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Sky Sports F1
Sky Sports F1 logo 2020.svg
CountryUnited Kingdom
Picture format2160p UHDTV
(downscaled to 1080i and 16:9 576i for the HDTV and SDTV feeds, respectively)
OwnerSky Group (Comcast)
Sister channelsBlaze
Crime & Investigation
Sky One
Sky Arts
Sky Atlantic
Sky Cinema
Sky Comedy
Sky Crime
Sky Documentaries
Sky History
Sky History 2
Sky Nature
Sky News
Sky Replay
Sky Sports
Sky Sports Box Office
Sky Sports News
Sky Sports Racing
Launched9 March  2012 (2012-03-09)
ReplacedSky Living Loves
Virgin Media
Channel 506 (HD)
Channel 516
Sky Anytime
SkyChannel 406 (SD/HD)
Channel 860 (SD)
On Demand
TalkTalk TVChannel 407
eir VisionChannel 418
BT TV (via Now TV)Channel 425
Channel 445 (HD)
Streaming media
Sky GoWatch live
(UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TV AnywhereWatch live (UK only)
Now TVWatch live (UK and Ireland only)

Sky Sports F1 is a television channel created exclusively for Sky's UK and Ireland coverage of Formula One, with Sky having a package of rights from the 2012 season to the 2024 season.[1] From 2019 to 2024, Sky Sports F1 has the exclusive rights to broadcast Formula 1 live in the UK and Ireland, and will sub-licence highlights of all races and qualifying sessions plus the British Grand Prix live to Channel 4. Since 2017, Sky Sports F1 has broadcast Formula 1 in 4K UHD.[2]


The BBC had exclusive UK F1 rights from 2009 until the end of the 2013 season,[3] having regained the rights from ITV. However, a new broadcast rights deal was announced on 29 July 2011, stating that Sky Sports would cover all races live. The BBC continued to broadcast half of the races live including the British Grand Prix and final race. It also allowed the BBC to show highlights of all races.[4][5] In November 2011, Sky announced the new dedicated F1 channel would launch in March 2012,[6] and will air all F1 races with coverage of practice sessions, qualifying and the race, live and commercial-free.[7]

On 21 December 2015, it was announced that the BBC would be ending its broadcast rights three seasons early after the 2015 season with its rights to 10 live races and highlights of all 21 races going to Channel 4. However, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra would continue to broadcast live commentary of the whole season until the 2021 season.[8]

Prior to the launch of the channel, there was some controversy about switching Formula One coverage at least in part to pay television.[9] However, since its launch, similar channels have launched in Germany and Italy in further moves towards a pay TV/free-to-air coverage mix by FOM (the Formula 1 rights holder).[citation needed]


The channel launched on 9 March 2012, seven days before the start of the 2012 Formula One season.[citation needed] 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 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 was available to new and existing customers before 1 April 2013 providing they subscribed to the HD pack.[12] Existing subscribers to all of the Sky Sports channels without the HD pack received 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.

Since 18 July 2017, new Sky TV customers are able to purchase the channel as a standalone channel, or as part of a larger Sky Sports package[16]

International simulcasting

Beginning at the 2016 Formula One season, Canadian F1 rights holder TSN began to simulcast Sky's coverage, including the pre- and post-race programmes and in-race commentary.[17]

For the 2018 Formula One season, Formula One's new US rights holder ESPN similarly began using Sky Sports F1's commentary, along with a simulcast of the pre-race show and some of the post-race show if necessary.[18] However, after criticism over its handling and timing of adverts during the race coverage of the 2018 Australian Grand Prix (at times cutting off commentators mid-sentence), ESPN announced that it would broadcast the remaining races of the season with a single presenting sponsor, and no commercial interruptions.[19] For the 2019 Formula One season, Welcome to the Weekend and Pit Lane Live also became available on the digital subscription service ESPN+.[20]


Formula One

Sky Sports F1 presenters at the 2018 British Grand Prix
Sky Sports F1 presenters at the 2018 British Grand Prix

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 its theme tune for the 2012 season, "Just Drive" by Alistair Griffin, which has been re-recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Rodolfus Choir.[21][22] The 43-second opening credits feature archive footage of former world champions and memorable F1 moments from 32 Grands 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 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 that was estimated to be worth £3 million.[23] The coverage was sponsored by Shell in 2014. From the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix, FairFX sponsored coverage on Sky Sports F1.[22]

The season opening Australian Grand Prix, the first to be broadcast exclusively by Sky, had an average audience of 526,000 viewers between 4.30 am and 9 am on 18 March, with a five-minute peak of 1.02 million as Jenson Button won the race. The BBC's live coverage of the same race last season averaged 2.13 million viewers, a 51.1% share of the audience.[24]

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)[25] and again in 2013.

