For the 2015 Season take a look to the updated version of this article:
This article presents several options to watch Formula 1 online: from accessing TV channels using SopCast to unlocking geo-restricted streaming sites using VPN or DNS services. All you need to happily follow your favorite driver and team live during the race.
If you are reading this post you are probably a F1 fan and you are eager to see how the latest regulations have changed the game. 2014 will be probably very different from the last seasons. Hopefully more interesting, with more drivers competing for the top standings.
The 2014 Formula 1 season consists of 19 races, starting in Australia on 16th of March and ending in Abu Dhabi on 23rd of November.
Before we start, here are some useful links for all F1 fans:
TV broadcasters list
In 2014, Formula 1 is covered live on TV in more than 50 countries and regions including US, UK, Germany, India, Middle East, and South America. Many of the broadcasters are showing all practice sessions, qualifying and the race.
You may check the complete list of TV broadcasters on Wikipedia and see if you can find a channel that covers Formula One races on your preferred language and quality (HDTV is available for certain providers).
How to watch TV online
After finding a TV channel that you would like to access you have two options to watch it on your computer or device:
- Open Google and search for “how to watch [channel name] live“. You will probably get several result links to sites that stream TV channels online. Unfortunately, these sites are usually full of ads and, most of the time, they try to install different add-ons and extensions in your browser. Moreover, the transmission quality is low. Definitely, not my first choice.
- Another options is to install SopCast, a free and simple application to watch TV channels online. Firstly, you need to download the latest version of Sopcast here. After completing the installation, start the application. Then login as Anouymous and start looking for the desired channel in the Live Channel tab. Most likely you will find a channel that covers the Formula One events. The downsite of this approach is that, depending on the number of users and your ISP bandwidth, you may get a poor transmission with a lot of interruptions.
Wait … continue to read the article to find out better solutions to watch Formula One online!
Formula 1 Internet broadcasters list
Several TV channels also stream the Formula 1 events live on the Internet. You may find below the complete list of Internet broadcasters in 2014:
|United Kingdom||English||BBC||Free in UK. Only selected 9 races: Spain (11 May), Canada (8 June), Britain (6 July), Belgium (24 August), Italy (7 September), Japan (5 October), Russia (12 October), Abu Dhabi (23 November)|
|United Kingdom||English||Sky Sports||Available to Sky TV and Sky Go customers with a dual Sports or HD subscription.|
|United States||English||NBCSports||Content is available in HD. Sign-up required. Only available in US and U.S. Territories.|
|United States||Spanish||Univision Deportes||Only available in US and U.S. Territories.|
|Australia||English||One||Free in Australia.|
|Czech Republic||Czech||Nova (Voyo.cz)||Free in Czech Republic. Except Bahrain, Canadian, US and Brazilian GPs. Streams only the races.|
|Germany||German||RTL||HD feed encrypted and part of HD+ package. Free in Germany.|
|Germany||German||Sky Sport||Choice of different perspectives at qualifying and race. Only available in Germany.|
|Spain||Spanish||Antena 3||Free in Spain.|
|Spain||Spanish||Esport 3||Free in Spain. Emits jointly with Antena 3 & Movistar TV in Catalonia.|
|Finland||Finnish||MTV3||Paid subscription needed. Only available in Finland.|
|Sweden||Swedish||Viasat||Paid subscription needed. Only available in Sweden.|
|Japan||Japanese||Fuji TV Next||Paid subscription needed. Only available in Japan.|
Thus, if you are located in one of the above mentioned countries you may watch Formula One online.
Due to broadcasting regulations, these streaming services are only allowed to show live content on the Internet in certain countries. For example, BBC is accessible for users in UK, NBCSport only in US. They try to guess your location based on your IP address, but sometimes they can get it wrong. For example, if your ISP assigns your computer, device or router an IP address that was previously assigned to a user located in another country (not very common situation, but it may happen) you will not be able to access the desired streaming channel.
What to do when you are located in a listed country but you are still not allowed to see the live streaming?
- Try turning your router off and on again.
- You may phone your ISP and mention that you are having trouble viewing videos on certain sites.
Access restricted websites from other countries using VPN
If you are located in a country where Formula 1 is not streamed on the Internet you may still get access to certain sites using VPN or DNS services. Basically, what you need is to trick a site that broadcasts the event to see you in a good location. More specific, you need to change your visible IP address. For example, if you want to see the BBC F1 live coverage you need to change your IP to a UK one, if you want to access the RTL streaming you need a German IP, and so on …
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) service allows its users to access servers located in different countries from all over the World. When one connects to a VPN server all the Internet traffic is tunneled through an encrypted channel to the server and from there to the targeted website. The target site sees a request from the VPN server not from the originating computer and device. The content is sent to the VPN server and from there to the user. The result: the streaming site sees the request coming from a server located in a white-listed location. Thus, VPN servers can be used to unlock geo-restricted websites.
There are plenty of VPN services including free ones. You may simply google for “vpn us”, “vpn uk”, “vpn spain”, and you will get tens (even hundreds) of results. Further, I will recommend 3 VPN services that I personally used and that I can testify they are good for unlocking the websites on the F1 Internet Broadcasters list. As I had bad experience with several free VPN services that I tried my vote goes to paid services.
|HideMyAss||BBC, NBCSports, Univision Deportes, One, Nova (Voyo.cz), RTL, Antena 3, Esport 3, MTV3, Viasat, Fuji TV||$11.52/month|
|ibVPN||BBC, NBCSports, Univision Deportes, One, RTL, Antena 3, Esport 3, MTV3, Viasat, Fuji TV||$7.95/month|
|PureVPN||BBC, NBCSports, Univision Deportes, One, RTL, Antena 3, Esport 3, MTV3, Viasat, Fuji TV||$9.95/month|
All these services provide easy to install apps (for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) in order to be able to quickly be able to access the streaming sites. ibVPN even offers 6-hour trial to test their service.
Watch F1 live online using SmartDNS services
Even though VPN services represent a good solution for unlocking websites when looking to Formula 1 races, sometimes, due to the servers load or the user Internet connection, the streaming may be slow or even drop during the transmission.
A more reliable and stable solution is given by DNS / SmartDNS services. Such a service does not hide or change your IP address, it only tricks the streaming provider to believe that the user computer is entitled to receive the restricted content. It does so by using DNS (Domain Name Servers).
You may find below a list of 3 good Smart DNS providers. It is important to notice that DNS services offer access to fewer channels than VPN services.
|ibDNS (provided by ibVPN)||BBC, NBCSports, One, RTL||$4.95/month|
|UnoTelly||BBC, NBCSports, Univision Deportes||$7.95/month|
As you may see ibVPN offers both VPN and DNS services and for $7.95/month (for both) it is quite a good deal.
The setup is simple (less than 5 minutes) and it works also on various devices: Apple TV, Roku, WDTV, Boxee, PS4 & PS3, Xbox 360 (check every provider for more details).
To sum up, there are plenty of options to watch Formula One events live online. Depending on your personal preferences you may get access to TV channels or Internet streaming sites even if the access is restricted in your location. Enjoy!
P.S. If you know other good solutions for watching Formula One online feel free to share them in the comments.