Sky Sports F1 live in 2021 – do I have to get Sky TV?

There are plenty of choices out there to get Sky Sports F1, even if you don’t want Sky TV. Check out our guide to find the best way to watch Formula 1 in 2021…

Lewis Hamilton flying at Imola in his Mercedes F1 car live on Sky Sports
7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton in the all-black Mercedes 2021

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Where can you watch F1 live in 2021?

Since 2019, Formula 1 has been exclusively live in the UK on Sky Sports in a 5-year deal with F1. As a result, all of the live action is only available on the Sky Sports F1 channel. There are extended highlights available free to air on Channel 4, but this is usually a few hours later. But don’t worry there are plenty of ways to watch Sky Sports F1 live so read on…

You might hear talk of being able to watch F1 using the recently launched F1 app with prices starting from £10/month. However, as a result of the exclusive contract signed by F1 and Sky for the UK the live content will not be available for UK viewers, so you can count that out, sorry.

Is it all bad news? Definitely not. Sky broadcast Formula 1 on their dedicated F1 channel, usually along with the supporting races like Formula 2 and Formula 3 during the race weekend. This means that you can really ‘get in’ with the whole race weekend. You can watch all of the practice and qualifying sessions, along with a number of excellent documentaries.

The Sky coverage is supported by an excellent and credible set of presenters too. These include David Croft as main commentator alongside Martin Brundle, Rachel Brookes, Karun Chandhok, Damon Hill, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta. It’s an A-star line-up.

As you’d expect, Sky broadcast their F1 channel to their own customers via Sky TV and Now TV, but crucially also to Virgin, BT and Talk Talk customers too.

Want to watch more of Lewis Hamilton and Formula 1 on Sky Sports F1 live in 2021? Here are your options; 

There’s actually a few ways you can do it – depending on how much you want to spend and what sort of features you’re looking for. 

Your options are; Sky TV, via BT TV, via Now TV and via Virgin Media. We’ll take you through each of them now.

1) Sky TV with Sky Sports

…probably the most obvious one so let’s start with that! A package with Sky means buying their base ‘Entertainment’ TV package then choosing the number of Sky Sports channels you want on top. By going to Sky direct, you’ll get their Sky Q set top box, a remote control, and the ability to pause and rewind live TV as well as record all the programmes. You can also choose to take out their ‘Ultra HD’ option which upgrades the quality of a number of their channels into amazing 4K – the highest available picture quality. It really is the full monte way to do it, but no surprise it’s the highest cost, though they do run tempting offers every now and then.

You can just buy the Sky Sports F1 channel, however this is usually only a few pounds less than the whole Sports package. As a result, you might as well get all of the Sky Sports channels. Click here to order now

2) A Sky Sports Pass from Now TV with/without Now Broadband

If you’ve never had a pay monthly TV subscription and want to try it out, this is a great way to do it. If you haven’t heard of Now TV, you can find more details in our article here. You can buy day, week or monthly passes for things like Sky Sports, so you can watch F1 (and all the other Sky Sports channels) on your tablet, phone or big TV using either a Chromecast or Now TV stick. If you take Now TV Broadband at the same time, you’ll get special discounts on Now TV passes, including Sport.

Just bear in mind you won’t be able to record from Now TV or get the Ultra HD channels from Sky. It can work out expensive over a season if you end up buying a lot of day or weekly passes rather than taking the monthly option.

If you’d like to get a special price on your Now TV Sports Pass by taking Now Broadband, click here order. Once you’ve entered your broadband details, you can then a Sports Pass for a discounted price to your order. You can use it immediately to watch the F1 on your phone, laptop or stream to your TV.

If you’re just looking for quick access to a particular race or part of the season, you can order a Now TV Sports pass here.

3) Adding Sky Sports channels on BT TV

With BT’s new TV packages launched earlier this year you can now add Sky channels using Now TV passes. In order to get this, you’ll need a decent (fibre) broadband, as the subscription channels are sent to the BT TV box over the internet. But it does work brilliantly and this means it’s now a viable alternative to Sky for sports fans. It also includes the option of adding and removing some package each month, which gives you some flexibility. HD is available, but not Ultra HD.

Adding the Sky Sports channels onto BT TV is an ideal choice if you’re looking for an alternative to Sky TV, and want some flexibility around your TV package. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our full video guide to BT TV below and click here to order BT TV now.

