F1 Monaco GP 2019 review: Hamilton’s Monaco ‘miracle’, Bratches slams ‘sub-optimal’ UK pay-TV deal

Black Book Business Diary: Hamilton opens up 17 point gap whilst F1 blockchain platform goes live

F1 Monaco GP 2019 review: Hamilton’s Monaco ‘miracle’, Bratches slams ‘sub-optimal’ UK pay-TV deal

Lewis Hamilton held off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to secure his fourth win of the season in a tense Monaco Grand Prix.

The race was overshadowed by the passing of Formula One legend Niki Lauda, with tributes pouring in for the Austrian from across the world.

Hamilton struggled with his tyres as Verstappen continued to pressure the world champion, with the pair eventually colliding in the latter stages of the race.

Despite finishing second, Verstappen was handed a five second penalty due to unsafe release from the pits which saw him demoted him to fourth place.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was promoted to second whilst his teammate Charles Leclerc did not finish the race on home soil after his tyre was destroyed.

Daniel Ricciardo’s mega-money move to Renault is still yet to bear fruit as he lamented poor strategy from the French team.

“We just fell into cars that we didn’t need to fall behind,” said the Australian. “It was frustrating. I’ll sort it out with the team, obviously we want to do better and we can do better, and we need to start doing better.”

Monégasque Charles Leclerc failed to finish his hometown race after ripping his tyre, whilst Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel secured second place

The pay-TV revolt

Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations at Formula One, has said that Formula One’s exclusive Sky Sports UK rights deal is “sub-optimal” in terms of reach as UK viewing figures continue to tumble.

Sky have a UK£120 million (US$152 million) a season deal that runs until 2024 with Formula One, which was negotiated by previous owner Bernie Ecclestone. Bratches noted that he could not insist on any change until this deal had run its course.

Bratches said: “Our ideal circumstance would be to have 75 per cent of our Grands Prix on free-to-air.

“From a brand standpoint, Formula One is nowhere near the position where it can lose free-to-air viewership. This is an agreement that was done prior to our arrival. The pay element is very exciting revenue-wise but from a reach standpoint it is sub-optimal.”

Sky recorded just 850,000 viewers across linear and digital platforms combined for the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this month.

Ferrari, Mercedes flock to Netflix

Ferrari and Mercedes are both set to feature in the second season of Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ docu-series, after declining to take part in the original season.

Radio Monte Carlo has claimed that both teams are ready to let the cameras into the inner sanctums of the teams, with contracts being signed at the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this month.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto had previously said: “It was certainly an interesting program. We were not participating last season but are considering it at the moment.”

F1 blockchain launches

Whilst the drivers were rattling through the city streets of Monaco over the weekend, the first official Formula One non-fungible token (NFT) went up for auction through F1 DeltaTime – the blockchain-based racing game launched in partnership with Animoca.

Dubbed the ‘1-1-1’, the NFT can only be bid on using Wrapped Ethereum (WETH) cryptocurrency, which is currently trading at over US$230 per token. There are some reports which claim that a user has purchased the ‘1-1-1’ in-game car for US$100,000.

Divine Inspiration

When I was driving I thought: ‘What would Niki do?’ So I just kept going. I definitely felt like he was with me racing today

Lewis Hamilton's response to winning the Monaco Grand Prix after an emotional week for Formula One

The Big Picture

A touching tribute to Niki Lauda on the side of the Toro Rosso car during the Monaco Grand Prix was just one example of the outpouring of emotion towards the Austrian following his passing

Social Moment