Sky Sports F1
Sky Sports F1 is a television channel created exclusively for Sky's UK and Ireland coverage of Formula One, with Sky having a package of rights from the 2012 season to the 2024 season. From 2019 to 2024, Sky Sports F1 has the exclusive rights to broadcast Formula 1 live in the UK and Ireland, and will sub-licence highlights of all races and qualifying sessions plus the British Grand Prix live to Channel 4. Since 2017, Sky Sports F1 has broadcast Formula 1 in 4K UHD.
|Sky Sports F1|
|Launched||9 March 2012|
|Picture format||2160p UHDTV|
(downscaled to 1080i and 16:9 576i for the HDTV and SDTV feeds, respectively)
|Audience share||0.15% (August 2018 , BARB)|
|Slogan||Your Home of Formula 1|
|Country||United Kingdom, Ireland|
Sky Box Office
Sky Sports News
Sky Sports Racing,
|Sky||Channel 406 (SD/HD)|
Channel 860 (SD)
|Virgin Media |
|Channel 506 (HD)|
|TalkTalk TV||Channel 407|
|eir Vision||Channel 418|
|Sky Go||Watch live|
(UK and Ireland only)
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only)|
|Now TV||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
The BBC initially had exclusive UK rights from 2009 until the end of the 2013 season, having regained the rights from ITV. However, because of the licence fee freeze and resultant review of cost constraints, it was believed that the BBC were to leave F1 after the 2011 season.
A new broadcast rights deal was announced on 29 July 2011, stating that Sky Sports would cover all races live, (half of which would be exclusively live). Both Sky and the BBC would cover the remaining races live including the British Grand Prix and final race. It also allowed the BBC to show highlights of all races, (including the other races that they did not have live rights to cover).
Subsequently on 21 December 2015, it was announced that the BBC would be ending their broadcast rights three seasons early after the 2015 season with the free to air rights to 10 live races and highlights of all 21 races going to Channel 4. However, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra would continue to broadcast live commentary of the whole season, including practice, qualifying and the races until the 2021 season.
Prior to the launch of the channel, there was some controversy about switching Formula One coverage at least in part to pay television, as the BBC brought Sky into the discussions a few days before the deal was announced, despite reported interest from Channel 4. However, since its launch, similar channels have launched in Germany and Italy (to name but two) and had seen further moves towards a pay TV/free-to-air coverage mix by FOM (the Formula 1 rights holder).
In November 2011, Sky announced the new dedicated F1 channel would launch in March 2012, and will air all F1 races with coverage of practice sessions, qualifying and the race, live and commercial free.
On 13 January 2012, an advert was released saying the channel would launch on 9 March 2012, seven days before the start of the 2012 Formula One season. During 2012, the channel was on air for sixty-three hours during race weeks and thirty-two hours during non-race weeks. Sky Sports F1 announced via Twitter that there would not be a dedicated Sky Sports F1 app, however the F1 section on the Sky Sports News app was enhanced.
Sky Sports F1 HD on the Sky platform was available to new and existing customers before 1 April 2013 providing they subscribed to the HD pack. Existing subscribers to all of the Sky Sports channels without the HD pack receive a standard definition version. Virgin Media and Smallworld Cable offer the standard definition version of the channel to Sky Sports subscribers, it is not available separately. The HD version of the channel was made available to Virgin Media customers subscribing to the Sky Sports Collection with the additional Sky Sports HD pack on 15 July 2014. A standard definition version of the channel is also provided through Sky Go.
Since 18 July 2017, new Sky TV customers are able to purchase the channel as a standalone channel, or as part of a larger Sky Sports package Sky Q multiscreen customers with a 2TB box who subscribe to any Sky Sports F1 pack also receive 4K broadcasts at no extra cost.
