Dramatic British Grand Prix conclusion watched by over four million viewers in UK

A peak audience of over 4 million viewers watched Lewis Hamilton win the British Grand Prix, which concluded in dramatic style yesterday afternoon, overnight viewing figures show.

All overnight viewing figures exclude people watching in pubs and bars, as well as those watching via on demand platforms, such as Now TV and All 4.

Although Motorsport Broadcasting no longer has access to audience data, the headline figures are in the public domain, allowing us to glean how the landscape looks. The sources for the figures are at the foot of this article.

UK viewing figures
Comparisons year-on-year are difficult to the differing factors surrounding each race, which we need to account for.

Last year’s race clashed with the Cricket World Cup final featuring England and New Zealand, as well as the Wimbledon final, both taking a bite out of the F1 audience.

Naturally, that meant more people watching around the television set, whereas the COVID-19 pandemic means that this year’s race fell during the Summer holidays, a period where fewer people are watching TV.

Channel 4’s coverage of the race itself, including a short portion of the build-up and immediate post-race reaction, averaged around 2.3 million viewers (25% audience share) from 13:45 to 16:15.

The free-to-air broadcaster says that the audience share for younger viewers was 20%, the biggest share in that time slot. Their coverage peaked with three million viewers, an increase on last year’s figure of around 200,000 viewers.

Live coverage across Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event averaged a further 1.1 million viewers from 14:05 to 16:00, significantly higher than last year’s audience for the pay TV platform. Last year’s coverage on Sky Sports F1 peaked with around 900,000 viewers.

When accounting for Sky One, it is likely that Sky’s coverage in total peaked with around 1.3 to 1.4 million viewers, a sizeable year-on-year increase.

All of this means that, in total, a peak audience of over four million viewers watched the closing stages of the Grand Prix, a jump compared to last year’s figure of 3.7 million viewers, and bringing the peak back closer to the 2016 to 2018 audience figures.

Based on the (albeit limited) evidence we have, the strong suggestion is that Sky’s audience figures have increased compared to 2019, which is good news for the sport for the whole, although perhaps not good news for those hoping that F1 returns to free-to-air television in the UK.

Viewing figures across Europe dip as Summer hits
Despite Mercedes’ continued domination, there is little sign that audiences have tuned out in significant numbers when comparing the figures for key territories to the season opening Austrian Grand Prix, however there are some noteworthy dips.

Not in a title winning car? Not a problem in the Netherlands, where audiences continue to tune in for Max Verstappen. According to SKO, a massive audience of 1.43 million viewers (58.6%) watched the Grand Prix from 15:05 to 16:58.

The race, which was in-line with the season opener, saw 1.07 million viewers (44.2%) watch via the dedicated F1 channel, with a further 351,000 viewers (14.4%) watching via Ziggo Sport’s generalised offering.

Viewing figures did dip more in Germany and Austria, however. Motosport.com reports that 4.81 million viewers (30.8%) watched the race across RTL and Sky, compared with 5.09 million viewers (31.6%) for the season opener.

An audience of 4.28 million viewers (27.4%) watched RTL’s free-to-air offering, with a further 530,000 viewers (3.4%) watching Sky’s race coverage. Bearing in mind that Sky are the exclusive supplier for F1 fans in Germany as of 2021, it shows just how many fans F1 could lose in Germany if not many of them make the transition to pay TV.

Over in Austria, an audience of 550,000 viewers (39%) watched ORF’s offering, a decrease on their Austrian Grand Prix audience of 609,000 viewers (46%). Canal+’s offering for fans in France also dropped by a similar amount.

One country that did increase their audience compared to the season opener was Spain. An audience of 183,000 viewers (1.7%) watched Movistar’s coverage according to Formula TV, compared to a figure of 104,000 viewers (0.9%) from one month ago.

Sources for UK portion of article: Channel 4 Press, Liam Hamilton. US audience figures will be added once available.


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Scheduling: The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix / Formula E season finale

Formula 1 celebrates seventy years, with a second race at Silverstone owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a revamp of their schedule.

The second Silverstone race will not air live on Channel 4, as their contract with Sky only allows them to air the race given the formal ‘British Grand Prix’ title live. As thus, the broadcaster reverts to their usual highlights format, however, their team will remain in the paddock, for the 70th Anniversary round at least.

In the eight years since Motorsport Broadcasting launched, this is probably the most congested scheduling piece I have written, with Formula 1, MotoGP, Formula E and World Superbikes all taking place on the same weekend.

Beneath that the British Touring Car Championship, British Superbikes, as well as all the Formula 1 and MotoGP support races, are all fighting for column inches.

