The 2020 British Grand Prix, broadcast on free-to-air television in the United Kingdom, saw a total of 3.5 million viewers tune in to see Lewis Hamilton take a dramatic victory at Silverstone, according to data from Nielsen Sports.
The race was the only event this season that will be showcased live by Channel 4, with Sky Sports holding exclusive rights to broadcast every other session live.
The first of the two race weekends at Silverstone saw a viewing increase of 24 per cent, as the 2019 edition of the British Grand Prix tallied an audience of roughly 2.8 million.
However, last year’s event had to compete alongside two other major sporting events – the Cricket World Cup final, which featured England, and the Wimbledon final.
The qualifying session for this year’s British Grand Prix, which was also shown live on Channel 4, amassed 1.6 million viewers, translating into a 17.1 per cent year-on-year increase.
But with the FA Cup final also taking place on August 1, the same day as the qualifying session, F1’s coverage saw a dip in viewers compared to previous Saturdays in 2020.
Andy Milnes, Nielsen Sports’ head of client service believes the surge in UK viewers in 2020 could suggest that F1 is on the rise in the region.
“The British Grand Prix attracted unbelievable numbers,” he said. “For 3,525,800 to tune in for the live race suggests that appetite in the UK is ramping up once again.
“There are numerous contributing catalysts, the obvious one being Lewis Hamilton’s ongoing dominance in the Mercedes, and UK fans will be keenly following his mission to make history this season by equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championship titles.”
Last time out at the Spanish Grand Prix, global viewership of the race was up by 14 per cent to 20.7 million, which was the second largest year-on-year audience increase so far this season.
Much of the spike came from the UK audience, with 2.9 million viewers tuning in – up by 27.9 per cent compared to 2019.
A large increase was also recorded in China, with 1.7 million Chinese fans watching the race from home, marking a 163 per cent year-on-year increase – largely thanks to F1 moving live coverage to public service broadcaster CCTV.