My Prediction: Live races on Channel 4 in 2016

As with previous years with Sky Sports and BBC have taken it in turns to pick which races are shown live and exclusively live by each broadcaster. The format they do this in is that BBC picked 3, then Sky pick 3, BBC, 1, Sky, 1. They keep on picking one each until all the races are gone. This year Channel 4 take over from BBC’s side of the contract, but apart from that, everything remains the same.

There are 21 races in 2016, therefore Channel 4 will have 10, and Sky will have 11 and no broadcaster can have 3 races in a row. I will do this in a similar way that F1 broadcasting does it.

Channel 4 are the first to pick, and will go for Britain, Abu Dhabi and Canada. Britain is chosen as it is the home race and Abu Dhabi is the season finale, so are both obvious choices. Canada is chosen as it is a primetime race, so the audience might be higher despite Euro 2016. The start time of the Grand Prix might be changed to an earlier time, possibly 6pm or even 5pm, which could make it better for Channel 4. If the race start does stay at 7pm however, they would have to end their coverage at 9 for their drama. The likelihood is that at 9pm, when the race finishes, the analysis show will move over to More4, and no live action is missed on the main channel, and normal broadcasting can resume on Channel 4.

Sky then pick 3, they would pick Monaco, Brazil and United States. Monaco is the most prestigious race on the Formula 1 calendar, so to have exclusively live (again) would be good for the broadcaster. United States and Brazil are to try and draw the audiences in. United States being in primetime, and also was the scene of last year’s championship decider. This affects Channel 4, however not as much as it would’ve been had they lost Mexico, as the United States race starts at 8pm in 2016, and Brazil is one of the most exciting races, and has been the scene of many championship deciders in the past.

Now, each broadcaster picks one each and this continues until all are gone. Channel 4 pick Mexico for the same reasons as Canada, because it is a primetime race that can finish before Homeland (Channel 4’s current Sunday 9pm series). Sky then pick Singapore. It is a spectacle of the Formula 1 calendar now after becoming the first Night race back in 2008. This also assists Channel 4, as they would be down a Mark Webber, and also it causes the least disruption to C4’s Paralympics coverage.

Channel 4 pick Belgium as it is also another jewel on the Formula 1 calendar, and always throws up something. It also marks the return of Formula 1 after the summer break. In response Sky picks Italy, as it is also one of the best on the calendar. This is again, good for Channel 4 as it clashes with horse racing in Doncaster.

So let’s recap as we are currently half way through:

20/03 – Australia GP (05:00)
03/04 – Bahrain GP (16:00)
17/04 – Chinese GP (07:00)
01/05 – Russian GP (12:00)
15/05 – Spanish GP (13:00)
29/05 – Monaco GP (13:00): Sky (1)
12/06 – Canadian GP (19:00*): C4 (4)
19/06 – European GP (10:00*)
03/07 – Austrian GP (13:00)
10/07 – British GP (13:00): C4 (1)
24/07 – Hungarian GP (13:00)
31/07 – German GP (13:00)
28/08 – Belgian GP (13:00): C4 (5)
04/09 – Italian GP (13:00): Sky (5)
18/09 – Singapore GP (13:00): Sky (4)
02/10 – Malaysia GP (08:00)
09/10 – Japanese GP (06:00)
23/10 – United States GP (20:00): Sky (2)
30/10 – Mexican GP (19:00): C4 (3)
13/11 – Brazilian GP (16:00): Sky (3)
27/11 – Abu Dhabi GP (13:00): C4 (2)

Now, I know, none of the first 5 races are yet to be picked, and that seems a little bit weird, but the reason why not even Australia has been picked yet is because Australia has a new starting time, and the other races aren’t as big as the races already picked.

Back to the picking, Channel 4 pick Bahrain and Sky pick Hungary. Channel 4 pick Bahrain as it is an evening race and also on the Saturday they can cut from the Horse Racing to Formula 1 on the Saturday. Hungary is picked by Sky because the standard of the last two Hungarian Grand Prix’s have been immense.

Channel 4 pick Australia, at last the first race has been picked. I think Channel 4 will choose Australia to start up their coverage, and also it’s a race that can be repeated later in the day with ad breaks. Sky pick Austria as their 7th pick. Channel 4 then pick Russia and Sky pick Germany. Russia is good for channel 4 especially for qualifying as qualifying finishes before the average start of horse racing on Channel 4, the only negative is that it will cut a massive chunk out of Sunday morning show ‘Sunday Brunch’. Sky picking Germany is also good for Channel 4, as there is horse racing at Goodwood.

Channel 4 then go for Europe, which returns to the schedule for the first time since 2012. This is picked by Channel 4 because it is the same weekend as Royal Ascot, but Qualifying will be done by the start of the horse racing. Therefore, a perfect fit, despite the loss of Mark Webber, who would be mid race at the 24h of Le Mans. Sky then go for Spain, the remaining ‘European’ race.

The only remaing race that Channel 4 can pick is the Malaysia Grand Prix. This is because Sky have the previous 2 races (Italy and Singapore). It is also good for Channel 4 as the action will have concluded by the time the horse racing starts in Chantly. This means Sky get ‘the leftovers’, that re China and Japan. Meaning that this is the final list:

20/03 – Australia GP (05:00): C4 (7)
03/04 – Bahrain GP (16:00): C4 (6)
17/04 – Chinese GP (07:00): Sky (10)
01/05 – Russian GP (12:00): C4 (8)
15/05 – Spanish GP (13:00): Sky (9)
29/05 – Monaco GP (13:00): Sky (1)
12/06 – Canadian GP (19:00*): C4 (3)
19/06 – European GP (10:00*): C4 (9)
03/07 – Austrian GP (13:00): Sky (7)
10/07 – British GP (13:00): C4 (1)
24/07 – Hungarian GP (13:00): Sky (6)
31/07 – German GP (13:00): Sky (8)
28/08 – Belgian GP (13:00): C4 (5)
04/09 – Italian GP (13:00): Sky (5)
18/09 – Singapore GP (13:00): Sky (4)
02/10 – Malaysia GP (08:00): C4 (10)
09/10 – Japanese GP (06:00): Sky (11)
23/10 – United States GP (20:00): Sky (2)
30/10 – Mexican GP (19:00): C4 (4)
13/11 – Brazilian GP (16:00): Sky (3)
27/11 – Abu Dhabi GP (13:00): C4 (2)

So that’s the list, if you agree, disagree, or are confused, feel free to comment below your opinions and/or rants. I will be back later in the New Year for more stories and opinions. Hope you had a great new year!

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