Channel 4 strikes deal with Sky to keep Formula 1 coverage free to air

The broadcaster had been set to lose Formula 1 rights from 2019, but the new deal means Channel 4 will be able to show highlights plus the British Grand Prix live

(Getty, JG)

Formula 1 TV coverage will remain free to air from next year thanks to a deal between Channel 4 and Sky.

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Channel 4’s deal to broadcast Formula 1 had been set to end in 2019, which would have meant the end of free to air coverage in the UK.

However, a new deal with broadcaster Sky means that Channel 4 will be able to continue to broadcast highlights of every F1 race, as well as show live coverage of the British Grand Prix in Silverstone.

RadioTimes.com has confirmed that Channel 4 will retain its own Formula 1 presenting team, rather than use highlights from Sky Sports F1. Steve Jones and David Coulthard currently lead the coverage for Channel 4.

As part of the deal, both Sky and Channel 4 will also share a number of their top-rated dramas, beginning with the new series of Channel 4’s No Offence, which will be released as a box-set in full on Sky’s on demand platforms.

Channel 4’s current broadcast deal allows it to show ten live races per year. This will end at the end of the 2018 season.

From 2019 Channel 4 will only have live coverage of the British Grand Prix, but it will also retain highlights to the other races in the F1 calendar.

Sky Sports F1 meanwhile will continue to broadcast every race live.

Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive Officer of Sky UK and the Republic of Ireland, called the deal “the start of a new era of collaboration between Sky, Channel 4 and, we hope, other British broadcasters”.

He added, “Not only will this innovative partnership benefit viewers, watching via Sky or free-to-air, but it will further strengthen the ecosystem of UK broadcasters and British originated content.”

Channel 4’s chief executive officer Alex Mahon said, “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to establish such an exciting and innovative partnership with Sky which will ensure that the British Grand Prix and highlights of the 2019 Formula 1 Championship remain available on free-to-air television for UK viewers.”

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As part of the deal, series one of Sky’s original drama Tin Star will be shown on Channel 4 later this autumn. A selection of Channel 4 and Walter Presents drama series will also be made available as box sets on Sky On Demand and NOW TV.