.

The British Touring Car Championship also begins its campaign, with ITV4 providing extensive coverage from Donington Park.

Channel 4 F1
31/07 – 10:55 to 12:35 – Practice 1
31/07 – 14:55 to 16:35 – Practice 2
01/08 – 10:55 to 12:00 – Practice 3
01/08 – 13:00 to 16:00 – Qualifying
02/08 – 13:00 to 17:00 – Race
=> 13:00 – Build-Up
=> 13:45 – Race
=> 16:15 – Reaction

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
31/07 – 10:30 to 12:50
=> 10:30 – Welcome to the Weekend (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 11:00 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
31/07 – 14:45 to 16:45 – Practice 2
01/08 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3 (also Sky One)
01/08 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying (also Sky One)
02/08 – 12:30 to 17:30 – Race
=> 12:30 – Grand Prix Sunday (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 14:05 – Race (also Sky One and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 16:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 17:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
31/07 – 17:30 to 18:00 – The Story so Far (also Sky Sports Main Event)
05/08 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
28/07 – 20:00 to 22:00 – 70 Years of Silverstone (BBC Radio 5 Live)
30/07 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
31/07 – 10:55 to 12:55 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
31/07 – 14:55 to 16:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
01/08 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
01/08 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
02/08 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula E – Berlin (Eurosport 2)
Shakedown, Practice and Qualifying air live on YouTube
All sessions are available live on BBC’s website
05/08 – Race 1
=> 17:45 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
06/08 – Race 2
=> 17:45 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)

British Touring Car Championship – Donington Park (ITV4)
02/08 – 10:35 to 18:15 – Races

Ferrari Challenge – Portimao (Sky Sports F1)
01/08 – 16:55 to 17:55 – Race 1 (tape-delay)
02/08 – 17:30 to 18:30 – Race 2 (tape-delay)

Formula Two – Britain (Sky Sports F1)
31/07 – 12:50 to 13:40 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
31/07 – 16:55 to 17:30 – Qualifying
01/08 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
02/08 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)

Formula Three – Britain (Sky Sports F1)
31/07 – 09:30 to 10:20 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
31/07 – 14:00 to 14:45 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
01/08 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
02/08 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Britain (Sky Sports F1)
02/08 – 11:20 to 12:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)

World Superbikes – Jerez
Also airs live on World Superbikes’ Video Pass (£)
01/08 – 09:45 to 12:00 – Qualifying 1 (Eurosport 2)
01/08 – 12:30 to 15:15 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
02/08 – 09:45 to 12:15 – Qualifying 2 (Eurosport 2)
02/08 – 12:45 to 15:15 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
06/08 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

If the scheduling details change, this post will be updated.

Update on July 31st – Good news: the first two Formula E races from Berlin will now also air live on the Red Button after all.


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Behind the lens with BT Sport MotoGP as racing resumes

This weekend, MotoGP roars back into life in Jerez, Spain after a four-month back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Life for all involved in the championship will be radically different as the championship adjusts to the ‘new normal.’

As revealed by Motorsport Broadcasting last month, access to the paddock will be limited to key personnel and major television crews only, with all other journalists remaining off-site.

On the UK front, television broadcaster BT Sport are remaining in the UK, opting to present their programming from Triumph’s Visitor Experience Centre in Hinckley, albeit with all social distancing regulations in place.

Lockdown life for BT
Whilst most of Europe was in lockdown, BT took the opportunity to prepare for the road ahead, presenting 36 hours of MotoGP programming remotely across 11 weeks, and exploiting MotoGP’s rich archive in the process.

Despite the natural challenges surrounding remote broadcasting, arguably the end solution was better than BT could have ever expected in the circumstances, an ‘extreme’ solution as described by Kevin Brown, BT’s MotoGP series editor at production house North One.

“The engineers at BT and our partners at Timeline are brilliant. They’ve been working on remote solutions for a while for sustainability reasons, but those plans were accelerated very, very quickly to make it work,” explained Brown.

“What it meant was that the usual gallery of people working on a TV production was spread around into their homes by using technical solutions to make that happen.”

“I think the best way to describe it is extreme because it hadn’t been done before and it ended up with us being able to make 36 hours of MotoGP programming across 11 weeks, which we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.”

The channel started off with whittling down MotoGP’s classic races over five weeks, with the 2009 Catalunya battle between Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crowned The Greatest Race. Following the initial five episodes was another series of episodes looking at MotoGP’s Greatest Years.

