F1 pre-season testing to be broadcast live in 2019

2019 F1 season

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Part of the first test for the 2019 F1 season will be broadcast live.

Sky UK has announced it will broadcast five hours of live coverage for each of the first four days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya from February 18th to 21st. The live coverage will air between 1pm and 6pm each day.

The channel has exclusive live broadcast rights for every round of the 2019 F1 season, apart from the British Grand Prix, which will also be shown on the free-to-air Channel 4.

Further details of testing coverage by broadcasters in other countries is yet to be confirmed. However as Formula 1’s direct streaming service F1 TV uses Sky’s commentary team for its English coverage, the feed could be made available to its subscribers as well.

F1 TV is available in over 40 countries. As of 2019 viewers in the Netherlands will be able to access it for the first time through broadcaster Ziggo Sport.

The opening test will be the first of two four-day tests for the team ahead of the season-opening race in Australia on March 17th. So far four teams have announced details of their planned launches ahead of the test.

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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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41 comments on “F1 pre-season testing to be broadcast live in 2019”

  1. Why dedicate a whole article about live testing coverage in ONE country?

    If you go on like this then you can fill this site by only sharing broadcast updates from all 200 countries in the world :P

    1. See if it catches on in terms of viewership. Then you can start negotiations with other providers.

      No point doing all that work if only 20 people watch it!

    2. Maybe because:

      Further details of testing coverage by broadcasters in other countries is yet to be confirmed.


      1. That line was added after I commented, but I don’t expect the same service to fans from other countries ;)

        Unfortunately, this website is at times still very UK-centric.

        1. @coldfly

          That line was added after I commented

          No it wasn’t, it’s been there since the article was published.

          1. must be my reading skill then, oops.

    3. @coldfly I know what you’re saying but the reality is that if it’s on Sky, that means everyone can watch it. Perhaps not legally but…..

      1. good point – I have to resort to VPN and other measures as well.
        I was probably hoping that FOM would promise a youtube stream.

    4. Reas more, post less.

      1. That your new year’s resolution? Unexpected, but I fully support it.

    5. The article actually adresses the UK, mentions F1 TV being available in 40 countries and newly via Ziggo in the Netherlands as well @coldfly.

  2. F1 TV is one of the very few streaming services (if not the only) that get past my company’s web filters.
    In unrelated news, I predict a sudden drop in my productivity, starting in 4 weeks’ time …

    1. Run it with low quality/resolution – you don’t want a spike in bandwidth usage for a particular site being flagged up by your company’s firewall. And enjoy it while it lasts!

      1. I don’t mean to brag, but (notice the famous “I’m not/I don’t X, but [argument that necessarily amounts to X]”), given the nature of the company, even a pretty impressive spike would be drowned out by an ocean of data flows.
        But yeah, I definitely plan on enjoying it. B-)

  3. Pre-season testing coverage has always struck me as something that a lot of people ask for but which will be something that not that many people actually watch with many of those who do complaining about how boring it is.

    Sort of like practice sessions. For years people complained that they wanted to watch practice sessions yet now that practice coverage is more widely available all you hear is how the practice sessions are dull & pointless & how practice running should be reduced or made more interesting in some way.

    I’ll watch & enjoy it because i’m one of the crazy one’s that enjoys watching every bit of track action as I just love watching the cars driving around, But I think for most it’s going to prove super dull as not much really happens in testing.

    1. COTD.

      This is another example of F1 fans asking for something which they think they want, but which they ultimately don’t want. Watching cars circulating in winter testing can be like watching paint dry, I’m always amazed the people are so keen to see it when they routinely rubbish races which aren’t full of overtaking or crashfests.

      Like @stefmeister, I watch as much footage as I can get my hands on from testing as it can be very useful in trying to gauge where everyone is ahead of Melbourne, but I think I’m very much in the majority here. Most people only care about headline times from each day’s testing (which mean very little in the grand scheme), so I’m not sure how many will actually tune into this.

      1. i agree with your views on this ..but only thing is i wonder if anyone can watch five hours of testing..without getting fatigue…though it would be much better than watching those endless sky repeats and commercials ..during those replays

    2. @stefmeister

      If it is available and you have time to spare, having the practice session on the telly in the background would be great for me.

      I have to say though that winter testing is always boring, even the reports coming out of it. The only interesting thing is watching the new cars, new liveries and drivers, and the new pieces they fit in them. Other than that, it’s just meaningless.

      However i think F1 missed it again this time, they should make it free! On YouTube, live… People would have the chance to watch it, get a feel for it and maybe, if they showcase it well, with good commentary, interviews or whatever, people would then think about getting F1 TV or paying Sky or whoever.

      Winter testing is highly irrelevant… That’s why there’s no point being to secretive about it. Make it available for the people. That way it becomes interesting

    3. now that practice coverage is more widely available all you hear is how the practice sessions are dull & pointless & how practice running should be reduced or made more interesting in some way.

      Yeah that really rankles with me. Practice isn’t there for entertainment.

      Though it increasingly seems the best thing they could do with practice is have a lot less of it…

      1. I actually watch practice sessions (live on TV) most of the time, but noticed last year in particular that it was being spoiled by meaningless drivel from the commentary team.

        That being said, I cringe a bit thinking what they might do for pre season testing. Hopefully they’ll allow us to watch cars running, provide on board footage etc. and manage to shut up while they’re running.

        Given that for the first time ever I’ll be in the UK when pre-season starts, I’m hoping to get a look at the coverage. Might even spend a day live at the circuit as well to see what it’s like in real life to compare live with televised.

