The 2023 F1 season is now underway, but it looks like a familiar story at the front.
Max Verstappen coasted to victory in the first race in Bahrain, with teammate Sergio Perez taking second place. Charles Leclerc retired from third place, while Fernando Alonso overtook both Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton on his way to a superb podium.
Rather than battling for race wins, it looks like Mercedes will be battling it out with Aston Martin, who have a much faster car than last year.
But things could change at this weekend’s second race of the season. Here’s everything you need to know about the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, including how to watch live.
When is the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix start time?
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix takes place this weekend. Here are the key details:
- Round 1: Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Date: Sunday 19 March 2023
- Race start time: 8pm local time (5pm GMT, 1pm ET, 10am PT)
- Race highlights: Sky Sports F1 (10-11pm), Channel 4 (10.15pm-12.50am)
When is qualifying for the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix?
- Qualifying start time: 18 March at 8pm local time (5pm GMT, 1pm ET, 7am PT)
- Qualifying highlights: Sky Sports F1 (8.30-10.15pm), Channel 4 (8.50-10.20pm)
If you’re unable to get to a TV or record broadcasts, you can watch them later on Sky Go / Now and on All 4 (soon to be known simply as ‘Channel 4’). You can also catch up later with much shorter highlights on the official Formula 1 and Sky Sports F1 YouTube channels.
How to watch every F1 race for free in the UK
- Sky showing every race live
- Extended qualifying, plus highlights on Channel 4 shown a few hours after the race
- Channel 4 only has British GP live
F1 is fast becoming a pay-to-watch sport. But there are ways to watch without paying, especially if you’re happy to watch highlights later in the day.
Sky still has the exclusive rights to show live races in the UK (as well as Italy and Germany), meaning the only coverage on free-to-air TV in the UK will be available on Channel 4.
However, you’ll have to use a traditional TV setup to watch as it’s being broadcast. Channel 4’s streaming service – All 4 – doesn’t let you watch live, and it can take a while for the highlights to appear there. The highlights show usually lasts more than two hours and is allowed to cover 70% of the action.
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 (but not live), or in a web browser via the website. See the full range of options on the Channel 4 website.
The other way to watch for free – especially if you want to watch races live – is to use a VPN and stream them from broadcasters in other countries which show races on free-to-air channels (but not necessarily with English commentary).
How to watch F1 races in 4K HDR
If you’re happy to pay a subscription fee so you can watch entire races live, then Sky is the only official option in the UK.
Races are now broadcast in 4K HDR you’ll need a Sky Glass TV, or a Sky Q box that’s capable of sending the 4K HDR signal to your compatible TV. That means one which supports the HLG type of HDR, because that’s what Sky uses. You’ll also need the appropriate Ultra HD add-on for your Sky TV package.
Even then, you’d previously need to press the red button on the Sky Sports F1 HD channel to watch in 4K HDR. But in March 2023, it was renamed ‘Sky Sports F1 UHD’ to reflect it supporting 4K HDR as standard.
It means customers who receive Sky channels via BT TV can now watch in 4K HDR, although its still not available for Now customers.
You can currently get Sky Sports F1 (and all the other sports channels) for £20 per month on top of your normal Sky package – meaning a minimum cost of £46 per month in reality.
F1 owners Liberty Media operate an online streaming service known as F1 TV Pro, but it isn’t available in the UK due to Sky’s exclusive. However, there is a workaround, as we’ll explain below.
Watch F1 on Now
If you don’t want to pay for Sky TV (maybe because you only want F1) then there is an alternative: you can subscribe via Sky’s streaming service, Now (formerly Now TV). That’s available on your phone, tablet, games consoles, via a web browser and also via an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, Roku device and others.
It usually costs £34.99 per month for the Sky Sports Pass, plus an extra £6 per month for Now Boost, which adds 1080p video (instead of 720p), allows simultaneous streaming on up to 3 devices (rather than just one) and removes ads.
But until 19 March, you can get 12 months of Now Sports for just £21 per month. That includes a free month of Now Boost if you’ve never signed up before, but it’ll cost the usual £6 extra after that.
BT broadband customers can also get Sky Sports channels as part of a Now bolt-on to their BT TV package – see more details in our BT VIP review.
Can you get F1 TV Pro in the UK?
Not officially, but it is possible. In case you didn’t know, F1 TV Pro is the official streaming service of Formula 1 but you can’t subscribe in the UK because of Sky’s exclusive deal for live races.
F1 TV Pro is only available in the likes of the Netherlands, Canada and the US. It costs $79.99 per year or $9.99 per month, which is significantly cheaper, and you can access any onboard camera or team radio whenever you’d like.
That extends to helmet cameras, which will broadcast live footage from 6-8 drivers each race weekend. Sky have access to these, but you can only choose which to watch via F1 TV Pro.
But in the UK, the exclusive deal with Sky means you can only get a live timing service for £2.29 per month. Liberty Media, which runs F1, has previously said that using a VPN to access it will result in your subscription being terminated with no refund.
However, we know from first-hand experience that you can successfully watch the service in the UK via Surfshark – it currently costs $59.76/£58.37 for 24 months (plus two months free), which works out as $2.30/£2.43 per month.