BT Sport MotoGP - Triumph Studio 1.png
Suzi Perry and Neil Hodgson on hand at BT’s main studio location in the Triumph building…

Fans engaged with both programming strands, each generating social media traffic in the process for BT, helping to fill the racing void for motorcycling fans around the country, all done remotely, and with no obvious teething issues from the outset, which Brown says is a “testament to all working on the production,” despite the scale of change involved.

“For all of us, it was a big change to how we’ve done things previously. The presenters had to build and set the kit up themselves remotely, engineering their own television studio essentially! Everybody has had to adapt, and I think with coronavirus, we’ve all had to do different things to get the show up and running,” Brown said.

“It was a very different kind of programme because we were generating the content rather than reacting to it, and there were fewer people working on it. It was a way of using what we know is fantastic archive, but to put a modern spin on it, encouraging viewer engagement. At the time, there was no sport on the television, there was nothing for people to talk about.”

The return of present-day sport
Fast-forward, and MotoGP returns this weekend, however social distancing regulations remain. Having perfected remote broadcasting during lockdown, BT are continuing down that path, for the moment at least, but with the experience from lockdown now in their back pocket.

Although the BT’s presentation team of Suzi Perry, Gavin Emmett, Keith Huewen, Michael Laverty, and Neil Hodgson are presenting the coverage from Triumph’s Hinckley base, the production aspect of the coverage continues to be remote.

Triumph is a relevant base for BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage, given their involvement with MotoGP as Moto2’s core engine supplier.

A skeleton crew will be present in Hinckley, three people will be based at Timeline’s production facility in London, with nine people working from home.

“The learning that we were able to do over the 11 weeks of those two series’ has stood us in good stead for this because we were able to use this remote setup,” Brown tells me.

“We couldn’t put the nine people who are working from home in a gallery because there wouldn’t be a gallery big enough to cater for social distancing. We’re trying to make it as close as possible to our normal production, but without putting anybody’s safety at risk.”

“The main thing is, we all want to make programming, we all want to see sport back again, but the overriding thing has to be that we keep people safe.”

Safety is key for BT, and to that effect the crew will be in different places across Triumph’s base, with the touch pad located in a different area of the building compared to the main socially distanced set. Floor markings identify which direction the presentation team must walk in throughout the weekend.

Similarly, Perspex screens will separate the four commentary booths, with each desk two meters long, allowing for BT to continue their usual policy of rotating their commentary team with each session.

“It’s all been set up so they don’t share lip mics, they won’t have the same talkback keys, they won’t have the same computer screens, all of those things have been carefully considered,” explains Brown, who himself will be based down in London for the duration of the weekend.

“The Perspex screen though means that they will still be able to see each other and obviously because the interaction between the commentators is quite crucial, we felt that was an important thing to be able to do.”

Only one of the pundits will be with Perry in the main studio area, and similarly only one person will be directing the touch screen at any given time.

Brown praises Dorna co-operation
The touch screen will allow Emmett to interview riders throughout the weekend, including post-race, and Brown praises the co-operation with MotoGP’s commercial rights holder Dorna during this period.

BT Sport MotoGP - Triumph Studio 2.png
…whilst Gavin Emmett takes control of the touch screen.

“I always feel the job of a sports production is to take people to an event they can’t go to, and right now they really can’t go to the event, so I think it becomes even more important for us to try to get people closer to what’s going on.”

“Not being in the paddock is always going to be a disadvantage, however Dorna have been brilliant throughout. They understand that we’re not going to be travelling and they’ve done their best to help us with that.”

“The riders and the teams have been briefed that when they do their interviews with us, they will have headphones and a mic which will allow them to interact with our studio. It means that, although we’re not there, we’re hopefully able to bring people closer by having the key characters still interacting with our presentation,” Brown says.

Although this period has been tough for everyone, Brown says that BT have learnt a lot.

“What I think we’ve learnt over lockdown is that we can be agile enough to adapt in the circumstances, and I think that’s something BT can be really proud of.”

“We were able to continue making MotoGP programmes when there wasn’t any MotoGP, and we were able to continue doing it when there wasn’t any access to any TV studios. I think that’s shown a lot of agility and a lot of resourcefulness, just to keep motorbike racing on the telly, which in the end is what people want to watch,” he tells me.

