As ESPN begins its second consecutive year of coverage of the FIA Formula One World Championship this week, the offerings are expanding for 2019 with two new race week programs joining the telecast schedule for all 21 races. The new season launches this week with the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix from the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.
The live telecast of the Australian Grand Prix will air Sunday, March 17, at 1:05 a.m. ET (late Saturday night) on ESPN. The On the Grid pre-race show will precede the race at 12:30 a.m. Live coverage of the weekend’s three practice sessions and qualifying also will air on ESPN platforms.
ESPN is again teaming with Sky Sports and Formula 1 to bring Sky Sports’ award-winning presentation of Formula 1 racing to American viewers. New this season will be Sky’s Welcome to the Weekend program, which will air on Thursdays of race weekends on ESPN3. The half-hour show previews the race with driver interviews as well as commentary and analysis from the Sky team. The Australia edition will expand to an hour and will air at 3 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 14, with replays available on the ESPN App.
Also part of ESPN’s expanded F1 coverage this year will be Sky’s Pit Lane Live, a one-hour program airing on race day. Pit Lane Live features the Sky F1 commentators discussing the upcoming race and all the latest news from the paddock, with the show also including feature stories. Pit Lane Live from Australia will air at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, on ESPN3, also streaming on the ESPN App.
The Sky Sports team has been bolstered for 2019 with the addition of former world champion Jenson Button, joining fellow former champions Damon Hill and Nico Rosberg as Sky commentators. David Croft returns in the lead announcer position for the race telecasts.
Former F1 driver Martin Brundle, regarded by many as the “Voice of Formula 1,” also returns to the Sky team as an analyst and for his popular pre-race grid walk. Also, former F1 drivers Johnny Herbert, Anthony Davidson and Paul di Resta continue their roles as analysts with the Sky team, with another former F1 driver, Karun Chandhok, rejoining the commentary team this year.
ESPN will once again air the Formula 1 races commercial-free with sponsorship from Mothers Polish.
Prior to the Australian Grand Prix weekend, a Formula 1 season launch preview program will air live on Wednesday, March 13, at 2:10 a.m. ET on ESPN3. The 50-minute program, produced by Formula One Media, will be available for replay via the ESPN App.
The 2018 season marked the return of Formula 1 to ESPN and ABC on American television and fans tuned in, making F1 the only major racing series to see year-over-year viewership growth in the U.S. for the season. And Formula 1 was back to its original U.S. television home – the first race ever aired in the country was on ABC in 1962. F1 races also aired on ESPN from 1984-1997.
In addition to the telecasts, ESPN’s coverage of Formula 1 also includes the dedicated ESPN.com Formula 1 website, which reports on the championship year-round.
Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix on ESPN Networks
(all times Eastern)
Wednesday, March 132:10 a.m.F1 Season LaunchESPN3Thursday, March 143:00 a.m.Welcome to the WeekendESPN3 8:55 p.m.Practice 1ESPN3Friday, March 1512:55 a.m.Practice 2ESPNEWS 10:55 p.m.Practice 3ESPNEWSSaturday, March 161:55 a.m.QualifyingESPN2 7:00 a.m.Qualifying (re-air)ESPN2 11:30 p.m.Pit Lane LiveESPN3Sunday, March 1712:30 a.m.On the GridESPN 1:05 a.m.RaceESPN 6:30 a.m.Race (re-air)ESPN2 9:00 p.m.Race (re-air)ESPNEWS