Formula 1 Live OTT service to debut at Spanish Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Apr 2018   |  5:21 pm GMT  |  99 comments

Formula 1 confirmed this week that the long awaited launch of its OTT (Over the top TV) service F1 Live will happen at the Spanish Grand Prix. It has been delayed to allow for more testing before going into service.

F1 is partering with NBC Playmaker, iStreamPlanet, CSG, and Ostmodern and Tata Communications to bring the service to fans in May. It will be available in English, French and German to start with.

The live version – F1 TV pro – will feature live races and all 20 driver on board cameras, as well as side-by-side live race viewing and additional exclusive feeds.

According to an F1 statement, “Subscribers will be able to personalise the way they watch a Grand Prix, the content they view and how and when they access it. All of practice, qualifying and races will be offered live, along with press conferences and pre- and post-race interviews. Later in the season, the main support series FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup will be added to the service.”

F1 TV will initially launch on desktop. Apple, Android and Amazon Fire mobile and tablet devices will launch shortly thereafter. By summer, the service will also be available to fans on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Apple TV. Customers can pay an annual fee of US $70-$150, with monthly rates ranging from $8-12.

It is only available in certain countries, like Germany, where F1 still retains the Digital rights. It is not available in the UK and Italy for example, where SKY has those rights. (The full list is below)

A more basic service “F1 TV Access” will be available on a nearly global basis. It will provide live race timing data and radio broadcasts and extended highlights of each session from the race weekend. It will also package up video content from F1’s extensive video archive.

Countries where F1 Live OTT will be available



























































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My experience of using vpns here in sweden is that the content providers generally find a way to block their use. You could pay your $70 or whatever for OTT, plus your vpn provider fee, then find it gets blocked after a couple of races.


The problem with this idea is that I rarely watch F1 races live. Where I live, the typical European race starts at 6am. Even worse, I often work long hours on weekends. And, with modern technology, even if I’m awake then and not getting ready for work, I’m likely to “pause” the race to cook breakfast or perform other tasks. A service that runs ‘live’ assuming I’m watching the race live isn’t worth much. Another brilliant idea from F1, great.


sending qualifying and race life doesn´t mean that these events will not be available later


In the US we have to put up with terrible, and getting worse (no coverage of quali for Baku?) “service” supplied by ESPN. I’s consider a streaming service if I could watch when I want but if it is live only, then what’s the point. I’m not getting up at ridic o’clock (I’m west coast so there’s another three hours difference) or paying more to watch yet another boring processional!


Geoff. As its Sky coverage its not bad with no commercial breaks, if OTT is the same its certainly watchable. Plus its way better than anything previous in the USA as far as streaming is concerned. If i cant watch it live i just use the ESPN replay function off their website so far so good ..


I am English but live in France. With F1 live tied to Canal plus behind a paywall the idea of F1 TV pro was very appealing. However this site ( ) seems to have discovered that the cost of F1 TV pro in France will be 18.99 euros a month. At current rates that is 2x the $12 per month whereas Germany and Belgium rate a cost of only 7.99 euros a month. I am not sure about Belgium but Germany is hardly the poor man of Europe so why the punitive difference in the cost? What a poorly disguised ripoff. “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”. James, your take on this would be appreciated.


VPN will work for Australia yeah? Foxtel sucks, way too expensive for what u get.


F1 claims that they will go to great lengths to prevent VPN access to F1 TV. I don’t know how successful that will be…

Jonathan Powell

Just disgraceful you cant get it here in UK!

I took out a skysports pass with Now Tv end of february as they had offer on of £20 a month for 2 months then £33.99 after.Its worth it for me as i watch tennis and football aswell and its great on my tablet.

Thing is tho that first of all you can register upto 4 devices and use 2 at same time…but i only want it for 1 device so why cant i just pay £17 a month for 1 device?

Then after 3 weeks they gave me free entertainment pass for 4 months,last month a free cinema pass and last week they offered me a free now tv box which ive claimed.But id rather have the discount off the sports pass so will see if i get that later on to try and keep me on long term…

Also interesting Amazon have now got the US Open tennis this year aswell as Masters tournaments next year so will they put an F1 bid in next time round when surely Liberty will want it on Virgin Media aswell?


prices are a difficult sell in places the race is on at an odd time. I remember getting up sick and bleary eyed to watch an f1 race start at 7am on a sunday while in the USA.

The recent race in china was another early start for UK viewers.

Prem footy works in the uk as its all on at normal civilised hrs.

yes there are fanatics that will get up at 3am and pay £25 quid but that only works with one off boxing events. Nobody does that 21 times a year.