Beginning 2019, Sky Sports holds exclusive rights to all races excluding the British Grand Prix. In September 2018, it was announced that Channel 4 had agreed to a sub-licensing agreement with Sky, under which it will broadcast free-to-air highlights of all races, and live coverage of the British Grand Prix. As a condition of the deal, Channel 4 agreed to give Sky the right to carry full series of its drama programming (including its curated foreign dramas collection Walter Presents) on its on-demand platforms. In exchange, Sky also sold a free-to-air run of its own drama Tin Star to Channel 4.[26][27][28]

Presentation and commentary team

On 9 December 2011, Sky announced their coverage team for the 2012 season.[29][needs update] The presentation team currently (at March 2021) consists of:

Name Appearances Job
Simon Lazenby Most races Host and presenter of most live build-ups, post-race analysis and the opening practice session.
David Croft All races Main commentator on all practice sessions, qualifying and races and the host of #AskCrofty. He previously covered F1 on BBC Radio 5 Live from 2006–2011. He also contributes to The F1 Show.[30]
Karun Chandhok Most races Former HRT, Lotus F1 driver throughout 2010-2011.

Analysis at selected races and pitlane reporter.

Natalie Pinkham Selected races Initially only the driver interviewer (a role she previously held on BBC Radio 5 Live in 2011), sometimes host of The F1 Show and previously the final practice session on Saturdays. Conducts driver parade interviews at selected races.
Johnny Herbert Most races Analyst. A F1 driver from 1989-2000, winning three Grands Prix with Stewart and Benetton.
Rachel Brookes Most races Sky Sports News reporter who previously interviewed the drivers for Paddock Uncut on Thursdays and provides F1 news reports. She takes turns to co-host The F1 Show, F1 Report[30] and the final practice session on Saturdays. Conducts driver parade interviews at selected races.
Craig Slater Selected races Sky Sports News reporter who previously interviewed the drivers for Paddock Uncut on Thursdays and currently provides F1 news reports.
Martin Brundle Most races Former F1 driver and tester.

Co-commentator for qualifying and race day for the majority of races, Brundle also provides 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.

Damon Hill Selected races The former World Champion[31] provides analysis and insight. Initially only available for certain races throughout the year,[32] he had since increased his involvement to become more regular at race weekends.
Anthony Davidson Selected races Former F1 driver for Super Aguri, BAR and Minardi. Also ex-test driver for the Honda and Mercedes F1 teams. Currently a Toyota sports car driver and 2014 World Endurance Champion after a previous stint with Peugeot.

Co-commentator during practice sessions and analyst for selected race events.

Davidson was co-commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live between 2008-2011.

Provided co-commentary for qualifying and race during the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. He was a last minute replacement for Williams reserve driver Paul di Resta, who was drafted into the cockpit to cover for an ill Felipe Massa.

Paul di Resta Most races Raced for Force India (2011-2013) and Williams (Hungary 2017) after winning the DTM championship in 2010. Regular analyst at race weekends, as well as co-commentator throughout practice sessions, and is the secondary co-commentator for qualifying and the race if Brundle is absent, when he is not racing in DTM for Aston Martin.
Nico Rosberg Selected races 2016 Drivers World Champion and multiple race winner. Drove for Williams and Mercedes between 2006-2016 before announcing an early retirement. Provides analysis on a selection of races throughout the year. Also works for RTL in Germany and Sky Italia's F1 coverage.
Jenson Button Selected races 2009 Drivers World Champion. He drove for Williams, Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn GP and McLaren between 2000-2016, with a reserve drive in place of Fernando Alonso (who was competing in IndyCar) at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix. He won his championship in 2009 with Brawn GP.

Provides analysis on a selection of races throughout the year starting with the 2018 British Grand Prix.

Ted Kravitz Most races Pit-lane reporter, who previously hosted the second free practice session. Host of the occasional The 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.

