Sky Sports secure exclusive rights to Formula 1 from 2019, ending full free to air coverage

The broadcaster promises to show the British Grand Prix live and race highlights for free, but Channel 4's deal will end after the 2018 season

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Sky Sports will be the only place to watch live Formula 1 from 2019, ending the sport’s era of coverage on terrestrial television.

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Channel 4’s current deal to show 10 live races per season will end after the 2018 season, and from then on Sky Sports F1 will have exclusive rights to all races.

The broadcaster promises to show the British Grand Prix live for free, as well as highlights of all other races. The deal will be in place from 2019 to 2024, and will be the first time that Formula 1 coverage has not been shared between Sky and a terrestrial broadcaster.

Sky also said that it would show at least two further races live on its new Sky Sports Mix channel, launched last week and available to all Sky subscribers.

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said, “I am delighted that we will continue to work together. Sky’s commitment to the Sport and standard of coverage is second to none.”

Channel 4 secured F1 rights last December from the BBC, and broadcast its first race last weekend. However, the news that its coverage will end after the 2018 season comes before even its first live broadcast, set to take place in Bahrain on 3rd April.

Martin Brundle, who joined Sky when it launched its F1 coverage in 2012, said that he joined the broadcaster because of its “total and long term commitment to the sport”, adding, “In a fast changing media landscape, our coverage will get even better for F1 fans.”

Sky Sports Managing director Barney Francis said that he aimed to push Sky’s quality of coverage, introducing Ultra HD coverage from 2017.

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“We are delighted that we are strengthening our coverage for viewers even further, with live and exclusive F1 from 2019 and the chance to watch in Ultra High Definition for the first time from next season,” he said.