F1 boss Carey Chase has outlined how the 2020 season could start, and the plan is to run the first race in Austria from 3-5 July. The initial plan was to then run a second race in Austria on 12 July and then two at Silverstone in the UK on 26 July and 2 August.
However, via Autosport, the UK government has U-turned on its decision to exempt F1 from its new 14-day quarantine rules, which apply to anyone arriving from outside the UK. Although the majority of teams are based in the UK, they would leave for Austria in June and be faced with quarantine upon their return.
That put the Silverstone races in doubt, and Formula 1 may instead choose to run those races at the Hockenheim circuit in Germany.
Chase said in a recent statement, "We’re targeting a start to racing in Europe through July, August and beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria on 3-5 July weekend. September, October and November would see us race in Eurasia, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi, having completed between 15-18 races."
"We expect the early races to be without fans but hope fans will be part of our events as we move further into the schedule. We still have to work out many issues like the procedures for the teams and our other partners to enter and operate in each country."
In the meantime, F1 has set up a virtual racing series using the official F1 2019 game and you can watch this in place of the real races on the days they were scheduled to be held. Here's how to watch virtual F1 races, including this weekend's race at Monaco. The real event was cancelled a while back.
Here are all the races which were due to happen up until the end of June and their status.
|Australian Grand Prix||15 March||Cancelled|
|Bahrain Grand Prix||22 March||Postponed|
|Vietman Grand Prix||5 April||Postponed|
|Chinese Grand Prix||19 April||Postponed|
|Dutch Grand Prix||3 May||Postponed|
|Spanish Grand Prix||10 May||Postponed|
|Monaco Grand Prix||24 May||Cancelled|
|Azerbaijan Grand Prix||7 June||Postponed|
|Canadian Grand Prix||14 June||Postponed|
|French Grand Prix||28 June||Cancelled|
When the season does start, here's which TV channels will be showing races this year.
Watching F1 races for free is becoming increasingly difficult and – at some point – it will almost certainly become a pay-to-watch sport. However, for the moment at least, you have the choice of watching on Channel 4 in the UK or paying for the F1 channel on Sky.
How to watch every F1 race for free in the UK
Although Sky has the exclusive rights to show live races in the UK, part of the deal it struck with Bernie Ecclestone before F1 was sold to Liberty Media was that highlights must be available on a free-to-air TV channel that’s widely available.
The deal runs until 2024, but there’s good news for fans because a new arrangement with Sky means that extended highlights of both qualifying and races can be shown on Channel 4 only two and a half hours after the race ends, instead of the three-hour delay in 2019. (They won't all be shown this soon - the Australian GP highlights will be broadcast on Sunday afternoon.)
This means the whole show will last 2.5 hours instead of 2, and can cover 70 percent of the action. That equates to about an hour of actual racing rather than 45 minutes.
Better still, this agreement extends until the end of 2022.
Also, as before, one race will be shown live on Channel 4: the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 19 July.
You can watch Channel 4 on your TV, of course, but you can also watch using the All 4 app on your phone or tablet, or in a web browser via Channel 4's website.
How to watch F1 races on Sky and NowTV
If you’re happy to pay a subscription fee so you can watch entire races live, then Sky is the only option in the UK. While Liberty operates an online streaming service – F1 TV Pro – you can’t watch it in the UK because of Sky’s exclusive deal.
Currently, there’s an offer where you can get Sky Sports F1 for £10 per month (minimum of 12 months), or Complete Sports (all the sports channels) for £20 per month. You’ll have to sign up for an 18-month contract for the latter, though.
There’s no requirement to have Sky TV: you can subscribe via Sky’s streaming service, Now TV. That’s available on your phone, tablet, games consoles, via a web browser and also via a Now TV streaming stick.
And there’s a special deal where you get access to all F1 races via Now TV for £198.
That works out at £9 per race weekend. (After 9 months, the subscription renews at £33.99 per month, so watch out for that.)
When is the Chinese Grand Prix start time in the UK?
- TBC; Race postponed. (Original scheduled date Sunday 19 April)
If you're unable to get to a TV or record broadcasts, you can watch them later on Sky and Channel 4's catch-up services.
