NBC, NBCSN set for mega U.S. Grand Prix weekend of coverage from Austin


NBC Sports Group will present comprehensive coverage of the Formula One™ United States Grand Prix from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, next FridaySunday, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, including practice, qualifying and culminating in NBC’s live presentation of the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. ET.

For the first time ever, NBC Sports Group will present live qualifying on NBC on Saturday, Nov. 1, beginning at 1 p.m. ET, as well as complete coverage of all three practice sessions across NBC and NBCSN.

NBC Sports Group F1 broadcast team, led by lead play-by-play commentator Leigh Diffey, will be on-site at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas to host all practice, qualifying and United States Grand Prix coverage. Diffey will be joined by analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett, F1 insider Will Buxton, and motorsports reporter Kelli Stavast.

NBC Sports Group’s United States Grand Prix coverage will feature numerous interviews and features with F1 drivers and team executives, as well as the premiere of Road To Mercedes, an in-depth look at the history of Mercedes-Benz in motorsport.

NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will live stream all three practices, qualifying and the U.S. Grand Prix next weekend.


Coverage of the U.S. Grand Prix begins with a 60-minute edition of F1 Countdown, NBC Sports Group’s live F1 pre-race show, on NBCSN at 2 p.m. ET for 30 minutes, and shifts over to NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET, leading into the U.S. Grand Prix at 3 p.m. ET.

F1 Countdown will feature sit-down interviews between Diffey and Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci, as well as motorsports Stavast with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, and a feature with Buxton and four-time F1 World Champion and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, as they cruise through the streets of downtown Austin. In addition, pre-race coverage will give fans the most extreme perspective of Circuit of the Americas, as Stavast will skydive down into the track. NBC will also air an hour of post-race coverage immediately following the conclusion of the U.S. Grand Prix.

Last year, Sebastian Vettel won the U.S. Grand Prix en route to his 2013 F1 World Championship. Lewis Hamilton currently leads Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by 17 points in the standings with just three races remaining, and won the first U.S. Grand Prix that was held at Circuit of the Americas in 2012.


For the first time, NBC Sports Group will present live qualifying on NBC, as well as all three practices across NBC and NBCSN. Coverage will begin with Practice 1 on Friday, Oct. 31 at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, followed by live coverage of Practice 2 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN. NBC will air Practice 3 followed by live qualifying on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. ET.

In addition, NBCSN will debut Road To Mercedes on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 10 p.m. ET as part of a full night of F1 programming on NBCSN. Hosted by Will Buxton, the 60-minute special examines the history and heritage of the Mercedes F1 team, which clinched the 2014 F1 constructors’ championship after the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on Oct. 12, winning its first ever F1 constructors’ title.

Road To Mercedes will feature an in-depth look at the Silver Arrows, as well as the restoration of historic Mercedes cars at Kienle, as Buxton brings viewers on a trip from Mercedes F1 home in the United Kingdom to the company’s birthplace in Germany. The special will also air on Friday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN between Practices 1 and 2.

Following Practice 2, NBCSN’s edition of F1 Countdown on Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET will feature sit-down interviews between Steve Matchett and Gene Haas and Haas F1 Team Principal Gunther Steiner, discussing the prospects of an American F1 team in 2016.

NBCSN’s  Thursday night F1 programming block will also feature Road To Ferrari at 11 p.m. ET, as well as episodes of /DRIVE on NBC SportsOff The Grid, and “1”, the critically-acclaimed F1 documentary.

Following is NBC Sports Group’s comprehensive motorsports coverage surrounding the F1 U.S. Grand Prix next weekend:

Date Coverage Network Time (ET)
Thurs., October 30 Off The Grid (Encore) NBCSN 7 p.m.
“1” – F1 Documentary NBCSN 7:30 p.m.
Road To Mercedes (Premiere) NBCSN 10 p.m.
Road to Ferrari (Encore) NBCSN 11 p.m.
Fri., October 31 /DRIVE on NBCSN (Encore) NBCSN 12 a.m.
/DRIVE on NBCSN (Encore) NBCSN 12:30 a.m.
Road To Mercedes (Encore) NBCSN 1 a.m.
Off The Grid (Encore) NBCSN 12 p.m.
F1 United States Grand Prix – Practice 1 NBCSN 12:30 p.m.
Road To Mercedes (Encore) NBCSN 2 p.m.
F1 United States Grand Prix – Practice 2 NBCSN 3 p.m.
F1 Countdown NBCSN 4:30 p.m.
F1 United States Grand Prix – Practice 2 (Encore) NBCSN 10:30 p.m.
Sat., November 1 F1 United States Grand Prix – Practice 3 & Qualifying NBC 1 p.m.
Sun., November 2 F1 United States Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) NBCSN 12:30 a.m.
F1 Countdown NBCSN 2 p.m.
F1 Countdown NBC 2:30 p.m.
F1 United States Grand Prix NBC 3 p.m.
F1 Extra NBC 5 p.m. 

Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty’s future vision for the sport.

Ferrari is unhappy with Liberty’s proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among F1 teams after the current contract with teams expires at the end of 2020.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene would not comment on the specifics of Marchionne’s previous comments at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, but said: “My only suggestion, please take him seriously.”

Wolff is also taking the possibility of Ferrari walking away seriously. He told Britain’s Press Association before the Australian GP that he agreed with Marchionne’s concerns and that Formula One can’t afford to alienate Ferrari or lose the team.

“Don’t mess with Sergio Marchionne,” he said. “Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.”

Wolff was more diplomatic on Friday, saying he hopes all sides could come together for the good of the sport.

“I think this as much a battle on track as much as it is a fight off track for an advantage,” he said. “It is clear the current governance and how the rules are being made is not very functional. There’s too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021 for the best interest of the sport.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed there are too many competing agendas, suggesting that the FIA-Formula One’s governing body-and Liberty Media come together to decide on a set of regulations and financial framework for the next contract and the teams can then decide if they want to accept it or not.

“Trying to get a consensus between teams that have varying objectives, different set-ups, is going to be impossible,” he said. “It’s history repeating itself. It happens every five or six years, every time the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal.”

Tempers also flared during Friday’s media conference over another issue of contention between the teams – Ferrari’s recent hiring of FIA’s ex-safety director, Laurent Mekies.

Horner believes Ferrari broke an agreement among teams at a recent meeting to institute a 12-month waiting period for any former employee of FIA or FOM (Formula One Management) to be able to start working for one of F1’s teams. The concern is that former FIA staff who go to work for a specific team could share secrets from other teams.

“Certain teams were pushing for that period to be three years, but in the end it was agreed upon being 12 months,” he said. “It almost makes those meetings pointless if we can’t agree on something and action it.”

Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s move, saying Mekies would not join its team until after a six-month “gardening leave” period.

“There is nothing wrong with that because we were absolutely respecting the local law, the Swiss local law where Laurent was hired,” he said.