The Formula 1 season finale, which was held in Abu Dhabi drew a peak audience number of 7.4 million on the UK commercial networks Channel 4 and Sky Sports. The mayhem which fans witnessed in the final lap at the Yas Marina Circuit saw a figure of 4.4 million viewers at 2:32 pm UK time.
The masses saw Max Verstappen winning his first-ever driver’s championship with a thrilling last-lap controversial overtake. Thanks to the late safety car that clustered up the pack in the end which helped the dutchman win the championship. Channel 4 and all three Sky Sports channels broadcasting the race had a combined peak TV audience of 7.4 million – a 60% share.
Lewis Hamilton‘s fans across the world were in confusion after the race director Michael Masi changed his mind about allowing lapped cars to pass the safety car. The race director’s decision meant that Verstappen had a clean run at Hamilton in the last lap and made his passage to claim his first Formula 1 title on much faster tyres.
Two appeals were launched by the Mercedes team straight away after the race against the result. One against Verstappen for allegedly overtaking under a safety car and the second for breaching of rules concerning race restarts following a safety car period. Both the appeals were dismissed.
Channel 4 chief content officer, Ian Katz, said, “Though many British F1 fans will be disappointed by the result, it’s fantastic that Channel 4 was able to bring this nail-biting finale to the 2021 F1 Season to 4.4 million viewers free to air and, in partnership with Sky, to an incredible peak audience of 7.4m.
“Following on from the return of Test cricket to free-to-air television, a remarkable Paralympics and Emma Raducanu’s triumph, it was a fittingly-dramatic end to an extraordinary year of sport on Channel 4.”