Channel 4 confirms ten live F1 races for 2016

2016 F1 season

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UK free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4 has confirmed the ten rounds of the 2016 F1 calendar it will broadcast live.

Channel 4 has taken over from the BBC as F1’s free-to-air broadcaster in the UK and will show ten of this year’s 21 races live. All the races will also be live on Sky’s pay TV channel.

Among the races Channel 4 has chosen to show live are the British Grand Prix, the newest round of the championship at Azerbaijan and the season finale at Abu Dhabi.

However the season opener at Melbourne and the Monaco Grand Prix will only be live on Sky:

1Australian Grand PrixMarch 18 – 20Sky
2Bahrain Grand PrixApril 1 – 3Channel 4/Sky
3Chinese Grand PrixApril 15 – 17Sky
4Russian Grand PrixApril 29 – May 1Sky
5Spanish Grand PrixMay 13 – 15Channel 4/Sky
6Monaco Grand PrixMay 26 – 29Sky
7Canadian Grand PrixJune 10 – 12Sky
8European Grand PrixJune 17 – 19Channel 4/Sky
9Austrian Grand PrixJuly 1 – 3Sky
10British Grand PrixJuly 8 – 10Channel 4/Sky
11Hungarian Grand PrixJuly 22 – 24Channel 4/Sky
12German Grand PrixJuly 29 – 31Sky
13Belgian Grand PrixAugust 26 – 28Channel 4/Sky
14Italian Grand PrixSeptember 2 – 4Channel 4/Sky
15Singapore Grand PrixSeptember 16 – 18Sky
16Malaysian Grand PrixSeptember 30 – October 2Channel 4/Sky
17Japanese Grand PrixOctober 7 – 9Sky
18United States Grand PrixOctober 21 – 23Sky
19Mexican Grand PrixOctober 28 – 30Channel 4/Sky
20Brazilian Grand PrixNovember 11 – 13Sky
21Abu Dhabi Grand PrixNovember 25 – 27Channel 4/Sky

2016 F1 season

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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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33 comments on “Channel 4 confirms ten live F1 races for 2016”

  1. Apart from the nap breaks at Spain, even-year Abu Dhabi, and potentially Europe, this isn’t a bad slate of ten races.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      18th January 2016, 15:49

      Not too bad looking at which ones are on the list, but some nice ones missing: Melbourne; Canadian; Monaco; Japan; and I’m a fan of Austrian and Brazilian GP’s as well.

      I would swap 2nd race (Bahrain) with season opener (Melbourne).
      Go to Brazil and take an early holiday around Abu Dhabi.
      Promote Spain to ‘Sky only’ and pick up the carpark race Monaco.
      Get Canada on the list and leave Baku for the Asian Travel shows.
      And pick Japan over Malaysia.

      Still missing Austria, but many people think we have that race already in March ;-)

      1. I think channel 4 couldn’t have picked better, obviously monaco is what they had to forfeit in order to get, important, european tracks at lunch time and the races with the better ambience and the season finale.

  2. The only winner here is Sky. Half the races will slowly but surely kill the viewer base…

    1. Channel 4 will show the other 11 races as highlights similar to the previous deal the BBC had.

    2. That is five of my favourite races on sky only. I guess I will (enter your own crude action) and be happy that they don’t raise the price of the NowTV 24hour pass.

  3. That’s a decent selection compared to the previous years. Coincidence or are they better at decision making than the BBC?

    1. Here are the previous choices:


      Interesting to note Monaco, which was once considered a race that had to be shown live, is off the free-to-air list for the fourth year in a row.

    2. I agree, pretty solid choice.

  4. Are they going to show the highlights for the other racer like the BBC?

    1. Yes. The deal Channel 4 has is the same that the BBC had.

  5. How can you not show the season opener live? C’mon…it’s the season opener!!

    1. It doesn’t work out too bad, the qualifying/race is 5/6am U.K. time so highlights could be shown around 1/2pm, same with China & Japan. I suppose they are expecting more viewers at that time rather than early morning = more ad revenue.

      Let’s hope they do as good a job as the BBC with the highlights package.

    2. Because if it’s like the BBC contract, neither Sky nor Channel 4 will be permitted 3 races in a row. Melbourne would give Sky 3 exclusive races in a row (Bahrain/China/Russia) and that’s not allowed. Also, Channel 4 may have concluded that it would be easier to establish its own identity by waiting until a race where most of its audience is awake anyway, rather than one where only F1 fans and people who usually watch its early Sunday morning programming will be around.

