Start, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Sky launch dedicated UK F1 channel

2012 F1 season

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Start, Abu Dhabi, 2011
Start, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Sky has launched a new channel for its Formula 1 coverage in the UK 2012.

Sky Sports and Sky HD customers will receive the Sky Sports F1 channel as part of their subscription.

A standard definition Sky Sports subscription costs ??40 per month for a minimum 12-month contract, plus a ??30 set-up fee, totalling ??510*.

The F1 channel will also be available to HD pack subscribers without Sky Sports, at an annual cost of ??363*.

BBC will continue to show half of next year’s races live free-to-air, with delayed highlights of the remaining races.

Sky say their channel will show every race plus all the practice and qualifying sessions live. They will offer extra live content during races including, “on-board cameras… behind the scenes with the teams in the pits and… race data.”

Managing director of Sky Sports Barney Francis said: “Formula 1 followers are hungry for more and we want to give them the ultimate experience. It’s not just every minute of every race but a channel devoted to Formula 1.

“We can now tell the whole story of the season, from every Grand Prix, from start to finish.”

Over 35,000 British F1 fans have signed a petition urging the government to require F1 to be broadcast on free-to-air channels.

*There are the lowest prices I could find for new subscriptions via Sky’s various configurations. If you can find cheaper deals, please post details in the comments.

F1 on television

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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148 comments on “Sky launch dedicated UK F1 channel”

  1. Back to sopcast!

    1. haha Tommo, shouldn’t mention them places here!

      The cheapest option is £360 a year so considering there are 20 races next year. With Austin almost certain to be dropped and Bahrain maybe makes it 18.

      BBC are covering half races so you are paying Sky £360 for 9 races which equals £40 A RACE!!

      I’m away now to google sopcast!

      1. None of thse options are worth discussing the cheapest option is BBC which we already pay for. If this is a “minority sport” then why do sky want it? I know poor Bernie has an ex wife and a wedding to pay for, but if everyone ignored Sky and carried on watching and listening to BBC then Bernie would have to save up like the rest of us. We have freesat so would not even consider contributing to the Murdoch coffers!!!

  2. This article suggests a high def sports package may cost £600+ a year, but a standard entertainment + HD is about £360. Could even get a free box + £100 of M&S vouchers too.

    So that option would be cheaper for those wanting to watch next year.

    1. Oh… and I really hope we get some support races on this channel too.

    2. As requested by Keith via Twitter:

      Sky Entertainment: £20 / month
      Sky HD: £10.25 / month

      £30.25 x 12 = £363.


      Free box? Sky usually do, if not phone and shout at them… £100 otherwise

      Sky also sometimes give vouchers, as with the box, they’ve always got something going on.

    3. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
      25th November 2011, 12:45

      The sports channels cost £20/m extra (or £240/year, pushing it to £600).

      1. You don’t need Sky Sports for F1. **Either** Sky Sports 1+2 **or** Sky HD

        1. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
          25th November 2011, 12:51

          Ah yes, when it says “for Sky sports 1 & 2 customers, AND HD customers”, I was interpreting the ‘and’ a bit too literally it seems!

          1. Pay attention to the comma, people!

    4. OK so that brings the price down to £363. Have updated the article accordingly.

      1. Keith I remember renting Bernie’s dedicated F1 channel some years ago, I can’t remember if it lasted one season or two before Bernie shut it down because he couldn’t get enough subscribers!!!
        Do you think that Sky can/will make a better job of a dedicated F1 channel than Bernie could.

  3. Hi @Keith-Collantine, can you explain how you worked out that the HD package is over £600? You don’t need Sports AND HD, just one or the other. That’s my understanding anyway.

    Basic HD pack is about £30.75 a month which works out at £369 for the year. Sky at the moment are offering a free Sky+Hd box and free installation to new subscribers.

    1. as well as £100 of M&S vouchers as pointed out by @Ben-Everard.

      But that deal ends on the 14th December.

    2. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
      25th November 2011, 12:42

      You need to pay extra for the sports channels.