For the 2018 Formula One season, Formula One's new US rights holder ESPN (which is a minority stakeholder in TSN, and whose parent company was, at the time, intending to acquire Sky through its purchase of 21st Century Fox) similarly began using Sky Sports F1's commentary, along with a simulcast of the pre-race show and some of the post-race show if necessary. However, after criticism over its handling and timing of adverts during the race coverage of the 2018 Australian Grand Prix (at times cutting off announcers mid-sentence), ESPN announced that it would broadcast the remaining races of the season with a single presenting sponsor, and no commercial interruptions. For the 2019 Formula One season, Welcome to the Weekend and Pit Lane Live also became avaliable on the digital subscription service ESPN+.
The 2012 season started on 16 March (live practice) from the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Australia. Sky Sports broadcast every practice session, qualifying session and race live. The season passed 19 countries on the way. Formula One visited places as diverse as China, Bahrain, Belgium, Italy, and also United States for a Grand Prix taking place in Austin, Texas at the brand new Circuit of the Americas. The season came to an end at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix on 25 November 2012.
On 7 March 2012, Sky Sports F1 revealed their theme tune for the 2012 season, "Just Drive" by Alistair Griffin, which has been re-recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Rodolfus Choir. (Incidentally, the original version of the song was also used as the BBC's ending theme for 2010). The 43-second opening credits feature archive footage of former world champions and memorable F1 moments from 32 Grands Prix between 1950 and 2011. The theme tune is also used on The F1 Show and for Classic F1. 2014 saw a rearrangement of the theme to go with their updated titles. Sky's original arrangement is still utilised for its coverage of Classic F1 races.
During the 2012 season, Santander UK was the official sponsor of Formula One coverage on Sky Sports F1 in a deal estimated to be worth £3 million. The coverage has more recently been sponsored by Shell until 2014. From the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix, FairFX sponsored coverage on Sky Sports F1 for the rest of the 2015 season.
The season opening Australian Grand Prix, the first to be broadcast exclusively by Sky, had an average audience of 526,000 viewers between 4.30 am and 9 am on 18 March, with a five-minute peak of 1.02 million as Jenson Button took the chequered flag. The BBC's live coverage of the same race last season averaged 2.13 million viewers, a 51.1% share of the audience.
Beginning 2019, Sky Sports holds exclusive rights to all races excluding the British Grand Prix. In September 2018, it was announced that Channel 4 had agreed to a sub-licencing agreement with Sky, under which it will broadcast free-to-air highlights of all races, and live coverage of the British Grand Prix. As a condition of the deal, Channel 4 agreed to give Sky the right to carry full series of its drama programming (including its curated foreign dramas collection Walter Presents) on its on-demand platforms. In exchange, Sky also sold a free-to-air run of its own drama Tin Star to Channel 4.
Presentation and commentary team
|Simon Lazenby||All races||Host and presenter of all live F1 build-ups, post-race analysis and the opening practice session.|
|David Croft||All races||Main commentator on all practice sessions, qualifying and races and the host of #AskCrofty. He previously covered F1 on BBC Radio 5 Live from 2006–2011. He contributes to The F1 Show also.|
|Karun Chandhok||Most races||Former HRT, Lotus F1 driver throughout 2010-2011.
Expert analysis at selected races in 2019 and pitlane reporter
|Natalie Pinkham||Selected races||Initially only the driver interviewer (a role she previously held on BBC Radio 5 Live in 2011), sometimes host of The F1 Show and currently presents the final practice session on Saturdays. Conducts driver parade interviews at selected races. Regular host of the F1 Report.|
|Johnny Herbert||Most races||Expert analyst after stints as an F1 driver from 1989-2000, winning three Grands Prix with Stewart and Benetton.|
|Rachel Brookes||Most races||Sky Sports News reporter who interviews the drivers for Paddock Uncut on Thursdays and provides F1 news reports.
Conducts driver parade interviews at selected races.
|Craig Slater||Selected races||Sky Sports News reporter who interviews the drivers for Paddock Uncut on Thursdays and provides F1 news reports.|
|Martin Brundle||Most races||Former F1 driver and tester with many podium finishes to his name.|
Co-commentator for qualifying and race day for all races, Brundle also provides expert analysis of practice, qualifying and races, in addition to the pre-race grid-walk. He previously covered F1 on ITV between 1997 and 2008 and on the BBC from 2009–2011.
|Damon Hill||Selected races||The former World Champion provides expert analysis and insight. Initially only available for certain races throughout the year, he had since increased his involvement to become more regular at race weekends.|
|Anthony Davidson||Selected races||Former F1 driver for Super Aguri, BAR and Minardi.
