Full schedule for Formula 1 on NBC Sports

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The NBC Sports Group will present its most extensive and comprehensive motorsports coverage ever in 2013, with more than 200 programming hours of Formula One races, practices, qualifying, pre- and post-race studio shows, and behind-the-scenes programs. Coverage will air across NBC, NBC Sports Network, and NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming platform, via TV Everywhere. Additionally, two F1 races will air on CNBC, NBCUniversal’s business channel.

Formula One, which makes its NBC Sports Group debut this week on NBC Sports Network with the Rolex Australian Grand Prix, will air four races live on NBC, 13 on NBC Sports Network, and two on CNBC. The famed Monaco Grand Prix will air live on broadcast television at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 26 on NBC.

Programming for both open-wheel circuits will include significant shoulder content that is consistent with their unique brands. In addition, NBC Sports Digital will dedicate more motorsports coverage than ever. It will cover the entire racing industry with the recently launched MotorSportsTalk on NBCSports.com, and, later this year, it will live stream the circuit on NBC Sports Live Extra, via TV Everywhere.

The 2013 Formula One World Championship schedule includes all 19 races in 19 countries from March through November, including 13 on NBC Sports Network, four on NBC and two on CNBC.

COMMENTATORS: As previously announced, NBC Sports Group’s F1 booth will feature lead announcer Leigh Diffey, who will call both F1 and the IZOD IndyCar Series this year, veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, and analyst Steve Matchett, a former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team, including two years with seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher.

Rounding out the team is Will Buxton, an F1 insider and journalist, who will serve as the team’s on-site reporter. Respected by fans and critics alike, Diffey, Hobbs, Matchett and Buxton bring continuity to each telecast, as all four worked together for several years previously on SPEED’s coverage of the circuit.

ON-SITE: It is estimated that Buxton will travel more than 115,000 miles this season while covering all 19 races in 19 countries.

MIMOSAS FROM MONACO: Sunday, May 26 can arguably be called ‘the biggest day in racing’ as it features three of sport’s most famous races from three different circuits — the Monaco Grand Prix (Formula One), the Indy 500 (IndyCar) and the Coca-Cola 600 (NASCAR).

This year, the day will begin with live coverage of the famed Monaco Grand Prix on broadcast television when NBC airs the race at 7:30 a.m. ET. The entire NBC Sports F1 studio team will join Buxton on site to capture the unique glitz-and-glamor atmosphere of the Monaco Grand Prix.

NBC GRANDS PRIX: NBC will provide F1 with unprecedented exposure this year as it airs four races in 2013. In addition to Monaco, races scheduled to air on NBC are the Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal) on Sunday, June 9, the United States Grand Prix (Austin, Texas) on Sunday, November 17, and the final race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, Nov 24. The NBC Sports F1 studio team will also be on site for live coverage of the Montreal and Austin races.

Due to scheduling conflicts, CNBC, NBCUniversal’s fully-distributed business channel, will air the Grands Prix from the United Kingdom and Germany.

F1 EXTRA: NBC Sports Network’s post-race show, F1 Extra, will air live after every NBC Sports Network and CNBC race, as well as the Monaco NBC race. Post-race coverage for Canada, USA and Brazil will air on NBC. The 30-minute wrap-up show will be handled by the F1 team of Diffey, Hobbs, Matchett and Buxton.

F1 36: Three-time defending Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel will be the first driver profiled in the first-ever episode of F1 36, airing Friday, March 29 at 7 p.m. ET. F1 36 is the latest in the NBC Sports Group’s original behind-the-scenes 36 series, which gives viewers an all-access pass into the life of world-class athletes. For each episode, cameras will follow a F1 driver for 36 hours, providing a behind-the-scenes look at their on- and off-track activities. The all-access 36 series, which is produced by IMS Productions, also includes NHL 36Fight Night 36, IndyCar 36 and MLS 36.

PRACTICE, QUALIFYING & RE-AIRS: NBC Sports Network will offer extensive coverage of F1 practice and qualifying throughout the season. The network will also offer a re-air of the race, often in the early afternoon, allowing viewers to enjoy coverage during a more traditional sports-viewing time period.

ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX: The first race of the season will air live from Australia on Sunday, March 17 on NBC Sports Network at 1:30 a.m. ET. The race will re-air at 1 p.m. ET. F1 action gets underway Friday, March 15 at 12 a.m. ET with the first practice session.