      1. @Andy-G but you don’t need the sports channels, that’s my point. If you are/become an HD subscriber you get the F1 channel whether you have the other sports channels or not.

        1. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
          25th November 2011, 12:49

          Oh, I’m interpreting it a bit differently:

          “Free for our Sky Sports 1 & 2 Customers, and our HD Customers”

          The and implied to me that you needed to be a sports subscriber at least, not a sports or hd subscriber.

          But I can see how it could be interpreted the other way, I’m probably wrong!

          1. Ah, I get you now.

            Having looked on the Sky F1 micro-site it clearly gives you two options. Either sign up as an HD subscriber OR as a Sky sports subscriber. You can, of course, take both if you are willing to pay that much.

    3. @McLarenFanJamm Have updated the article, see earlier comments.

      1. Many thanks Keith

  4. Although I am against the Sky deal, the new channel does sound very exciting. Perhaps some of us will have to reconsider our opposition.

    1. Ive just bitten the bullet..

      Sky+ HD, 1TB box, Entertainment + & Sky Movies pack (I’m cancelling LoveFilm to subs this!)

      £149 upfront for the box, £51.25p/m going forward.

      £100 M&S voucher and then £120 cashback + £25 M&S voucher on

      They’re coming on Monday to install it!

      1. BOOOOOOO.

        Don’t let them win. If we all stay strong and resist their extortion tactics they’ll drop it. Remember, they are only in it for the money, not the love of the sport (like the BBC production team). Give them no money and they’ll drop it.

        1. Sorry!! xD

          The missus has moved in again (from an RAF posting..) and she wants Sky so were going halves on i so it’s not going to be that bad. Kids will love it too I guess. My Dad will be round to watch the races too, no doubt he’ll bring beer / nibbles / breakfast / biscuits, depending on the hour of the race, round with him too.

          So factoring Kids excitment, missus paying half, free food and drink from visiting parents I thought I may as well!

  5. I already saw a load of people trying to calciulate how much it will be at Sky next year for different combinations, but it seems everyone comes to a slightly different number.

    I get the basic setup fee. Then there is the Sky without anything else (240 GBP/year?) and you have to take either the DH package for 120 GBP or the full sports package for 240 GBP/year to be able to watch F1.

    The 600+ is for both HD and full sportspackage then, but that gives you a lot more motorsports (and other sports).
    Or did i get that wrong

    1. Everything Sky wantes me to pay = more than I want to pay. = what I am willing to pay.

  6. Will there be any option to get this channel for people who do not want to upgrade to Sky Sports or Sky HD?

    1. Unfortunately, it does not seem that way

    2. I saw some tweets saying Sky now confirmed there will not be any of those freeview/freesat offers that were rumoured (for 10 GBP).

      Although lthey could still put up such a deal depending on the amount of F1 packages sold (or not sold) until christmas.

  7. A dedicated channel sounds immense..but the cost is still prohibitive, and I doubt there will be much worthwhile content on it during the week.

  8. Wow, so you guys are getting comprehensive coverage of all races with additional live content with no commercials … and you’re getting it all for minimal cost: seven hours each wekeend, for twenty Grands Prix for a total cost of £510 equals roughly £3.60 per hour of coverage.

    Some of those complaints a few months ago about the deal being “bad for the sport and bad for the fans” were a bit silly.

    1. So, £510 to you is “minimal cost”, is it?

      Obviously you’re a lot richer than most of us.

    2. They’ll be ads. If not in-race, then on-screen.

      1. @falken I don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption purely because they have adverts during other programs. Football programs don’t show adverts during the game, only before, at half time and after the game has finished.

        @Prisoner-Monkeys, I wouldn’t say it was minimal cost at all, minimal would be keeping it free-to-air, although I do think that Sky have done this as a compromise to try and appease some fans. I don’t think it will work though and the deal may change before the start of next season.

        1. I was thinking of obnoxious “this interview sponsored by Bill’s Pile Cream”, “and now over to the Team Cam, sponsored by Toilet Cleaner” etc

          1. I believe that’s not allowed under UK broadcasting rules, which is why you don’t see them in other sports.

          2. @falken It’s not like F1 isn’t already smeared with corporate names and logos anyway. If there is anything, your mind will just learn to switch off.

