Channel Four Live in Monaco and Singapore for its final F1 TV season
F1 on TV
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jan 2018   |  11:25 am GMT  |  203 comments

Channel 4 has picked both the Monaco and Singapore Grands Prix for the final season of F1 racing in the UK involving a regular live free to air component.

From March 2019 onwards Formula 1 will be exclusively live behind a paywall with the exception of the British Grand Prix.

For its swansong year, Channel 4 has gone for two of the season’s most celebrated and colourful events – perhaps prompted by the spectacular action in F1’s night race last season (above).

They have avoided both the French and German Grands Prix, which make a comeback to the schedules this season among the 10 rounds they will have live out of the 21 in total. Instead they have gone with the Austrian GP, which makes sense as Channel 4 presenters David Coulthard and Mark Webber both have strong connections with circuit owner Red Bull, so they will be able to stage something spectacular, no doubt.

The other races will be highlights only.

Italy has gone behind a paywall this season on Sky, with very limited free to air coverage and audiences are expected to plummet as a result.

This time next season, British F1 fans will be facing the same prospect, with SKY yet to decide which free to air channel they will award the free to air obligations of the British GP and highlights.

Many fans – and now doubt Liberty Media too – are hoping it will be BBC or ITV, to give the best possible access to F1 coverage. But as the decision is in SKY’s gift and not Liberty’s then it’s possible that they will do what they have done in Italy and put the FTA component on a channel they control. From a commercial point of view that makes sense, as they are then not competing with another commercial broadcast for advertising and sponsorship money.

The SKY exclusive 2019-24 deal was signed by Bernie Ecclestone early in 2016, before Channel 4 had broadcast its first event.

SKY paid around $165m a year for five years from 2019 to see off BT Sport’s interest in F1 and acquired the exclusive live rights. They will be competing against BT Sport again soon for the next round of English Premier League rights, although the signs are that neither side is minded to escalate the arms race on spending like it did last time.

SKY cut its production budget for F1 in the light of a massive overspend for the last round of Premier League rights and once it becomes exclusive F1 rights holder, the concern is that they will again cut on production as they no longer have to compete with another broadcaster.

2018 UK F1 TV schedule

Australian Grand Prix, 23-25 March Sky only
Bahrain Grand Prix, 6-8 April Sky and Channel 4
Chinese Grand Prix, 13-15 April Sky
Azerbaijan Grand Prix, 27-29 April Sky and Channel 4
Spanish Grand Prix, 11-13 May Sky
Monaco Grand Prix, 25-27 May Sky and Channel 4
Canadian Grand Prix, 8-10 June Sky
French Grand Prix, 22-24 June Sky
Austrian Grand Prix, 29 June – 1 July Sky and Channel 4
British Grand Prix, 6-8 July Sky and Channel 4
German Grand Prix, 20-22 July Sky
Hungarian Grand Prix, 27-29 July Sky
Belgian Grand Prix, 24-26 August Sky and Channel 4
Italian Grand Prix, 31 August – 2 September Sky
Singapore Grand Prix, 14-16 September Sky and Channel 4
Russian Grand Prix, 28-30 September Sky
Japanese Grand Prix, 5-7 October Sky and Channel 4
United States Grand Prix, 19-21 October Sky and Channel 4
Mexican Grand Prix, 26-28 October Sky
Brazilian Grand Prix, 9-11 November Sky
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, 23-25 November Sky and Channel 4

All Photos: LAT Images

What do you think of Channel 4’s F1 picks for 2018? Leave your comments in the section below

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Because of having a job, I can only see the races after recording them. One thing has struck me, and I see no one else commenting – who was the sponsor on US tv for China? The first race was slammed with ads, the second had only a little notice “Exclusively by Mother’s” car care chemical company and now the third had not detectable sponsor! Is the US losing F1 coverage?


The first race and ESPN did not broadcast the practice as scheduled , qualifying was cut short and the race ‘commentators ‘ during the race could not shut up .. Liberty ,which is having financial problems , made a ‘cheap deal with sky ‘ and we in the US are VERY disappointed and I believe most potential viewers will be MOVING ON / Liberty is loosing the U.S. F1 audience and market… Bernie was right


Having been a fan of F1 since the days of Jackie Stewart way back in the 70’s, I have seen F1 come and go on TV. I am appalled at how F1 has become so expensive to watch. I find it disgusting that SKY are allowed to get away with the outrageous prices they want to watch their programmes. I feel that F1 will find itself in the TV wilderness very soon. When will TV companies realise that without a TV fan base, the sport will become a distant memory as it did back in the 70’s. I am fortunate that I can afford to visit races to watch them and also afford to pay to view, but even I have a limit of I am willing pay to watch a sport I have loved all my life. I therefore make a plea to the likes of SKY and Liberty Media to strongly rethink your stance and allow F1 to be aired FTW TV for the sake of the sport. I can sadly see the demise of F1 coming up very fast.