After you sign up, install the Surfshark app on the device you’d like to use for F1 TV Pro and connect to a server based in the US.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Once connected, head to the Formula 1 website on a browser where you have Apple Pay or Google Pay details saved (usually Safari or Chrome) and click ‘Subscribe Now’ under F1 TV Pro.
Create an account if you haven’t already, then click the ‘name on card’ field and let Apple or Google Pay autofill all the details for you. Click the box to agree to all the terms and conditions, then click ‘Complete Order’ to finish.
However, despite this method working in the past, there’s no guarantee it will now. The risk of losing your subscription with no refund will always be there, so only go ahead with this if you’re willing to accept the consequences.
Without a VPN, the only F1 content you can access from the UK is the live timing service, which costs £2.29 per month.
If you don’t want to pay for F1 TV Pro and you’re in the US, F1 races will be shown on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.
Can I watch F1 online in 2023?
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.
Unlike BBC iPlayer or ITVX, you can’t join a live broadcast and you may have to wait hours for the race highlights to appear in the app.
To watch races online with the Sky Go app you first need to subscribe to its TV service. Sky will be broadcasting practice, qualifying and races in Ultra HDR, but as explained above, you’ll need the right equipment to get it, and this is not available via Sky Go. You can find out more on Sky’s website.
As mentioned above, you can watch Sky Sports F1 without being a Sky TV customer as the channel is also available on Now (formerly Now TV) as you can also get Now as part of a BT TV package.
Now is Sky’s streaming service, which you can watch via the Now app on a laptop, PC, Mac, phone or tablet. It can also be found or installed on Amazon Fire TV Stick streaming devices, LG TVs, Samsung TV, YouView boxes (not early ones), Apple TV, Sony TVs, Google Chromecast, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X.
You’ll need the Now Sports membership which costs £34.99 per month or £11.98 per day. Adding Now Boost to the former costs an extra £6 per month.
How to watch F1 online with a VPN
If you’re not in the same country as the TV broadcaster, you won’t be able to watch F1 online without a VPN. For example, you can no longer watch abroad using the Sky Go app on your phone or tablet because of Brexit.
Similarly, you can’t watch highlights on the All 4 app unless you use a VPN with a UK server.
We recommend using NordVPN and Surfshark.
A VPN makes it appear that you’re located in the same country as the broadcaster when you connect to a server in the appropriate country.
Read our guide to the best VPN services for more information.
Is there a way to watch F1 races live for free?
Officially, no. But there is a way. In 2022 and 2023, F1 will be shown on free-to-air channels ServusTV and ORF in Austria, plus on Match TV in Russia. Races are also broadcast live on Belgian TV channel RTBF.
You’ll need a VPN (see above) to watch these channels outside of those countries, so connect to the appropriate country – Austria or Russia – and then head to their respective websites and figure out how to navigate to the right channel and you’ll be ale to watch the live stream.
Obviously unless you speak those languages the commentary won’t be at all useful, but the good news is that you can listen to English commentary by tuning into Radio 5 Live. You don’t need an actual radio of course: you can also listen via the BBC Sounds app, or on the BBC website.
Here are the website links:
If you fancy watching on the big screen rather than your laptop, then here’s how to hook up your laptop to a TV. You could also cast from Android, if you’re using a VPN and web browser on your phone or tablet. Similarly, those with iPhones or iPads can mirror their screen to the TV using an Apple TV.
Other than this, the sport is all but behind a paywall now. You used to be able watch races live on RTL Germany but Sky Germany now has exclusive rights (as in the UK) to show live races in Germany as well.
We’ve also been informed by a Tech Advisor reader that F1 is shown free to air on an Arabic satellite channel service called MBC Action MBC Persia. They’re available on a number of satellites at varying frequencies, but they require a very good satellite installation and setup to pick up the signals.
Full F1 calendar 2023
Race Start Time (UK)
Bahrain International Circuit
Saudi Arabian GP
Jeddah Street Circuit
Baku City Circuit
Miami GP (USA)
Miami International Autodrome
Emilia-Romagna GP (Italy)
Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari(Imola)
Circuit de Monaco
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Red Bull Ring
Autodromo Nazionale Monza
|Marina Bay Street Circuit|
Lusail International Circuit
United States GP
Circuit of the Americas
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace Interlagos
|22||19 Nov||6am||Las Vegas GP (USA)||Las Vegas Street Circuit|
Abu Dhabi GP
Yas Marina Circuit
Sprint Qualifying races in 2023
The format will be run at six races this season:
- Round 4 – Azerbaijan
- Round 10 – Austria
- Round 13 – Belgium
- Round 18 – Qatar
- Round 19 – United States
- Round 21 – Sao Paulo
Instead of being run on the Saturday, normal qualifying (with Q1, Q2 and Q3 sessions) takes place on Friday afternoon. This determines the grid order for Sprint Qualifying, which is a short 100km race that is held on Saturday afternoon.
The driver who sets the fastest time in qualifying will be given the honour of pole position. They’ll start the sprint race in P1, but then the grid for Sunday will be determined by the finishing positions.
In the sprint race, the top eight drivers are awarded points, from 8 for the winner down to 1 point for coming P8.