          3. I was thinking of obnoxious “this interview sponsored by Bill’s Pile Cream”, “and now over to the Team Cam, sponsored by Toilet Cleaner” etc

            :D COTD

        2. @mclarenfanjamm

          I don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption purely because they have adverts during other programs. Football programs don’t show adverts during the game, only before, at half time and after the game has finished.

          I think it’s 200% fair to assume that once the Sky coverage starts, there will be adverts before and after the race, cutting into pre and post-race coverage time. Probably between the qualifying session’s too…

          And this is after you’ve paid all that money for the privilege of watching it in the first place. Sky can go forth and self-procreate.

          1. @ajokay – my point was they won’t have adverts during the race, which is what @falken was alluding to…

    3. @Prisoner-Monkeys £510 is over $1000 AUD. I know there’s no way I’d be able to afford that, and there’s plenty of others on here that can’t either.

      This deal doesn’t affect me, but I do feel deeply sorry for the people that are going to have to watch delayed highlights next year. I know I would hate that.

      1. It does seem awfully hypocritical of PM as when this whole thing was first announced I’m fairly certain he implied he couldn’t afford the 50 odd dollars it would cost to get a set-top box and watch the ONE HD coverage.

        1. He did too!

          It’s a stupid amount of money.

          Whoever owns Sky is going to struggle to keep a straight face.

    4. I’m sorry, but I don’t think people are whining without cause.

      Here in India, Star Sports isn’t exactly renowned for its stellar production value, but it IS affordable. Our DTH provider offers it as a standalone channel for Rs 20 (about 25p) a month and I pay even less considering it comes as part of a package too.

      To put things in perspective; 510 GBR = 41,000 INR, which would cover 2 months of rent for a spacious three bedroom apartment in Bangalore.

      If I were an F1 fan in the UK, I’d raise hell.

    5. This is bad for the sport and bad for the fans. Most people I know can’t afford this arrangement (the “cheap” version, at £363 per year plus installation, requires a HD TV at about £350 to be usable) and then there are people like me who can’t get it (and for whom, technically speaking, the price is irrelevant – unless someone’s willing to give me £120,000 to get a house where Sky becomes a theoretical option). Sky missed the boat – if they’d done this in 2009 when the F1 contract last moved, then they’d have been able to pick up a lot of people due to the digital switchover. Now that it’s almost done, people won’t want to mess around with the systems they’ve got in place even if they had the option and could afford to do so.

      This decision will mean F1 losing a lot of fans. It will mean that fewer people will be able to follow the season well enough to replace them. I’m still waiting to see how this is going to get Sky the 0.5 million + new viewers (assuming they go for the Sky Sports method, not the cheaper “HD” one) it’ll need simply to pay Bernie’s fee. If it can’t manage that, then we’re looking at another broadcaster getting their fingers burned by Bernie (and in Sky’s case for the 3rd time, following failures in Italy and Germany), which will lead to a massive reduction in the fees F1 can attract. If history is any indicator, Sky will get out 2 years before the contract ends (as ITV and BBC did) – which means the fee collapse will be in 2016. A mass reduction in revenue does nobody in F1 any good, especially if by then there are many fewer fans to support any recovery.

      For the price of a small increase of income now, F1 is facing a medium-term crisis – and nobody in power appears to care. Ultimately, this deal will affect everyone.

      @McLarenFanJamm and @falken, the possibility of in-race ads has been specifically excluded. Traditional ads in the pre/post-race shows and during qualifying/practise coverage have not. So in a sense both of you are right.

    6. Sadly, “minimal cost” of and additional £40 per month is not something I am really in a position to consider. I mean yes if I could pay “per hour” then that is probably “minimal cost”.

