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.
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.
…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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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||Pause/rewind live TV||Record programmes||Add Ultra HD channels (extra cost)|
|£43 for Sky Sports channels (includes Sky Entertainment TV package)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|£49 a month alongside Now Broadband or £33.99 for a Sky Sports Pass only||No||No||No|
|£65 for Virgin TV Bigger Bundle +Sky Sports and broadband bundle||Yes||Yes||No|
|£68.99 for Big Sport TV including Sky Sports (with fibre broadband)||Yes||Yes||No|
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!
Updated 2nd June 2020
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;
|Austria||The Red Bull Ring, Austria||July 5|
|Austria||The Red Bull Ring, Austria||July 12|
|Hungary||The Hungaroring, Hungary||July 19|
|UK||Silverstone, UK||August 2|
|UK||Silverstone, UK||August 9|
|Spain||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain||August 16|
|Belgium||Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium||August 30|
|Italy||Monza, Italy||September 6|
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.
|Singapore||Marina Bay||20 Sep|
|Mexico||Mexico City||1 Nov|
|Abu Dhabi||Yas Marina||29 Nov|
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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
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
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
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