Still im in the uk so my opinion is not valid at the moment so wake me up when its £5 for a weekend pass on an app on my tv.

If not I will spend my time in the future guessing the results with suprising accuracy.


Don’t understand why the Netherlands isn’t included to the list. Doubt Ziggo has got the exclusive rights for broadcasting.


I just want to know how extended the extended highlights are for the package which is available in the UK. Are we talking the kind of channel 4 non-live length, or more a five minute summary?


I don’t hold out any hope of those highlights running for as long as five minutes. Admittedly, for some races that would be ample anyway.


In terms of the UK I guess Liberty need to decide if they happy to take Sky’s millions and let viewing figures decline, or, revert to having F1 on free to air thus maximising the potential audience. If I were Liberty I’d put F1 on a free to air commercial channel WITH adverts thus giving maximum exposure to the target audience. Those who develop a passion for F1 will then pay for the OTT service for the better viewing experience.


Adverts? In the U.S. we several years of NBCSports as the exclusive F1 broadcaster. They had so many adverts that we missed 1/3 of the race action. Nothing ruins a F1 (or any other race of similar or shorter length) that commercial interruptions. I have to give Liberty a lot of credit: there was so many complaints about the commercial interruptions after Melbourne that they mandated that the rest of the ESPN broadcasts this season would be commercial free. That’s the first time that F1 has ever been presented in the U.S. without commercial interruptions. Note: ESPN is not free to air. It’s available with full cable subscriptions or via new streaming bundles like Sling.


A unicast stream offering 20 camera views when most people are using DSL………….


James, any word on how Liberty might deal with countries that are core to F1 but are tied into long-term pay-walled broadcast contracts? Also, any update on what UK broadcast model will be in place from 2019 (beyond having to pay Sky for everything)?


Sky will offer F1 on its OTT NowTV for £180 a year I believe- that was announced after F1 launched its OTT


Can’t find any reference to that announcement. I know NowTV had a 9 month F1 pass available (deal now expired), but that was for the standard live stream.


According to Sky’s average audience was down by 28 percent year-on-year. Their programming in 2017 averaged at 454k.

For the 2018 chinese grand prix sky pulled in an average 494K viewers . Channel 4’s program peaked at 1.88 million.

Now i’m no media expert but from where i’m sitting with liberty developing their own broadcasting infrastructure, and the evidence that there is a market in the UK that sky is failing to reach, i would think it would be a tough negotiation for sky to be able to keep the rights come the end of the current deal. Should they even want to, with poor viewing figures and a game of global whack a mole looming with VPN’s and illegal streams on the back of Liberty’s OTT I would be surprised if they did.


I wonder… if OTT takes off with Liberty using Sky coverage on a dedicated stream that will give Liberty a hell of a bargaining chip to get Sky to drop their paywall in the UK or Liberty will go elsewhere. Mind you that may be the plan anyway once OTT is up and running and the worldwide demand is assessed in real terms


It’s only 33 euro for a lifetime unlimited VPN subscription if you look around a little bit.


I moved to the US from UK about a year ago. I signed up to a many VPN services to get sky feed in the US through Sky Go. Most VPNs were blocked by Sky and the odd couple that worked, the streaming was so bad, there was no point watching.

Main point here is, VPNs are now starting to get locked down, the host companies are now mature in this area and know how to block it.


Works if you still have UK credit card or bank account. Problem is most of those not in the countries getting OTT have the means to pay without giving the game away.


I have a similar issue using a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad. Most times the issue is my end with me having to ensure location services are off and that browser histories and security settings are reset then turning device on and off a couple of times. Not ideal for instant viewing


Thats dangerous advice as it’s pretty easy to blacklist all the known VPN providers so if this is your only reason for getting VPN then it is likely money thrown away.

Since I have a VPN yes I will test it out from curiosity.


I think Liberty are smart enough to block that. I wouldn’t bet on VPN, but let me know if you’ll try. Also, aren’t cheap VPNs speed limited? I’m not sure HD or 4K video will stream seamlessly through a cheap VPN service.


Why is there an * next to Belgium?


Can imagine Sky will be quite concerned, this is surely going to make access via open source media players easier as there will be more sources available on the internet from more places in the world. People are becoming more savvy when it comes to streaming, the hardware is easy to purchase and now there are going to be more streams. This might be what it takes for Sky UK to review their pricing policy or even better take a close look at the value of the purchasing rights to F1 overall. Maybe this could be the beginning of the end to Sky’s extortion of the UK F1 fan.