For at least the next five races, Triumph will be the home of BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage. Beyond that, is anyone’s guess. For now, let us enjoy the ride as MotoGP accelerates back off the start line.


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Scheduling: The 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix / Spanish MotoGP

The first triple header of the 2020 Formula One season concludes with the teams and drivers taking a 260-mile trip across the border from Austria into Hungary for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The main change from a TV perspective this weekend is that Channel 4’s highlights programme airs an hour later, from 19:30 to 22:00. The change is likely to cover up gaps in Channel 4’s own programming schedule arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unusually, the 5 Live schedule for F1 is blank, because every session is airing on the BBC website only, and there is no Preview schedule on BBC Radio 5 Live either, as Premier League football, FA Cup semi-finals and cricket pushes F1 down the BBC’s pecking order.

On the personnel front, Jenson Button is not with the Sky team in Hungary, but will be rejoining the team in Silverstone.

Over in Spain, the MotoGP season gets underway with a double-header at Jerez, as Marc Marquez looks to triumph once again.

For MotoGP, it is the first round of the year, however for Moto2 and Moto3 it is round two of the year after they managed to kickstart their season in Qatar back in March.

BT’s coverage comes from Triumph’s main base in Hinckley, with the usual team of Suzi Perry, Gavin Emmett, Keith Huewen, Neil Hodgson amongst those guiding viewers through the championship this year.

As with F1, some pay TV broadcasters are travelling to Jerez, however Dorna have prohibited all other journalists from the circuit itself.

For those that did not watch Moto2 or Moto3 from Qatar, keep an eye on MotoGP’s new graphics set for 2020 during the Jerez weekend.

Free-to-air highlights of MotoGP again air on Quest in a Monday evening time slot.

Elsewhere, in an interesting development, Sky Sports F1 are airing live coverage of the Ferrari Challenge series where possible this year, as they continue to grow their non-F1 motor sport portfolio.

It is not Sky Sports F1’s only acquisition recently: they are also airing extensive coverage of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance and Sprint Cup championships this year for the first time.

Channel 4 F1
18/07 – 18:45 to 20:15 – Qualifying Highlights
19/07 – 19:30 to 22:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
17/07 – 09:30 to 11:50
=> 09:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 10:00 – Practice 1
17/07 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2
18/07 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3
18/07 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
19/07 – 12:30 to 17:30 – Race
=> 12:30 – Grand Prix Sunday
=> 14:05 – Race
=> 16:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 17:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
17/07 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
22/07 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website

MotoGP – Spain (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
17/07 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
17/07 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
18/07 – 08:00 to 15:45
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
=> 15:00 – MotoE
19/07 – 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 – Spain (Quest)
20/07 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

Ferrari Challenge – Catalunya (Sky Sports F1)
18/07 – 17:10 to 18:10 – Race 1
19/07 – 17:30 to 18:30 – Race 2 (tape-delay)

Formula Two – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
17/07 – 11:50 to 12:40 – Practice
17/07 – 15:55 to 16:30 – Qualifying
18/07 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
19/07 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2

Formula Three – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
17/07 – 08:30 to 09:20 – Practice
17/07 – 13:00 to 13:45 – Qualifying
18/07 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
19/07 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Iowa (Sky Sports F1)
17/07 – 22:30 to 23:30 – Qualifying 1
17/07 (Friday night) – 01:30 to 04:30 – Race 1
18/07 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Qualifying 2
18/07 (Saturday night) – 01:30 to 04:00 – Race 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)

Porsche Supercup – Hungary (Sky Sports F1)
19/07 – 11:20 to 12:05 – Race

Virgin Australia Supercars – Winton
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
18/07 – 06:30 to 08:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
19/07 – 02:30 to 04:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport 2)
19/07 – 05:30 to 07:00 – Race 3 (BT Sport 2)

This post will be updated if details change.


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Analysis: How F1’s return to action fared around the world

A peak audience of close to four million viewers watched Formula 1’s return to action in the UK, overnight viewing figures suggest.

Highlights of the opening round of the season aired on Channel 4 from 18:30 to 21:00, averaging 1.6 million viewers according to industry expert Liam Hamilton on Twitter, making it the most watched programme outside of BBC One and ITV on Sunday.

