There is a welcome boost for British free-to-air viewers of Formula 1 as Channel 4 has now secured extended race highlights ahead of the 2020 season.
Formula 1’s exclusive deal with Sky Sports, agreed when Bernie Ecclestone was still at the helm, means watching Formula 1 in the UK is an expensive cost for UK fans.
Channel 4 has still kept a free-to-air option alive and, in 2019, forged an agreement with Sky Sports to host live coverage of the entire British Grand Prix, plus race highlights from the rest of the Grands Prix that formed the calendar.
But, ahead of the 2020 campaign, Motorsport Broadcasting are reporting that Channel 4 can now show extended highlights of all 22 races on the calendar in addition to continued live coverage of the British Grand Prix.
That translates to Formula 1 fans being able to watch 70 per cent of the races now compared to 50 per cent in 2019, with the race edit now up to approximately 60 minutes instead of 45.
The entire highlights show will now run for 150 minutes, rather than 120, and fans will have to wait slightly less to see the programme as Channel 4 can now show the extended qualifying and races highlights two-and-a-half hours after the chequered flag compared to the three-hour restriction in place for 2019.
The move represents a step in the right direction for free-to-air coverage of Formula 1 in the United Kingdom, but Sky Sports’ exclusive deal does not expire until the end of the 2024 season.