Former team:

Name Job
Georgie Thompson Conducted interviews with drivers and other members of a team outside a race weekend, which were then used as features during build-ups to qualifying and races. She also co-hosted The F1 Show with Ted Kravitz in 2012 and worked on the "SkyPad" with various members of the team and special guests. She departed at the end of the 2012 season.
Steve Rider Host and presenter of F1 Legends usually on after the race coverage at selected races. The series ended in 2014. He also presented F1 on ITV from 2006 to 2008.
Allan McNish Ex-F1 racer for Toyota and test driver for Renault between 2002-2003.

Acted as part-time analyst for selected races. Departed for a position within the BBC's F1 coverage.

Bruno Senna Raced for HRT, Lotus Renault GP and Williams from 2010-2012.

Expert analyst for selected races throughout the 2014 and 2015 seasons as well as driving in sports car[33] and Formula E[34] racing events.

Peter Windsor Host and presenter of Tales from the Vault usually on after the race coverage at selected races.
Anna Woolhouse Former host and presenter of the F1 Midweek Report. Now has a new name and presenters.
Pat Symonds Technical analyst at a small number at races in 2017, but departed coverage from 2018 onwards.
Marc Priestley Studio/Technical Analyst on the F1 Report and member of the production team. Left mid-way through 2018.

Support races

In February 2012, it was announced that Sky Sports F1 would also broadcast the GP2 and GP3 series live. These series were eventually rebranded as the FIA Formula 2 Championship and the FIA Formula 3 Championship respectively[35]

Sky Sports takes the world feed commentary for Formula 2 and Formula 3, which comes from Alex Jacques (Will Buxton from 2012-2014), who is usually joined by various co-commentators, mainly F1 reserve drivers such as Karun Chandhok (2011, 2013-2014, 2019) or Jérôme d'Ambrosio (2012) and Luca Filippi (2013-2014), Davide Valsecchi (2013-2014, 2016-) and Gary Anderson (2014). Since 2016, Jacques has been joined by 2012 GP2 champion Valsecchi for F2 events. Johnny Herbert and Rosanna Tennant are more recent members to the commentary and reporting team.


Sky Sports F1 aired the opening round of the 2012 IndyCar Series season, the premier level of American open wheel racing.[36] 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. Motorsport commentator and presenter Keith Huewen was the regular host of the coverage.

The IndyCar Series moved to BT Sport in 2013, but returned to Sky Sports F1 in 2019 under a new contract by Sky's new owner Comcast, which also holds the entire U.S. domestic rights to the series were also assumed by sister brand NBC Sports. It is similar to The Open Championship, which airs in Britain on Sky Sports Golf and in the United States by Comcast's The Golf Channel.[37][38][39]


  • 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 or Rachel Brookes with contributions from David Croft, Paul di Resta/Anthony Davidson, Johnny Herbert/Damon Hill. The programme has not featured in the 2020 schedule.

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 famous technical directors. This series has now ended and no new interviews have been filmed.

  • F1 Report;

Presented by Natalie Pinkham or Rachel Brookes and regular analyst Marc Priestley. In the week before or after a race, the programme looks in further depth at some of the stories and incidents that featured or may feature in race weekends. This series has been replaced by Welcome to the Weekend, a Thursday race weekend show with a similar format. It no longer features Marc Priestley.

Welcome to the Weekend, from the start of the 2020 season, is broadcast directly before the First Practice session on Fridays.

  • Classic F1;

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

  • Ted's Notebook;

A topical show presented during pre-season testing, as well as Qualifying and Race days. Presented by Ted Kravitz. Retitled The Notebook for 2020 and follows the race programme on Sunday only.

Various other documentaries have been shown about F1 history. These include 1970s season reviews produced by Brunswick Films.

During the 2012 and 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 Anthony Davidson, Karun Chandhok and Ted Kravitz and others. 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 technical innovations.

Sky Sports News

During the Formula One season, Sky Sports News has two pit-lane reporters; Rachel Brookes and Craig Slater. They provide exclusive content to Sky Sports News viewers on the latest Formula One news. Brookes role has increased to include presenting some editions of the F1 Show, an alternate driver interviewer (in addition to Natalie Pinkham), and lead presenter for the Russian Grand Prix 2020. 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 has been 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.[40] 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 20 drivers in every session and 3 selective onboard camera feeds alternating between certain drivers. Sky Race Control has been scrapped on PC in 2015, but continues on the TV and the Sky Sports F1 iPad application.


