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ESPN And F1 Are Together Again

| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 23 2018

The Haas F1 driver lineup of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean will display its wares on ESPN this coming season. (File photo courtesy of Haas F1)


After an absence of more than 20 years, the FIA Formula One World Championship returns to its original television home in the United States this weekend with the launch of the 2018 season in Australia. ESPN and ABC will televise all 21 races in the championship as part of a multi-year linear and digital partnership.

The Rolex Australian Grand Prix will air live on ESPN2 at 1 a.m. (EDT) Sunday (late Saturday night elsewhere in the USA). ESPN networks also will air Free Practice 3 live Friday at 10 p.m. on ESPNEWS as well as qualifying from the 3.295-mile/5.303-kilometer/16-turn Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had Formula 1 on ESPN and we’re very happy to have it back,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming & scheduling. “There are a lot of exciting storylines heading into the season and race fans are intrigued about what’s to come. They’ll be able to see it all unfold on our TV and digital platforms and we look forward to getting started.”

Formula 1 racing aired on ESPN from 1984-1997. Prior to that run, the championship made its debut on American television with the airing of highlights from the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in 1962. Select races appeared on ABC until 1988.

ESPN, Sky Sports and Formula 1 have partnered to bring Sky Sports’ package to viewers in the United States, with Sky Sports’ coverage of races, practice and qualifying sessions to air on ESPN networks. Sky is a leading entertainment company in Europe, serving 22.5-million customers across five countries _ the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.

ESPN also has added Sky Sports’ pre-race On the Grid program for the entire season. For the Australian event, On the Grid will air on ESPN2 Sunday at 12:30 a.m. (EDT), with the full schedule to be announced later.

“We are excited to work with the Sky Sports team,” said Kate Jackson, ESPN coordinating producer, motorsports. “Their coverage of F1 is second-to-none and we look forward to bringing their expertise and authenticity to our audiences.”

Scott Young of Sky Sports added, “We are delighted to be working with ESPN and ABC, and with this partnership extend Sky Sports F1’s award-winning coverage overseas. Each season we look to find new ways to improve the broadcast and entertain our viewers and this year will be no different.”

However, F1 fans will have to adjust to a new on-air broadcast team. The familiar personalities and voices of Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett on NBC Sports Group, including NBC Sports Network, were not retained as part of the media rights switch to ABC/ESPN.

Sky Sports’ coverage will include commentary and analysis from a lineup of former world champions and current F1 drivers, bolstered by the recent addition of 2016 F1 World Driving Champion Nico Rosberg of Germany. A second generation champion, Rosberg joins Martin Brundle, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, Paul di Resta and Anthony Davidson along with commentators Simon Lazenby, Ted Kravitz, David Croft, Rachel Brookes and Natalie Pinkham. The agreement for ESPN to air Sky Sports’ coverage was arranged by Formula 1, with the approval of ESPN and Sky.

Brundle widely is regarded by European F1 followers as the “Voice of Formula 1.” A star in F1 and sports cars, Brundle began his broadcasting career in 1997.

Hill was Formula 1 World Champion with Williams in 1996, and the son of two-time World Champion Graham Hill.

Herbert competed in F1 for 11 years, and was a three-time grand prix winner.

A veteran of 58 F1 races, di Resta was reserve driver for Williams F1 last year and competed at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Davidson is Mercedes AMG’s No. 1 Sim (simulator) driver and works with engineers to test the design and performance of Silver Arrows cars. His background includes sports car competition in various worldwide series as well as INDYCAR’s Verizon IndyCar Series.

ESPN and Sky Sports production personnel will work together on the U.S. presentation, with Sky Sports producing special segments that will appear on various ESPN platforms to supplement the television coverage.

Sky’s F1 coverage includes storytelling innovations including Sky’s exclusive “Sky Pad,” a large, interactive touchscreen TV used by pundits and guests to dissect highlights and information; race control and pit wall views and some of the most advanced on-screen information available to race fans. Sky was awarded “Best TV Broadcaster for Outstanding Coverage” by F1 in 2012 and 2013.

