What you need to know about the new F1 TV service


A new online subscription for watching Formula 1 has been announced. Who will be able to watch the revolutionary new TV service as the cars line up in Melbourne, and who will miss out?

FOM have released enough details to get fans excited, with more information still to come.

"Formula 1 fans will get commercial-free live streams of each race with multi-language commentary," a statement from F1 reads.

"In addition, the service will provide exclusive access to all 20 driver on-board cameras throughout every race session. F1 TV Pro will have unique feeds not available on any other platform with the capability of multi-level personalisation.

What's on offer?

  • F1 TV Access — Live radio commentary, live timing, delayed video replays and extended highlights
  • F1 TV Pro — All sessions from all races offered live. Pre and post event press conferences, access to all driver on-board cameras, support series like Formula 2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup

The service will be available in English, French, German and Spanish which offers some insight into the countries that have been targetted by FOM for the initial roll-out. What's more, the service will only work on computers, with apps for digital TV boxes and mobile devices coming in later phases.

Countries that are currently confirmed to be getting F1 TV are Germany, France, USA, Mexico, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and "much of Latin America".

Who will miss out?

Among F1's Top 20 countries not confirmed yet are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

(Update: RaceFans.net has revealed the full list of countries that will get the full service, which includes Poland, Romania and Switzerland.) 

With a reported two dozen countries getting F1 TV Pro at launch, it's conceivable that some of these will get the service, but it's likely the remaining territories are smaller countries.

It has also been reported that the roll out of F1 TV Access will be "near global", however this isn't what most fans are tuning in for.

Notable omissions include Brazil, which is part of Latin America but isn't explicitly confirmed, and Canada, which hosts a race and could be serviced by both the English and French commentary, but likely both countries have a clash with local pay TV hosting licences.

Similarly territories like the UK and Australia have existing pay TV licences that need to play out before F1 TV Pro will be available. 

    How much is it?

    With a price point of only $8 - $12 per month, it's a brilliantly accessible service, much more affordable than the $299 - $350 previously estimated for a digital season pass. 

    It's estimated $100 annual subscription (varying from country to country) will be announced shortly, with FOM estimating revenue from subscriptions topping $100 million within five years.

    No more grid girls in F1


    After decades of using girls on the grid to mark the starting position of the drivers, the FIA has announced the custom will be scrapped to align with society’s modern views on the role of women in Motorsport in the post-Weinstein, #metoo era.

    After a debate around the role of grid girls late last year, alternatives like local drivers or children were met with mixed reactions throughout the paddock.

    However, with a revamped visual identity after launching a new logo, the sport is now looking to take a more progressive stance on the role of women in the paddock. 

    A statement made on the  Formula 1 website confirms the new vision for the grid:

    “Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport," said Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1.

    "While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

    Despite motorsport being one of the few professions that presents an almost completely level playing field, women have struggled to break through into the top tier. 

    Although an all-female competition has been proposed, many feel it draws a line in the sand between the genders that reinforces the misguided notion that F1 is, and should remain, an exclusively male domain.

    Support races on F1 weekends will follow suit by banning grid girls, refocusing viewers attention to the talented women working across the diversity of roles up and down the rest of the paddock.

    If this is a sign of things to come in Formula One, the future is bright indeed.

    Teams disagree over F1's technical direction ahead of car unveilings


    Last week's meeting of the Formula One Strategy Group established the direction for the sport's development in the coming years. With a number of proposals getting the green-light, the stage is now set for teams to reveal their 2018 cars ahead of pre-season testing.

    Five teams brought technical suggestions to the meeting, as long-term plans take shape ahead of the 2019 season. It's not uncommon for teams to disagree in the Strategy Group meetings, however it is where most of the fundamental changes — such as last year's meeting in July where the halo safety system was implemented — are proposed and debated.

    What we can expect to see next year are simpler, better looking rear wings, and redesigned barge boards that improve sponsor visibility and car aesthetics.

    Some teams wanted the group to reconsider the ban on bodywork, particularly shark fins, which were ruled out of the regulations last year. For them the fins were a solution to new mandatory driver name and number signage, while also providing additional space for sponsors' logos. Reports following the meeting however suggest the proposal lacked the support needed, and the ban will stay in place.

    Dieter Rencken and Keith Collantine at F1 Fanatic outline some of the other unsuccessful ideas:

    A proposal from F1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn for a simpler front wing design, a model of which was shown to teams, met with strong resistance. According to sources Ferrari threatened to use its veto right over the technical regulations to block the plan, which has now been dropped.

    A further suggestion of increasing the minimum number of engines from three to four next year was also rejected.

    Brawn's attempts to improve the fundamental aerodynamics will be a mainstay of the next few years. He'll be working alongside former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh who returns to the paddock as an FIA adviser with the goal of reducing operating costs.

    Mercedes have announced they will be unveiling their challenger for the 2018 season on February 22nd, the same day that Ferrari will also be presenting their car. McLaren will unveil their new livery and car on February 23rd, with Toro Rosso scheduled for the 25th. 

    Sirotkin overtakes Kubica as favourite for Williams seat


    Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin has emerged as the outright favourite to claim the last vacant seat on the F1 grid for the 2018 season. 

    A report from the BBC suggests that Robert Kubica was the team's preferred option until the post-season Abu Dhabi driver test, during which the drivers were pitted against one another.

    Sirotkin's outright pace gave him the edge over the more experienced Kubica, effectively ending the veteran's hopes of an unlikely return to Formula 1 after a rally crash cut short his promising career in early 2011.

    An announcement is expected in the next few weeks, with Sirotkin replacing Daniil Kvyat as the F1 grid's only Russian driver.

    It's reported that Sirotkin brings with him financial backing of up to $15 million, and the 22-year-old will line-up alongside Canadian Lance Stroll.

    In only his 2nd season, the Stroll-Sirotkin pairing is among the least experienced on the grid. Only the Toro Rosso pairing of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley are less experienced with just nine grands prix starts between them.