Formula 1 Returning to ESPN, ABC in 2018 (IndyCar next?)

Now ABC needs to get IndyCar back on put all the races on ABC
Now ABC needs to get IndyCar back on put all the races on ABC network TV

ESPN and Formula 1 have agreed to a multi-year linear and digital partnership that brings the FIA Formula One World Championship back to its original television home in the United States starting in 2018 when ESPN and ABC will televise all 21 races in the championship. The first Formula 1 race ever aired in the U.S. was on ABC in 1962.

Beginning with the season-opening Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix on March 25, and ending with the Nov. 25 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, all of the races will air live in the United States on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. All in more than 125 hours of Formula 1 programming, including all practice sessions, qualifying and races, will air live and in replay across ESPN platforms in 2018.

“ESPN has had a long commitment to motorsports, and Formula 1 is a crown jewel in the sport," said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president of programming & scheduling. “There are many passionate Formula 1 fans in the U.S. and we look forward to bringing the pageantry, spectacle and excitement of F1 to viewers across the ESPN platform."

Among the season highlights will be the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, May 27 (Memorial Day weekend in the U.S.), which will air live on ESPN at 7:55 a.m. ET and re-air later in the day on ABC at 3:30 p.m. after the Indianapolis 500. The United States Grand Prix in Austin, Tex., on Oct. 21 and the Mexican Grand Prix on Oct. 28 also will air live on ABC while the Canadian Grand Prix (June 10) and British Grand Prix (July 8) will be featured live on ESPN. The Singapore Grand Prix, the only night race of the championship, will air on ESPN2 on Sept. 16.

“We are excited about the return of the world's foremost motor racing platform to the ABC and ESPN platforms," said Sean Bratches, managing director, commercial operations at Formula 1. “ABC's Wide World of Sports first started airing live grands prix in the early 1960's and this linear and digital partnership with ESPN represents a significant step forward in achieving Formula 1’s aim of broadening the sport’s appeal. The U.S. market is very important growth opportunity for Formula 1 and we are looking forward to working with ESPN to ignite the growing fan interest."

Formula 1 made its debut on American television with the airing of highlights from the Monaco Grand Prix on ABC’s Wide World of Sports on June 10, 1962, one week after the race was run. Select races appeared on ABC until 1988. ESPN began televising F1 races with a 10-race schedule in 1984, expanding to 14 races from 1985-1988, and then 15 from 1989-1993. ESPN aired 16 races in 1994, then a high of 17 in 1995, followed by 16 in both 1996 and 1997, the last years the championship appeared on ESPN.

ESPN committed to televise all 21 races live next year — 16 on ESPN2, three on ESPN and two on ABC. ABC will re-air the May 27 Monaco Grand Prix in the timeslot following the Indianapolis 500. ESPN has committed to carry all practice sessions, qualifying and races live and in replay on one of its platforms next year.

“We had the ability on Sunday mornings on ESPN2 to slide the races right into the schedule," ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Scheduling Burke Magnus said. “The design here is to lean heavily into the sport once again. It’s been a few years. We want to make it a big deal again."

2018 FIA Formula One World Championship Schedule on ESPN and ABC

(all times Eastern)

Date

Time

Event

Network

March 25

12:55 a.m.

Australian Grand Prix

ESPN2

April 8

1:55 a.m.

Chinese Grand Prix

ESPN2

April 15

10:55 a.m.

Bahrain Grand Prix

ESPN2

April 29

8:55 a.m.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix

ESPN2

May 13

7:55 a.m.

Spanish Grand Prix

ESPN2

May 27

7:55 a.m.

Monaco Grand Prix

ESPN

3:30 p.m.

Monaco Grand Prix

ABC *

June 10

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Grand Prix

ESPN

June 24

7:55 a.m.

French Grand Prix

ESPN2

July 1

7:55 a.m.

Austrian Grand Prix

ESPN2

July 8

7:55 a.m.

British Grand Prix

ESPN

July 22

7:55 a.m.

German Grand Prix

ESPN2

July 29

7:55 a.m.

Hungarian Grand Prix

ESPN2

Aug. 26

7:55 a.m.

Belgian Grand Prix

ESPN2

Sept. 2

7:55 a.m.

Italian Grand Prix

ESPN2

Sept. 16

7:55 a.m.

Singapore Grand Prix

ESPN2

Sept. 30

7:55 a.m.

Russian Grand Prix

ESPN2

Oct. 7

12:55 a.m.

Japanese Grand Prix

ESPN2

Oct. 21

2:55 p.m.

United States Grand Prix

ABC

Oct. 28

2:55 p.m.

Mexican Grand Prix

ABC

Nov. 11

10:55 a.m.

Brazilian Grand Prix

ESPN2

Nov. 25

7:55 a.m.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

ESPN2

* re-air

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