Channel 4 and Sky Sports have revealed their live race schedules for the 2017 Formula 1 season which gets underway at the end of March with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
All 20 races, including every on-track session, will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1 and for the first time in Ultra High-Definition, while Channel 4 will screen 10 races live for free-to-air audiences throughout the season.
Following a picks process in conjunction with Sky Sports, Channel 4 has opted to retain live terrestrial coverage of the British Grand Prix in July, as well as the season finale in Abu Dhabi in November.
The broadcaster has also chosen to screen the Monaco Grand Prix live at the end of May, marking the first time this iconic race will be shown live on free-to-air television since 2012. It will also cover the prime time United States Grand Prix live in October, bringing this race back to live terrestrial screens for the first time since 2007.
As in its debut season in 2016, Channel 4’s coverage, fronted by Steve Jones and David Coulthard, will showcase live action from practice sessions, qualifying and race days during its 10 selected live grand prix weekends. The network will also continue its commitment to broadcast its live race coverage without commercial breaks.
For non-live race weekends, Channel 4 will continue to show extensive highlights of qualifying and race day, with all live races and highlights programmes available to watch live and on demand on its catch-up service All 4.
Stephen Lyle, Channel 4 Head of F1 said: “Following a thrilling first year covering Formula One, we’re delighted to reveal our schedule for the 2017 season.
“Once again our team will bring extensive coverage of every race with the Monaco Grand Prix, Great Britain and the finale in Abu Dhabi among our ten Live race weekends.
“It’s a particular delight to welcome Monaco back to terrestrial television Live, for the first time in five years.”
For Sky Sports subscribers, its dedicated Formula 1 channel remains in place for the 2017 season and will continue to screen live coverage of every practice, qualifying session and race day, presented by Simon Lazenby alongside regulars Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill.
The first two races of the season in Australia and China will be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports, as well as two of the three crucial end-of-season races exclusively live, including the prime time Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
For the first time in UK TV history, viewers in the UK with Sky Q can enjoy every Grand Prix in stunning ultra high-definition, with picture quality four times that of normal HD TV, as well as enjoy split viewing with different race camera angles and highlights alongside live coverage.
In addition to watching every Formula 1 session live throughout the 2017 season, viewers can enjoy live coverage of F1 feeder series GP2 and GP3.
Commenting on Sky Sports’ coverage, Head of Formula 1 Martin Turner said: “With UHD it’s Formula 1 like you’ve never seen it before.
“It will be the hardest, fastest, loudest season in years with new rules, new cars, new engines and new, massive tyres.
“From the opening Grand Prix of the year to the season’s home-stretch, Sky Sports F1 remains the definitive place for fans to see every twist and turn of the season.”
With the sport radically rewriting the regulations to introduce faster, louder and more ‘aggressive’ cars in 2017, the recent supremacy of world champions Mercedes is expected to face stiff opposition in 2017 from Red Bull, spearheaded by the precocious talent of Max Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, as well as Ferrari and, potentially, McLaren.
Channel 4 will remain the free-to-air home of Formula 1 until the end of the 2018 season, from which Sky Sports will then begin its reign as the sport’s exclusive UK television home from 2019 onwards, with a commitment to screen live coverage of the British Grand Prix on a free-to-air basis, as well as highlights of all races and qualifying sessions.