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Sky Sports F1

Sky Sports F1
The official Sky Sports F1 HD logo
Launched 9 March 2012 (2012-03-09)
Owned by Sky plc
Picture format 16:9, 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audience share 0.2% (September 2014 (2014-09), BARB)
Slogan Your Home of Formula 1
Country United Kingdom, Ireland
Sister channel(s) Challenge,
Sky Arts,
Sky Atlantic,
Sky Living,
Sky Livingit,
Sky Movies,
Sky Movies Box Office,
Sky News,
Sky Sports,
Sky Sports News HQ
Website .com.skyf1
Sky Channel 407 (SD/HD)
Channel 451 (SD)
On Demand
Virgin Media Channel 507
Channel 517 (HD)
Sky Anytime
Smallworld Cable Channel 408
TalkTalk Plus TV Channel 505
Streaming media
Sky Go Watch live
(UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TV Anywhere Watch live (UK only)
Now TV Watch live (UK only)

Sky Sports F1 is a television channel created especially for Sky's UK coverage of Formula One, with Sky having a package of UK rights from the 2012 season to the 2018 season.[1]


  • History 1
    • Background 1.1
    • Launch 1.2
  • Availability 2
  • Coverage 3
    • Formula One 3.1
      • Presentation and commentary team 3.1.1
    • Support races 3.2
    • Past Coverage 3.3
    • Programming 3.4
    • Features 3.5
  • Sky Sports News 4
  • Sky Race Control 5
  • Criticisms 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8



The BBC initially had exclusive UK rights from 2009 until the end of the 2013 season,[2] having regained the rights from ITV. However, because of the licence fee freeze and resultant review of cost constraints, it was believed that BBC were to leave F1 after the 2011 season.

A new broadcast rights deal was announced on 29 July 2011, stating that Sky Sports would cover all races live, (half of which would be exclusively live). Both Sky and BBC Sport would cover the remaining races live including the British Grand Prix. It also allowed the BBC to show highlights of all races, (including the other races that the BBC did not have live rights to cover).[3][4] BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra will continue to broadcast live commentary of the whole season, including practice, qualifying and the races.

Prior to the launch of the channel, there was some controversy about switching Formula One coverage at least in part to pay television,[5] as the BBC brought Sky into the discussions a few days before the deal was announced,[6] despite reported interest from Channel 4.[7] However, since its launch, similar channels have launched in Germany and Italy (to name but two) and had seen further moves towards a pay tv/ free to air coverage mix by F.O.M. (the Formula 1 rights holder).

In November 2011, Sky announced the new dedicated F1 channel would launch in March 2012,[8] and will air all F1 races with coverage of practice sessions, qualifying and the race, live and commercial free.[9]


On 13 January 2012, an advert was released saying the channel would launch on 9 March 2012, seven days before the start of the 2012 Formula One season. During 2012, the channel was on air for sixty-three hours during race weeks and thirty-two hours during non-race weeks.[10] Sky Sports F1 announced via Twitter that there would not be a dedicated Sky Sports F1 app, however the F1 section on the Sky Sports News app was enhanced.[11]

Sky Sports F1 HD launched with a two hour special of The F1 Show, presented by Simon Lazenby, Martin Brundle and Damon Hill, previewing the 2012 Formula One season.


Sky Sports F1 HD on the Sky platform is available to new customers who take out a Sky Sports subscription, or existing customers before 1 April 2013 providing they subscribed to the HD pack.[12] Subscribers to all of the Sky Sports channels without the HD pack receive a standard definition version.[13] Virgin Media and Smallworld Cable offer the standard definition version of the channel to Sky Sports subscribers, it is not available separately.[14][15] The HD version of the channel was made available to Virgin Media customers subscribing to the Sky Sports Collection with the additional Sky Sports HD pack on 15 July 2014. A standard definition version of the channel is also provided through Sky Go.


Formula One

The 2012 season started on 16 March (live practice) from the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Australia. Sky Sports broadcast every practice session, qualifying session and race live. The season passed 19 countries on the way. Formula One visited places as diverse as China, Bahrain, Belgium, Italy, and also United States for a Grand Prix taking place in Austin, Texas at the brand new Circuit of the Americas. The season came to an end at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix on 25 November 2012.

On 7 March 2012, Sky Sports F1 revealed their theme tune for the 2012 season, "Just Drive" by Alistair Griffin, which has been re-recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Rodolfus Choir.[16] (Incidentally,the original version of the song was also used as the BBC's ending theme for 2010).[17] The 43-second opening credits feature archive footage of former world champions and memorable F1 moments from 32 Grand Prix between 1950 and 2011. The theme tune is also used on The F1 Show and for Classic F1. 2014 saw a rearrangement of the theme to go with their updated titles. Sky's original arrangement is still utilised for its coverage of Classic F1 races.

During the 2012 season, Santander UK was the official sponsor of Formula One coverage on Sky Sports F1 in a deal estimated to be worth £3 million.[18] The coverage has more recently been sponsored by Shell.

