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Formula 1 Moves to ESPN

Motorsports stalwart Formula 1 has agreed to a multi-year linear and digital carriage deal with ESPN for the start of the 2018 season, the third television network to carry the racing icon over the years, and a return of sorts to its original U.S. TV roots.

The racing icon had been carried by Fox and NBC prior to the new deal. ESPN will begin carrying Formula 1 programming beginning with the Australian Grand Prix on March 25, and will carry every race live on either ESPN, ESPN 2 or the ABC broadcast network. The package will include every practice and qualifying session and involve more than 125 hours of F1 programming across the first season.

Other season highlights will be the Monaco Grand Prix on May 27, which will air live on ESPN at 7:55 a.m. ET and re-air later in the day on ABC at 3:30 p.m. after the Indianapolis 500. The United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 21 and the Mexican Grand Prix on Oct. 28 also will air live on ABC, while the Canadian Grand Prix (June 10) and British Grand Prix (July 8) will be featured live on ESPN. The Singapore Grand Prix, the only night race of the championship, will air on ESPN2 on Sept. 16.

"We are excited about the return of the world's foremost motor racing platform to the ABC and ESPN platforms," said Sean Bratches, Formula 1 managing director, commercial operations, in a statement.

Bratches, who until joining Formula 1 in January was a 27-year veteran of ESPN, most recently leading its sales and marketing operations before stepping down in 2015, added that ABC broadcasted the first Formula 1 race aired in the U.S. – the 1962 Monaco Grand Prix – as part of its ABC Wide World of Sports program. Select races appeared on the network until 1988.