How to watch F1 testing in Australia
By Mat Coch
Friday 17th February, 2023 - 2:32pm
F1 fans in Australia will be able to follow pre-season testing with live broadcast coverage of all three days of running in Bahrain.
Last week, Foxtel confirmed to Speedcafe.com that it would not be carrying coverage natively, but that subscribers could watch via the F1TV app which is in the process of being integrated into IQ set-top boxes.
However, this publication has since learned that non-Foxtel subscribers will also be able to watch pre-season, which runs from February 23-25, via F1TV.
A subscription service, F1TV is an Over The Top (OTT) product offered by Formula 1 itself.
While its exact offering varies depending on the market, the fundamentals are the same; live timing, some documentaries and other behind-the-scenes productions that aren’t part of the race weekend broadcast carried by the local rights holder.
Foxtel is the rights holder to Formula 1 in Australia and broadcasts all sessions during the regular season live both via its subscription television service and Kayo Sports streaming product.
Last year, it signed a ‘multi-year’ contract extension, ensuring that service continues.
However, as part of that, it’s understood Foxtel does not have rights to broadcast F1 pre-season testing in Australia.
Instead, Formula 1 itself has moved to service the local market by making that coverage available to subscribers of F1TV.
It is worth noting that Foxtel does have the desire to broadcast coverage pre-season testing, and while discussions have taken place they have thus far proved unsuccessful.
“The Foxtel Group was pleased in 2022 to enter into a new multi-year rights extension with Formula 1 which will see Foxtel and Kayo Sports remain the home of the motorsport in Australia, with live coverage of every practice, qualifying session and race,” a Foxtel Group spokesperson said in a statement issued to Speedcafe.com.
“We have been in long-term discussions with Formula 1 about wanting to also broadcast F1 testing to our millions of sports subscribers, but we have not yet been granted the necessary permissions to make this happen.”
“Testing is something we would love to showcase on our platforms as we know there is genuine interest and passion amongst Australian F1 fans for this content.”
Beyond testing, Foxtel will exclusively broadcast every session of the F1 season, which begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 2-5 (on track begins on March 3).
For those without the subscription service, free-to-air coverage is available via a one-hour highlights package on Network 10 on the Monday night following each race.
The only exception to that is the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, which will be broadcast nationally due to anti-siphoning laws.
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