Not having the first race FTA has changed my interest in F1. There was an excitement to setting that early alarm to catch the first race of year, and that pulled you into the season. I tried Sky F1 on a discounted £8 a month deal a couple of years ago and it was probably worth that (as I watched no other sports on there). No more good deals though from them, TV is fragmenting with different subscription services, and F1 is no longer high up on my list to pay for, and in consequence even to get that excited about.


I think Ch4 got a great deal this year, good enough to bow out on.


I’ve been an F1 fan since ’84/85 but didn’t watch any live races last year.

Sadly, this is my first visit to this site in a month

Am i falling out of love with the only sport i have ever followed?? Looks like it

Some might say that i can’t be that much of a fan if i won’t stump up £600+ to watch F1

I say no chance – i refuse to line Murdoch’s pockets. I was dismayed to learn that Now TV was owned by them. As soon as i found out i cancelled my subscription

I dare say that i’ll keep up to date with the 2018 season, but only from JA or Joe Saward’s site


No I’ve been a fan since 75 and am confussed by the duplicate naming.


Would you do Now TV once Disney owns SKY, probably later this year?


No. Going trackside forms part of the family holiday so 2 european gps this year will set me back several £k p. I can not justify the cost of a paywall subscription as well.


Possibly – and i’d rather pay £5 to £10 per race to watch (i’ll never watch all of them) than the full £700 a year sports package

However, i’m lucky, i’m a F1 fan who can afford to pay for stuff like this

How do you get new fans into F1 who don’t currently have NowTV or Sky? The paywall is throttling of the growth of the sport

If i was a major track advertiser, paying millions to splash my branding all around a track, i’d be furious that the promoter just cut off 70% of my potential targets…..


It is a total mess. I can’t believe F1 aren’t learning from the mess English cricket got themselves into when straight after the most exciting cricket series of all time, which brought cheering crowds to the streets of London, they dumped all cricket on pay per view and lost the opportunity of a lifetime to cement the sport in the affections of the public. Only now, 13 years later, are they finally realizing their mistake and trying to get a terrestrial broadcaster to show some games. Taking a short-term big cheque from Sky looks tempting, but if it damages the long-term popularity of the sport, then gradually the appeal to advertizers diminishes, and then the TV cheques will dry up.

It’s simple. F1 should be on free-to-air TV, but for mobile/internet platforms there can be a subscription service for those of us who live abroad, want to follow a particular driver round the track, get more info on the race situation etc etc.


Liberty Media must have a big box of nails for there F1 coffin .


I’ve followed F1 all my life. I remember when the races were hardly ever on TV. Almost none of my friends and family knew the drivers. Now practically everyone knows them all. That’s because of free to air TV. Take TV away and the sport will die and shrink.

Someone tell me, how have Ferrari allowed their primary advertising tool to disappear behind a paywall in their own land?


The Tifosi will find ways to watch at low cost or for free one suspects.


Monaco? Generally relied upon to produce the most processional of races. Another example of the F1 myth that tradition and location are more alluring than watching a decent race. Oh well.


Well that’s me finished with F1 at the end of 2018 and I imagine there are many more like me.


Maybe that’s why Halos are coming in?

Usually you see a Halo on something dead already, don’t you?


Those were the good old days.

“In the good old days there was unity between Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, so it was hard for the teams to have an influence. So at the moment there is the danger of great political disruptions,” said Wolff.


Interesting views from Marko.

For 2018, Marko expects Mercedes to dominate again.

“The worst thing is their qualifying mode, because you cannot overtake on most tracks,” he said.


James, surely Sky and F1 must be terrified that there viewers will all jump ship and start watching Formula E?

The 2018/19 car looks amazing. Lots of manufacturers, good drivers and decent racing.



“SKY cut its production budget for F1 in the light of a massive overspend for the last round of Premier League rights and once it becomes exclusive F1 rights holder, the concern is that they will again cut on production as they no longer have to compete with another broadcaster.”

