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Formula 1 2021 on TV: How to watch all this year's grands prix

Are you ready for Sprint Qualifying?

After a very different year for the Formula 1 community in 2020 with a delayed start to a compressed season, the 2021 season is approaching its halfway point with one of the most thrilling title battles in years.

Last year saw the inimitable Sir Lewis Hamilton make history time and time again, equalling and breaking records and cementing his status as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Recently, The Hamilton Commission has just published its first report, Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport, building further on Lewis' determination to address racial inequality within the sport, and he's also signed a contract extension which will see him stay with Mercedes until the end of the 2023 season, which means he'll get to drive the cars launching under new regulations in 2022.

sir lewis hamilton smiles as he holds a trophy at the 2020 turkish grand prix, where he celebrates winning his record equalling seventh world drivers' title
Joe Portlock - Formula 1Getty Images

Will Lewis break yet another record in 2021 by claiming an eighth world drivers' title? As the season continues, it doesn't look like it will be straightforward for him. Red Bull now has the upper hand as Max Verstappen leads the Formula 1 drivers' championship for the first time in his career, and his team tops the constructors' standings.

Elsewhere, McLaren's Lando Norris continues to enjoy success with his fourth podium (and third of the year), and his first ever career front-row start in Austria. Lando is still the only driver to have finished in the points at every grand prix this season so far. As Formula 1 heads to Silverstone, can he keep up that run of form?

formula 1 driver lando norris smiles as he holds up a wooden and bronzework trophy after finishing third in the austrian grand prix 2021
Bryn LennonGetty Images

Related: The best F1 2021 pre-order deals on PS4, PS5, Xbox and PC

But while much has changed, much has also stayed the same. That delay to the package of major technical regulation changes, plus the introduction of a cost cap, means many teams are using slightly modified versions of their 2020 cars, with only limited upgrades allowed.

Here's how you can catch all the action as the British grand prix approaches.

F1 2021: How to watch every race in the UK

Sky Sports is airing every single Formula 1 grand prix live and without ad breaks in the UK, as it has done since the 2013 season.

Both Sky and Channel 4 will broadcast the British grand prix live – but Sky will also have live coverage of the weekend's Formula 2 schedule.

Shop Now Sky Sports F1 package

The dedicated Sky Sports F1 channel features a rotating team of presenters, analysts and commentators including ex-F1 drivers Martin Brundle, Damon Hill, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Karun Chandhok, Paul Di Resta, Anthony Davidson and Johnny Herbert, among others.

David Croft is Sky's lead commentator on F1 race weekends, with Brundle alongside him most weekends. Simon Lazenby, Rachel Brookes and Natalie Pinkham remain a regular part of proceedings too, along with the one and only Ted Kravitz (and Ted's Notebook, which is always an experience to behold).

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Sky Sports F1 currently costs £18/month as an add-on to existing Sky packages, with a 31-day rolling contract – so if you add it prior to a triple-header, for example, you're going to get pretty good value. Plus you'll get comprehensive IndyCar coverage too – more on that below.

New customers can get Sky Sports and theSky Signature TV package together on an 18-month contract for £43 per month. (Note if you're new to Sky, you will need to take the Sky Signature package before you can add on other channels or bundles.)

Remember also that if you're a new customer, you can take up Sky TV and Netflix for an 18-month term, starting at £25 per month (excluding setup fees), which could be an appealing option. Then, you can add on extras such as Sports, Cinema or Kids channels.

There's also a £20 setup fee for new and existing customers (or £49 if you're an existing Sky customer who hasn't yet made the leap to Sky Q). More at the bottom of the Sky Sports landing page.

yuki tsunoda puts his radio earpieces in as he prepares to drive for formula 1 team scuderia alphatauri with his crash helmet and fireproof gloves on the table in front of him and stacks of tyres in blankets behind him
Peter FoxGetty Images

Related: Premier League 2021/22 fixtures – how to watch the new season

Another option comes in the form of NOW's Sky Sports membership, which you can use to watch Sky's coverage of sports including Premier League football, golf, cricket and rugby, as well as the Formula 1.

There are a couple of options available, depending on how you want to watch and for how long – and keep your eye out for special offers from time to time, too:

Shop Now NOW Sky Sports day membership (£9.99/day)

Shop Now NOW Sky Sports month membership (£33.99/month)

If you're interested in motorsport documentaries, NOW's Entertainment membership gives you access to loads of channels and on-demand boxsets, including Sky and Formula 1's joint commemoration of the sport's 70th anniversary, Race to Perfection.

F1 2021: How to watch British grand prix live for free

Channel 4 airs the British grand prix live and free-to-air every year.