The free-to-air offering peaked with 2.3 million viewers. That, combined with an average audience of 1.5 million viewers for Sky Sports F1’s coverage of the race itself from 14:05 to 16:00, meant that a peak audience of near to four million viewers sampled F1’s return on Sunday afternoon.

Both figures are in line with what F1 has broadly averaged during the past few seasons, with Sky’s figures a little higher than expected given the Premier League competition on Sky’s other sports channels.

Down under in Australia, a further 111,000 viewers heard Sky’s Formula 1 commentary via Fox Sports late on Sunday evening, according to Australian website TV Tonight.

Netherlands and Germany shine…
In Netherlands, an average audience of 1.44 million viewers (52.3% audience share) watched from 15:05 to 16:58 across Ziggo Sports and Ziggo Sport Select, according to ratings bureaux SKO.

The ‘Select’ channel, which airs Ziggo Sport’s main attractions, averaged 426,000 viewers (15.5%), with the dedicated F1 channel averaging a further 1.01 million viewers (36.8%).

Interest in Formula 1 has soared in the Netherlands in the past few years, thanks to the rise of Max Verstappen, although the number from this past weekend looks to be slightly higher than in previous years.

Over in Germany, an audience of 4.48 million viewers (28.0%) watched Sebastian Vettel’s poor performance on RTL, as they begin their final year broadcasting F1, before an exclusive deal  between F1 and Sky Deutschland kicks into effect next year. The race peaked with 5.15 million viewers.

Quotenmeter says that RTL’s figure is up slightly on the equivalent 2019 figure of 4.36 million viewers (28.6%).

Suffice to say that, as poor as Vettel has been in the past twelve months, Germany’s interest in F1 has held up remarkably. Time will tell if interest will hold when F1 moves behind a pay wall…

For now, Sky Deutschland and RTL both air F1 live in Germany, however no audience figures for the former for Austria are currently available.

Over the border in Austria, ORF’s live free-to-air coverage of the race itself from 15:05 to 16:55 averaged 609,000 viewers (46.0%), as they head into a shared partnership with ServusTV beginning next season.

ORF says that their coverage from the Red Bull Ring reached 1.91 million viewers across the whole weekend.

Stateside, ESPN’s coverage averaged a strong 752,000 viewers from 09:05, peaking with 890,000 viewers as the race concluded, the highest ever for the event, and an increase of 16 percent year-on-year.

…but a poor showing in Spain
In Italy, audience figures were like that seen in the UK.

Live coverage across Sky Sport F1 and Sky Sport Uno averaged 1.32 million viewers (11.3%) from 15:10, with 1.34 million viewers (10.9%) watching delayed coverage of the Grand Prix on Sky’s free-to-air channel TV8. Both shows peaked with just over two million viewers.

Further down Europe, the picture for Formula 1 in Spain looks bleak.

According to Formula TV, An audience of just 104,000 viewers (0.9%) watched live coverage of the race on Movistar’s F1 channel, a dismal figure for a country that once watched in their millions during Fernando Alonso’s heyday.

F1 has fallen out of the public consciousness in Spain, and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz is not recording on their radar, yet. The announcement that Alonso will return to F1 next season with Renault should give F1’s popularity in Spain a much-needed boost.

To put the Spanish figure into perspective, Polish journalist Mariusz Wójcicki reports that live coverage of the Grand Prix averaged 214,000 viewers in Poland.

Whilst the Polish figure is, understandably, down year-on-year with no Robert Kubica on the grid, it does put into perspective the alarmingly low figure in Spain.

Over in France, 1.06 million viewers watched F1’s return to action on Canal+, which they say is a record for Austria since they first began airing F1.

Days of large audience figures are over
Two figures stand out positively for me.

The first is in Netherlands. The raw audience is nothing to shout above in the grand scheme of things, but when you consider that only 17.5 million people live there, it is important, and shows how much Max Verstappen is cutting through the public eye.

Germany also stands out, because it is the last bastion that falls by the wayside, whenever the 2020 season draws to a close. An average audience of over four million viewers may halve overnight.

Across the above ten territories, an average audience of around 14.5 to 16.5 million viewers watched the Grand Prix on television. I have been generous and rounded that up slightly to account for missing data points.

At its peak, that figure will be higher, and then the reach figures that F1 announces in press even higher than that. There will be additional public data available, it is just a matter of trying to find it in the depths of the internet.

