TPF Podcast #563- American F1 TV

Join Grace and me as we discuss ESPN’s coverage of Formula 1 in the United States of America. We discuss the upside of Sky Sports F1 and the remaining concerns some viewers might have. We discuss the Williams pay-driver issue and HALO as well as hot laps with Alonso.

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In listening to the podcast about the HALO, I feel the FIA is pushing the HALO because of the Bianchi Incident. Could it be part of the legal battle with the Bianchi family so F1/FIA show they are trying to prevent this type of accident causing serious injury? Just a thought of why they are pushing soo hard to make this a reality.

sunny stivala

“Could it be part of the legal battle with the Bianchi family?” If there really is a Bianchi family “legal battle” going on the Bianchi family haven’t got a leg to stand on “legally” against the FIA. But they have a 50% legal chance against the team.

Tom Firth

I know what you are referring too. In May 2016, a UK law firm representing the Bianchi family sent pre-action letters to the FIA, Marussia and FOM. It appears from statements available from the law firm online that after discussions between all parties, an agreement was made in May 2017.

It doesn’t mention anything about cockpit protection in those statements. It’s mostly an agreement of what the FIA proposed in its report.

sunny stivala

“News-international injury- statement of the family of F1 driver Jules Bianchi. April 2017”. Yes it doesn’t mention anything about cockpit protection and neither anything about compensation of any sorts, in fact it is all about what the FIA proposed in its report. The Bianchi family had no legal leg to stand on re any compensation claims as regards any FIA shortcomings, but they sure had around a 50% chance against the team. I say 50% legal chance against the team because (1) if the driver did not abuse the FIA rules the accident would have been avoided.(2) assuming the driver… Read more »


I believe that the broadcasting on ESPN will follow what we have here in Canada on TSN (since Epsn owns 20 percent of TSN and sort of like sister channels). What we have here is screen in screen commercials (which sucks since the audio is switched to off so we can hear the commercials). However we do get the sky pre and post show on TSN 2 which is the premium channel.


TSN is pretty good, I watch the parade, pre-race, post-race and Ted’s notebook, I think it’s like 5 hours of straight F1 broadcast. When there’s a Sunday race it’s F1 all morning. But with that double screen during commercials you can barely see the race.


Given that IndyCar has tested a new windscreen that seems to be working out well, F1 would be wise to look into that thing and drivers should be a bit more open to these things. Might be better than that HALO. Yanno, it would probably be better for ESPN to run their commercials side-by-side. That way, you still see the race while the commercials are running. Yes, I do watch Sky Sports F1 on a stream….at 2 or 3 AM in the morning. You could call it “Ott”. At the end of the day, money is preferred over morals /… Read more »


When ESPN had the F1 broadcasts in the mid-1990’s, they did sent their broadcast team to one or two races per season. Which ones you ask? Monaco and Canada. They even gave a fresh Eddie Irvine his broadcast commentary premiere at Monaco 1994(Eddie was serving a one race ban). At any other time, I would had been very pleased to see ESPN take Sky’s coverage over NBCSN. So it would not surprise me to see ESPN offer nothing more than the bare minimum. However, F1 over the NBCSN app was a better viewing experience than broadcast. It had a choice… Read more »

Fred Daniell

I thought the Us was an incredibly important market for F1. From how they are handling US coverage I have to wonder if F1 cares about the Us market. Rather than developing a US team they GIVE this to ESPN and they cheap out with Sky broadcast. Incredibly insulting even though I too like Sky’s coverage.


Yes, if only the FIA had considered the hazards the halo device might cause, or even taken the trouble to tell people about it if they had…….
“What? They have? and it was even the subject of a post on FIB? Ridiculous!!!!!”
N.C and Grace, that could be something worth watching while you’re waiting for your OTT app.
The comments on this one are worth a read too;

sunny stivala

The whine about the Halo is louder then the engine.


Hello from south Africa, we get skysports f1 coverage on supersports with all the skyf1 shows. Race show and qualifying have no advertisement.


You guys were talking the mailbag question about F1 drivers doing bobsled. That made me remember the early 90s Bo-Dyn bobsleds spearheaded by NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine and built the first non-European made bobsleds for the US Olympic bobsled team. They still make the US sleds and have resulted in a number of medals since 2002. I guess it took them a few years to get going


I hate to burst your bubble, but Skysports ‘dumb down’ their commentary all the time. Every race they have the ‘…for those new to the sport…’ and off they go on explaining the colours on the tyres, pitstops, qualifying, DRS blah blah blah. I really like the ‘visual’ side of the coverage but they need to up their game on who they are talking to.

Matt Guss

Two things: Is it just me or is this Sky Sports channel insanely priced at about $110 a month? are you Sky Sports watchers actually paying that much?
The listener question from the guy who wondered why you criticize F1 makes me wonder what the hell else he would expect you do? Blow sunshine up all F1’s rear end? Criticism, interesting perspective, mockery, warnings, con-TROV-ersy, education, crystal ball gazing, entertainment — that’s what I want from you guys and you deliver.

Martin Hills

Thanks for reading out my question about Williams and their drivers, but no-one in the UK actually says MonAHco :-P

David Brigham

In the 50’s wasn’t Ferrari driver Fon de Portago a bobsled driver?


Love it as always, but you made me laugh in my car at 54 mins:
Todd: “I’ve ridden with Sebastian Vettal twice… and it is an incredible once in a lifetime experience.”

I’m loving your perspective on the sport. A lot of other people take it far too seriously, or don’t care at all.