  6. Good selection overall, I assume it’s still on the rotation where C4 pick the first three, then Sky pick three exclusives and so on. After the British GP and the final GP it doesn’t leave C4 a lot of room for manoeuvre.

    There’s little point in them picking the Asian GPs to show live as their target audience is unlikely to be up at 5am to watch them (myself and others on here excluded I assume).

    It does mean that once again most of the “American” GPs are exclusive to Sky, by the time the highlights come on at 11pm on Sunday I’m long since in bed!

    1. @chrispr27 it does not add up or they would have 12 races on 21, 2 picks each with sky starting would do but choices would be strange as first 2 picks would surely be first and last races.

      I try to compute how they reached that specific repartition but could not …

      1. Channel 4 gets half the races rounded down. I think it goes “Channel 4 pick 3, Sky pick 3, then alternate pick”, but by the time the first 3 have been picked on each side, I suspect a lot of the others are effectively determined by the rule that no part of the calendar can have a stretch where 3 races are all exclusive or all shared.

  7. Showing Melbourne would have been good to start the season off – at the start!

    I’m glad they’ve decided not to cover Monaco. It is a race in name only and has been living off its past for way too long. Having also had experience of watching a race there live I wouldn’t be upset if it disappeared off the calendar completely.

    1. Wasn’t part of this post just quoting Bernie verbatim re:Monza?

  8. Will it be showing practice sessions ???

  9. It’s certainly going to be “Whisper” quiet with 3 live races in the opening 4 months of the season…and they say interest in F1 is waining…

  10. I would personally have made Canada and the US a priority, just because it’s in prime time. As I recall, Canada usually has the highest UK viewing figures, and I don’t think that’s because it has a good reputation for producing exciting races — it’s because more people are watching TV at 6pm on a Sunday than at 1. You’d think that with it being Channel 4’s first season they would have gone for the races with the best chance of a large viewership. I would guess Hungary was chosen based on the fact that it’s produced some classic races in the last couple of years, but I doubt the casual viewer will be aware of that.

    1. Hungary has also produced unusually good audiences for a lunchtime race, and I suppose Channel 4 might really have wanted to show the debut Azerbaijan race – but I too don’t understand why Mexico was picked over USA.

  11. Pretty happy with this selection, especially the Spa/Monza double header.

    People saying pick Melbourne, it’s in the contract that Sky can exclusively show the first race of the season.

  12. Is it just me, or is there something up with the webcode for this article? The layout’s a little off.

  13. Sky has a long term plan in which the viewing figures drop so much they can negotiate a better deal and so far their plan is working. Bernie is blind if he thinks he can return this sport back to its glory days with this format. Give the fans what they want unlimited testing / development and lets see what modern F1 could least try for 3 seasons and watch those audiences return in droves.

    1. Give the fans what they want unlimited testing / development and lets see what modern F1 could least try for 3 seasons and watch those audiences return in droves.

      And the smaller teams collapse from bankruptcy.

    2. If that’s Sky’s plan, then it’s in for disappointment, because if it tried demanding a discount from Bernie, he’d likely reply by asking BT Sport to pay more in return for the rights. Given that Whisper Films has a connection with BT Sport it does not have with Sky, I could easily imagine this offer being accepted, and BT Sport join forces with Channel 4 for broadcasting F1 in Britain with at least somewhat combined production costs.

  14. You’ve got to go along with mostly not showing the 6am races live. There’s little to no point, as the majority of a UK audience will watch those races on a delayed basis.

  15. I am in agreement with most that it was a decent choice for C4. I would personally have had Canada over Azerbaijan and I think thay chose Mexico due to the USA uncertainty.

    I look at the Calendar in terms of best races for Highlights. If they fall into the 90 minute category, it is good for Highlights. E.G. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Japan and Brazil usually have short race times, making them good for highlights programmes. Races such as Bahrain, Monaco and Singapore are longer so should be live.

  16. Why bother!? If you are not going to show ALL the races live! Then let another channel that WILL, be the broadcaster for ALL the races! Otherwise there had better be a news BLACKOUT of the race results until the highlights have been shown. BBC used to love ruining it by telling everyone the results without warning when they were broadcasting it!

    1. Totally agree I try my hardest not to watch any news until after the highlights, not easy!

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