        1. Need to take a page out of the Test Cricket commentary book – sometimes the commentators just shut up and let things play out. Probably not often enough, but it’s good they do a bit.

    4. perhaps a simple live stream to youtube and F1 TV for the diehards, It would be something i’d turn on in the background, but not sit down and watch.

      What would be useful would be daily recap show. Maybe 30 minutes each day. The Volvo ocean race (sailboat race around the world) did that and it was great. There would be a couple of exciting moments to show along with interviews talking about strategy and what each team is working on. Just enough information to let you keep up with what was going on without being stuck watching TV for hours at a time hoping to see something happen.

  4. For a minute there I thought it was going to be broadcast live on Youtube like Fe. But no, stick it behind a paywall. Thanks Sky!

  5. I wish FOM put up proper highlight reels on YouTube at the end of each day. And by “proper” I mean a meaningful video summary of the day, not just a few minutes of snippets that appear cool/hip. That would also go well alongside writeups in the media about the test sessions.

    1. joe pineapples
      21st January 2019, 19:37

      Stop it with this sense making idea.

  6. Nothing has been said about F1 TV access?

  7. Surprised people are complaining, 5 hours of coverage for every day of testing is really, really cool! Here’s hoping for good weather and covering the second test also.

    1. @skipgamer

      Surprised people are complaining

      Picture me surprised, as I don’t see anyone complaining.

  8. Will Crofty be commentating over it the whole time? Not sure I can take 5 hours a day for 8 days …

    1. @hugh11

      Will Crofty be commentating over it the whole time? Not sure I can take 5 hours a day for 8 days …

      Using the term “commentating” loosely.
      It’s usually just some aimless drivel, with an occasional biassed, conspiracy hint, just to steer up some controversy.
      And that’s on a race day!

  9. ”The opening test will be the first of two four-day tests for the team ahead of the season-opening race in Australia on March 25th.”
    – I think you mean March 17th.

  10. That’s welcome news.

  11. Unless I win the lottery, this will my first season without live F1 in over 30 years. How can a falling Western audience give big sponsors, on the cars & track, value for money? Very short sighted. My son was just starting to get interested. Shame.

    1. This is exactly my situation @inkpen99 (well, 28 years). News like this just hits it home. I’m not entirely sure how long I will last on racefans throughout this season. I can get RTL but it’s hard to watch in a different language (no, radio does not sync!) with many adverts… perhaps not worth it anymore if I’m doing it for 20 races (except British GP).

      On the bright side at least I won’t be listening to David Croft shouting at me, but it’s a silver lining at best. This is the year I might have to say goodbye.

  12. does anyone knw i sky are doing this 9 monh or so deal for 150GBP (dont have symble on bluetooth keybord) ?

    they did it last year and for uk viewers, it wasn’t really worth that price as you could watch half the sesions live on freeview and the other half on sky. And that would have been well under 150GBP. But this year, sky is the only option. I honistly think it will be unreasonable if they don’t offer this again. If they bump up the price just because they are exclusivly live, that is a bit poor. They may get more viewers than last year, but F1 will get way less. I really hope they will do some deal that covers the season for a reasonable price. If they did this offer last year, why can’t they do it again?

    1. you really can tell i’m using this keyboard. Bluetooth it useless at keeping up with what you type on this.

      1. Wires are underrated :)

  13. Some notes.

    Unlike in 2013 when Sky produced there live coverage of the final test this time it will be produced by FOM & will feature all of the camera angles, graphics & features that would be seen over a race weekend.

    I’ve not had this confirmed yet but I was told the plan was for i to also be broadcast on F1TV.

    For now this is just a trial for the 1st test & that coverage of future test’s will depend on how much interest is shown in it. If enough people watch & there is enough interest in more coverage then chances are they will cover testing live in the future. However if they don’t draw the numbers & there isn’t too much interest then this may end up been a one off.

    If you go back to 2013 when Sky produced live testing coverage it was something they had intended to do again, However they drew a smaller audience than they do for there practice coverage & there also wasn’t that much interest shown so plans for future coverage was scrapped as they deemed the low demand wasn’t worth what it cost them to produce the broadcast.

    The issue with testing is that it’s actually quite uneventful. In practice you at least have cars pushing on for laps & setting competitive times, In testing it’s not uncommon to get lengthy periods of cars just doing slow laps gathering data & this is especially common during the first week of testing where setting lap times is the last thing on anybody’s mind. A lot of the teams aren’t even running the full new aero package on the cars the first week.

    1. That’s a real shame if they’re giving it full production value and expecting it to get viewers worthy of that investment.

      Some static cameras and on-board footage is all they need. No commentary, a skeleton crew of the tv director truck and that’s it really. It’s simply not possible to get a mass of people watching the lack of competition but for those of us who are interested it’s going to be great to have on in the background during the day.

  14. If they made a budget level stream free on a youtube live, including alot of focus on all the technical stuff, differences between teams, what they are testing, some commentary/showing som skteches on the changes etc it could be a good way to promote the series. The driving wont be spectacular(which could be said for other parts of the season aswell), but the tech is for people who have any interest in such things, they just need to be much better at showing it.

    1. There are contracts that would prevent them putting it on a platform like youtube as with all teams there & a full TV production it fall’s under the same broadcast contract as race weekends.

      I believe that even on F1TV it will feature geo-blocking & restrictions in the same regions as the race weekend coverage does.

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