Our guide to BT TV – which now carries all the Sky Sports channels

4) With Sky Sports F1 on Virgin TV

If you’re in a Virgin-cabled area, this is a great alternative to getting Sky TV. By adding the Sky Sports channels to your Virgin TV bundle, you can watch all of them in glorious HD as well as pause/rewind and record live TV. Because you’re not buying from Sky, you won’t have access to Sky Ultra HD content though.

Virgin will usually work out as the most expensive package, but don’t forget that their broadband is usually the fastest available (assuming you can get it in your area). Click here to order Virgin TV and broadband.

I’m looking for instant access to the coverage – how can I watch F1 today?

Well, the great news is that all the main providers offer instant access via their App. So once you’ve signed up, the provider will send you the login detail you need to use to access the channels live.

Just remember that if you’re buying Sky Sports via BT TV, they’ll send you login details to watch using the Now App – you don’t access via the BT TV or Sky Sports App.

So… how much does Formula 1 cost per month?

To help guide you, we’ve done a handy little table summarising the options and latest prices for watching Formula 1 on Sky Sports; 

 Typical monthly cost including HD Includes broadbandPause/ rewind/ record live TV Ultra HD channels (extra cost) 
Sky Sports F1 live with Sky TV£46 for Sky Sports channels (includes Sky Entertainment TV package)NoYes Yes 
Sky Sports F1 live with Now TV£49 a month alongside Now Broadband or £33.99 for a Sky Sports Pass only YesNo No 
Sky Sports F1 live with Virgin Media TV£69 for Virgin TV Bigger Bundle +Sky Sports and broadband bundle YesYes No 
Sky Sports F1 live with BT TV£75.99 for Big Sport TV including Sky Sports (with fibre broadband)YesYes No 
Our table showing prices correct July 2021

Finding the best package to watch Sky Sports F1 for a great price 

Prices do vary during the year, so SwitchTV.co.uk’s unique package finder will allow you to find a package for the programmes you want to watch at the right price.

Click here and enter ‘Formula 1’ or ‘Sky Sports F1’ and then we’ll find the latest packages available for you!

Find the best way TV package based on the things you want to watch with our unique package finder
Find your perfect package with our unique finder tool

European F1 dates announced! How to watch F1 2020

So. Finally an announcement! Formula 1 has announced the revised 2020 calendar – well half of it at least. The 8 European dates have now been confirmed, including (as expected) double headers in Austria and the UK. They’ll all be behind closed doors, so how can you watch them? Read on…

Updated 2nd June 2020

World Champion Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone earlier this year

So what’s been announced?

So far, F1 has just announced the European races, these are shown in the table below. It’s worth noting that these are all behind closed doors, so just the racing teams and support (marshals, emergency services, FIA personnel etc.) will be permitted.
As many expected (and had been leaked, a lot!) there are double headers for both Austria and the UK as part of the early races. This makes good sense – Austria is a private track so the teams can be contained easily, and the UK is home to many of the F1 teams so international travel will be limited.
Those confirmed races are;

RaceVenueDate
AustriaThe Red Bull Ring, AustriaJuly 5
AustriaThe Red Bull Ring, AustriaJuly 12
HungaryThe Hungaroring, HungaryJuly 19
UKSilverstone, UKAugust 2
UKSilverstone, UKAugust 9
SpainCircuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, SpainAugust 16
BelgiumSpa-Francorchamps, BelgiumAugust 30
ItalyMonza, ItalySeptember 6
The confirmed 2020 F1 races – so far

How many races will there actually be in 2020?

Well, that’s an interesting question. F1’s boss, Chase Carey, has said publicly that they want to run 15-18 races, which suggests at least another 7 races to come. Handily enough there are still 7 races on the original F1 calendar outside of Europe, though it’s unlikely they’ll all go ahead as planned in their original slots.

SingaporeMarina Bay20 Sep
RussiaSochi27 Sep
JapanSuzuka11 Oct
USAAmericas25 Oct
MexicoMexico City1 Nov
BrazilInterlagos15 Nov
Abu DhabiYas Marina29 Nov
The original remaining 2020 races – expect these to change!

What’ll be really interesting is how F1 balances the financial demands of it’s business with the need to run a sensible calendar. Races like Singapore, Russia and Abu Dhabi pay handsomely for their races so it’s hard to see them being dropped altogether.

Will there be more than 1 F1 race per weekend?

One idea that’s been doing the rounds to try to make up for the number of races is to run ‘double-headers’ at some of the race weekends. This has been an idea anyway for the last couple of years, to try to make more fans attend the race weekend and improve the amount of action for the TV cameras.

