ITV has agreed a deal to become the live UK broadcaster of the inaugural Formula E series in 2014/15.
All 10 rounds of the first ever international electric motorsport series, with all on-track sessions held on a single day in some of the world’s most prominent cities, will be televised live and free-to-air on ITV4, starting in September 2014.
ITV4’s live 90-minute programmes covering each event will feature comprehensive race coverage together with all the build-up, including highlights from the day’s earlier practice and qualifying sessions, plus podium celebrations and post-race interviews.
Formula E adds to ITV’s impressive line-up of free-to-air motorsport, which also includes live British Touring Car Championship action, along with highlights British Superbikes, World Rally Championship and, new for 2014, MotoGP.
All of ITV4’s coverage will be available to watch in high-definition on ITV4 HD and online via ITV.com, while fans can also catch-up on each Formula E programme via ITV Player.
Formula E is a new single-seater championship featuring cars powered exclusively by electricity, racing around the iconic landmarks of 10 of the world’s leading cities.
The series, sanctioned by motorsport’s world governing body – the FIA – and backed by the likes of Michelin and Renault, debuts in Beijing in September, a race which will be held on a temporary circuit running around the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium.
All Formula E events take place across a single day – Saturday – with races beginning at 4.00pm local time.
For the inaugural season, 10 teams, each with two drivers, will go head-to-head creating a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans.
Other race venues include Monaco, Miami and Los Angeles and London, with Battersea Park the latest site earmarked to host the London round of the in June 2015.
Ali Russell, Chief Marketing Officer at Formula E, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing this partnership with ITV today and to be securing live, free-to-air coverage of all Formula E races for our UK fans – of which we’re confident there will be many
“The UK is widely considered the home of motorsport and is a very important market for the Formula E championship.
“As such, with its unrivalled commitment to motorsport, ITV provides the perfect platform to showcase our new fully-electric series – which will also be racing in London in June 2015 – and to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans.”
Rumours suggested that Sky Sports and BT Sport where in the frame for live rights to the series, but the deal with ITV is bound to help raise the profile of the electric car series in its first year.
ITV joins previously announced international broadcasters FOX Sports and TV Asahi, who have all committed to showing live coverage of Formula E races to more than 80 countries, reaching a potential global audience of more than 230 million households.
Niall Sloane, ITV’s Director of Sport, said: “I’m delighted ITV4 will be able to bring viewers the opportunity to see this innovative new series – which promises top-level open-wheel racing with the iconic backdrops of some of the world’s most famous cities.
“The coverage of this series adds another new dimension to ITV4’s motorsport portfolio.”
Four-time IndyCar champion, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Britain’s greatest motorsport export to the US Dario Franchitti is to join the host television commentary team for the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship.
Franchitti, who recently retired from racing following a glittering career, will act as co-commentator and driver pundit when the season gets underway in September alongside lead commentator Jack Nicholls.
Anchoring the world feed coverage will be presenter and pitlane reporter Nicki Shields.
For more information on Formula E, visit the series’ official website.