The season opening Australian Grand Prix, the first to be broadcast exclusively by Sky, had an average audience of 526,000 viewers between 4.30am and 9am on 18 March, with a five-minute peak of 1.02 million as Jenson Button took the chequered flag. The BBC's live coverage of the same race last season averaged 2.13 million viewers, a 51.1% share of the audience.[19]

Sky Sports won "Best TV Broadcast Award for Outstanding Coverage" at both the 2012 FIA Prize Giving Ceremony (following Sky Sports F1's debut season presenting Formula One) [20] and again in 2013.

Presentation and commentary team

On 9 December 2011, Sky announced their coverage team for the 2012 season.[21] The presentation team currently consists of:

  • Simon Lazenby – Host and presenter of all live F1 build-ups and post-race analysis.
  • Martin Brundle – Co-Commentator for qualifying and race day, Brundle also provides expert analysis of practice, qualifying and races, in addition to the pre-race grid-walk. He previously covered F1 on ITV between 1997 and 2008 and on the BBC from 2009–2011.
  • Anthony Davidson – Co-Commentator during practice sessions and "SkyPad" analyst during qualifying and races. Davidson previously filled in as co-commentator for ITV during Hungary 2006 and was co-commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live between 2008-2011.
  • David Croft – Main Commentator on all practice sessions, qualifying and races. He previously covered F1 on BBC Radio 5 Live from 2006–2011.
  • Ted Kravitz – Pit-lane reporter, host of The F1 Show and of "Ted's Notebook". Kravitz provides news, analysis and technical information from his position in the pit-lane. He previously covered F1 on ITV from 2002–2008 and on the BBC from 2009–2011.
  • Natalie Pinkham – Initially only the Driver interviewer (a role she previously held on BBC Radio 5 Live in 2011), she is now also the current main co-host of The F1 Show.
  • Damon Hill – The former World Champion provides expert analysis and insight. Initially only available for certain races throughout the year (Australia, Malaysia, China, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Canada, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Korea, India, Abu Dhabi, USA and Brazil).,[22] he had since increased his involvement thought the whole season.
  • Johnny Herbert – Expert analyst for all races throughout the season.
  • Karun Chandhok – Expert analyst for selected races throughout the 2014 season as well as driving in Sports Car racing events. Replaced Allan McNish who Joined BBC Radio 5 Live in 2013 as co-commentator.
  • Bruno Senna – Expert analyst for selected races throughout the 2014 season as well as driving in Sports Car racing events.
  • Giedo van der Garde - Expert analyst for selected races throughout the 2014 season as well as being a test driver for the Sauber Formula One team.
  • Alexander Rossi - Expert analyst for selected races throughout the 2014 season as well as being a test driver for the Caterham and later Marussia Formula One team.

Previous Team Members;

  • Allan McNish - acted as part time analyst for selected races. Departed for a position within the BBC's F1 coverage.

Support races

In February 2012, it was announced that Sky Sports F1 would also broadcast the GP2 and GP3 series live.[23]

  • GP2 – Formula 1's feeder series
  • GP3 – Feeder series for GP2

Sky Sports takes the world feed commentary for GP2 and GP3, which comes from Will Buxton (paddock commentator for Formula One on NBC Sports), who is usually joined by various co-commentators (mainly F1 reserve drivers such as Karun Chandhok in 2011 or Jerome D'Ambrosio in 2012 and Luca Filippi, Davide Valsecchi, Karun Chandhok and Gary Anderson in 2013 and 2014.

Past Coverage

Sky Sports F1 aired the opening round of the 2012 IndyCar Series season, the premier level of American open wheel racing.[24] Rounds 2 and 3 were then aired on their usual channel, Sky Sports 4, before the fourth round, the São Paulo Indy 300 moved back to Sky Sports F1. Since then, all the other rounds were aired on Sky Sports 4 and sometimes on the Sky Sports Active service.


  • The F1 Show;

The first programme to air on Sky Sports F1 was its weekly magazine show; The F1 Show.Initially presented by Georgie Thompson and Ted Kravitz (apart from the launch show, which was presented by Simon Lazenby), then by Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham, as of the 2014 season, it is presented by Natalie Pinkham and one of Ted Kravitz, Simon Lazenby, David Croft or Rachael Brookes.

A series of interviews with some of the greatest names in F1 history hosted by Steve Rider. Sometimes is captioned Architects of F1 and features non-F1 drivers, but ex-F1 engineers and legendary technical directors.

  • Midweek Report;

Presented by Anna Woolhouse, in the week after a race, the programme looks on further depth some of the stories and incidents that came out of the previous race.

  • Classic F1;

Coverage of an F1 trace from the archive corresponding to the current race that weekend.

Various other documentaries are also shown about F1 history. Currently these are 1970s season reviews produced by Brunswick Films.