      Again, your argument appears to only serve the purpose to annoy people and inflame opinion/argument/tempers. PM – you are generally a respected, intelligent and well-informed contributer to F1F, but I find your argument of “well it’s worse here, so stuff you” and borderline-trolling on this issue tiresome to say the least. There is playing the devil’s advocate, and expressing a different opinions but spurious statements implying that others are “silly” and dismissing other’s opinions etc. are not really constructive. For the record, any kind of initiative which reduces the potential fan base and audience for advertisers/the teams/the drivers is everything but good for the sport…

      1. +1

        @James_mc – you saved me a lot of typing.

    7. Yeah, of course I can justify spending £510 per year on top of my TV licence and paying for a family. Of course I can justify getting sky to my wife, and of course I want to give Murdoch more cash.

      Some of us are actually feeling the financial problems here, but I guess the ones with the money can get sky and it’s all lovely and nice.

      I can’t watch half of F1 next year. That bugs me.

    8. A standard definition Sky Sports subscription costs £40 per month for a minimum 12-month contract, plus a £30 set-up fee, totalling £510.

      It might not be too expensive considering all the features Sky intend to bring, @prisoner-monkeys, but do you know how much I spend for all the qualifying sessions and races, plus both GP2 races (which I hope Sky will broadcast, as they’re very entertaining and feature F1’s future stars)? €/$/£ 0. There is a 110,50€ tax to pay to RAI every year, but that’s compulsory, and includes all the coverage of all the channels RAI offers throughout the year)

      1. @Fixy – it’s the same in the UK. If you own a TV and plan to watch live television, you have to have a licence fee which is around £145. And that doesn’t just cover BBC programming, if you want to watch ANY channel, you must pay it. Then Sky/Virgin Media/BT Vision TV packages are charged on top of that.

        1. @mclarenfanjamm as RAI is the national broadcaster, we have to pay a tax to it, but the other channels are private and free (they have more ads). Most private broadcasters offer packages that have a price, some (like Mediaset, the second largest TV company) have offers similar to Sky’s, with sport channels and film channels.

    9. I can’t afford it. Think I’d prefer it live for free.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys
        Plus, £3.60 per hours is nonsense. Half the races are still available live for ‘free’ so if you sign up it’s because you only care about getting half the races that are exclusive to sky. So that’s 10 races. And I assume you took 7 hours per race because you included 4 hours of practice. Well, I’ll watch that if it’s on and free, but I don’t care about it enough to ever pay anything for it. So I’d be paying for 30 hours of coverage that I care about. That is £17.60 per hour. Cos that’s justifiable…

        Calling people’s comments ‘silly’ just because you could afford it if you were in our shoes is insulting, and pretty ignorant of the situation.

    10. I think it’s too early to say whether it will be good or bad but it will mean less fans will watch it and I cant see how that can be good any way you look at it.
      The fact that it was free to air in the UK allowed a certain culture to build up around F1 and even though I am not from or living in the UK, I recognise the qualty of those fans from interacting with them in forums. In my view the move will be a disaster.

    11. @Prisoner Monkeys

      I challenge you to explain one way that this is good for F1 or the viewers as a whole (As opposed to a select few).

  9. Though there are rumours of a 120/yr deal on freeview – and most HD TVs have built in freeview tuners. Time to get that aerial out !

      1. Ino (@f1givesyouwings)
        25th November 2011, 13:02

        Spotted by @cmckinleyF1 :)

        1. They’ve also said that it’s not yet known whether the channel will be available on Virgin media. I assume they’re still negotiating.

          1. It better be!

          2. I heard that too. Some article in the dailymail states that it will be ‘at no extra cost’ on VirginMedia. But it did not state if you had to already have Sky Sports subscription.

  10. There is a cheaper – and legal way to watch Sky:

    Sky go monthly ticket allows you to watch all sports packages for £35/month over the internet. And the best thing? You pay per month you use it (ie when a GP is on Sky). If there is no Sky GP, cancel your subscription.


    1. Sadly my internet connection isn’t reliably fast enough for this to be an option for me :(

    2. It looks like Sky Go doesn’t allow customers (or at least not new ones) to watch channels through it unless they’ve bought the relevant packages. So you’d still need either HD or Sports, in addition to Entertainment, even if you had Sky Go.