Davidson previously filled in as co-commentator for ITV during Hungary 2006 and was co-commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live between 2008-2011.
Provided co-commentary for qualifying and race during the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. He was a last minute replacement for Williams reserve driver Paul di Resta, who was drafted into the cockpit to cover for an ill Felipe Massa.
Brundle was not at the event after a vomiting bug caught during the previous race in Britain.
|Paul di Resta||Most races||Raced for Force India (2011-2013) and Williams (Hungary 2017) after winning the DTM championship in 2010.
Regular expert analyst at race weekends, as well as co-commentator throughout practice sessions, and is the secondary co-commentator for qualifying and the race if Brundle is absent, when he is not racing in DTM for Aston Martin.
|Nico Rosberg||Selected races||2016 Drivers World Champion and multiple race winner. Drove for Williams and Mercedes between 2006-2016 before announcing a shock early retirement.|
|2009 Drivers World Champion and multiple race winner. He drove for Williams, Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn GP and McLaren between 2000-2016, with a reserve drive in place of Fernando Alonso (who was competing in IndyCar) at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix
Provides expert analysis on a selection of races throughout the year starting with the 2018 British Grand Prix.
|Pit-lane reporter, who hosts the second free practice session and Ted's Notebook. Kravitz provides news, analysis and technical information from his position in the pit-lane. He previously covered F1 on ITV from 2002–2008 and on the BBC from 2009–2011.|
|Georgie Thompson||Conducted interviews with drivers and other members of a team outside a race weekend, which were then used as features during build-ups to qualifying and races. She also co-hosted The F1 Show with Ted Kravitz in 2012 and worked on the "SkyPad" with various members of the team and special guests. She departed at the end of the 2012 season.|
|Steve Rider||Host and presenter of F1 Legends usually on after the race coverage at selected races. The series ended in 2014. He also presented F1 on ITV from 2006 to 2008.|
|Allan McNish||Ex-F1 racer for Toyota and test driver for Renault between 2002-2003.
Acted as part-time analyst for selected races. Departed for a position within the BBC's F1 coverage.
|Bruno Senna||Raced for HRT, Lotus Renault GP and Williams from 2010-2012.
Expert analyst for selected races throughout the 2014 and 2015 seasons as well as driving in sports car and Formula E racing events.
|Peter Windsor||Host and presenter of Tales from the Vault usually on after the race coverage at selected races.|
|Anna Woolhouse||Former host and presenter of the F1 Midweek Report. Now has a new name and presenters.|
|Pat Symonds||Technical analyst at a small number at races in 2017, but departed coverage for an unknown reason from 2018 onwards.|
|Marc Priestley||Studio/Technical Analyst on the F1 Report and member of the production team. Left mid-way through 2018.|
Sky Sports takes the world feed commentary for Formula 2 and Formula 3, which comes from Alex Jacques (Will Buxton from 2012-2014), who is usually joined by various co-commentators, mainly F1 reserve drivers such as Karun Chandhok (2011, 2013-2014) or Jérôme d'Ambrosio (2012) and Luca Filippi (2013-2014), Davide Valsecchi (2013-2014, 2016-) and Gary Anderson (2014). Since 2016, Jacques has been joined by 2012 GP2 champion Valsecchi for F2 events. Johnny Herbert and Rosanna Tennant are more recent members to the commentary and reporting team.
Sky Sports F1 aired the opening round of the 2012 IndyCar Series season, the premier level of American open wheel racing. Rounds 2 and 3 were then aired on their usual channel, Sky Sports 4, before the fourth round, the São Paulo Indy 300 moved back to Sky Sports F1. Since then, all the other rounds were aired on Sky Sports 4 and sometimes on the Sky Sports Active service. Motorsport commentator and presenter Keith Huewen was the regular host of the coverage.
