Sky Sports partners with Channel 4 to share F1 climax with British fans
Channel 4 and Sky Sports have agreed a rights deal that will see live coverage of the Formula 1 season finale shown free-to-air in the UK, on what could be a historic occasion for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton stands on the brink of history as a victory in Abu Dhabi would clinch an eighth world title and confirm him as the greatest F1 driver ever. This unique final race will go lights out with the two leading drivers on equal points, the Yas Marina track providing a ‘winner takes all’ close to an epic season.
Under the terms of the agreement, Channel 4 will broadcast Sky’s production of the live race coverage with its presenting team of Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, Martin Brundle, Nat Pinkham, David Croft, Karun Chandhok, Simon Lazenby and Ted Kravitz.
Channel 4’s team of Steve Jones, David Coulthard, Mark Webber and Lee McKenzie will provide build-up to the race for 15 minutes from midday before handing over to Sky for their pre-race coverage and Sky’s live coverage of the race itself.
After the podium ceremony, Channel 4’s presentation team will return to give its instant reaction to the race before a full Channel 4 highlights programme, produced by independent production company Whisper, airs at 5.30pm.
Sky Sports has enjoyed record viewing from the opening GP in Bahrain, to the penultimate race in Saudi Arabia which was watched by a peak audience of 2.7 million viewers.
Sky’s decision to deepen its partnership with Channel 4 further will ensure the maximum possible audience across the UK and Ireland for a once in a lifetime moment for the sport that is being marketed as ‘Lewis v Max: Decider in the Desert.’
Hamilton is already one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen, but victory would move him above Michael Schumacher’s seven titles and into unprecedented territory. For Verstappen it would be a first title for the exciting 24 year old Red Bull driver.
Stephen van Rooyen, EVP and CEO for UK and Europe at Sky, said: “Sunday’s Grand Prix is one of the biggest sporting events in the last decade, and could be a historic moment for British sport. We’ve chosen to gift the race to the whole country at Christmas through our partnership with Channel 4, so everyone can be part of a huge national moment as Lewis Hamilton goes for a historic eighth World Championship title.
“The brilliant Sky Sports Formula 1 team will give viewers on Channel 4 and Sky Sports the best insight, commentary and analysis of every twist and turn of this most eagerly anticipated final race of the season. Additionally, all Sky TV customers will have live coverage of the important qualifying session on Saturday, and the race on Sunday, which we will also show live on Sky Showcase.”
Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali, said: “We are excited that Sky will make the Grand Prix on Sunday available to Channel 4 viewers so everyone can tune in live for the thrilling finale to this epic season. Sky’s passion for Formula 1 is incredible and this generous gesture shows their love of the sport and the millions of fans in the UK. We are all looking forward to Sunday and hope all the fans will be glued to their screens.”
Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon added: “We are delighted that the whole nation will be able to watch what is set to be one of the most thrilling finales to an F1 season in living memory as Lewis strives to become the most crowned World Champion of all time.”
Sky Sports F1 will show every aspect of the build-up, including practice and qualifying as both drivers aim to gain a crucial advantage before the chequered flag. Additionally, every Sky TV customer will be able to watch everything from qualifying on Saturday to the race on Sunday, with the broadcast shared across Sky Sports and Sky Showcase.
All the action from this iconic head-to-head will also be available to Now members with either a Now Entertainment or Now Sports membership.
Sky Sports F1 will carry live build-up on Sunday from 11.30am in UHD with the ‘Sports Recap’ function available throughout the race, which is due to start at 1pm.
For the live race, Sky Sports’ coverage will be aired across Sky channels and Channel 4.
Sky and Channel 4 have previously partnered on major cricket and tennis events including the ICC World Cup final in 2019 and Emma Raducanu’s US Open win this year.