Following is this week’s coverage schedule for the Rolex Australian Grand Prix on NBC Sports Network:

Date Program Time Network
Friday, March 15 Practice #1 Midnight NBC Sports Network
Friday, March 15 Practice #2 1:30 a.m. NBC Sports Network
Sat., March 16 Qualifying 2 a.m. NBC Sports Network
Sat., March 16 Qualifying Re-Air 1:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sunday, March 17 Australian Grand Prix 1:30 a.m. NBC Sports Network
Sunday, March 17 F1 Extra 4 a.m. NBC Sports Network
Sunday, March 17 Race Re-Air 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network

More practice times for the entire season can be found here.

2013 FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (Subject to change, all times ET):

Date Grand Prix Time Re-Air (NBCSN) Network
Sun., March 17 Australia 1:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., March 24 Malaysia 3:30 a.m. 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., April 14 China 2:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., April 21 Bahrain 7:30 a.m. Noon NBC Sports Network
Sun., May 12 Spain 7:30 a.m. 2 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., May 26 Monaco 7:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m. NBC
Sun., June 9 Canada 2 p.m. 7 p.m. NBC
Sun., June 30 United Kingdom 7:30 a.m. Noon CNBC
Sun., July 7 Germany 7:30 a.m. Noon CNBC
Sun., July 28 Hungary 7:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Aug. 25 Belgium 7:30 a.m. Midnight NBC Sports Network
Sun., Sept. 8 Italy 7:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Sept. 22 Singapore 7:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Oct. 6 Korea 1:30 a.m. 4 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Oct. 13 Japan 1:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Oct. 27 India 5:00 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Nov. 3 Abu Dhabi 7:30 a.m. 6 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Nov. 17 USA (Austin) 1 p.m. 6 p.m. NBC
Sun., Nov. 24 Brazil 11 a.m. 4:30 p.m. NBC

NASCAR America: Newgarden recaps rise to IndyCar title (VIDEO)

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Newly crowned Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden joined NBCSN’s NASCAR America on Tuesday to reflect on his rise to the top of the series.

Newgarden chatted with show host Carolyn Manno about his championship season, integration to Team Penske and bonding with his three teammates, Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.

Pagenaud won Sunday’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma season finale but it wasn’t enough to overcome Newgarden’s points lead.

 

Report: Verizon likely to drop IndyCar title sponsorship after ’18

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One of the under-the-radar elements that’s percolated in the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock this year is Verizon’s activation strategy itself, in its fourth year of its first five-year deal as title sponsor of the championship.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, head of INDYCAR’s parent company, told the Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern while he thinks it’s likely Verizon will end its title sponsorship of the series after 2018, they hope to continue the relationship in a different capacity.

While Verizon got in before 2014, IndyCar was a viable platform for the wireless company to activate in a way it couldn’t in NASCAR, when Sprint was the Cup Series’ title sponsor.

That’s since changed with Sprint’s contract ending after 2016. Verizon still activates within the paddock, working with CSM Sport & Entertainment, but its activation outside the paddock has seemed rather limited this year.

Verizon’s primary point of access or reference point of digital technology has been the Verizon IndyCar Mobile app, which was initially only for Verizon Wireless users but was later expanded to other carriers. That provides some app-specific exclusive content as well as a compilation of written, photographic and video content from IndyCar.com.

Even in the paddock, a Verizon-sponsored “Lunch with Legends” series – where some of IndyCar’s stars from the past had lunch at tracks with fans to provide some exclusive access – was not retained for 2017. Verizon hosted an event at a 5G-outfitted house in Indianapolis this year, prior to the Indianapolis 500, to showcase some of that network capability and virtual reality (VR) technology.

Provided Verizon does not continue as title sponsor past 2018, it would leave the IndyCar series in almost the same situation as prior title sponsor IZOD was in 2013, with a lame duck year.

The absence of a Verizon contract renewal has lurked beneath the surface all year in a year when INDYCAR (sanctioning body) has announced several long-term extensions with key manufacturer partners Dallara, Firestone, Chevrolet, Honda and many of its race tracks.

The competition side of IndyCar has done rather well and has enough momentum with Jay Frye at the head of its President of Competition and Operations for the last two years.

But it’s imperative for IndyCar’s sake its commercial side does as well too, which will make the 2018 season an interesting one from a “how to progress” and find a partner that can truly activate to lift the series’ profile even bigger than it is now.

The title sponsor evolution and the series’ new TV contract, with the current one set to end after 2018, enter as the early leaders in the clubhouse for biggest off-track stories to follow over the winter and into the start of 2018.

