Monday, 10 december 2018, 04:15 , by Matthew Scott
Channel 4's live and free-to-air coverage of the 2019 British Grand Prix will not be made up of Sky Sports' programming, with a deal having been struck between the British broadcasters over the sharing of Formula 1 rights, GPFans has learned.
Live F1 coverage had been due to fall off terrestrial airwaves completely next year after Sky struck an exclusive deal with Bernie Ecclestone.
That deal has not only denied the majority of British viewers the chance of watch live races from next year, but also has prevented Liberty Media from releasing F1 TV Pro on British shores.
Channel 4's F1 viewing figures have often dwarfed those of satellite station Sky, and Liberty will likely face scrutiny over a dwindling television audience in a key market, having come under fire for a similar drop in Italy this year caused by the loss of free-to-air coverage in the homeland of Ferrari.
Sky has held rights to all races since 2012, but fans have often been put off by the cost of yearly subscriptions.
Channel 4 has aired a selection of 10 races live per season since acquiring partial rights from the BBC in 2016.
Production was undertaken by Whisper Films – part-owned by former grand prix racer David Coulthard, who has worked as a pundit on the coverage.
It remains to be seen whether Channel 4 and Whisper will team up for coverage from Silverstone next year. Both declined to comment when contacted by GPFans.
However, GPFans can reveal that the C4 airing will not be a simple simulcast of Sky's footage – something the satellite company has often done across its channels in an attempt to boost viewership.
Formula 1 broadcast a world feed that comprises coverage in many countries across the world and it is possible that Channel 4 will follow suit.
As well as live coverage of the British GP, Channel 4 will also air a highlights show from every race, as the station had done over the past three years.