UK F1 TV figures up by half a million

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Sebastian Vettel\'s first F1 win in Monza was seen by 3.55m in Britain
Sebastian Vettel's first F1 win in Monza was seen by 3.55m in Britain

The latest television audience figures for F1 broadcasts in Britain show recent live Formula 1 broadcasts are attracting half a million more viewers on like-for-like events compared to last year.

While last year’s Italian Grand Prix attracted fewer than 2.91m viewers and did not rank among ITV’s top 30 programmes for that week, this year 3.55m viewers tuned in to see Sebastian Vettel score his first F1 win.

Similarly the Belgian Grand Prix pulled in 3.87m viewers in 2008 – last year fewer than 3.31m were watching.

However the European Grand Prix at the new Circuito Urbano Valencia did not rank in the top 30 programmes on ITV in the week it aired, meaning fewer than 3m were watching.

The general trend for F1 audiences in Britain is very positive, however. In 2007 nine of the 18 F1 rounds failed to attract large enough audiences to feature in the top 30 programmes in the week they were broadcast. So far this year only three of the first 14 rounds did not make the top 30 (Singapore Grand Prix data not available yet).

This may partly be down to the strength of rival programming on ITV being better in 2007. But there is a clear upward trend when comparing like-for-like Grands Prix. Here are the viewing figures for 2008 so far:

DateRaceViewers
16 March 2008Australian Grand Prix**3,900,000
23 March 2008Malaysian Grand Prix*(<2.81m)
06 April 2008Bahrain Grand Prix3,580,000
27 April 2008Spanish Grand Prix3,510,000
11 May 2008Turkish Grand Prix*(<2.9m)
25 May 2008Monaco Grand Prix3,980,000
08 June 2008Canadian Grand Prix3,990,000
22 June 2008French Grand Prix3,350,000
4 July 2008British Grand Prix4,530,000
20 July 2008German Grand Prix3,190,000
3 August 2008Hungarian Grand Prix3,880,000
24 August 2008European Grand Prix(<3m)
7 September 2008Belgian Grand Prix3,870,000
14 September 2008Italian Grand Prix3,550,000

*Did not rank among the top 30 programmes on ITV that week.
**’As live’ replay
Source: BARB

2007 ITV F1 viewing figures

Why are F1’s TV figures going up in Britain? The Lewis Hamilton effect? A wet summer? More entertaining Grands Prix? Share your explanation below.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 10 comments on “UK F1 TV figures up by half a million”

    1. I think that it is a mixture of better grand prix, better timings and the Hamilton effect, especially with Hamilton being on the brink of a championship win.

      Perssonally the one thing i have found is the ITV seem to be craming in more and more ads into the shows especially during the race, that is the one thing i will not miss when it moves over to the Beeb

    2. I agree with SamS especially regarding the Hamilton effect.

      Keith, do you know what the viewing numbers were like pre-Hamilton??

    3. How does this compare to other sporting events?

      I think we have had two excellent years back-to-back of F1. I can do without the FIA soap-opera, but since Schumacher retired, his utter dominance of the sport has opened up the competition to all comers, which makes for exciting racing.

      We still get dull, processional races, but these now seem to be a 50-50 split with exciting races. The Schumacher years (it seems) had a far higher ratio of processional events.

    4. The Hamilton effect would have happened last year (the hype certainly felt bigger last year), so that wouldn’t explain why the figures have gone up this year. I maintain that we have had a great season of racing, a trend which will be stopped by KERS.

    5. All down to Lewey reviving interest in F1 in the UK a la Silverstone’s record 3-day sell out this year.

    6. Just learned that F1 broadcasting in Sweden will go from a free-for-all channel to a small pay-channel very soon. Great. Not everyone that even want to pay the idiot price will be able to see F1 in Sweden anymore. Way to go, Formula One Management. You really do care about the world wide audience.

    7. BBC Director General
      6th October 2008, 19:32

      @sven duva – check the BBC, they might be showing it on one of their digital/world service channels.

      Probably best to check nearer the time.

    8. Sven Duva – Very sorry for that, terrible news for F1 fans in Sweden. Do send me any further details, either post on here or via the contact form: Contact F1 Fanatic

    9. So it seems Hamilton’s penalty in Spa didn’t really effect the viewing figures…

    10. Normally FOM insist on free to air broacasting because the sponsors insist on it. I can only assume that none of the free to air channels wanted to show the races. There are plenty of sites that stream the races live on the internet including a South African site that streams ITV without the ads.

    Comments are closed.