Sky Sports F1

Sky Sports F1
Launched 9 March 2012 (2012-03-09)
Owned by Sky plc
Picture format 16:9, 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
2160i (UHDTV) (from 2017)
Audience share 0.22% (October 2016 (2016-10), BARB)
Slogan Your Home of Formula 1
Country United Kingdom, Ireland
Sister channel(s) Challenge,
Real Lives,
Sky 1,
Sky 2,
Sky Arts,
Sky Atlantic,
Sky Cinema,
Sky Cinema Box Office,
Sky Living,
Sky News,
Sky Sports,
Sky Sports News HQ
Sky Channel 408 (SD/HD)
Channel 473 (SD)
On Demand
Virgin Media
Channel 508 (HD)
Channel 518
Sky Anytime
TalkTalk TV Channel 407
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 exclusively 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] From 2019 to 2024, Sky Sports F1 will have the exclusive rights to live Formula 1, and will sub-licence the British Grand Prix plus highlights and qualifying sessions of all races on a free-to-air basis on a free to air channel, expected to be Sky Sports Mix. From 2017, Sky Sports F1 will broadcast Formula 1 in UHD for the first time.[2]


BBC initially had exclusive UK rights from 2009 until the end of the 2013 season,[3] 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 would cover the remaining races live including the British Grand Prix and final race. It also allowed BBC to show highlights of all races, (including the other races that they did not have live rights to cover).[4][5]

Subsequently on 21 December 2015, it was announced that BBC would be ending their broadcast rights three seasons early after the 2015 season with the free to air 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 will continue to broadcast live commentary of the whole season, including practice, qualifying and the races until the 2021 season.[6]

Prior to the launch of the channel, there was some controversy about switching Formula One coverage at least in part to pay television,[7] as the BBC brought Sky into the discussions a few days before the deal was announced,[8] despite reported interest from Channel 4.[9] 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 FOM (the Formula 1 rights holder).

In November 2011, Sky announced the new dedicated F1 channel would launch in March 2012,[10] and will air all F1 races with coverage of practice sessions, qualifying and the race, live and commercial free.[11]


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.[12] 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.[13]

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 with HD or existing customers before 1 April 2013 providing they subscribed to the HD pack.[14] Subscribers to all of the Sky Sports channels without the HD pack receive a standard definition version.[15] Virgin Media and Smallworld Cable offer the standard definition version of the channel to Sky Sports subscribers, it is not available separately.[16][17] 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.

In the 2016 Formula One season, TSN reached a deal with Sky to utilize its television coverage for Canadian F1 broadcasts, including its pre- and post-race programmes.[18]


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.[19] (Incidentally, the original version of the song was also used as the BBC's ending theme for 2010).[20] 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 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.[21] The coverage has more recently been sponsored by Shell until 2014. From the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix, FairFX sponsored coverage on Sky Sports F1 for the rest of 2015 season.[20] The 43-second opening credits feature archive footage.

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.[22]

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) [23] and again in 2013.

Sky Sports F1 is currently sponsored by Sure and DHL.

Presentation and commentary team

On 9 December 2011, Sky announced their coverage team for the 2012 season.[24] The presentation team currently consists of:

Name Appearances Job
Simon Lazenby All races Host and presenter of all live F1 build-ups, post-race analysis and the opening practice session. He did takes turns to co-host The F1 Show.[25]
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 did take turns to co-host The F1 Show.[25]
Natalie Pinkham All races Initially only the driver interviewer (a role she previously held on BBC Radio 5 Live in 2011), she was the host of The F1 Show and currently presents final practice session on Saturday. Conducts driver parade interviews at selected races. For selected races during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Pinkham presented The Midweek Report now F1 Report.[26]
Ted Kravitz All races Pit-lane reporter, former host of The F1 Show [25] but currently hosts the second free practice session 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.
Johnny Herbert All races Co-commentator during practice sessions and "SkyPad" analyst during qualifying and races when Davidson is not available. Expert analyst for all races throughout the season.
Rachel Brookes All races Sky Sports News HQ reporter who interviews the drivers for the Paddock Uncut on Thursdays as well as for the Sky Sports HQ reports at selected races. She did takes turns to co-host The F1 Show [25] and currently final practice session on Saturday. Conducts Driver Parade interviews at selected races.
Craig Slater All races Sky Sports News HQ reporter who interviews the drivers for Paddock Uncut on Thursdays as well as for the Sky Sports HQ reports at selected races.
Martin Brundle All races Co-commentator for qualifying and race day for 19 of the 21 races in 2016, 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. He will be missing Canada & Baku this year due to competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans support race.
Damon Hill All races The former World Champion[27] 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),[28] he had since increased his involvement throughout the whole season.
Marc Priestley All races The former mechanic for McLaren provides expert analysis and insight on F1 Report every week.[29]
Anthony Davidson Selected races Co-commentator during practice sessions and "SkyPad" analyst during qualifying and races for selected races, as well as racing in sportscar events. Davidson previously filled in as co-commentator for ITV during Hungary 2006 and was co-commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live between 2008-2011.
Tanja Bauer Occasional appearance Sky Deutschland reporter reacting to several stories over the weekend, mostly to do with German drivers or Mercedes AMG Petronas. As well as appearing live and doing interviews on The F1 Show.
Fabiano Vandone Occasional appearance Sky Italia reporter reacts to several stories over the weekend, mostly to do with Scuderia Ferrari. As well as appearing live and doing interviews on The F1 Show.
Paul di Resta Occasional appearance Occasionally provides expert analysis for selected races, as well as co-commentator throughout practice sesions, occasionally when he is not racing in DTM for Mercedes