      1. I think you can.

        You need a login, but I’ve got one and I’ve never given a penny to Sky! (yet)

  11. Question then – what exactly would it show when there aren’t any races?

    1. The BBC have been showing ‘classic’ F1 races on red button for a while, 60s-80s stuff

      1. @falken – I don’t buy it – are they going to show that for the 3 off-season months; and the entire weeks between F1 races? I’d love that; but I can’t see that happening.

  12. Hang on, so Sky HD customers who don’t have Sky Sports will get this package?

    1. That’s what they’re saying.

  13. What will they show when there won’t be any F1 race? Like on Monday & Tuesday & etc.

    1. Yep; the same thing as I’ve asked above.

    2. @WasiF1 Probably a race re-run. That will take up plenty of the schedule. It won’t be a 24hr channel.

    3. Rather than making it a F1 only channel,Sky should just have one for Motorsport in general(being able to show Races & Qualifying sessions from other Motorsport Categories such as GP2,GP3 & F3 Euroseries) therefore they will be able to take up more space for the Schedule.

      Or Perhaps im forgetting they cant because Eurosport have the rights to GP2 & GP3 so maybe Sky needs to purchase the rights of them???

      Other than that,I cant see the channel being really popular & up there along with SS1 & SS2 maybe not even Eurosport in terms of Views

      1. @raymondu999 @AndrewTanner I think that’s what they will do,they also can show some classic F1 races.

        @Younger Hamii Totally agree with you,here in Asia we have 3 channels dedicated to cricket,where hey show matches as far from the mid 80’s.I think there should be 24 hours channels for all sorts of Motorracing.

        1. @WasiF1 We have MotorsTV in Europe which is alright.

  14. Oh no, I just phoned and told a work colleague he could get it on Freeview with a subscription fee, ouch! :/

    Well, this at least sounds like decent value for money, though the quality of the programming is yet to be judged. I doubt Sky will do a bad job of it.

    Here’s hoping the deal includes Virgin Media customers too. I can’t see why it wouldn’t.

    1. @AndrewTanner well it won’t if Virgin don’t agree to pay whatever Sky are trying to make them. I should think they will do a deal though, Virgin won’t want to lose customers over one sport.

      1. Well we already have 5 Sky Sports channels and like you say, where’s the sense in alienating your customers? I don’t expect to pay extra for it exclusively for being a Virgin customer but perhaps a price increase will be on the cards?

    2. I’ve recently taken a 12 month XL package with Virgin… I really hope they get this channel.

  15. If it works out at £363 and it’s HD then I don’t think that’s too bad. Free would be better. I was considering a non-Sky dish and satellite tuner to somewhere abroad and then using Radio 5 commentary, but not really sure it’s worth the hassle now.

    Mind you, I don’t have an HD telly (yet)

  16. Right so after realising they’d lose a significantly large proportion of their audience they’ve now set up this to try and squeeze the money out of the remaining people who don’t have Sky Sports. It’s still way too much and Murdoch is not having a penny of my money.

    1. thank you Mr. Murdoch :(

  17. The £10 per month deal rumoured, although not available to Freeview subscribers, is in effect available by taking SkyHD at £10.25 per month, as there’s no need for Sky Sports. And you also get all the other HD content on Sky too. More of a feasible option than the Sky Sports only option most feared.

    1. That’s not £10 per month unless you already have a Sky package of some description (though even the basic one will do, which some current Sky customers might find more attractive).

      1. That’s true. Thinking as someone who already has Sky although articles yesterday suggested that it would be £10 extra to Sky customers – which it kind of is. Doesn’t help those without any Sky package yet.

  18. I do feel for people who do not have Sky yet, and have to fork out loads of money to continue watching a sport they love, and which by rights should be free-to-air.
    I had to subscribe to Sky Sports sometime back, as (having come from South Africa and therefore being a sports nut) I would have otherwise not been able to watch the sports I love.

    1. My family had to get rid of Sky about 2 years ago because we couldn’t afford it.

      No matter how hard Sky and the BBC try to reassure angry F1 fans, I still won’t be able to watch half the races live. The damage has already been done.

