The BBC’s delayed and edited highlights of Sunday’s Australian grand prix attracted more viewers than the British broadcaster’s live coverage of the same Melbourne race a year ago.
From 2012, F1’s television coverage for Britain is being shared between pay-channel Sky – who have the full-time live rights – and the public broadcaster BBC. Last year, the BBC’s live coverage of the 2011 season opener averaged 2.13 million viewers. But the delayed highlights package for 2012, aired hours after the race finished between 2 and 4pm, attracted 2.7 million viewers.
The figures may, however, be a one-off, with Australia usually among the lowest-rating races in Europe due to the very early morning live timeslot.
Sky’s live coverage of the pay-channel’s 2012 coverage, meanwhile, averaged just 526,000 viewers. A spokesman for the channel refused to comment on whether Sky was disappointed with the figures.
“It is the performance of the whole (F1) channel we are interested in. We are pleased with the launch of the channel overall,” he told the Guardian.
Eight of F1’s 12 teams are based in Britain.