The 2020 average television figure will again be down on yesteryear because of F1’s transition towards pay TV. So, where have the viewers gone?

Some will be watching online via one of the respective broadcasters’ over-the-top platforms, others will have migrated to F1’s over-the-top platform, both of which will take up a larger percentage than in previous years.

We cannot quantify the volumes involved, because the relevant parties choose not to disclose these figures publicly, meaning the picture is incomplete. It is highly unlikely that all the lapsed television fans have migrated, however.

Nevertheless, the above offers a snapshot as to how F1 is performing across Europe. The overriding message is that in many territories around Europe, the days of Formula 1 achieving viewing figures of 4, 5, 6, or even 7 million viewers for its live airing, are over.

Updated on July 8th to account for US audience figures.


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Red Bull channel ServusTV and ORF to share F1 rights in Austria from 2021

A television channel owned by Red Bull has secured the rights to broadcast Formula 1 in Austria, however has opted to sublet some of the package back to the incumbent rights holder.

ServusTV, a commercial free-to-air station owned by the Red Bull Media House, will share the broadcasting rights with longstanding national public service broadcaster ORF from 2021 until the end of 2023, ORF’s existing agreement ending after this season.

A statement issued by ORF via their media centre confirms that ServusTV acquired the rights exclusively, with ORF acting as their partner in the arrangement.

The situation is like the current UK F1 deal in that respect: Sky acquired the television rights, and Channel 4 then bought an element back off the pay TV broadcaster (although the scenario in Austria concerns two free-to-air broadcasters).

ORF and ServusTV will confirm the exact race split prior to the start of the 2021 season, however both will air the Austrian Grand Prix from the Red Bull Ring live.

ServusTV’s acquisition adds to their existing sports portfolio, which includes live coverage of MotoGP and the World Superbike series. In May, the channel also secured rights to 33 matches per season of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and the new UEFA Europa Conference League.

Their Director General Dr Ferdinand Wegscheider noted “The new agreement with the Formula 1 fills us with pride and we will do our utmost to write another success story in Austrian motorsport coverage, parallel to MotoGP,” he said.

“With Formula 1, MotoGP, and the Superbike World Championship, ServusTV will offer the best live motor sport program to viewers from 2021 onward.”

“The cooperation with ORF makes sense economically and guarantees that Formula One fans have access to all races live on free-TV.”

The story so far
The last line by Wegscheider outlines the issues that his counterparts over at ORF are facing, a recurring theme in recent weeks on this site.

Speculation about ORF’s continuation as broadcaster is not new. In 2016, ServusTV was again said to be interested but ORF was able to negotiate a reduction in the fee, which Austrian outlet Kleine Zeitung reported reduced their fee from over €15 million to €10 million a year.

However, ORF says that the “economic challenges” in recent times has resulted in a further change from their perspective.

“These are economically challenging times also for ORF, and with the acquisition of the live broadcasting rights of the current Bundesliga season and the UEFA Europa League, ORF was recently able to secure free-TV rights that are equally important for sports and sports fans,” explained ORF Director General Dr Alexander Wrabetz.

“Although the agreement with shared broadcasting rights is a novelty, this cooperation guarantees that Formula 1 will also remain an integral part of ORF’s TV program in the coming years – while at the same time complying with economic requirements. And that is good news for all motor sports fans in Austria.”

ServusTV has increasingly in recent years tried to raise their profile within Formula 1 by inviting motor sport guests to its popular Monday evening talk show broadcast from an aircraft hangar in Salzburg airport (Sport und Talk aus dem Hangar-7). Just last night, the crew invited Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel onto the show, creating headlines across the F1 spectrum.

Speaking ahead of a potential F1 rights deal back in February, Red Bull’s owner Dieter Mateschitz told the Salzburger Nachrichten that they are not “…fundamentally not a sports broadcaster.”

“But we should think twice with such an opportunity. Formula One rights are always interesting for a broadcaster, but we cannot say anything more now,” he added.

“We must wait to see what ORF decides and what Sky does. It simply depends on the situation in the market. We’ll watch that and it is always very interesting.”

Viewing figures remain healthy in Austria, where the rapport between ORF commentator Ernst Hausleitner and pundit Alexander Wurz is frequently praised.

The news from Austria comes after the decision of RTL in Germany to step away from Formula 1 broadcasting, first announced to English-speaking audiences on this site.

Additional reporting by Edmund Wareham.


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