Formula 1’s Streaming Service ‘F1 TV’ Is Live

Cord cutters rejoice: Formula 1’s live streaming service has launched in advance of the Spanish Grand Prix.

byJames Gilboy|
F1 photo

The commercial takeover of Formula 1 by Liberty Media has reverberated through the sport. More races per season, better offerings for attendees, attempts to level the playing field through budget caps and simplified cars, and most importantly for fans, a move away from broadcasting monopolies. Lucrative for regional television networks and the commercial rights holder, but bad for long-term growth, commercial rights holder Liberty Media has started a transfer of its eggs from the traditional to the new media basket, announcing last October that it would launch a live streaming service for Formula 1 this year. And now, it's here.

As Ars Technica reported, the service launched this week in advance of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, which will run May 11 through May 13. Pricing in the United States stands at $11.99 per month for Pro subscription and $2.99 for Access subscription. 

Annual memberships are available for $99.99 and $26.99 respectively, but all who invest in a year-long subscription by the end of the month will see 10 percent slashed from the fee, down to $89.99 and $24.29. The subscription will renew automatically unless deactivated manually or by non-payment.

Free trial periods are mentioned in the body of the terms and conditions, and a voucher code box is present during subscription signup, suggesting promotional codes could eventually circulate.

Both price tiers promise replays and highlight reels from every session of race weekends, historic races, access to a documentary catalog, live timing, team radio, a display of tires each driver has used, and a map of driver locations on the track. Some features are exclusive to users of the sport's official app.

Race replays for Access members will be available 48 hours after the race according to a reddit user who reportedly spoke with sport officials, whereas Pro subscribers can watch the race on demand at any time. 

In addition to this, Pro members get expanded team radio access, a live leaderboard, and the freedom to jump between cameras on every car. The service's content schedule page, however, does not yet exist, returning a 404 error when accessed.

The service can only be watched through the internet at launch, but in time, apps will be available on Apple, Android, and Amazon mobile devices, followed later by apps for each company's home TV devices.

It's unclear at this time whether F1 TV will available in all regions, though the service's page on the official site displays four languages: English, French, German, and Spanish. It is stated in the service's terms that those attempting to access F1 TV outside of available markets via VPN may have their accounts revoked and that sharing accounts is equally non-kosher.

Activation of F1 TV is not done through the site's F1 TV button in the banner, which leads instead to a page that may be used for the stream's web player during active broadcast. Users must instead activate via the My Account button once signed in and can manage their subscription from there.

In addition to its own digital offerings, Formula 1 has partnered with Netflix for a 10-part documentary series based upon the proceedings of the so-far-enthralling 2018 season, slated to arrive in early 2019. If this season maintains a fraction of the momentum it carried through the first four Grands Prix, the remainder of the season (and its Netflix recap) could be among the sport's best ever. Plus, we'll be able to relive it ad infinitum through F1 TV.

We'll pop some corn.