Formula E organisers have announced that the all-electric series will be broadcast on the BBC red button service, giving the championship a free-to-air viewing platform.
The series will be broadcast live on the BBC Sport website, BBC iPlayer as well as the red button.
Added to the digital coverage, BBC will test the water by showing one of the Formula E events on their television network (e.g. BBC One, BBC Two), although the exact event is yet to be specified.
The finer details of how the show will be broadcast or whether a presenting team will be involved are yet to be revealed, but FE has its own world feed team, led by Nicki Shields.
The agreement with the BBC runs alongside Formula E’s plan to stream races on YouTube to the UK. This YouTube coverage will be anchored by regular host Laurence McKenna, whilst internet personality Olajide Olatunji, known online as ‘KSI’, will be part of the presenting team for the season opener in Saudi Arabia.
Ali Russell, media and business development director at Formula E, said:
“The ABB FIA Formula E Championship will continue to be broadcast to the masses and across a variety of platforms in the UK.
“What better place to showcase some of the best and most competitive racing than on the BBC.
“We’re fully-charged and ready for the new season on the streets of the most recognisable cities – and this year promises to be more intense and unpredictable than ever.”
Season five will be the first to be shown on BBC, with previous seasons having been covered on ITV4, Channel 5 and Eurosport, showing that whilst Formula E hasn’t yet found a permanent home on British TV, it remains a series that many broadcasters have kept an eye on.
It will also be the first motorsport series to be broadcast on the BBC since it last aired a Formula One race back in 2015.
The coverage of Formula E is stark contrast to Formula One, which will be down to just one free-to-air race on British TV; the 2019 British Grand Prix, shown on Channel Four. A highlights package remains available to non-Sky Sports viewers.
The increase in manufacturer interest has heightened the appeal of the series, with the likes of BMW, Nissan and Porsche among the recent additions. Mercedes will also field a full works entry from season six.
Manufacturers, sponsors and TV networks will also be encouraged by the improved look of the sport; the series will have a radical new chassis and be rid of the car swaps, something which many found too “gimmicky” in it’s fledgling years.
With a host of ex-F1 drivers participating, including Felipe Massa for season five, high-potential junior drivers have started joining the series, such as Felix Rosenqvist, a brief appearance for Pierre Gasly, and Alexander Albon, although the latter could still make a switch to Formula One if Toro Rosso follow-up on their interest.
The thirteen-round season kicks off in Saudi Arabia on 15th December and features races in Hong Kong, Rome, Paris and New York.
By: Luke Murphy
All images: Motorsport Images