Vettel loses huge ground in title race after Singapore blip

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SINGAPORE (AP) In the space of three races, Sebastian Vettel has dropped twice as far behind Lewis Hamilton as he was ahead of him.

After winning the Hungarian Grand Prix in late July, Vettel led by 14 points, with both drivers on four wins heading into the summer break.

But after crashing out on the first lap in Sunday’s Singapore GP, the Ferrari driver trails Hamilton by 28.

“That was very disappointing and it was definitely not the result we were expecting,” Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said. “But it doesn’t mean that the battle is all over, just that it has become more difficult.”

Yet it might seem to Mercedes that, for all of his experience, Vettel is throwing away the Formula One title.

“Clearly we would not feel comfortable in Ferrari’s shoes,” Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said. “But this is not the time for cheering.”

Hamilton has won all three races relatively comfortably since the championship resumed in August, and with only six GPs remaining Vettel faces a huge task to stop Hamilton.

“We guarantee that we will be fighting right to the final corner of the very last Grand Prix of the year,” Arrivabene said.

Mercedes is still expecting a challenge.

“This result doesn’t change a thing in the big picture,” Wolff said. “If anything, it’s a stark reminder that there are six more opportunities for the luck to go against us this season, just as it happened to Ferrari.”

But it will be abundantly harder now for Vettel because, unlike last season, Hamilton has so far not retired from any races. Although he has failed to finish on the podium four times for Mercedes this season, that is the same number as Vettel’s finishes outside the top three.

After winning three of the first six races, Vettel’s grip has loosened with only one win in the past eight.

Points have been thrown away, too.

At the British GP in July, Vettel looked at least assured of a podium finish until an unexpected tire problem at the end of the race bumped him down to seventh.

On Sunday, he had a great chance to win starting from pole position on a hard-braking track much more suited to Ferrari than Mercedes.

A few seconds later, he was out of the race.

Vettel made a hasty error of judgment trying to cut off Max Verstappen heading into the first turn and ultimately caused a crash that also took out Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen – who had made a blistering start – Verstappen and Fernando Alonso.

Vettel apologized to his Ferrari team afterward.

With both Ferraris out, Mercedes had a clear path as Hamilton won his 60th career race and teammate Valtteri Bottas took third.

Mercedes faced a similar scenario at the Spanish GP last year, when Hamilton and then-teammate Nico Rosberg collided on lap 1 and both went out. Mercedes was livid with both drivers that day, and came perilously close to imposing team orders on them.

“You kind of feel for Ferrari. I have been in the situation of losing both cars,” Wolff said. “I know how bitter this is.”

The difference was that Hamilton and Rosberg were fighting each other for the title and, with no main rival from another team, it effectively cost them nothing.

Within Mercedes, Hamilton’s title charge is now the priority.

Although team orders are very unlikely to be imposed, it is clear – unofficially at least – that Bottas will be racing to help Hamilton equal Vettel on four world titles.

Wolff confirmed as much when he inadvertently referred to Bottas as “our second driver” in his post-race debriefing on Sunday, before quickly correcting himself to say “ah, other driver.”

Bottas has had a fine first season since joining as an emergency late replacement for Rosberg, who retired days after winning the 2016 title. Bottas has even exceeded expectations with 10 podiums in 14 races, including two wins, and sits in third place overall.

With a new contract for next year already signed, the Finnish driver has no need to impress Mercedes management and can play an ideal support role to Hamilton in the closing part of the campaign.

Still, he has a little bit of ambition left.

“There are plenty of races to come and plenty of opportunities,” said Bottas, who is 23 points behind Vettel. “Definitely Sebastian is the next target.”

With Hamilton ahead and Bottas closing behind, Vettel is under pressure to deliver at the Malaysian GP in two weeks’ time.

Ocon confirmed for another year at Force India

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Sahara Force India will keep the same driver lineup in 2018, with Esteban Ocon confirming Tuesday he’ll stay alongside Sergio Perez next season.

Although the two drivers have occasionally been at odds this year as Ocon has threatened Perez’s place as team leader, both have been instrumental in keeping Force India a clear fourth place in the Constructor’s Championship, at the top of the crowded midfield behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Ocon’s had a very strong year, with 56 points scored and having made the points in all but one race (Monaco) this season. His best finish is fifth at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Being confirmed for 2018 means like others, the jockeying for spots in 2019 will be fascinating to watch.