This seems feasible, but it relies a lot on the support of the teams and the tyre manufacturer, Pirelli. More races means more parts, more repairs, more engine changes and of course more tyres. It might have been possible at a few of the European races like Spa and Monza, but not the remaining fly-aways. The fact they’ve not done it for the European races speaks volumes.

The only exception to that might be Abu Dhabi – the season finale. The teams tend to have a testing week following the final race, and the pit complexes, climate and open nature of the circuit might also support a second race – even if it’s later in the week, say Wednesday night (European time). That would make for a blockbuster end to the season under the lights!

Abu Dhabi is spectacular and would support an end of season double header, or even a mid-week race

What about watching it on TV? What are my options?

These days, you’ve got plenty of ways to watch, without a satellite dish if you don’t want one. We’ve got a great article here with information and advice for watching the F1 season in the UK.

How can I find a great deal?

It’s what SwitchTV.co.uk was designed for. Just you enter ‘Formula 1’ in our channel and programme finder here, we’ll find you the best deals available in your area;

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts below

BT TV (finally) launches Sky channels – is this really the end for Sky TV?

It was back in December 2017 that Sky & BT jointly announced that they would broadcast each others channels, in order to dampen the escalation cost of sports rights and ward-off new competition from the likes of Amazon Prime Video & Facebook. Now, finally, 2 years later, they’ve both launched their new packages and revealed their pricing. So what does it mean for customers and what’s the difference between Sky and BT’s offering now?
In order to answer this we’ve looked at 4 key areas: pricing; the channels available; flexibility offered; and the quality of the TV box and the interface provided.

BT’s new ad campaign features a customer immersed in the latest movies and sport from Sky’s channels

Pricing

We thought we’d start with the one on most people’s minds, and it’s a tough one to split the two companies.
BT’s packages with Sky channels start from just £10 a month for BT TV Entertainment whereas Sky’s start at £20, but you’ve got to bear in mind that with BT you need their fibre broadband for it to work, adding around £30, so if you just want a bit of TV and don’t need broadband (or use someone else), Sky’s is the cheaper entry package.
At the top end, BT’s VIP contains all BT Sport & Sky Sports & Entertainment channels in HD, plus Sky Cinema for £60 a month (around £90 with fibre broadband). Sky’s alternative including superfast broadband is a whopping £97 and doesn’t include Sky Cinema, but does have a wider number of channels (see below).
Bear in mind that the prices we can compare are for new customers – both providers may offer discounts for their existing customers to switch to the new packages at the end of their contracts.

Winner = draw

Available channels

One criticism of BT TV over the years has been the restricted number of channels, with shows like Game of Thrones, Billions, Formula 1 etc. not being available. Offering Sky channels is a big step forward and for 90% of customers gives you all the content you need, especially as both Amazon and Netflix subscriptions can be bundled into the package and accessed via the same box.
Sky still edges this one, with over 400+ channels including extra music, Asian and lifestyle content. If you want ‘everything’ Sky is still the place to go, though you will pay more for it.

Winner = Sky

Flexibility

BT’s main message coming to market was that customers could turn on/off extra options as they wish, similar to how Netflix and Now TV already run their subscriptions. This is certainly a welcome change, as customers often feel locked into premium subscriptions, this offers you the ability for example to save money on Sport over the summer, or add Cinema for Christmas. The drawback of this is that you don’t get the best price when you do this, as the VIP bundle we mentioned above includes pretty much all of the add ons, but for those looking to chop and change their package it’s a nice feature.

Winner = BT

TV interface and the box

Neither provider has changed their hardware for the last few years, meaning with Sky you’ll get the Sky Q box, and with BT TV the G5 Youview platform.
BT’s box is easy to use, with a clear programme guide and apps for things like iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It works well, but is nothing spectacular and crucially, must be plugged into your broadband connection, so doesn’t connect via Wi-Fi. BT are working on a new box with this feature and others, but we don’t have a release date just yet.
The Sky Q box does have Wi-Fi, along with voice recognition and the ability to support Sky Q mini-boxes around your home. Whilst it does have some drawbacks and is generally harder to use, it’s a superior service all round, for now.

Winner = Sky

The Sky Q box is a bit fiddly, but with Wi-Fi and voice recognition built-in, beats the BT TV box hands down

Overall

For those who like keeping score, that means BT 1 and Sky 2. But it really depends what you’re looking for and which of their strengths appeals to you the most. If you want an all-in bundle of fibre with the main TV & Sports channels, choose BT. If you want the basic premium TV channels or the better box, go with Sky.

The prices and packages are correct as of April 2020. We expect offers to change during the year, so for the latest prices on a tailored package based on the TV you want to watch, use our package finder here