It also presents race highlights from every other grand prix for free, produced by Whisper, the company co-founded by the BBC's former F1 anchor Jake Humphrey, former F1 driver David Coulthard and BAFTA-winning exec Sunil Patel.

Anchored by Steve Jones, Channel 4's regular team includes Coulthard, Mark Webber, Billy Monger, Lawrence Barretto and Lee McKenzie.

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Meanwhile, Alex Jacques is commentating alongside Coulthard and Monger for Channel 4 this season, after Ben Edwards' decision to step down at the end of 2020. Alex can still also be heard on Formula 2 and Formula 3 commentary as well as the all-women's W Series, which Channel 4 has the rights to.

If you're in the UK and you missed out on Channel 4's grand prix highlights and can't or don't want to take Sky, you can also catch up on its All4 streaming service.

F1 2021 calendar - plus sprint qualifying latest

Since the last lot of calendar changes, there has been... yes, you guessed it, another round of calendar changes. For the second year in a row, there will be no Australian grand prix (and the MotoGP race has been cancelled too).

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo shared a video message for fans reflecting on the news, and hopes that his home race will return in 2022, "bigger, better and more beautiful than ever".

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Formula 1 bosses still hope to "deliver a 23-race season in 2021", although there has already been some concern about the possibility of another triple-header at the end of the year.

"We have a number of options to take forward to replace the place left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix," a spokesperson said. "We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded."

Of course, a lot is still subject to change in the world right now, and it remains to be seen whether any of those options will be able to take that slot in the calendar.

f1 driver sergio 'checo' perez in red bull racing team kit, standing alone in the paddock
Mark ThompsonGetty Images

One thing that we do know is going ahead is sprint qualifying at the British grand prix (which is also part of the government's event research programme into COVID-19 safety measures at major events – if you're going to be attending in person, Silverstone bosses have put together a comprehensive FAQ page).

It isn't unusual for F1 bosses to shake up quali – anyone remember the deeply unpopular and short-lived 'elimination qualifying' experiment in 2016? The plan is to test out the new format at three races this year – Silverstone is the first.

Sprint quali races last between 25 and 30 minutes, with no mandatory pit stops or tyre changes. There are points on offer for the top three finishers, but no podium ceremony (although there will be a trophy presentation for the winner after the race, a bit like when they give those Pirelli pole position tyres out at the moment).

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The first sprint qualifying session will be during the British grand prix weekend at Silverstone. It's also been reported that Monza will be the second, with some rumours that Interlagos or Circuit of the Americas could host the third.

Here is the schedule for Silverstone's Formula 1 weekend (all times shown are local time):

Friday, 2.30pm-3.30pm: Free Practice 1 (60 mins)

Friday, 6pm-7pm: Qualifying (Q1, Q2 and Q3 format – sets the grid for sprint qualifying)

Saturday, 12pm-1pm: Free Practice 2 (60 mins)

Saturday, 4.30pm-5pm: Sprint Qualifying (sets the grid for Sunday's race)

Sunday, 3pm: Grand prix/feature race

formula 1 drivers max verstappen, carlos sainz jr and charles leclerc talk before a grand prix race
Dan Istitene - Formula 1Getty Images

And here's the remainder of the 2021 F1 calendar as it currently stands:

July 16-18: British grand prix (with new Sprint Qualifying format)

July 30-August 1: Hungarian grand prix

August 27-29: Belgian grand prix

September 3-5: Dutch grand prix

September 10-12: Italian grand prix (Monza – Sprint Qualifying rumoured)

September 24-26: Russian grand prix

October 8-10: Japanese grand prix

October 22-24: United States grand prix

October 29-31: Mexico City grand prix

November 5-7: Sao Paulo grand prix (Interlagos, Brazil)

December 3-5: Saudi Arabian grand prix

December 10-12: Abu Dhabi grand prix

IndyCar 2021 on UK TV: Watch Romain Grosjean's post-F1 adventure

Following a lengthy Formula 1 career, Romain Grosjean left the sport in dramatic fashion last December, after his miraculous escape from an extremely serious crash and fire that made headlines around the world.

After having surgery to treat the burns on his hands, Romain continues to make good progress as he gets stuck into IndyCar. He's already achieved his first pole position and first podium, and seems to be really enjoying being a part of the IndyCar community. He's even hired a motorhome, nicknamed 'Raoul', for the season, and he's been sharing photos and videos from road trips with his wife Marion and their children during breaks in the schedule.

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Romain originally planned to just drive road and street courses in Indy this year but has since announced he will try out an oval this year at St Louis in August, then discuss the possibility of doing others – possibly including next year's flagship Indy 500 – with his family.

You'll be able to see Romain and a number of other ex-F1 stars (double Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato, Sébastien Bourdais, Alexander Rossi, Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson to name just a few) as the IndyCar series is airing live on Sky Sports F1 this season (and we even get commentary through the ad breaks). Kevin Magnussen even stepped in for a race earlier this year.

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And like Formula 1, IndyCar has a new group of rising young stars including Andretti's Colton Herta (the youngest ever IndyCar race winner), Arrow McLaren SP's Pato O'Ward, Chip Ganassi Racing's Álex Palou (currently leading the drivers' standings), and Ed Carpenter Racing's Rinus VeeKay.

IndyCar is currently enjoying a month's break before the series presents the first ever Music City Grand Prix on a street circuit in Nashville, Tennessee on August 8.

If you're in the US, then NBC is the rights holder for IndyCar, having signed a three-year deal in 2019. All the races, along with selected pre-race sessions, will be broadcast on either NBC or NBCSN, and Peacock Premium is the official streaming home for all things IndyCar in the States. As for what's happening with IndyCar broadcasts in the US from 2022? Watch this space...

Formula 1 Drive to Survive: What's going on with season 4?

Work has already started on Formula 1: Drive to Survive season 4, as you can see from this photo of Valtteri Bottas (whose episode was one of the standouts of season 3) getting mic-ed up for an interview.

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F1's owners Liberty Media have credited Drive to Survive with bringing new, younger audiences to the sport. However, it's also been criticised for curious storylines and editing choices – most recently for its season 3 episode focusing on McLaren drivers Carlos Sainz Jr (who's since moved to Ferrari) and Lando Norris.

Widely seen to have a genuinely strong and cordial friendship, some viewers were unhappy about the way in which Carlos and Lando's friendly rivalry was overlooked in favour of portraying a sense of conflict.

However, McLaren boss Zak Brown has since spoken out on the series and its portrayal of the two drivers, saying: "So, of course, all of us living in the sport know that Carlos and Lando had a great relationship, and there wasn't the kind of a tension portrayed there.

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"Any time you get into a television show, they're going to create some entertainment that we all within the paddock know, maybe it wasn't quite like that.

"But I think that's okay, and I think what's most important is it has done some wonderful things to bring in new fans around the world. So we're very supportive of Netflix and what they're trying to accomplish, even if they take a little bit of creative licence here and there."

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      Going back to season 4, if you were disappointed that Williams and George Russell were a bit overlooked, then you don't need to worry about that this time around – because as you can see, he's already been filming. Esteban Ocon also had company from Netflix during the French grand prix, following news that he's extended his Alpine contract until 2024.

      Formula 1 streaming service: Is F1TV available in the UK yet?

      F1 TV Pro – now available in 85 territories and six languages – boasts live coverage of races, along with full replays as soon as the race ends, on-board driver cameras, a pitlane feed, data channels including live timing and driver tracker maps, plus "full unedited team radio", for all your sweary racing driver needs.

      There's also a "less expensive, non-live subscription tier" called F1 TV Access available in a further 33 countries, which provides live timing and audio commentary, plus on-demand highlights, content from the Formula 1 archives and selected short films.

      lewis hamilton and valtteri bottas, mercedes formula 1 drivers, sit together looking at their phones before a grand prix
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      Sign Up F1 TV Pro (available in selected countries)

      That growing archive includes past grand prix and season reviews (the 1970s season reviews have just been added), plus documentaries about drivers, teams and the sport's tech.

      Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available in countries that carry the service. But because Sky has exclusive live rights to the sport in the UK, F1 TV Pro isn't yet available in the UK, and it's looking highly unlikely that this will change until the rights are next up for renegotiation – the current agreement runs until 2024.

      A note on the F1 TV website says: "Over time we will be looking to increase the number of countries where F1 TV is available and to also provide an ever-increasing amount of live video content along with historical races from our archive."

      Some encouraging news though for viewers in Brazil, Slovakia or the Czech Republic – F1 TV Pro is on its way to you for the 2021 season.

      Formula 1 has also confirmed a service revamp, saying "upgrades will be rolled out on iOS, Android, Amazon Fire tablet devices and Roku in the first half of the season". And with the launch of those new iOS and Android apps, Chromecast and AirPlay support is also a reality at last.

      And there's more, as F1 TV has confirmed that apps "for Apple TV, Android TV devices and Amazon Fire TV are currently in development and will also be launched later this year".

      Blockbusters are back – and the latest edition of Digital Spy Magazine has got everything you need to know about the summer's biggest box office arrivals. Read every issue now with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.

      Interested in Digital Spy's weekly newsletter? Sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox – and don't forget to join our Watch This Facebook Group for daily TV recommendations and discussions with other readers.

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