The 2019 F1 season will fire into life tomorrow as testing begins at the Circuit de Catalunya. And for the first time, many fans will be able to watch coverage of the test live.
Last year Italy became F1’s latest major television market to lose its live free-to-air coverage, a development which had a serious effect on grand prix broadcast audiences. This year Great Britain, home to seven of F1’s 10 teams, will also lose live free-to-air coverage of F1.
Are you changing how you watch F1 this year? And how much will it cost you to watch? Here’s the broadcasting arrangements for the five regions where the majority of RaceFans readers are from.
The bad news for F1 fans in the United Kingdom is that only one race will be shown live on free-to-air television this year: the British Grand Prix. Channel Four will air this, along with delayed highlights of all the other rounds.
Under a deal agreed three years ago with F1’s previous commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone, Sky holds the exclusive rights to broadcast the sport in the UK until 2024. For British F1 fans, that currently means a £45-per-month subscription with a minimum 18-month contract term and £20 set-up fee. That means shelling out £830 to watch the new F1 season (and the first half of next year’s championship) live.
There is a less expensive ways to watch Sky Sports F1. A Now TV pass to watch F1 on Sky over the internet costs as little as £8.99 per day, so if you’re content to just watch the races you could save over £650. Even cheaper is the mobile stream, which comes in at £5.99 per month, but note that Now TV disables support for Chromecast for streaming to television for Sky Sports channels.
There’s no good news on the F1 TV side either: Formula One Management’s direct streaming service F1 TV Pro is not available in the UK due to its exclusive deal with Sky. However Sky will show some of the live stream of the first test which is available on F1 TV.
For F1 fans in America the situation is unchanged from last year. F1 will be broadcast live and advert-free on the ESPN network.
Alternatively, fans in the USA also have the option of subscribing to F1 TV Pro. It’s priced at $11.99 per month or $99.99 for the full year, and gives fans the option of watching a range of different feeds including onboard channels from every car.
The season-opening Australian Grand Prix will be live on the free-to-air Network 10 channel in Australia. In common with the arrangement in the UK, it will also show highlights of the other 20 races, which will only be live on pay-TV.
Fox Sports will show live coverage of the full season. F1 TV is not available in Australia yet.
Capitalising on the Max Verstappen’s popularity, Ziggo Sport last year agreed a new deal with FOM to broadcast F1 in the Netherlands. In a first, the deal will also offer F1 TV to Dutch viewers through the Ziggo Sport platform.
There are only pay-TV options for F1 fans in Canada: RDS for French-language coverage and TSN for broadcasts in English. F1 TV is not available here either.
The rest of the world
While free-to-air options are growing fewer and further between elsewhere, the uptake of Formula 1’s official streaming service is growing. According to FOM, eight new markets will receive F1 TV Pro from tomorrow: Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Sweden. More are expected to be added during the year.
They join the existing roster of countries where F1 TV Pro is available: Argentina, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Caribbean Netherlands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Martinique, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Romania, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Saint Maarten, Slovenia, South Tyrol, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, Ukraine, United States Virgin Islands, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela.
And don’t forget…
…you can always attend in person. With the cost of buying a year’s subscription to F1 so high in some areas, you could potentially take in several races for the same money.
If you’re making plans to go to an F1 race this year you can find information from fans who’ve been before via the RaceFans forums:
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Over to you
Have you changed how you will be watching F1 live in 2019? What do you make of the broadcast coverage in your part of the world?
Have your say below.
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