The clashes mean that Jack Nicholls will not be part of the BBC’s 5 Live F1 coverage for the weekend.

Nicholls is out in Berlin for the Formula E finale, which concludes on Thursday 13th August, again another quirk due to the pandemic. The middle two races from Berlin also air live on free-to-air channel Quest. Nicholls’ 5 Live F1 replacement has yet to be confirmed.

It is worth mentioning that many people behind the scenes, whether it is camera operators, directors, floor managers, and so on, would normally work multiple of these events in a given year, the clashes meaning that some lose out on work that they would have otherwise have had.

For example, some of BT Sport’s MotoGP production team also works British Superbikes and World Superbikes for Eurosport – a clash makes it impossible to work both. Similarly, some of those working on the Formula E production may work other events during the year.

However, the net positive is that it means others within the industry may receive opportunities that they may not have received in a normal racing year, which is worth bearing in mind if some of the direction elsewhere is sub-standard over the next two weeks…

For Sky, Ted Kravitz is not with the team now until the Italian Grand Prix next month, meaning that there is no Notebook for the next three races.

Back on the scheduling front, IndyCar organisers have cancelled their Mid-Ohio double header due to the pandemic, which is one less scheduling headache for Sky Sports. Elsewhere, the Euroformula Series is absent from BT Sport’s schedule, so fans wanting to prioritise that series will need to watch on YouTube.

A huge apology below if anything is incorrect: due to the amount of sport taking place now (and cancellations), schedules are subject to change at short notice.

Channel 4 F1
08/08 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Qualifying Highlights
09/08 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
07/08 – 10:30 to 12:50 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 09:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 10:00 – Practice 1
07/08 – 14:45 to 16:45 – Practice 2
08/08 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3 (also Sky One)
08/08 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying (also Sky One)
09/08 – 12:30 to 17:00 – Race
=> 12:30 – Grand Prix Sunday (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 14:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 16:00 – Chequered Flag

Supplementary Programming
07/08 – 17:30 to 18:00 – The Story so Far
12/08 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
05/08 – 19:30 to 20:30 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
08/08 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
08/08 – 12:00 to 15:00 (BBC Radio 5 Live)
=> 12:00 – Build-Up during 5 Live Sport
=> 14:00 – Qualifying
09/08 – 12:00 to 16:00 (BBC Radio 5 Live)
=> 12:00 – Build-Up during 5 Live Sport
=> 14:00 – Race

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

MotoGP – Czech Republic (Quest)
10/08 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

Formula E – Berlin
Shakedown, Practice and Qualifying air live on YouTube
All sessions are available live on BBC’s website
05/08 – Event 1 – Race 1
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
06/08 – Event 1 – Race 2
=> 17:45 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
08/08 – Event 2 – Race 1
=> 17:30 to 19:30 (Quest)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
09/08 – Event 2 – Race 2
=> 17:30 to 19:30 (Quest)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
12/08 – Event 3 – Race 1
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)
13/08 – Event 3 – Race 2
=> 17:45 to 19:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 18:00 to 19:00 (BBC Red Button)

British Superbikes – Donington Park
08/08 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
08/08 – 15:00 to 17:30 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
09/08 – 13:30 to 14:30 – Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
09/08 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Race 3 (Eurosport 2)
12/08 – 20:00 to 21:30 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch (ITV4)
09/08 – 10:20 to 18:15 – Races

Formula Two – 70th Anniversary F1 (Sky Sports F1)
07/08 – 12:50 to 13:45 – Practice
07/08 – 16:55 to 17:30 – Qualifying
08/08 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
09/08 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2

Formula Three – 70th Anniversary F1 (Sky Sports F1)
07/08 – 09:30 to 10:20 – Practice
07/08 – 14:00 to 14:45 – Qualifying
08/08 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
09/08 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – 70th Anniversary F1 (Sky Sports F1)
09/08 – 11:20 to 12:05 – Race

Virgin Australia Supercars – Darwin (BT Sport 3)
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
08/08 – 06:45 to 08:00 – Race 1
09/08 – 04:30 to 05:45 – Race 2
09/08 – 06:45 to 08:00 – Race 3

World Superbikes – Algarve
Also airs live on World Superbikes’ Video Pass (£)
08/08 – 10:45 to 13:00 – Qualifying 1 (Eurosport 2)
08/08 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
09/08 – 10:45 to 13:30 – Qualifying 2 and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
TBC – Highlights (ITV4)

If the schedules do change, this post will be updated.

Updated on August 7th as the Supercars round from Darwin has been moved by a week.


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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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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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