Does anyone know when Foxtel’s deal with F1 in Australia ends?


…not soon enough…


No…but i am going to try and find out. It would be great to escape their money grubbing deal. I am still fuming at having to pay for program i neither want or need That is simply extortion. I’d happily pay half as that was what was initially promoted but it was all a lie.


Whenever it is, it isn’t soon enough! Getting well and truly fed up with the pandering towards monopolies that apply excessive “Australia tax”


End of 2022, unfortunately.


Furthermore FOM whether it be previously Bernie?CVC or nowLiberty Media in charge have been very strict about protecting their broadcaster and removing clips from Vimeo,Dailymotion or Youtube. F1 has a Youtube channel to try now to and stem the tides of illegal uploads . The Youtube channel let’s not forget came about during Bernie’s tenure.


Yes they’ll review it and put the prices up . They only way that Sky will do you a deal is if you threaten to leave.


Interesting you should say that because Sky UK has just gone into partnership with Netflix perhaps they hope a partnership will enable them to keep F1 rights.



But I see an asterisk next to Belgium, what does this mean James?


I don’t like that we Australia and New Zealand miss out I will not connect fox just for the F!.

But I do not understand China and India missing out, two huge untapped markets. Does Murdoch own those as well?


China will have free to air coverage on its state broadcaster as China is restrictive on streaming services by law.


Other races in China being mooted too.


I live in Denmark, but can see the races with RTL on my tv pack. Can be a little irritating with the adverts, but hey, as far as I’m concerned, it’s free for me, as RTL is an extra channel in my tv pack that I don’t really use…. only for F1.

But if OTT came to Denmark, I would get it😊


And for those of us that do not have super fast broadband?

I do not want access to 20 different car cameras. I just want to watch a race on my TV with a good commentary , no adverts and with the option of recording it to time shift when I view. And for all this I will pay a reasonable fee

However I fear that a combination of bandwidth and regional restrictions will not save me from the paywall fiasco that F1 has got itself into.


Same here pal, exactly. I watch P1 & P2 on my office computer via ESPN3 and record (DVR DirectV) all other sessions and watch them on Sat & Sun mornings when convenient. Having been a long-time F1 from in the US, I used to get up and watch the races live, so the DVR is a godsend. My family pretty much all gather round on Sunday mornings in the family room to watch the recorded race on our large screen TV. I have almost no desire to watch the races live and almost no real ability to stream them as we too are lacking serious bandwidth in our area (just isn’t available). I’d be happy to pay for F1 through my TV provider (NFL Sunday ticket, MLB Extra Innings, etc…). If they make me watch everything live on my computer, I would be out as a fan after 25+ years.


I suspect that that bus has left already. Increasingly this is the way things are going to go. The traditional TV channels (terrestrial, cable or satellite) will be bypassed and our entertainment will come to us over the Internet.

What is interesting lately is that this is happening increasingly for live events, not for pre-recorded content.


Hi James

Have you heard any details of what the coverage will look like, for the English version at least. Will it have it’s own team of hosts/commentators with it’s own pre/post show or will they have deals to pick up existing broadcasts/commentary’s, like sky’s for example?



They’ve announced that the commentary will the Sky feed.


No firm details but the have Will Buxton now running round doing interviews and reports etc

I think the commentary is Sky but not certain. I know they aren’t producing their own, although they tested it last season


The key word here is SUBSCRIBE…..Why should anyone be expected to pay money to watch sponsers images on F1 cars and advertising around circuits? They want their cake and eat it!


Why wouldn’t you want to eat your cake if you had it? Mmmmm


But then it would be gone 😉


Since it’s not available where I am.. I’ll just have to hear about how good or bad it is from others 😏


I will pay $150/year for this, no way will I pay $600 a year for Foxtel. It is F1’s loss if they persist with Foxtel. I have been watching nearly every single race since 1990, up until Foxtel took over the Broadcasting right in Australia.


Good luck as it’s not available in Australia! We’ll see how the go with blocking VPN’s but I imagine they’ll be pretty hot on it.


It wasn’t worth watching in Australia before Foxtel. Constant ad breaks, idiot local commentators and you only got quality and the race.


That’s not completely true. We used to Murray Walker and James Hunt commentating.


…not to mention, James Allen!


Canada isn’t on the list so I guess I have to choose between the torrents or a VPN to one of the countries where it is available.

Can someone please just take my money and tell the lawyers to ?


TSN provides good F1 coverage in Canada.


Jamaica gets access but Canada does not?


Yah mon!

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