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.
Allan McNish Acted as part-time analyst for selected races. Departed for a position within the BBC's F1 coverage.
Karun Chandhok Expert analyst for selected races throughout the 2014 season as well as driving in sports car [30] and Formula E [31] racing events. Replaced Allan McNish who joined BBC Radio 5 Live in 2013 as co-commentator. Chandhok returned to Sky Sports in 2015, providing analysis on The F1 Show. Joined Channel 4 F1.
Bruno Senna Expert analyst for selected races throughout the 2014 and 2015 seasons as well as driving in sports car [32] and Formula E [31] racing events. Joined Channel 4 F1.
Peter Windsor Host and presenter of Tales from the Vault usually on after the race coverage at selected races.
Anna Woolhouse Host and presenter of Midweek Report, now renamed as 'The F1 Report' - hosted by Natalie Pinkham.

Support races

In February 2012, it was announced that Sky Sports F1 would also broadcast the GP2 and GP3 series live.[33]

Sky Sports takes the world feed commentary for GP2 and GP3, 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) or Jérôme d'Ambrosio (2012) and Luca Filippi (2013-2014), Davide Valsecchi (2013-2014) and Gary Anderson (2014). In 2015, Jacques was joined by 2014 GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer and Karun Chandhok.

Past coverage


Sky Sports F1 aired the opening round of the 2012 IndyCar Series season, the premier level of American open wheel racing.[34] 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.


From 14 December 2015 to 5 January 2016, Sky Sports F1 was renamed temporally as Sky Sports Darts, to coincide with the 2016 PDC World Darts Championship.


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.

Presented by Natalie Pinkham, 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.

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

A topical show presented during pre season testing, as well as Qualifying and Race days. Presented by Ted Kravitz.

Various other documentaries are also shown about F1 history. Currently these are 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 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 HQ

During the Formula One season, Sky Sports News HQ 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 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.[35] 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 PCs 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, published the previous day, be removed from the Sky News website, subject to a review.[36] 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.[37] 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.[38] 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".[38]


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  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. "BBC to end formula 1 television contract early". BBC News. British Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  7. Duncan, Philip (2 September 2011). "BBC/Sky F1 deal under scrutiny amid growing unrest from furious fans". Daily Mail. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  8. "Sky F1 HD: The BBC came to us to save its Formula One rights". Pocket-lint. 20 February 2012.
  9. Duncan, Philip (11 August 2011). "Revealed! Channel 4's last-ditch bid to keep Formula One on terrestrial TV". Daily Mail. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  10. "Sky Sports launches F1 channel". UK: Sky Sports. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  11. Mills, Adam (13 December 2011). "Q&A with Sky F1". Badger GP. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  12. "F1 HAS A BRAND NEW HOME" (PDF). Sky Media. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 January 2012.
  13. "A dedicated F1 app ...". Twitter. 12 January 2012.
  14. "Sky Sports F1 coming to Virgin Media". Digital Spy. 16 January 2012.
  15. "Sky Sports F1 TM HD – The Ultimate Formula 1 TM Experience". BSkyB. 25 November 2011.
  16. "Formula 1 fans on pole with Virgin Media and Sky Sports F1". Virgin Media. 16 January 2012.
  17. "Watch Formula 1™ with Smallworld". Smallworld Cable. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  18. "TSN Partners With Sky Sports, Expands FIA Formula One World Championship Coverage". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  19. "'Just Drive' for Sky Sports F1". Sky Sports. 7 March 2012.
  20. 1 2 "Sky Sports looks to Fame Academy graduate for Formula One theme tune". The Guardian. 7 March 2012.
  21. "Sky Sports F1 Programme Sponsor revealed". Auto Race Sponsor. 16 March 2012.
  22. "FairFX and Sky ink sponsorship deal for Sky Sports F1". TheDrum. 27 March 2015.
  23. "Sky Sports wins "Best TV Broadcast Award for Outstanding Coverage" after debut season of Sky Sports F1HD". Sky Sports. 20 December 2012.
  24. "Sky Reveal 2012 Team". UK: Sky Sports. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  25. 1 2 3 4 "The F1 Show is no more". Twitter. 25 February 2016.
  26. "Natalie Pinkham prepares to host Midweek Report". Twitter. 25 February 2016.
  27. "Damon Hill wins the championship". motorsportmagazine. 25 February 2016.
  28. "Damon Hill joins Sky Sports F1/HD team". imediamonkey. 17 January 2012.
  29. "Marc Priestley joins Sky Sports F1/HD team". skysportsf1. 25 February 2016.
  30. "Karun Chandhok in WEC". autosport. 25 February 2016.
  31. 1 2 "Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok in Formula E". formulae. 25 February 2016.
  32. "Bruno Senna in WEC". autosport. 25 February 2016.
  33. "Sky Sports to show GP2 & GP3". Sky Sports. 2 February 2012.
  34. "2012 Indy Car Series opening round on Sky Sports F1 HD". 19 March 2012.
  35. "Sky teases details of Sky Race Control F1 iPad app and interactive services". Pocket-lint. 17 February 2012.
  36. "BSkyB denies order to pull F1 story undermines Sky News's independence". The Guardian. 20 March 2012.
  37. "Sky 'pulled' F1 news story ahead of first Grand Prix". Digital Spy. 20 March 2012.
  38. 1 2 "BSkyB chief says F1 story was pulled as news team had not been 'briefed'". The Guardian. 21 March 2012.
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