Scheduling: The 2020 Indianapolis 500

“And we go green for the 500!”

There may be no fans in attendance, but the Indianapolis 500 promises to remain a spectacle on the circuit as 33 cars head into turn one for the start of the famous race.

The race itself begins in a primetime slot for UK fans at 19:30, later than in previous years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marco Andretti followed in the footsteps of grandfather Mario, taking pole position last Sunday. Can he convert that to race victory this Sunday?

As they did last year, Sky Sports F1 are taking NBC’s stateside offering, with Leigh Diffey leading the commentary alongside the likes of Townsend Bell.

Sky are supplementing NBC’s commentary with their own commentary during the US ad-breaks. Tom Gaymor joins Formula Two lead commentator Alex Jacques to discuss the action from the UK.

Elsewhere, MotoGP concludes its triple-header of races with a second race weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Closer to home, the British Touring Car Championship heads to Oulton Park, with the action starting on ITV4 slightly later than usual at 11:50 on Sunday.

IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500 (Sky Sports F1)
21/08 – 16:00 to 18:30 – Carb Day Practice
23/08 – 18:00 to 23:00 – Race

MotoGP – Styria (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on MotoGP’s Video Pass (£)
21/08 – 08:00 to 10:45 – Practice 1
21/08 – 12:00 to 15:00 – Practice 2
22/08 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
23/08 – 07:30 to 15:00
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Styria (Quest)
24/08 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

British Superbikes – Snetterton
22/08 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
23/08 – 13:00 to 18:00 – Races 2 and 3 (Eurosport 2)
26/08 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

British Touring Car Championship – Oulton Park (ITV4)
23/08 – 11:50 to 18:35 – Races

DTM – Lausitzring
22/08 – 12:15 to 14:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 1)
23/08 – 09:45 to 10:15 – Qualifying (BT Sport/ESPN)
23/08 – 12:15 to 14:00 – Race 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)

As always, I will update this article if broadcasters change their plans.


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal

Scheduling: The 2020 Spanish Grand Prix

After Max Verstappen’s shock victory at Silverstone, Formula 1 heads to Spain to complete their second triple header of the season.

Channel 4 are remaining in the UK for the next hurdle of races. After basing themselves at Silverstone’s Experience Centre for the first three rounds, the team move to the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking for this weekend’s race.

Over on 5 Live F1, Jack Nicholls is back in the booth after Marc Priestley substituted for him last weekend while he was out in Berlin covering Formula E.

Elsewhere, the World Endurance Championship returns with three races between now and November to complete the 2019-20 season.

The action from Spa airs live in full behind BT Sport’s Red Button, with the opening and closing phases of the race also airing on Eurosport 1.

The weekend also marks the start of the Indianapolis 500, with qualifying airing across the weekend on Sky Sports F1.

Understandably given other scheduling clashes, coverage is less than in previous years, with four of the 7.5 hours airing live on Sky, Sky taking a simulcast of America’s main NBC broadcast.

Channel 4 F1
15/08 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Qualifying Highlights
16/08 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
14/08 – 09:30 to 11:50
=> 09:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 10:00 – Practice 1
14/08 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2
15/08 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3
15/08 – 13:00 to 15:35 – Qualifying
16/08 – 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
14/08 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
19/08 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
13/08 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
16/08 – 14:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

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

MotoGP – Austria (Quest)
17/08 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Highlights

Formula Two – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
14/08 – 11:50 to 12:40 – Practice
14/08 – 15:55 to 16:30 – Qualifying
15/08 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
16/08 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2

Formula Three – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
14/08 – 08:30 to 09:20 – Practice
14/08 – 13:00 to 13:45 – Qualifying
15/08 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
16/08 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500 Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
15/08 – 20:00 to 22:00 – Day 1
16/08 – 18:00 to 20:00 – Day 2

Porsche Supercup – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
16/08 – 11:20 to 12:05 – Race

Virgin Australia Supercars – Darwin
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
15/08 – 06:45 to 08:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
16/08 – 04:30 to 05:45 – Race 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)
16/08 – 06:45 to 08:00 – Race 3 (BT Sport/ESPN)

World Endurance Championship – 6 Hours of Spa
15/08 – 12:00 to 19:00 – Race (BT Sport Extra 1)
15/08– 12:15 to 13:30 – Race Start (Eurosport 1)
15/08– 16:30 to 19:00 – Race Finish (Eurosport 1)

This article will be updated if plans change.

Update on August 15th – For the first time since their coverage started in 2012, Simon Lazenby is not with Sky for the action, with Natalie Pinkham stepping into his presenting shoes for the weekend.


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal

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.


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal

Scheduling: The 2020 Styrian Grand Prix

After a chaotic opener, Formula 1 remains in Austria for a second weekend, Austria’s Red Bull Ring playing host to the inaugural Styrian Grand Prix.

Although the on-track scheduling mirrors that seen in the first weekend, there are several amendments on the UK scheduling front.

After a shorter build-up for Austria, Sky have reverted back to their 2019 lengths starting this weekend, with a 60-minute build-up to qualifying, and a 100-minute build-up to the race itself.

The BBC’s radio coverage of the Styrian round will largely air on the website only, due to a clash with England’s cricket test match series against the West Indies, which kicks off on Wednesday.

One addition to the schedule is F1’s in-house programme the Midweek Debrief, which again airs on Wednesday evenings following each Grand Prix.

On the Formula Two front Matt Gallagher, of WTF1 and Esports fame, joins lead commentator Alex Jacques in the Biggin Hill commentary booth.

