Start, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2019

No extra free-to-air F1 races planned this year

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 does not plan to increase free-to-air television coverage of races this year despite the first rounds of its delayed season being closed to spectators.

Some other sports have brought coverage of their events out from behind paywalls due to the disruption caused by the pandemic and consequent need to run events behind closed doors.

However following the confirmation of its first eight races this year, F1 indicated it will not make any changes to its pay-TV and free-to-air arrangements.

“F1 has existing contracts in place for broadcast and it is right we honour those commitments with our long-term partners,” said the sport in a statement on its official website.

In the UK, free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4 has the live broadcast rights to the British Grand Prix, which has been postponed to August 2nd. F1 indicated the second race to be held at Silverstone this year, the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on August 9th, will remain exclusive to Sky along with other races.

“Silverstone will host two events, with one of those events available live as free-to-air (FTA) within the UK,” it stated. “Each market situation is different and has comprehensive highlight packages to complement the live broadcast of the races.”

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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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  • 14 comments on “No extra free-to-air F1 races planned this year”

    1. Will Channel 4 still be airing “delayed extended highlights” of the remaining races?

      1. @geemac Yes.

        Channel 4 will air the British Gp live & the rest as extended highlights.

        Sky will also be airing the 2nd race at Silverstone on a more readily accessible channel. Likely on the Pick TV channel which Sky own that is available on Freeview/Freesat.

    2. Do people even have tv’s anymore? Stream it for free or torrent it.

      1. Pretty much this. Last time I watched a Grand Prix from TV was maybe in 2011 or something.

        1. Same. I’d happily pay for a reliable, official stream but as Sky won’t allow it in the UK, I have to find another way. Luckily it’s incredibly easy.

      2. Bongolia Hazuro
        2nd June 2020, 21:36

        Ah you mean steal it and undermine the business like a selfish parasite? Well I suppose I could but I have some principles……

        1. Sky need to be undermined. They’re rip off merchants.

          Pay to watch recorded content, pay for HD, NowTV content, etc. Split sports into exclusive channels so you need a ‘World’ pack, Box Office on top for films and sports. Worst performing broadband product next to (allegedly) Virgin Media.

          IF they can sort their pipes out, I’ll consider a package once they’ve junked the satellite system they’ve tied themselves to.
          Take your sub card out of your box. Half the “content” you have access to is FTA/FTV anyway.

      3. Joe Pineapples
        3rd June 2020, 15:26

        Yes, people do indeed still have television sets.

    3. We need to try and make some money and have eyes on sponsors………but we’re not thatbothered.

    4. Whether the races will be in Hotstar like before any Indians??

    5. It’s not really too surprising as the contracts are already in place & there doesn’t tend to be much (If any) wriggle room with these things.

      In the UK Sky have exclusive live rights until what the end of 2023? So the only way F1 is on FTA TV in that period is if Sky decide to allow it. I have heard that Sky will likely be airing the 2nd race at Silverstone on PickTV which is available on Freeview/FreeSat & that it’s possible they may air additional races on that platform.

      It’s easy to hate on Sky but they are a business & any broadcaster in there position would have likely gone for the same deal. And if it wasn’t Sky it would have been BT who I gather were prepared to make a big money offer to F1 to get the same sort of exclusivity deal Sky ended up with.

      1. It makes sense that especially with the condensed and shortened calendar Sky (and other broadcasters who paid serious money for the rights) will need to protect their exclusivity to air the races as much as they can @gt-racer.

        Good to see they are willing to compromise a bit by at least putting footage out on a more accessible channel too.

    6. German satellite TV channel RTL will no doubt still be broadcasting the races live and free to air if you have satellite box and an aerial pointing to the Astra sat at 19.2 degrees East.

      1. As a result of the the Saud Arabia, UAE/ Qatar conflict, BEIN Sport didn’t renew their contract for F1 TV rights in the MENA region as they were only losing money due to their broadcasting being pirated by the Saudi channel BoutQ.
        As mentioned by Dieter in one of his previous articles, FOM signed a 50m$ deal with the MBC group.
        Since last year, MBC has been broadcasting F1 (practice, qualy and races) free-to-air on their channel MBC Action which is available airing on both Arabsat Badr 5 26° and NileSat 7.3°
        So Western Europe, Central Europe and MENA regions can actually watch live races free to air.

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