Channel 4’s live free-to-air F1 races for 2018 confirmed

2018 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

The 10 F1 races British fans will be able to watch live on free-to-air television in 2018 have been confirmed.

Start, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2016
UK to lose live free-to-air F1 coverage in 2019
Channel 4’s first live race of the year will be the second round of the championship in Bahrain. The season finale in Abu Dhabi will be shown live as well as the races in Britain, Monaco, Belgium and others.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which received the highest Rate the Race scores from F1 Fanatic readers last year, is among those selected by Channel 4. However the returning rounds in France and Germany will only be live on Sky.

The upcoming season is the final year of Channel 4’s deal to show F1 live. From 2019 all races will be on Sky’s pay television channels apart from the British Grand Prix.

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

Get all the 2018 F1 race, test and launch dates on your mobile device using the F1 Fanatic Calendar

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

33 comments on “Channel 4’s live free-to-air F1 races for 2018 confirmed”

  1. 10 Live races Channel 4 should’ve picked in my opinion: AUS, CHN, AZE, CAN, AUSTRIA, GER, BEL, ITA, JAP, BRA

    1. @tonyyeb Not the season finale? I don’t rate Yas Marina as a circuit but if the championship goes down to the final race, passing up the chance to show that one wouldn’t be smart. For that reason alone I expect Yas Marina was a first-round pick for Channel 4.

      1. @keithcollantine With that thinking then they should have at least the last two races as since 2011 it has only gone down to the last race 3 times and one of those was due to double points in 2014. And for quite a few those, the championship was won even before the penultimate race.

        1. I’d have taken Brazil instead of Japan – Japan highlights will be on at normal time, whereas for Brazil, the highlights will be at like 10pm or something. Then as you said, you get the last 2 races

        2. @tonyyeb

          since 2011 it has only gone down to the last race 3 times and one of those was due to double points in 2014

          Mostly agree, but the title race would’ve gone to the final race in 2014 regardless of double points, as both drivers were only 17 points apart before the race.

          Once thing I don’t understand is the inclusion of Azerbaijan. Makes no sense to me, but neither did its extraordinary Rate the Race result.

    2. @tonyyeb – if C4 took all those (comparatively) good tracks for FTA, then there’d be fewer who’d pay for a Sky subscription just to watch the other races on the remaining worse tracks. I’m sure Sky would have also had dibs on certain tracks just to ensure that at least some of the good tracks were behind their paywall.

      1. @phylyp Yeah I agree. I was mainly going for entertainment value over anything else.

    3. You wouldn’t have the British Grand Prix free to watch live on British television..? Right okay then..

  2. That’s a pretty decent selection in my opinion

    1. Yep, not too bad.

      This is the final year I will be watching F1 properly which is sad as I have been watching it for well over 35 years. But that is the way the powers in F1 want it…

  3. Even though this doesn’t concern me at all (as I don’t live in the UK), I still sometimes wonder why they never choose/get to choose to broadcast all the NA races live. Wouldn’t it be better to broadcast the Canadian and the Mexican GPs rather than the Japanese GP, for example, to spear people from staying up late (for the highlights) and waking up early?

    1. I meant to type ‘spare’ of course, but for some reason, I managed to mistype it, LOL.

    2. You’re absolutely right, sadly Sky will knows and will choose these races too – but I’m very pleased 4 don’t have China this year

      1. @jerejj They take it in turns to pick, I think 3 each then go through the remainder. They’re also not allowed 3 in a row.

        Obviously first picks would be Britain (unless they bluff that sky won’t take it) and the finale.

  4. Jonathan Parkin
    29th January 2018, 12:40

    I’m a bit miffed the Australian GP isn’t a live round for CH4. Apart from the 2001 event, I’ve always liked this race

    1. Since the “pick” era started with bbc/sky and c4/sky its never been live on the terrestrial channel.

      I suspect with the picks and rules folk have already explained, coupled with the timezone, it just doesn’t make any sense for the terrestrial broadcaster to pick it, but it would annoy me royally if I didn’t have Sky as let’s face it the first round is the most exciting…

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        31st January 2018, 12:41

        Yeah I know but I do have fond memories of getting up in the middle of the night to watch it. Shame ratings talks more than sense but there you go

  5. If I had to choose ten races to watch live this wouldn’t be my list, but assuming the same rules still apply to how Channel 4 pick the races you can’t really complain about the line-up.

    When Sky first started showing half the races exclusively live in the UK, it was reported that how the BBC chose which races to show live was that they would always show the British GP and the season finale live, Sky would then pick two and then they would each take it in turns to pick a race.

    In addition to that there could not be more than two races in a row which were either shown live or just as highlights on free to air.

    Channel 4 were supposed to have the same deal as the BBC had when they took over the free to air broadcasts.

