No TV coverage of F1 testing in Australia
By Mat Coch
Sunday 12th February, 2023 - 1:58pm
Fans in Australia are again set to go without television coverage of F1 pre-season testing when it kicks off later this month.
The news comes in contradiction of a stated aim of Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delany a year ago.
“We were very interested in broadcasting testing in Bahrain given the widespread excitement heading into the first race of the season,” he told Speedcafe.com last year.
“The Formula 1 team indicated the testing footage would not be made available to show live to our Australian audiences.
“We will work with F1 with a view of test sessions being available for next year.”
Bahrain will host three days of testing from February 23, the only official running before the season proper gets underway at the venue on March 3-5.
Formula 1 is broadcast primarily by Foxtel in Australia, with free-to-air coverage courtesy of Network 10.
While the subscription service broadcasts all sessions from all events live, the FTA coverage consists of a one-hour highlights package on the Monday following the event.
The only exception to that is the Australian Grand Prix, which anti-siphoning laws necessitate being broadcast on free-to-air.
F1TV app is the only option
Last year, Foxtel announced a new “multi-year” extension on its deal with Formula 1, though exactly when that expires was not revealed.
It was following that announcement that Delany told Speedcafe.com that it was working towards broadcasting F1 testing for fans in Australia in 2023.
That was off the back of a sharp rise in interest in the sport in 2021, largely attributed to the success of the Netflix Drive to Survive series.
“For many, the lives of those racers and their teams have become an obsession, and certainly I look at Formula 1 differently since watching it,” Delany said at the time.
“We’re seeing a direct impact on subscriber growth season-on-season,” Delany continued.
“Kayo Sport is up 87 percent with the Formula 1 year-on-year.”
Speedcafe.com, however, has learned there are again no plans to broadcast testing on Foxtel or Kayo.
Coverage of testing will be via the F1TV app, which will be available to Foxtel Sports but not Kayo subscribers.
F1TV is set to be launched on the Foxtel set-top box but timings remain unclear as it remains in the ‘field trial’ stage.
Formula 1 testing, meanwhile, kicks off in under two weeks from February 23-25.
Speedcafe.com did approach Foxtel for comment but none had been provided by time of publication.
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