When it comes to showing Formula 1 live in the United Kingdom, Sky F1 has become the undisputed king.
Sky serves as the exclusive owner of F1 rights in the UK – its main TV outlet is the Sky Sports F1 channel which was launched in 2012 and brings every free practice session, qualifying and race live to its viewers.
From 2019 to 2024, Sky Sports F1 has exclusive rights to broadcast Formula 1 live in the UK and Ireland, while it also sub-licences highlights of all races and qualifying sessions plus the entire live coverage of British Grand Prix weekend to UK free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4.
Initially, the BBC had exclusive rights to show Formula 1 in the UK until 2013, but a new broadcast deal was announced on July 29 2011 stating Sky Sports would cover all races live (half of which would be exclusive to them).
Both Sky and the BBC would broadcast the remaining races live, including the British Grand Prix and final race, while the BBC also showed highlights for all races.
Following the 2015 season, BBC would relinquish its broadcasting rights to Channel 4, before Sky Sports began an exclusive broadcasting deal from 2019.
As of 2020, Sky Sports also offered live coverage of pre-season testing, allowing viewers to soak up all eight hours of running across each and every one of the six days and also the three that took place for the 2021 season.
As well as the Sky Sports F1 TV channel, subscribers can also watch all the action on the move through the Sky Go app. It can be downloaded for your phone (Android and Apple), laptop or tablet, meaning viewers can keep up to date with all the action on the go.
If that is not enough to keep on top of the action then viewers can dive deeper by heading over to Sky Race Control – it’s available via the red button on the Sky Sports F1 channel and Sky Sports iPad app.
Features include race coverage, official Formula 1 timing showing times of all 20 drivers in every session and three selective on-board camera feeds alternating between certain drivers.
Sky F1 Schedule & TV Guide
The fact Sky gave Formula 1 its own standalone channel shows just how important the series is to the pay-TV broadcaster.
And such is the quality, several broadcasters from around the world simply use Sky Sports F1’s coverage on their own network.
ESPN, the main broadcaster of Formula 1 in the United States and Puerto Rico, uses Sky Sports F1’s live coverage for all qualifying sessions and races. TSN in Canada and Fox Sports in Australia also use Sky Sports F1’s coverage.
And it’s not just the live racing which Sky has covered. Here are some of the other shows which fans can sink their teeth into during a regular weekly schedule:
The F1 Show
The first programme to air on Sky Sports F1 was its weekly magazine show ‘The F1 Show’. As the name suggests, this programme covers all the major talking points of a race weekend, while giving viewers an insight into life within the Formula 1 paddock.
It was initially presented by Georgie Thompson and Ted Kravitz (apart from the launch show, which was presented by Simon Lazenby), then by Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham.
From 2014 it was presented by Pinkham or Rachel Brookes with appearances from the likes of David Croft, Paul di Resta, Anthony Davidson, Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill.
Legends of F1
From 2012 to 2014, ‘F1 Legends’ was a series of interviews with some of the greatest names in Formula 1 history, hosted by Steve Rider.
It all started with two-time World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi on March 9 2012, while the late, great Niki Lauda was the final superstar to appear on September 21 2014. The interviews are still replayed on the channel to this day.
Welcome to the Weekend
Initially known as ‘The F1 Report’, the show is presented by Pinkham or Brookes and formerly featured analyst Marc Priestley.
It is usually shown on a Thursday before the start of a race weekend and looks in further depth at some of the stories and incidents which occurred in the aftermath of the previous race and a look ahead at what to expect from the next race on the calendar.
Coverage of a Formula 1 race from the archives. It commonly corresponds to the race set to take place that weekend – just to get you in the mood.
Presented during pre-season testing, qualifying and on race days, Ted Kravitz takes a trip down the pit lane to discuss how the session turned out for all the teams, discussing any major stories or controversies along the way and bringing the viewer some excellent behind-the-scenes stories which do not always make the main live coverage.
He also grabs some interviews with any individuals of interest who are hanging around, whether they really want to or not…
2021 Sky F1 Live Race Coverage
Bahrain Grand Prix: March 26-28 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Made in Italy and Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: April 16-18 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Portuguese Grand Prix: April 30-May 2 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Spanish Grand Prix: May 7-9 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Monaco Grand Prix: May 20-23 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Azerbaijan Grand Prix: June 4-6 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Canadian Grand Prix: June 11-13 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
French Grand Prix: June 25-27 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Austrian Grand Prix: July 2-4 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
British Grand Prix: July 16-18 2021 – live on Sky Sports F1 and Channel 4
Hungarian Grand Prix: July 30-August 1 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Belgian Grand Prix: August 27-29 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Dutch Grand Prix: September 3-5 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Italian Grand Prix: September 10-12 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Russian Grand Prix: September 24-26 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Singapore Grand Prix: October 1-3 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Japanese Grand Prix: October 8-10 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
United States Grand Prix: October 22-24 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Mexican Grand Prix: October 29-31 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Sao Paulo Grand Prix: November 5-7 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Australian Grand Prix: November 19-21 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: December 3-5 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: December 10-12 2021 – exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Sky Sports F1 Presenters
When it comes to star power, Sky F1 has some of the best personnel in the industry assigned to its Sky Sports F1 channel.
