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How to Start Watching Formula 1: Prepare for the New Season With These Tips

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Image credit: Tim Carey/Unsplash

The 2020 Formula 1 season is nearly upon us. If you’ve followed the sport for a while, you’re likely looking forward to following some of the rivalries that will make the season exciting. If you’re new to Formula 1, you might not know where to start.

You can just start watching races, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that Formula 1 can be a little daunting at first. There are drivers with names you’ll have trouble pronouncing, terminology you won’t understand, and other little factors that can make it tough to get started. That’s exactly why we’ve put together a primer of sorts to get you started.

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Where to Watch Formula 1 Races

One of the first things you’ll want to figure out is how you’re actually going to watch Formula 1 races. Fortunately, you’ve got a few options, depending on where in the world you’re located.

In the U.K., Formula 1 airs on Sky Sports, while ESPN has exclusive television rights in the United States. Elsewhere it may air on another channel or on a Sky Sports affiliate, depending on which country you live in. The good news is that watching via your cable or internet TV subscription isn’t your only option.

Formula 1 offers the F1 TV service, which is available on the web as well as on iOS and Android devices as well as Amazon Fire tablets. If you’re only interested in race replays, the F1 TV Access service costs $2.99 per month or $26.99 per year. To watch live races, which you’ll probably want to do, you need F1 TV Pro, which costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.

Get Caught Up With Formula 1

When I first started watching Formula 1, I knew almost nothing about the sport. When I tuned into my first race I didn’t know which team was which or which driver drove for which team. I certainly had no idea which drivers or teams I might want to cheer on.

Over years of watching, I came to know the names and faces of the drivers as well as the teams. This took a while, but once I knew more about the sport, watching the races was much more enjoyable. The good news is you can fast-forward through that part.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

The Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive follows most of the teams as well as their drivers and is a great way to familiarize yourself with the names and faces involved not just on the track, but behind the scenes. The first season aired in 2019, while the second season premiers February 28, just in time to catch you up before the 2020 season starts in March.

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Check Out Some Classic Formula 1 Races

I mentioned the F1 TV service earlier, and while it’s a great way to catch races live, that’s not all the service is good for. There is no better way to watch older races that I know of. This is nice for catching up on some of the key races from the 2019 season, but it dates back much further.

You can catch highlights of races as far back as 1981, with full races from later seasons as well. You probably don’t want to watch every one, since that would consume most of your life, but it’s nice to be able to check in on certain older races or see what racing in the V12 era was like in contrast to the modern hybrid era.

Need Some More Convincing?

If you’re not sure Formula 1 is for you, that’s entirely understandable. That said, if you’re not sure you even want to give a single race a shot, we might be able to help. Check out our article on why Formula 1 might just be the geeky hobby you’ve been looking for.

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