If that means making the show much tighter and focused, and less standing around talking, then I think that it’s possibly a good thing. Let’s face it, the race day show itself could be cut down to a recap of the previous race, highlights of the practice and qualifying, a grid walk talking to the drivers and engineers, the race itself, and then a round up at the end including driver interviews. 45 mins of pre-race, the race, and then 45 mins post race. I’d be happy with that.


Agreed. Sometimes ‘less’ is ‘more.’


To be fair to Liberty, they are stuck with the exclusive Sky deal struck by Bernie on behalf of CVC.

I suspect had Liberty been free to make the decision they would prefer a return of F1 to Free-to-Air.

Unfortunately everyone involved in F1 seems to be determined to ignore what the hardcore enthusiasts and casual fans both want to see : A return to refuelling and sprint racing between fuel stops. Not to mention seriously noisy cars, preferably with V10 or V12 engines.


How about V10’s AND V12’s? Just think, V12 cars would have faster straight line speed, but would need more fuel stops, while V10’s would be slower on the straights, yet require less time in the pits. It would mix things up quite nicely, especially if there was also a tyre war added.


Forgive me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Sky bail out the BBC when they decided early in their contract that they didn’t want F1 any more? In my opinion Sky has improved the F1 coverage in the uk, not the availability, but the programs themselves. I much prefer the sky setup to anything the BBC or Channel 4 offer.

That being said, it’s a shame that F1 is going to be exclusively behind a paywall. I grew up watching the late 80’s and early 90’s on free to air. The most I could moan about was the ad breaks!! I doubt I would be a fan now if it wasn’t for FTA. My dad isn’t particularly keen on F1 so it’s not like I was made to watch it etc. F1 isn’t a sport like football that can be played by anyone. To have new younger fans, who’s parents aren’t necessarily interested, it needs to be on Free to Air.

Such a shame that this once accessible sport is becoming even more exclusive.


Cheers for that one, Bernie…


I have a proposal
List all the advertisers who buy time on sky during the F1 show and then boycot them.
Run it as a facebook page and we can all post about how we are not buying x or shopping at z because of the paywall.
Would it work ?


So we lost FTA coverage in Australia, it went behind a paywall and audiences plummeted. Conversely the domestic V8 scene is going from strength to strength fueled by it’s availability on FTA. Yes we still get the Aussie GP shown live and that’s something to be grateful for but the level of interest that made me fly out to races in Singapore and Malaysia plus the inaugural Austin race has long since dwindled.


So what countries/channels will have access to the F1 online stream? Spain/Movistar? France/Canal+ US/ESPN? Time to break out the VPN and access one of those, shouldn’t have to do it. F1 go see what WTCC and others do with a all access app for £100 a year. Then watch your viewing figures go back up into the millions!!


James. With everyone on your site claiming they’re going to walk away from F1 after it goes behind a pay wall are you worried you’ll have no one to read it? 🤣

I personally won’t be payin sky. Not becuase I’m anti capitalist against Murdock and Co, but because it’s not just F1 I’d have to pay for, I’d have to get a full Sky package. Working for the NHS I work a lot of weekends so I it’s rare I get to see all the races live anyway so I’ll be sticking with highlights with my friends Sky Go account and catching love races as and when I can


I thought Whisper Films did a good job with their C4 shows and coverage.

James – what are the chances Whisper and/or some of the current C4 crew are recruited into F1’s new OTT service?


Is there any chance of over the top F1 app that’s been talked about being available in Ireland or will we be stuck with sky or nothing? I can’t stand sky’s coverage and it is incredibly expensive here.
Also they surely can’t put the highlights/British gp on one of their own channels as none of them are actually free to air except sky news!


Good question
I would have thought so as Ireland is not UK


F1 is kidding itself. When it goes behind a paywall people will stop watching. Already many fans are unhappy with the engines, the noise, the overtaking, the payments to teams etc etc.
Formula E is gaining traction with manufacturers, is free to air & is unashamedly real – the noise is not F1 but neither is it ‘tuned’ to be anything other than it is. It’s not F1, but it is racing, and how long before the cars out perform F1? McLaren and Williams have an interest there, how long before they move?
Maybe the F1 paywall is a way of squeezing the last few £$ out of a dying sport.


Pure arrogance. They think we are all mugs and will just pay for it because it’s the sport we’ve all loved for 30 years. They are so wrong, and there won’t be an F1 left in 5 years time when the sky deal runs out.

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