They are then supported by a pool of ex-Formula 1 drivers to add extra insight, and some controversy too every now and then.
Presenter/lead commentator: David Croft
‘Crofty’, as he is affectionately known, is the lead commentator for Sky Sports F1.
He was born and raised in Stevenage, England, the same town which gave us Sir Lewis Hamilton – and Crofty will happily remind us all of that fact.
He made his move to Formula 1 commentary in 2006 as BBC Radio Five Live’s Formula 1 presenter and commentator.
Quickly, Sky F1 snapped him up to lead the commentary for their new dedicated channel in 2012.
He was the voice of Codemaster’s F1 games from 2010-14, and since 2015 has featured as the commentator for in-game sessions.
Presenter/lead pundit/co-commentator: Martin Brundle
Martin Brundle was an F1 driver once upon a time, but has now evolved to become one of the best-known voices of the sport. His gridwalks have become an iconic part of pre-race coverage, now exclusive on Sky F1.
And when it’s time for lights out, Brundle joins Croft in the commentary box to discuss all the action from practice, qualifying and race days.
You can also expect to see him doing some podium interviews for the world broadcast feed, plus chats in the pit lane and opinion pieces on the Sky Sports F1 website.
Main anchor/presenter: Simon Lazenby
Simon Lazenby acts as the lead presenter for Sky Sports F1.
He first began presenting for Sky Sports all the way back in 2002 as part of their live rugby union coverage.
These days he is the host and presenter of all live Sky F1 build-ups to practice, qualifying and race sessions, and anchors the post-session analysis.
Presenter/reporter: Natalie Pinkham
Natalie Pinkham is predominantly a pit-lane reporter for Sky Sports F1 – a role she held previously for BBC Radio Five Live in 2011. She also takes turns to co-host ‘The F1 Show’ and Welcome to the Weekend.
Pinkham also sometimes presents the final practice session on Saturdays and conducted driver parade interviews at selected races before they were paused due to the health pandemic.
In addition to those roles, she also regularly presents features that form part of Sky F1’s race weekend coverage.
Presenter/reporter: Rachel Brookes
One of Rachel Brookes’ main roles as part of the Sky F1 team is to interview the drivers for ‘Paddock Uncut’ on Thursdays and provide F1 news reports.
She takes turns with Pinkham to co-host ‘The F1 Show’, ‘Welcome to the Weekend’ and the final practice session on Saturdays.
She also conducts driver parade interviews at selected races.
Pit-lane reporter: Ted Kravitz
Another iconic voice of Formula 1, Ted Kravitz is the lead pit-lane reporter for Sky F1, a role he now shares with former HRT driver Karun Chandhok.
He also occasionally hosts the second free practice sessions and has his own, much-loved show known as ‘Ted’s Notebook’.
Kravitz has been covering Formula 1 on-screen since 2002 when he was part of ITV’s coverage.
Pundit: Anthony Davidson
Anthony Davidson raced for Minardi, Honda and Super Aguri in Formula 1. He also tested for Mercedes.
Davidson has now transitioned into a Sky F1 pundit and can be seen operating the Sky Pad as he analyses key moments between and after sessions.
The Briton also has stints in the commentary box during free practice and testing.
Sky Sports F1 live stream
Sky Sports subscribers not only have access to Sky F1 via satellite and cable – channel 406 on Sky and channel 506 on Virgin Media for HD coverage – but they can also access the Sky F1 live stream via a number of different methods.
Sky customers can log into the Sky Go app to watch the Sky F1 stream and this is compatible on a wide range of devices. On computers and laptops, Sky Go is compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows 8.1, Microsoft Windows Vista, Mac with OS X 10.7 Lion and above, including OS X Mavericks and OS X 10.10 Yosemite.
Sky Go is also compatible with PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Xbox 360 gaming consoles. It is also available on an extensive range of mobile/tablet devices including Android.
Formula 1 fans who do not have a Sky F1 subscription can also access the Sky Sports F1 stream via Now TV. The service offers a range of flexible access passes, with a one-day pass unlocking all 11 Sky Sports channels including Sky Sports F1 for £9.98. Fans can also buy a monthly pass for £33.99.