Can you get F1 TV Pro in the UK?
Annoyingly, no, you can't. In case you didn't know, F1 TV Pro is the official streaming service of Forumla 1 but you can't get it in the UK because of Sky's exclusive deal for live races.
F1 TV Pro is only available the US where it costs $79.99 per year. You can also buy it in a few other countries including the Netherlands where it is €7.99 per month.
In the UK, all you can access is the live timing service which costs £2.29 per month. We don't advise using a VPN to buy the service from the US or Netherlands: it's likely your VPN will be detected and Liberty Media, which runs F1, says your subscription will be terminated with no refund.
Can I watch F1 online in 2020?
Indeed you can. Coverage is available using the following apps:
- All 4, available for Android and iOS
- Sky Go for Android or iOS (requires Sky subscription)
- Now TV, for Android and iOS, Xbox One and PC (requires subscription)
Note that you cannot watch live on the All 4 app. Highlights are made available at some point later in the day after the race.
To watch races on Sky you need to subscribe to its TV service. Sky will be broadcasting practice, qualifying and races in Ultra HD, but they're also in HD depending upon your subscription. You can find out more on Sky’s website.
As we said above, you can still watch Sky Sports F1 without being a Sky customer as the channel is also available on Now TV. This is sky's streaming service, which you can watch via the Now TV Player app on a laptop, PC, Mac, phone or tablet, or Sky's own Now TV Stick which connects to an HDMI input on your TV.
Is there really no way to watch F1 races live for free?
Officially, no. But there is a way. And it's free if you have a satellite dish and receiver which can pick up RTL Germany. That's because F1 races are still shown there on the free-to-air channel. Unless you're fluent in German the commentary isn't going to mean much, but you can get English commentary by tuning into Radio 5 Live (you can use the iPlayer Radio app on your phone if you don't have an actual radio).
If you haven't already got a suitable dish and set-top box, there's little point in investing in one as you'll pay around the same price to watch F1 on Now TV. But it could work out to be cheaper if you plan to watch F1 for the next few years and RTL continues to broadcast it.
2020 F1 schedule
Here's the schedule as originally published, and we'll update it once F1 has announced the revised timetable.
|Australian Grand Prix||Postponed (was 15 March)||Sky, 5.10am
|Bahrain Grand Prix||Postponed (22 March)||Sky, 3.10pm|
|Vietman Grand Prix||Postponed (5 April)||Sky, 8.10am|
|Chinese Grand Prix||Postponed (was 19 April)||Sky, TBC|
|Dutch Grand Prix||3 May||Sky, 2.10pm|
|Spanish Grand Prix||10 May||Sky, 2.10pm|
|Monaco Grand Prix||24 May||Sky, 2.10pm|
|Azerbaijan Grand Prix||7 June||Sky, 2.10pm|
|Canadian Grand Prix||14 June||Sky, 7.10pm|
|French Grand Prix||28 June||Sky, 2.10pm|
|Austrian Grand Prix||5 July||Sky, 2.10pm|
|British Grand Prix||19 July||Sky & Channel 4, 3.10pm|
|Hungarian Grand Prix||2 August||Sky, 2.10pm|
|Belgian Grand Prix||30 August||Sky, 2.10pm|
|Italian Grand Prix||6 September||Sky, 2.10pm|
|Singapore Grand Prix||20 September||Sky, 1.10pm|
|Russian Grand Prix||27 September||Sky, 12.10pm|
|Japanese Grand Prix||11 October||Sky, 5.10am|
|United States Grand Prix||25 October||Sky, 7.10pm|
|Mexican Grand Prix||1 November||Sky, 7.10pm|
|Brazilian Grand Prix||15 November||Sky, 5.10pm|
|Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||29 November||Sky, 1.10pm|
How to watch F1 with a VPN
If you're not in the UK when a particular race is shown, you can watch it using the Sky Go app on your phone or tablet, but that's only if you have the right level of subscription in place with Sky. And if you're not with Sky, then you can still watch highlights on the All 4 app if you use a VPN with a UK server, such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN and Hidden24.
- Also read our guide to the best VPN services.