The IndyCar Series moved to BT Sport in 2013, but returned to Sky Sports F1 in 2019 under a new contract by Sky's new owner Comcast, which also holds the entire U.S. domestic rights to the series were also assumed by sister brand NBC Sports. It is similar to The Open Championship, which airs in Britain on Sky Sports Golf and in the United States by Comcast's The Golf Channel.
Between 14 December 2015 and 5 January 2016, the channel was temporarily renamed Sky Sports Darts with coverage dedicated to the 2016 William Hill World Darts Championship.
- The F1 Show;
The first programme to air on Sky Sports F1 was its weekly magazine show; The F1 Show. Initially presented by Georgie Thompson and Ted Kravitz (apart from the launch show, which was presented by Simon Lazenby), then by Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham, as of the 2014 season, it is presented by Natalie Pinkham or Rachel Brookes with contributions from David Croft, Paul di Resta/Anthony Davidson, Johnny Herbert/Damon Hill.
A series of interviews with some of the greatest names in F1 history hosted by Steve Rider. Sometimes is captioned Architects of F1 and features non-F1 drivers, but ex-F1 engineers and famous technical directors. This series has now ended and no new interviews have been filmed.
- F1 Report;
Presented by Natalie Pinkham or Rachel Brookes and regular analyst Marc Priestley. In the week before or after a race, the programme looks in further depth at some of the stories and incidents that featured or may feature in race weekends. This series has been replaced by Welcome to the Weekend, a Thursday race weekend show with a similar format. It no longer features Marc Priestley.
- Classic F1;
Coverage of an F1 race from the archive corresponding to the current race that weekend.
- Ted's Notebook;
A topical show presented during pre-season testing, as well as Qualifying and Race days. Presented by Ted Kravitz.
Various other documentaries have been shown about F1 history. These include 1970s season reviews produced by Brunswick Films.
During the 2012 and 2013 season (beginning at the 2012 British Grand Prix), they aired the new McLaren cartoon Tooned before each live race. It featured the current McLaren drivers as themselves and comedian Alexander Armstrong as Professor M.
Sky Sports have a device called the 'SkyPad', used by the likes of Anthony Davidson and Ted Kravitz. It is used to show highlights and past features of the race commencing, such as mistakes by drivers. The SkyPad also has a virtual car which comes out of the screen and is used to illustrate technical innovations. The virtual car is no longer used.
Sky Sports News
During the Formula One season, Sky Sports News has two pit-lane reporters; Rachel Brookes and Craig Slater. They provide exclusive content to SSN viewers on the latest Formula One news. Brookes role has increased to include presenting some editions of the F1 Show and as an alternate driver interviewer (in addition to Natalie Pinkham). David Gariddo was at selective Formula 1 races throughout 2012 and previewed the race weekend from the Sky Sports News perspective. Since the 2013 season, Tony Jardine has been providing an analytical previews for all race weekends.
Sky Race Control
Sky Race Control is the brand name used across all of Sky Sports F1's interactive services. Sky Race Control is available via the red button as well as the Sky Sports website and iPad app in conjunction with a Sky ID. Features include the race coverage, official Formula One timing showing times of all 20 drivers in every session and 3 selective onboard camera feeds alternating between certain drivers. Sky Race Control has been scrapped on PC in 2015, but continues on the TV and the Sky Sports F1 iPad application.
It was reported that, on 18 March 2012, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch ordered a news story on a plan to sell a stake of F1's parent company and shake-up commercial deals published the previous day to be removed from the Sky News website, subject to a review. It was alleged that the move came after Sky Sports F1 executive producer Martin Turner complained that it had upset seven of the twelve Formula One teams ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. The story was republished the following day substantially unchanged except for the replacement of some sections quoting directly from confidential documents. Jeremy Darroch said that "the issue was about process" and that Sky's sports team at the grand prix were not "properly briefed" ahead of publication. When questioned whether the request for a review represented a commercial interference in Sky News's editorial independence, Darroch said Sky needed to have "proper rigour in terms of our processes in our business".
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