Beginning with Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix and ending with the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Nov. 25, more than 135 hours of Formula 1 programming will air live and in replay across ESPN platforms in 2018. The globetrotting schedule includes Round 18 of the 21-race schedule_ the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, from Oct. 18-21.

This year’s races will air on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC, while practice and qualifying sessions will air either on ESPN2, ESPNEWS or on ESPN3 _ ESPN’s live, multi-screen sports network accessible on computers, smart phones, tablets and streaming devices through the ESPN App.

ESPN3 currently is available nationwide at no additional cost to those who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. It also is available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smart phones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

The Formula 1 World Championship also will have a strong presence on ESPN digital platforms during the 2018 season, led by the dedicated ESPN F1 landing page on ESPN.com. Some content leading into the Australian Grand Prix:

In addition, replays of practice sessions, qualifying and race telecasts are available via the ESPN App.

The Australian Grand Prix Schedule on ESPN networks (all times EDT): Friday, March 23, Free Practice 3, 10 p.m., ESPNEWS; Saturday, March 24, qualifying, 2 a.m., ESPN2; Sunday, March 25, On the Grid, 12:30 a.m., ESPN2; Australian Grand Prix race (live), 1 a.m., ESPN2; Race encore, 11 a.m., ESPN2; Race encore, 1 p.m., ESPNEWS; Race encore, 9 p.m., ESPNEWS.


SiriusXM will begin radio coverage of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship season Sunday with the Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne (1:10 a.m. EDT).  The event will air live from start to finish on SiriusXM radios (Sirius Channel 137 and XM Channel 201) and on the SiriusXM app.  It also will be rebroadcast in its entirety later that morning (9 a.m. EDT) on SiriusXM Rush (Channel 93).

Through a multi-year agreement with Formula 1, announced last fall, SiriusXM will broadcast all Formula 1 races this season.  Listeners nationwide will hear the BBC 5 Live radio broadcast for each event.

Additionally, exclusive new pre- and post-race shows will debut as part of SiriusXM’s coverage on SundaySpeed City F1, hosted by Jon Massengale, Les Kiser and Jonathan Green, will air in the hour before and after every Formula 1 race this season, offering listeners the latest team news, a recap of qualifying results, driver interviews and an in-depth look at that weekend’s circuit.

All Formula 1 programming on SiriusXM, including race broadcasts, are available to subscribers nationwide on SiriusXM radios. Subscribers with streaming access can listen online, on-the-go with the SiriusXM mobile app and at home on a variety of connected devices, including smart TVs, Amazon Alexa devices, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, Sonos speakers and more.

For additional information SiriusXM, go to www.SiriusXM.com.  For more info on the 2018 Formula 1 season visit www.Formula1.com.


| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 23 2018


  • dragon says:

    Australian grand prix 2018

  • Pamela Richards says:

    You guys have completely screwed up the F1 season. Your announcers have turned the sport into a snooze fest. Why on earth would you dump Matchett and Hobbs? Listening to your first qualifying broadcast, I thought I was listening to a bad Monty Python skit. Guess my 20+ years of watching F1 are over. You’ve ruined the sport for me. Maybe I can just mute the sound. Clearly, you guys are clueless. Watch the ratings drop.

    • John S Sturbin says:

      ESPN obviously is doing this on-the-cheap by “partnering” with Sky. I found the seven-to-eight commercials run while events _ like Romain Grosjean’s improbable exit with a wheel issue _ even more annoying. NBC Sports Network really spoiled us!

    • norbert potter says:

      I Could not agree more. The commentator’s were difficult to understand and seemed to be looking at some other broadcast half the time. Why no dnf driver interviews, during the race or even after. Also no recap after the race, interviews with the top three drivers? If this is all espn is going to it is going to be a long season