It was reported that, on 18 March 2012, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch ordered a news story on a plan to sell a stake of F1's parent company and shake-up commercial deals published the previous day to be removed from the Sky News website, subject to a review.[41] 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.[42] 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 were not "properly briefed" ahead of publication.[43] 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".[43]

See also


  1. ^ "F1 coming to Sky Sports". Sky Sports. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Sky Sports F1 to show every race exclusively". Sky Sports. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Formula One Administration Ltd announces new BBC Agreement". 20 March 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  4. ^ Gallop, Ben (29 July 2011). "New F1 deal explained". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  5. ^ Plunkett, John (29 July 2011). "BBC and Sky to share F1 broadcast rights". Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Sky Sports launches F1 channel". UK: Sky Sports. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  7. ^ Mills, Adam (13 December 2011). "Q&A with Sky F1". Badger GP. Archived from the original on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  8. ^ "BBC to end formula 1 television contract early". BBC News. British Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Sky F1 HD: The BBC came to us to save its Formula One rights". Pocket-lint. 20 February 2012.
  10. ^ "F1 HAS A BRAND NEW HOME" (PDF). Sky Media. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 15 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. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Watch Formula 1™ with Smallworld". Smallworld Cable. Retrieved 10 March 2012.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "New Sky Sports line-up gives customers more choice and channels at the same price and individual channel packs for the first time". Sky plc. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  17. ^ "TSN Partners With Sky Sports, Expands FIA Formula One World Championship Coverage". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  18. ^ "ESPN will simulcast Sky Sports' F1 coverage". Awful Announcing. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  19. ^ "ESPN promises commercial-free Formula 1 broadcasts after outcry over coverage problems". Awful Announcing. 10 April 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  20. ^ "ESPN's Formula 1 coverage expands with two new Sky pre-race programs". Awful Announcing. 12 March 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  21. ^ "'Just Drive' for Sky Sports F1". Sky Sports. 7 March 2012. Archived from the original on 20 April 2012.
  22. ^ a b "Sky Sports looks to Fame Academy graduate for Formula One theme tune". The Guardian. 7 March 2012.
  23. ^ "Sky Sports F1 Programme Sponsor revealed". Auto Race Sponsor. 16 March 2012. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012.
  24. ^ "FairFX and Sky ink sponsorship deal for Sky Sports F1". TheDrum. 27 March 2015.
  25. ^ "Sky Sports wins "Best TV Broadcast Award for Outstanding Coverage" after debut season of Sky Sports F1HD". Sky Sports. 20 December 2012. Archived from the original on 10 January 2013.
  26. ^ "British Grand Prix to be shown live on Channel 4 and Sky in 2019". BBC Sport. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Free-to-air F1 in new Sky/C4 partnership". a516digital. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  28. ^ Benson, Andrew (8 July 2018). "British Grand Prix: All you need to know before the race at Silverstone". BBC Sport. BBC.
  29. ^ "Sky Reveal 2012 Team". UK: Sky Sports. 9 December 2011. Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  30. ^ a b "The F1 Show is no more". Twitter. 25 February 2016.
  31. ^ "Damon Hill wins the championship". motorsportmagazine. 25 February 2016.
  32. ^ "Damon Hill joins Sky Sports F1/HD team". imediamonkey. 17 January 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013.
  33. ^ "Bruno Senna in WEC". autosport. 25 February 2016.
  34. ^ "Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok in Formula E". formulae. 25 February 2016. Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  35. ^ "Sky Sports to show GP2 & GP3". Sky Sports. 2 February 2012. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013.
  36. ^ "2012 Indy Car Series opening round on Sky Sports F1 HD". 19 March 2012. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012.
  37. ^ Mann, Colin. "Sky wins IndyCar coverage". Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  38. ^ "IndyCar reveals TV schedule for 2019".
  39. ^ "Sky Sports to broadcast IndyCar on Sky Sports F1 in 2019". Sky Sports. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  40. ^ "Sky teases details of Sky Race Control F1 iPad app and interactive services". Pocket-lint. 17 February 2012.
  41. ^ "BSkyB denies order to pull F1 story undermines Sky News's independence". The Guardian. 20 March 2012.
  42. ^ "Sky 'pulled' F1 news story ahead of first Grand Prix". Digital Spy. 20 March 2012.
  43. ^ a b "BSkyB chief says F1 story was pulled as news team had not been 'briefed'". The Guardian. 21 March 2012.

External links

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