  19. As I’ve said in the past, I wouldn’t mind paying for a dedicated F1 channel that plays F1 24/7 – just like they do here with AFL on FoxSports in the past. However, at 363GBP – Owwwwwch!!!! I’m on a package that gives me everything at the moment except the On Demand stuff and pay per view. Hope Fox includes a dedicated F1 channel in Aus as part of my package…. between F1fanatic, F1 2011 on PS3 and FOX then I’ll definitely get no sleep.

  20. I already have Sky, simply because there is no virgin cable (which is vastly superior) in my area since I moved last year. And already have HD because with a cashback deal I got it is effectively free.

    So, as I understand it, I will be getting the F1 channel at no extra charge to myself. You know what I’m still NOT going to watch it, I so desperately want this mess of a deal to fail I’m boycotting out of principle. Less viewers, less advertising revenue, less chance of them keeping the rights.

    Probably cutting off my nose to spite my face, but there you go. I’m so deeply against this deal I’m going to stick to my principles. Who’s with me?

    1. Me too!

      Last year I got a the basic Sky+ HD package (£30/month) so I could watch F1 in HD. The maths worked out that getting FreeView HD or Freesat HD with a PVR wasn’t much difference from just getting Sky over the course of the year (there was an awesome Quidco deal for Sky at the time).

      Now, a year on, paying £30 a month for Sky started to bite, given it’s swamped with ads all the time, and with the news that F1 was going away one of the main reasons for having HD diminishes, so I was about to give it up completely and switch back to FreeView HD. And maybe spend the £360 quid I’d save by going to a race for real.

      Now this news is really frustrating. I’d got it into my head that I was going to bin Sky! And now if I just do nothing, I get to keep watching F1… (but pay £360 a year)

      1. “there is no virgin cable (which is vastly superior)”

        I’d disagree with that, Had Virgin for a while about a year ago & it was terrible. Had a fair few technical problems & the service wasn’t very reliable (Had a lot of TV & Internet drop-outs).

        Moved to Sky+HD & think the service (Including Phone/Broadband) is a great deal better.

        I’ve had Sky for just over a year (1st time I ever subscribed to Sky) & would honestly not ever consider going back to Freeview or Virgin.

        1. @Dizzy I’ve honestly never heard complaints like that about Virgin, being directly cabled there’s not a lot to interfere. I had Virgin (well started as telewest before Virgin bought them) for 9 years and in all that time lost internet for a day once due to a flood, literately zero errors other than that in all that time.
          I’ve had Sky exactly a year and they’ve already been out 3 times to fix it and I’ve lost my internet countless times for hours or days which they have ‘fixed’ remotely. From my friends this does not appear to be uncommon. The + box and TVOD are also vastly inferior to Virgins offering.
          For all this inconvenience I pay approaching double what I was paying Virgin. I really hate Sky, all they stand for and the way they operate but until Virgin get round to cabeling my village (ie never), I’m stuck with them. But give them even more for weaselling in on F1, not a chance.

  21. Does anyone know if this channel will be available on sky player for xbox 360? That is how i plan to watch next year, currently they have all the sports channels on there I believe. This one might not though which would be awful

    1. How much is the Xbox package anyways? I’d seriously give F1 a watch on that if it’s cheap enough.

    2. Yes it will be available on Xbox 360. I called sky specifically to ask them this. Not sure when it will go live but i was told by two different call centre personnel it will be on xbox 360.

  22. I have the Virgin XL Package with HD channels do you think this will be available to me then

    1. Just this announcement,

      Sky announces new Formula 1 channel

      Sky announced today that it will be creating a new channel devoted to Formula 1, after Sky Sports and the BBC were awarded the rights to broadcast Formula 1 in the UK from 2012 to 2018, back in July.

      We always want to give you the best TV line up, so we’re talking to Sky about acquiring this channel.

      The new Formula 1 season doesn’t kick off until March next year, so there’s a while before the action starts up. We’ll be updating this page as soon as we have more information for you, so check back here for the latest news.

  23. Richard F150 - I am not a truck