    As well as trying to pick the Grand Prix which will produce the best races, due to time zone differences you would have thought that Channel 4 would prefer to show races from North and South America live and broadcast races which would take place early in the morning in UK time, such as Australia, as highlights.

    Having said all that if Monaco was a race Channel 4 wanted to show live then that was a bad call.

    While I believe in modern F1 every circuit has the potential to produce a good race given the right circumstances, Monaco is one on those I always expect to be a dull follow the leader style race, it may be a big name, have the history and the glamour but from a TV viewers perspective it normally does not deliver an entertaining race.

    1. Duncan Snowden
      29th January 2018, 17:20

      It’ll be the last Monaco on British FTA TV. Stumbling over the glamour of the Monaco GP on TV back in the ’80s was one of the – many – things that first attracted me to F1. No, the racing isn’t good for those of us who know about these things, but it’s quite the shop window. In terms of selling F1 to the wider public, it makes sense for C4 to pick it.

  6. My last season of watching F1, since I refuse to give Sky any of my money.

    1. It will be my last season as well. Retiring after 25 years.

    2. @emu55 Last time when I paid for F1 coverage was in 2011. Haven’t missed a single session and seen majority of them in HD despite not subscribing. Internet is full of free options.

    3. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of 100% legal options out there…

    4. Duncan Snowden
      29th January 2018, 17:30

      I said the same when the half-live arrangement started, but for me, it all depends on what the FTA coverage turns out to be next year. As I’ve said before, it’s genuinely surprised me how little the “extended highlights” packages lose over a live race. If that’s what we end up with, on the day of the race, then I’ll probably stick around (especially if C4/Whisper Films get to carry on; they’ve also been a pleasant surprise).

      Anything less, then after 35 years, I’m out too.

      1. It depends what you’re into I suppose. Most of my enjoyment comes from following strategies and predicting what will happen, but highlights screw up the timeline which makes it difficult to follow things like tyre life and gaps. I do notice I generally give lower scores (relative to others) on rate the race if I’ve only seen highlights.

        As you say though, can’t fault the broadcast team themselves. Well, maybe some of the music choices…

    5. Alas, I’m the same. I watch RTL with 5 live for the other 10 races, but I’ll miss Ben Edwards who in my opinion is easily the best commentator since Murray Walker. Perhaps he’ll be back on the radio to ease my pain through the multitude of German adverts.

      I disdain everything about Sky. Everyone that works for them, Hill, Priestly, Herbert, Brundle, etc. have all gone down in my estimation… not that they care about me of course!! I just would never act in the same way making money for Murdoch et al.

      It’s just so depressing. Goodbye FTA.

    6. Me too. It makes me sad to think it is over after 35 years… I hope this season is a good one so I can bow out on a high.

  7. Personally I would have like to see Canada included in preference to Monaco or Austria. It is nearly always a good race whereas Monaco is often quite dull unless it rains.

    1. I have to agree with you that reads like a better choice @phil-f1-21; I guess they couldn’t, given the way the choices were decided (as several posters above discuss).

  8. joe pineapples
    29th January 2018, 15:49

    Bit of a long shot but does anyone here live in Cleethorpes and know if any of the pubs show the Sky F1 races live?. For my sins, I’ll be there on the weekend oaf the French GP.

  9. I’m actually surprised, it’s a pretty good pick by C4. Maybe Sky are getting tired of it or maybe hoping C4 attracts a lot of new fans with their broadcast who they hope will convert into a sky sub?

    Bahrain is often exciting
    Azerbaijan if it is a repeat of this year is a genius move – I reckon probably a straggler that was near the end of the pick though!
    Monaco – always a popular race with non fans even if the racing is bad they will tune in for Monaco and silverstone
    Austrian – meh, probably a last choice option
    British – had to have this
    Belgian – another classic race, often delivers a good watch and us brits have a soft spot for it
    Japan – another classic and popular race
    US – probably not first pick, not a bad filler
    Abu Dhabi – clever choice looking how close this season could have been the clever money is saying that equalisation is happening so more likely a last race cliffhanger

    Only Australia and Canada are my must watches on sky.

  10. I’m pleased with those 10 races.

  11. Stanley Tomlinson
    8th February 2018, 22:22

    Having watched F1 from the Start of TV coverage, first race Live was British GP in 1953 on BBC. I have seen the changes of British F1 coverage, I remember receiving a 5 minute report of most races until 1976 (British GP excluded). I will continue to follow F1 until the day I die on Free-to-air but agree with all fans, I won’t pay Sky a penny!

    I hope we continue with Extended, 2 hour highlights shows every Sunday on Channel 4, but would prefer to see this coverage return to the BBC.

Comments are closed.