Formula 1 racing is the greatest motor sports franchise on earth. Every time an F1 race is staged, at least 390 million people worldwide tune in via a range of channels and streaming options, so it’s up there with EPL soccer, Major League Baseball and the NFL. But there are a couple of problems for people who want to watch F1 online.
In the United States, the primary answer to where to watch F1 is ESPN, which charges a hefty fee for access. Five races are carried free via ABC, but the vast majority of races are only available to cable subscribers.
In some countries, finding any kind of F1 live stream is all but impossible.
Moreover, the content provided by broadcasters differs. So, for instance, British fans watching Sky don’t have access to ESPN’s on board cameras. And F1 TV offers more content than anyone else, but their coverage is patchy. In some countries, finding any kind of F1 live stream is all but impossible. Unless, that is, you use a VPN or another tactic to unlock streams from other parts of the world.
Where can you watch F1 live over the web?
In the United States, ESPN provides the largest amount of F1 coverage, with live feeds of both races and practice sessions available on the ESPN2 channel as well as the ESPN smartphone app.
As of late 2018, Amazon Prime will also stream F1 races.
However, in 2018, Amazon joined the party as well. As of late 2018, Amazon Prime will also stream F1 races. The deal that the digital platform has struck with F1’s authorities should see races stream in parallel on both ESPN and Amazon Prime – offering American race fans a whole new way to watch F1 in USA locations.
Outside the United States, broadcasting rights have historically been distributed on a national basis. Sky Sports supply the main feed from all races, and this is then shown on channels like Canal+ (in France) or Viasat (in Scandinavian nations).
2018 saw the launch of F1 TV, a streaming service designed to capture web-savvy audiences across the world.
But the answer to where to watch F1 is changing fast. 2018 saw the launch of F1 TV, a streaming service designed to capture web-savvy audiences across the world. Offering a whole new way to watch F1 online, it’s fair to say that this is the future of how Formula 1 will reach its worldwide audience.
The problem is that F1 TV isn’t actually international.
The problem is that F1 TV isn’t actually international. In fact, as of August 2018, it was limited to the following countries:
- The United States
- Almost all Caribbean islands
- All major Latin American countries
F1 TV isn’t just a conventional sports broadcaster. The F1 TV Pro package comes with benefits like onboard cameras in every vehicle, access to feeds from team radios (with no censorship, so you can get the real F1 experience), and new camera angles on key parts of the courses. In other words, it’s tailored to real F1 fans.
But F1 fans don’t all live in the areas covered by F1 TV, and not all countries with F1 TV’s standard package also offer F1 TV Pro. So how can you access all of their features if you aren’t in their catchment area?
Make it easier to watch F1 online with a VPN
Actually, it’s not hard to watch F1 live in all of its glory, even if you happen to be in a country which doesn’t allow F1 TV Pro subscriptions. The secret weapon here is using a VPN.
VPNs work by convincing F1 TV’s servers that you are resident in a country which hosts their feed.
VPNs work by convincing F1 TV’s servers that you are resident in a country which hosts their feed. They take your actual online identity and scramble it, providing a completely new IP address which could be based thousands of miles away. As far as F1 TV is concerned, you could be next door.
The first thing to do is to sign up for a VPN subscription with a fast, reliable service provider. It’s worth paying extra for a premium service, as streaming F1 is data intensive and higher-quality services are more likely to evade IP filters. Remember, streaming services like F1 TV are always looking for fake users, and they are happy to block dubious IPs if they feel the need.
When you’re up and running with a VPN, fire up the client and log on. It should tell you that you have full protection. Now, choose a server in a country which carries F1 TV Pro. This is going to be your new home country, at least while watching an F1 live stream.
You’ll need to sign up for F1 TV Pro in a jurisdiction which carries the streaming channel. Make sure your VPN is running when you process any payments, as a mismatch between the IP you use to pay, and the IP address you use to watch F1 could be enough evidence for the channel to block you.
When you’ve paid up for a subscription, just log on when a race or practice is taking place, and you should have no problems.
The same process can also be used to access other F1 channels such as Sky, ESPN or Canal+, which may be geoblocked across national borders. So if you have access to these channels, go ahead and experiment. You may be able to work around their geographical filters with a VPN.
This can be particularly handy if you just want to watch one or two races. Now TV in the UK offers short term packages for events like F1 races, but only for UK customers. If you pretend to be British, you can buy passes for the races you want to watch instead of shelling out for cable subscriptions.
Alternative ways to unlock an F1 live stream
Using a VPN to access F1 TV is a reliable way to watch F1 online, but it’s not the only option. Obviously, if you are in the USA you can sign up to watch F1 in USA via the ESPN app, but this requires taking out an ESPN subscription and definitely isn’t the cheapest route.
American viewers can also use Amazon Prime or F1 TV’s conventional channels without any problems. However, there are some sneakier ways to watch F1 live.
Numerous websites offer free live streams via the web, which come with ad overlays and may not be the most reliable channel for watching entire races. But the picture quality can often be fine, and – hey – it’s free. Then again, these sites are on the borders of illegality (so use a VPN) and don’t deliver the amazing features offered by F1 TV.
Whether you’re in Columbus, OH, or Kuwait City, finding out how to watch F1 online is simple. Anyone can enjoy the high-tech experience provided by F1 TV, and really experience the G-forces, stress and sheer adrenaline rush of a Grand Prix race. A VPN will put you in pole position to work around any obstacles.