The worst part of caring about sporting events but not TV programs in general is that if you want to watch Formula One, you usually have to pay for 10,000 channels and the drama series where Chad and Susie are on again, off again. Not anymore, because you can stream all the F1 coverage you want starting in May.
F1 announced the stream in October, after viewers in a Reddit suggestion thread rightfully begged for it. It was also after ESPN took over F1 rights in the U.S. by paying for the Sky Sports stream from Britain, and cut the amount of coverage drastically compared to NBC’s broadcast deal in recent years.
But the real F1 stream will finally exist, soon. F1 said Friday that the stream will be here in time for the Spanish Grand Prix in May, after two more weekends of testing in China and Azerbaijan. Here are more details on the service, from F1:
F1 TV will have two service levels at two different price points. F1 TV Pro, the premium tier, will feature live races and all 20 driver-cameras, as well as side-by-side live race viewing and additional exclusive feeds. [...] All of practice, qualifying and races will be offered live, along with press conferences and pre- and post-race interviews. Later in the season, the main support series FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup will be added to the service.
F1 TV will initially launch on desktop. Apple, Android and Amazon Fire mobile and tablet devices will launch shortly thereafter. By summer, the service will also be available to fans on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Apple TV. [...]
A less expensive, non-live subscription tier, F1 TV Access will provide live race timing data and radio broadcasts, as well as extended highlights of each session from the race weekend. It will also be underscored by unprecedented access to archive video content from the amazing historic archive owned by Formula 1. F1 TV Access will be available on a near-global basis at launch [...]
The sport said last year that its streaming service would arrive in 2018, offering coverage in multiple languages for between $8 and $12 monthly, or $70 and $150 annually. F1 said that the price will depend on the tier and market.
But when the season opener in Australia came around, the streaming service was nowhere to be found and F1 wouldn’t give an estimate of when it would be ready. Viewers around the world were left to do what they usually do, while the U.S. was stuck with a disaster of a broadcast by ESPN that cut to commercial in the middle of commentators’ sentences since Sky Sports does commercial-free coverage. ESPN has since apologized to everyone by agreeing to show F1 with no commercials for the rest of the year, and broadcasts have gone well since.
That still doesn’t change the fact that you usually have to pay monthly for the channel documenting Chad and Susie’s continual breakups to get ESPN, and if you’re just really sick of Chad’s attitude, you can drop the 10,000 channels next month and just pay for F1. With the way the season is going, you can probably predict a Sebastian Vettel win as easily as you can predict their next breakup.
Hopefully once the stream rolls out, F1 will start fixing that new website font too. After all, we can’t watch the stream if F1’s website burns our eyes out first.
Full disclosure: Jalopnik is owned by Univision, which is a current broadcast rights holder for Formula One in Spanish.