I know nothing about F1. Where do I start?

Welcome! Our yearly Preseason Primer episode assumes no prior racing knowledge, and is designed to be the perfect introduction to the F1 newcomer (if we do say so ourselves)!

How can I watch F1 in the United States?

Two ways:

1) On ESPN.

Every race in 2018 will be broadcast on ESPN, EPSN2, or ABC, with practice and qualifying sessions occasionally drifting onto ESPN3 and ESPNEWS. Here's the full broadcast schedule.

This means you can also watch live (or a replay) using the ESPN app on various supported devices by logging in with the account you have through your TV provider. Note: some versions of the ESPN app remove the replays after a few weeks.

ESPN is also included with many "cord-cutting" streaming providers like Hulu (with live TV), PlayStation Vue, SlingYouTube TV, etc., though each provider has quirks about how long replays are available and whether they are available on-demand or must be explicitly set to record. In some cases, your login for these services can be used to log in to the ESPN app, which does provide on-demand viewing.

Due to a snafu at the start of the season, ESPN will not be airing commercials during 2018 races. This can (and probably will) change for 2019.

2) With F1 TV.

F1 TV is Formula 1's official subscription video service. There are two tiers:

  • F1 TV Pro ($12 per month or $100 per year)

  • F1 TV Access ($3 per month or $20 per year)

F1 TV Pro provides full, live sessions with no commercial breaks. It also allows you to switch between the live feed and any of the 20 cameras onboard the cars. Full race replays (with camera switching) are available if you want to watch later.

F1 TV Access is a lower tier that provides live timing and radio commentary (through the F1 mobile app), and full current-season race replays (published two days later), but not live video or onboard camera-switching.

Both tiers provide access to an archive of historical races dating, as of this writing, back to 1981. Currently, only a few races are available from any given year, but races are supposedly being added all the time.

F1 TV is currently only available through a desktop web interface or mobile apps on iOS and Android, though "TV apps [will be] phased in on Amazon, Apple and Android, enabling users to watch on a range of different devices at no additional cost," according to Formula 1.

Another option is to find an F1 meetup in your city!

How can I watch F1 outside the United States?

For television, RaceFans.net has a crowdsourced list of methods here.

F1 TV is available in these countries, in various mixes of Pro and Access, with varying time delays for replays.

What if I don't want to pay anything?

The official Formula 1 YouTube channel uploads "highlight" versions of each session (Practice sessions 1-3, Qualifying, and Race). They'll also occasionally pull particularly juicy segments from the races. It's not as exciting as watching the full sessions, but they are well-edited, free, and give a good sense of most of the things that happened.

Another option is to find an F1 meetup in your city!

If reading words is more your thing, Motorsport Magazine does exhaustive race-weekend recaps in excellent prose.

When are the races?

You can find all the session times in your timezone at F1Calendar.com. There you can also add all the sessions (or just the races) to your personal calendar.

How do you tell who is who on track?

The teams are generally pretty easy to tell apart since each team wants a distinctive-looking car. As for distinguishing drivers on the same team, one driver (usually the one who has been with the team the longest) has a black camera pod (positioned on top of the intake above the driver's head), while the other driver has a fluorescent yellow pod. From there, it's just a matter of remembering which driver has which color pod.

Here's a visual guide to the cars and helmets of the 2018 season (via reddit).

I have a technical question about rules, cars, etc.

F1's official Inside F1 guide is great for that!

Who is Pastor Maldonado?

A legend.