Meanwhile, the IndyCar Series heads to Road America in Wisconsin for a double-header weekend. The first race airs live as usual on Sky Sports F1, however the second race is currently set to air on a 30-minute tape-delay to avoid overlap with the conclusion of the F1.

Channel 4 F1
11/07 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying Highlights
12/07 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

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

Supplementary Programming
08/07 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief: Austria
10/07 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
15/07 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Midweek Debrief: Styria

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
10/07 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
12/07 – 14:00 to 16:30 – Race Updates (BBC Radio 5 Live)

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

Formula Three – Styria (Sky Sports F1)
10/07 – 08:30 to 09:20 – Practice
10/07 – 13:00 to 13:45 – Qualifying
11/07 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
12/07 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Road America (Sky Sports F1)
11/07 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Qualifying (tape-delay)
11/07 – 22:00 to 00:30 – Race 1
12/07 – 17:30 to 20:30 – Race 2 (tape-delay)

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

As always, scheduling details will be updated if plans change.

Updated on July 7th to reflect Sky’s qualifying and race day scheduling changes.


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal

Scheduling: The 2020 Austrian Grand Prix

It will be odd, it will be strange, and it will be weird. But when the lights go out, nothing will sound better than twenty Formula 1 cars blasting their way around a Grand Prix circuit.

After a three-month hiatus, and seven months since the 2019 season ended, F1 is back with the start of the 2020 season, beginning with a double header in Austria.

Sky Sports are the only UK broadcaster presenting their coverage on-site. Simon Lazenby continues to steer the ship, alongside the likes of Ted Kravitz, David Croft and Martin Brundle out in Austria.

Due to COVID-19, Sky’s original plans from a scheduling perspective for 2020 have gone out the window. Both Paddock Walkabout and The F1 Show are missing from Sky’s Saturday schedule, whilst their qualifying and race build-ups have halved.

Current schedules show that Sky intends to have a 30-minute build-up to qualifying, with a 70-minute build-up to the race itself, reminiscent of ITV’s F1 offering in the early 2000s, albeit in very different circumstances.

Sky originally intended to extend their race build-up to 130-minutes for 2020, which appears to no longer be happening, for the early phase of the season at least. The qualifying programme is shorter, as Sky are airing a live Diversity in Motor Sport special in what would normally be the first 30-minutes of their qualifying show.

Given that the social distancing guidelines limit what you can do, it is not exactly surprising that Sky have had to review their programming and go back to basics – including no grid walk for the foreseeable future.

This site can reveal that both Channel 4 and the BBC are remaining in the UK for the opening rounds. Jack Nicholls and Jolyon Palmer form the BBC’s 5 Live commentary team for 2020, with Jennie Gow and Andrew Benson joining them.

Meanwhile, Steve Jones heads into a fifth season as Channel 4’s Formula 1 presenter, joined in their UK studio setting by David Coulthard, Mark Webber and Ben Edwards.

As revealed prior to Australia, Channel 4 are airing more of the race this year than in 2019, with around 60-minutes of the race airing in their edit, compared to 45-minutes last year.

Elsewhere, Sky are airing the Formula Two documentary series Chasing the Dream in the run-up to Austria. For those who do not have F1 TV, this is well worth a watch, the series following the leading contenders during the 2019 season.

Channel 4 F1
04/07 – 18:45 to 20:15 – Qualifying Highlights
05/07 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
03/07 – 09:30 to 11:50 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 09:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
=> 10:00 – Practice 1
03/07 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2
04/07 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Practice 3
04/07 – 13:30 to 15:30 – Qualifying
05/07 – 13:00 to 17:30 – Race
=> 13:00 – Grand Prix Sunday
=> 14:05 – Race
=> 16:00 – Chequered Flag
=> 17:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
29/06 – 19:00 to 19:30 – F2: Chasing the Dream (1/5)
30/06 – 19:00 to 19:30 – F2: Chasing the Dream (2/5)
01/07 – 19:00 to 19:30 – F2: Chasing the Dream (3/5)
02/07 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference
02/07 – 19:00 to 19:30 – F2: Chasing the Dream (4/5)
03/07 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
03/07 – 19:00 to 19:30 – F2: Chasing the Dream (5/5)
04/07 – 13:00 to 13:30 – Diversity in Motor Sport

BBC Radio F1
All sessions are available live on BBC’s F1 website
03/07 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
03/07 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
03/07 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
04/07 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
04/07 – 13:55 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
05/07 – 13:55 to 16:15 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

Formula Two – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
03/07 – 11:50 to 12:40 – Practice
03/07 – 15:55 to 16:30 – Qualifying
04/07 – 15:35 to 16:55 – Race 1
05/07 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2

Formula Three – Austria (Sky Sports F1)
03/07 – 08:30 to 09:20 – Practice
03/07 – 13:00 to 13:45 – Qualifying
04/07 – 09:20 to 10:10 – Race 1
05/07 – 08:35 to 09:35 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – Indianapolis Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
03/07 – 21:30 to 23:00 – Qualifying
04/07 – 17:00 to 19:00 – Race

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

Keep an eye on this article over the forthcoming week, as broadcasters evolve their plans of the new F1 season.

Updated on June 30th to add details about Sky’s Diversity in Motor Sport special.

Update on July 2nd at 18:05 – As reported by Jonathan Noble over at Motorsport.com, the Drivers’ Press Conference format is radically different – and heavily extended.

Because of the COVID-19 restrictions in place resulting in no media scrums, drivers are being interviewed team-by-team in a secure room. Anyone who has followed the tweets this afternoon from journalists will know it has been a drawn out process, hence Sky opting beforehand to air a 90-minute version later tonight.


Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal