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How to watch F1 in 2018: how to stream the Chinese GP live in the UK

Published: 13 April 2018

►  Dates and times for 2018 Chinese Grand Prix
►  The best methods to stream online or watch on TV

►  From free streaming, to high-quality 4K content

After two rounds of the 2018 Formula One championship, we still haven’t seen a Mercedes win. Were you expecting that, because we certainly weren’t. Instead Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has walked away with maximum points from the first two races – but he had to work for it last time out. Despite being on Soft tyres that were on their last legs, Vettel managed to hold Bottas at bay, resulting in the Scuderia’s second win on the trot.

Next up, the Chinese Grand Prix, a place where you have to go back to 2013 to see the last non-Mercedes victor. First and second practice has already happened, due to the time difference, but here we’ll show you how to stream the Chinese Grand Prix qualifying and the Chinese Grand Prix F1 race.


But before we get into how to watch the Chinese GP, it’s worth knowing when it’s actually on in the UK  Below you’ll find a timetable for all the racing this weekend.

When is the Chinese Grand Prix on this weekend? (Times in UK BST)

Friday April 13th Time
Chinese GP Practice One 3:00
Chinese GP Practice Two 7:00
Saturday April 14th  
Chinese GP Practice Three 4:00
Chinese GP Qualifying 7:00
Sunday April 15th  
Chinese GP Race 7:10

How to watch or stream the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend

Read on for our guide to the fragmented world of watching F1 in 2018. We spell out all the myriad options facing race fans.

Stream it with NowTV

If you only want to watch a few races this year, NowTV might still be the solution for you. Although it’s not great value in the long run, it’s perfect for catching all the flagship races, such as Monaco, Spa and Australia live. NowTV does a 24-hour pass that’ll let you watch just each race in full for £7.99, but if you’d prefer to catch all the qualifying and practice sessions too, a three-day pass will set you back £12.99. The only issue? It doesn't have the pinsharp 4K quality you’d get from full-fat Sky.

It goes without saying that you’ll need a NowTV box or compatible device, but the app is now available on most Smart TVs and game consoles too – so chances are you won’t have to buy a box to receive it. If you do, they aren’t that expensive, anyway.

Subscribe to Sky and watch on TV or device in 4K

Like last year, in the UK at least, Sky has the rights to broadcast every single practice session, qualifying session and race – live in the UK. It’s pretty comprehensive coverage if you can afford it, but to get Sky F1, you’ll need to subscribe to a basic package at least. The one you'll want though is the one with a Sky Q 2TB box. For a hefty £40 a month over an 18-month contract, you get Sky's Entertainment pack along with the Sky Sports Complete pack.

Throw in an installation fee of £199, and you're looking at a total cost of just over £900 to see Vettel and Hamilton battle it out – plus the ability to watch lots of other channels, of course. However, if you're after F1 in Ultra HD, immersive VR experiences and every single session live – you're going to have to pay for lots of other stuff, too. 

It’s the easiest way to watch F1 this year, and the only way to watch it in 4K – but you certainly need to love F1 to splash this amount of cash. 

Wait and watch the highlights on Channel 4

Sky may have snapped up the rights to every single race this year, but Channel 4 is showing selected races live this year – but sadly the Chinese GP isn't one of them. You can still watch the highlights though, just make sure you steer clear of the race result.  

And what’s F1 TV exactly?

F1 TV is a live subscription service that’ll be up and running for this year’s championship. Called an over the top (OTT) platform, it essentially sidesteps all the weird licensing F1 usually comes with, and directly gives fans what they want.

The new service will let fans watch all sessions of F1 – and support class races such as the Porsche Supercup and GP2 – live, in four languages (English, French, German and Spanish) while users will have access to all drivers’ onboard cameras and multiple race feeds, too. Of course, there won’t be commercial breaks, either.

Read our report of the Bahrain GP here

F1 says the new service will be deployed in up to 20 markets around the world, and it’ll initially roll out on desktop and browsers, but apps will soon be available for iOS, Android and even Amazon products such as Fire TV Stick.

F1 TV Pro, the service you’ll want with all the live coverage, will cost $8-$12 (£6-9) a month, but a free F1 TV Access service will still provide live commentary and data, as well as radio messages and highlights.

Is it the holy grail for watching F1 races live?

For the past few years, sports like the NFL in North America have steamed ahead with an over the top subscription services such as Gamepass, and it’s great news for fans that F1 has finally modernised its strategy on coverage. Although $10 (£7) a month may seen expensive, it’s pretty competitive compared with other services on similar platforms – and it’s much cheaper than getting Sky F1 HD, too.

Is it coming to the UK you ask? Nope. The UK does not get the service due to the exisiting Sky deal, but as mentioned above, NowTV has become a good alternative. 

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR magazine's new online editor and tech lover