The ultimate guide to F1 TV

Formula 1 has been broadcast on television for decades, with the first UK live race – the British Grand Prix – televised in 1953. But between 1950 and 1980, live races were rarely broadcast in their entirety, with the BBC or ITV showing just the highlights, or not televising them at all.

Now, there are various ways to watch Formula 1 live or tape delayed in countries and territories around the world, with the sport attracting one of the largest global television audiences. For example, the cumulative TV audience for the 2001 season was 54 billion, with the 2008 season receiving a global audience of 600 million per race.

Depending on the country you live in, though, the only way you’re able to watch live races is by paying for a TV or app subscription. In 2018, Formula 1 launched the F1 TV streaming service, in recognition of its multinational, ever-growing and dedicated fanbase, which wants to not only watch live race coverage but have live access to in-car cameras and team radios too.

But there are several payment methods that aren’t accepted by Formula 1. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what F1 TV is and some of the other ways in which you can watch live Grand Prix coverage and race highlights. We’ll also cover how you can pay for F1 TV Pro without a credit card, but with a prepaid card.

What is F1 TV?

F1 TV is the premium tier of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship’s streaming service, offering subscribers live coverage of every race of the season and giving access to all onboard cameras and team radios.

It also gives you access to live streams of F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup races and allows you to stream every track session for all Grands Prix.

Continue reading to find out more about the benefits of having F1 TV and how you can pay for it if you don’t have a credit card or other payment method accepted by Formula 1.

What is the difference between F1 TV Pro and F1 TV Access?

F1 TV is an in-house paid subscription service that was created by Formula 1 in an effort to bring the sport to more fans around the world.

It gives viewers comprehensive full HD coverage of race days, practice sessions and paddocks, as well as access to a wealth of archive footage and other exclusive Formula 1 content.

The F1.com streaming service is broken down into two packages: F1 TV Access, which is the standard tier, and F1 TV Pro, which is the premium tier. Both provide on-demand access to more than 2,000 hours’ worth of Formula 1 footage, including coverage of every single Grand Prix since 1981, however, the premium tier also offers live streaming.

The features of each package are as follows:

F1 TV Access

  • Watch full race replays and highlights
  • On-demand access to all Formula 1 onboard cameras
  • Watch all F1, F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup replays
  • Access to Formula 1’s historic race archive
  • Full access to all live timing features:
    • Live leaderboard data
    • Real-time telemetry
    • Best clips of team radio
    • Live driver maps
    • Tyre usage history

F1 TV Pro

  • Live-stream every track session for all Grands Prix
  • Live access to all Formula 1 onboard cameras and team radios
  • Live-stream F1, F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup races
  • Watch full race replays and highlights
  • On-demand access to all Formula 1 onboard cameras
  • Watch all F1, F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup replays
  • Access to Formula 1’s historic race archive
  • Full access to all live timing features:
    • Live leaderboard data
    • Real-time telemetry
    • Best clips of team radio
    • Live driver maps
    • Tyre usage history

How can I watch F1 TV?

If F1 TV is available in your country and you have a Visa or Mastercard credit card, then it’s relatively easy to get set up. All you need to do is subscribe via the Formula 1 website and then download the app to your mobile device or start watching on a computer.

Unfortunately, there aren’t currently any apps available for Apple TV and other smart TVs, but if you have Apple Airplay or Google Chromecast, you can stream from your internet browser to watch all the action on the big screen.

How do I pay for F1 TV?

As already mentioned, F1 TV is a subscription service, which you pay for yearly, monthly or daily. You can purchase directly through Formula 1 via Visa, Mastercard or, if you’re in the UK, Maestro.

Note that Formula 1 doesn’t accept the following payment methods:

  • Amex
  • Bancontact (Belgium)
  • Blick (Poland)
  • EPS (Austria)
  • Giropay (Germany)
  • Multibanco (Portugal)
  • PayPal
  • Prepaid cards, except for UK Maestro cards
  • P24 (Poland)
  • Sofort (Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland)
  • Debit cards, except for UK Maestro cards

Is there another way to pay for F1 TV?

If your usual payment method is one of the above – or you don’t feel comfortable using your credit card or handing over your banking information to streaming services – don’t worry because you can subscribe to F1.com safely, via the Apple or Google app stores, using a Getsby prepaid Mastercard.

Once you’ve activated either the one-time Virtual Black Card or reloadable Virtual Green Card, follow the steps below to pay for your F1 TV subscription.

F1 TV banner

Subscribing to F1 TV via the Apple App Store

While you can’t directly link a prepaid card to your Apple ID, you can link it to your PayPal account and then to your Apple ID from there. Once you’ve added PayPal as a payment method, you can purchase F1 TV from the App Store using PayPal. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Log in to your PayPal account and select “Wallet” at the top of the page

Step 2: Choose “Link a card”

Step 3: Enter your card details and click “Add Card”

Step 4: Enter the six-digit verification code which will be sent to you via SMS

Step 5: Change the currency to your country’s local currency to avoid exchange-rate fees

Step 6: After adding your prepaid card to your PayPal account, open “Settings” on your mobile device

Step 7: Select “Apple ID” by clicking on your name

Step 8: Select “Payment and Shipping” and enter your password if requested

Step 9: Select “Add Payment Method”

Step 10: Select PayPal and click “Log In to PayPal”

Step 11: Click on your prepaid card to link it to your Apple ID

You can now pay for your F1 TV subscription in the Formula 1 app, using your prepaid card.