During the 2012 & 2013 season (beginning at the 2012 British Grand Prix), they aired the new McLaren cartoon Tooned before each live race. It featured the current McLaren drivers as themselves and comedian Alexander Armstrong as Professor M.


Sky Sports have a device called the 'SkyPad', used by the likes of Anthony Davidson and Ted Kravitz. It is used to show highlights and past features of the race commencing, such as mistakes by drivers. The SkyPad also has a virtual car which comes out of the screen and is used to illustrate the innovations of the cars.

Sky Sports News

During the Formula One season, Sky Sports News has two pit-lane reporters; Rachel Brookes and Craig Slater. They providing exclusive content to SSN viewers on the latest Formula One news. Brookes role has increased to include presenting some editions of the F1 Show and as an alternate driver interviewer (in addition to Natalie Pinkham). David Gariddo was at selective Formula 1 races throughout 2012 and previewed the race weekend from the Sky Sports News perspective. Since the 2013 season, Tony Jardine is providing an analytical previews for all race weekends.

Sky Race Control

Sky Race Control is the brand name used across all of Sky Sports F1's interactive services.[25] Sky Race Control is available via the red button as well as the Sky Sports website and iPad app in conjunction with a Sky ID. Features include the race coverage, official Formula One timing showing times of all 22 drivers in every session and 3 selective onboard camera feeds alternating between certain drivers.


It was reported that, on 18 March 2012, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch ordered a news story, published the previous day, be removed from the Sky News website, subject to a review.[26] It was alleged that the move came after Sky Sports F1 executive producer Martin Turner complained that it had upset seven of the twelve Formula One teams ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.[27] The story was republished the following day substantially unchanged except for the replacement of some sections quoting directly from confidential documents. Jeremy Darroch said that the "issue was about process" and that Sky's sports team at the grand prix "weren't properly briefed" ahead of publication.[28] When questioned whether the request for a review represented a commercial interference in Sky News's editorial independence, Darroch said Sky needed to "have proper rigour in terms of our processes in our business".[28]


  1. ^ "F1 coming to Sky Sports". Sky Sports. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Formula One Administration Ltd announces new BBC Agreement". 20 March 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Gallop, Ben (29 July 2011). "New F1 deal explained". BBC Sport ( 
  4. ^ Plunkett, John (29 July 2011). "BBC and Sky to share F1 broadcast rights".  
  5. ^ Duncan, Philip (2 September 2011). "BBC/Sky F1 deal under scrutiny amid growing unrest from furious fans".  
  6. ^ "Sky F1 HD: The BBC came to us to save its Formula One rights". Pocket-lint. 20 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Duncan, Philip (11 August 2011). "Revealed! Channel 4's last-ditch bid to keep Formula One on terrestrial TV".  
  8. ^ "Sky Sports launches F1 channel". UK: Sky Sports. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Mills, Adam (13 December 2011). "Q&A with Sky F1". ( 
  10. ^ "F1 HAS A BRAND NEW HOME". Sky Media. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original on 5 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "A dedicated F1 app ...". Twitter. 12 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Sky Sports F1 coming to Virgin Media". Digital Spy. 16 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Sky Sports F1 TM HD – The Ultimate Formula 1 TM Experience". BSkyB. 25 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Formula 1 fans on pole with Virgin Media and Sky Sports F1". Virgin Media. 16 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Watch Formula 1™ with Smallworld". Smallworld Cable. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Just Drive' for Sky Sports F1"'". Sky Sports. 7 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Sky Sports looks to Fame Academy graduate for Formula One theme tune". The Guardian. 7 March 2012. 
  18. ^ "Sky Sports F1 Programme Sponsor revealed". Auto Race Sponsor. 16 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "Sky's Australian Grand Prix coverage drives away with 526,000 viewers". The Guardian. 19 March 2012. 
  20. ^ "Sky Sports wins "Best TV Broadcast Award for Outstanding Coverage" after debut season of Sky Sports F1HD". Sky Sports. 20 December 2012. 
  21. ^ "Sky Reveal 2012 Team". UK: Sky Sports. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  22. ^ "Damon Hill joins Sky Sports F1/HD team". imediamonkey. 17 January 2012. 
  23. ^ "Sky Sports to show GP2 & GP3". Sky Sports. 2 February 2012. 
  24. ^ "2012 Indy Car Series opening round on Sky Sports F1 HD". 19 March 2012. 
  25. ^ "Sky teases details of Sky Race Control F1 iPad app and interactive services". Pocket-lint. 17 February 2012. 
  26. ^ "BSkyB denies order to pull F1 story undermines Sky News's independence". The Guardian. 20 March 2012. 
  27. ^ "Sky 'pulled' F1 news story ahead of first Grand Prix". Digital Spy. 20 March 2012. 
  28. ^ a b "'"BSkyB chief says F1 story was pulled as news team had not been 'briefed. The Guardian. 21 March 2012. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Official Formula One
  • Sky Sports F1 on Twitter
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