Subscribing to F1 TV via the Google Play Store

It’s much easier to add your prepaid card to your Google account. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Open the Google Play app on your mobile device

Step 2: Select the profile icon at the top right

Step 3: Select “Payments and Subscriptions”, then “Payment Methods”

Step 4: Select “Add Payment Method”, then “Add Credit or Debit Card”

Step 5: Enter and save your prepaid card details

Step 6: Verify your card by entering the six-digit code that will be visible in your transaction overview (note that it can take up to 15 minutes for this code to appear)

Once verified, your prepaid card will have been added to your account and you can use it to subscribe to F1 TV in the Formula 1 app.

Which countries is F1 TV available in?

Formula 1 can be watched throughout the world, but due to exclusive TV rights deals, F1 TV is only available in some regions. For example, the F1.com service isn’t available in the UK and Ireland because of Sky’s blanket deal with the FIA, nor is it available in Australia, as Fox Sports has the live broadcast rights.

To ensure global coverage of the sport, there are more than 60 different broadcast rights deals in place, however, there’s increasing demand for pay TV subscriptions for exclusive live coverage in countries that allow it.

What are some other ways to watch Formula 1?

From paid subscriptions to free-to-view channels, there are many ways to watch Formula 1, but these will depend on which country you’re in:

Watching Formula 1 in Belgium

In Belgium, you can watch Formula 1 live on Play Sports. Some races are shown for free on Play Sports Open, or you can watch it all with a Play Sports TV package, which starts from €19.95 per month.

Dutch-speaking channel Sporza broadcasts the Belgian Grand Prix live and shows race highlights, with French-speaking channel Tipik showing some races live on RTBS La Une.

F1 TV Access costs €26.99 annually or €2.99 monthly.

Watching Formula 1 in France

You can watch for free in France on C8, which broadcasts the Bahrain, French and Monaco Grands Prix live, as well as two other races of its choice.

Alternatively, you can pay for Canal+ live coverage of every session at every race weekend.

F1 TV Access costs €26.99 annually or €2.99 monthly.

Watching Formula 1 in Germany

In Germany, you can watch the Emilia Romagna, Spain, Italy and Brazil races for free on RTL or you can get a pay TV package from Sky Sport, if you want to watch live coverage of every race weekend.

You can get F1 TV Access for €26.99 per year or €2.99 per month.

Watching Formula 1 in Ireland

In Ireland, Sky Sports has exclusive live rights for all practice, qualifying and race sessions, apart from the British Grand Prix. Sky Sports TV packages that include F1 start from €47 a month.

For free, you can watch highlights of every qualifying race session, as well as the British Grand Prix live, on Channel 4 UK.

You can buy the F1 TV Access package for €26.99 a year or €2.99 a month.

Watching Formula 1 in Italy

In Italy, Sky Sport offers subscribers live coverage for all races in the season.

You can also watch certain live races on TV8, with every other race delayed or shown as highlights.

F1 TV Access is available for €26.99 per year or €2.99 per month.

Watching Formula 1 in Portugal

There’s no way to watch for free in Portugal, but for €9.99 a month or €99.99 a year, you can watch every session live on race weekend via Eleven Sports.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to F1 TV for €26.99 per year or €2.99 per month to watch race replays and highlights.

Watching Formula 1 in Spain

In Spain, you can watch DAZN’s dedicated Formula 1 channel with your DAZN Sports package, which costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.

You can subscribe to F1 TV Access for €26.99 annually or €2.99 monthly.

During the Formula 1 season, Telecinco broadcasts five weekends live, allowing you to watch qualifying and races for free.

Watching Formula 1 in Sweden

Sweden doesn’t have any free-to-view options, however, you can pay for either V Sport Motor or TV10 to watch live qualifying and race highlights.

F1 TV Access costs €26.99 per year or €2.99 per month.

Watching Formula 1 in the United Kingdom 

In the UK, you can pay to watch the dedicated Sky Sports F1 channel, which shows every practice, qualifying and race session in the UK live. Packages that include Sky Sports F1 start from £43 per month.

Channel 4 shares coverage of the British Grand Prix, so you can watch every practice, qualifying and race session for free, as well as highlights of qualifying and race sessions.

In the UK, F1 TV Access costs £19.99 annually or £2.29 monthly.

Summary

F1 TV is the premium tier of Formula 1’s streaming service. It offers subscribers live coverage of every race of the season and gives access to all onboard cameras and team radios. It also gives you access to live streams of F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup races and allows you to stream every track session for all Grands Prix.

Formula 1 can be watched throughout the world, but in some countries, you can only watch live race coverage by paying for a TV or app subscription. In 2018, Formula 1 launched their streaming service, however, the website only accepts Mastercard, Visa or, if you’re in the UK, Maestro.

There is a workaround, though. To pay using a prepaid card, you can add your new card details to your Apple or Google account, download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and subscribe from there, instead of directly on the Formula 1 website.

From paid subscriptions to free-to-air channels, there are many ways to watch Formula 1, but which one you choose will depend on the country you’re in.