If you’re in the UK and you want to watch F1, you need Sky – and the F1 package – which isn’t cheap. But is there a way to watch F1 without Sky?
I love F1. I’ve watched every season and every race since 2002. During this time, I’ve spent a TON of money with Sky for the privilege. Sky has exclusive rights to F1 in the UK, so if you want to full F1 experience – including practice, qualifying, and all the editorial stuff – you need Sky.
But here’s the rub: Sky is stupidly expensive. My package, which includes the F1 package and internet, is over £100 a month. That’s a stupid amount of money for TV and the internet. Even more so when you factor in that I hardly ever watch anything on Sky.
I watch most of my content via Amazon Prime TV, Disney+, and Netflix – as well as YouTube Premium. And I pay for all of these things. Basically, I spend a lot of money on content. And, yes, I do miss the days of PirateBay and torrenting.
But what if you could watch F1 for less? Without having to go through Sky or Now TV. That’d be cool, right? Turns out there is something of a loophole, and it involves a heady mix of ESPN, HULU, and a VPN – although you will need to deal with US commentary.
Watching F1 In The UK Without Sky: How To Do It
In order to do this, you will need a couple of things, and you’ll need to do them in a specific order. First, you’ll need to get a VPN. I use IVACY VPN; it’s cheap, fast, 100% no-logs, and it will let you access services like HULU and Netflix in the US from the UK.
Once you have your VPN, you’ll need to then sign-up for a HULU account – they offer a free 30-day trial too. Once you’re signed up with HULU, go to ESPN and find its F1 section. I just checked this and P2 of the Netherlands Grand Prix is happening.
Click the stream window and then select HULU from the streaming options. You will then be taken to a login screen for HULU – log in with your HULU account. And remember: you’ll need your VPN active during this entire process.
Once you’ve logged into HULU with your credentials, you’ll be able to watch F1 practice sessions, qualifying, and the actual Grand Prix too. And it will only cost you $5 to $10 a month with a HULU subscription versus the £18 a month for the Sky F1 package and the £60 you have to pay for Sky.
And if you cannot deal with the American commentators, mute the sound when the race is on and tune into the Radio 5Live stream on your phone, and cast it to a speaker in your living room. If you’re done everything correctly, there shouldn’t be any delay on the Radio 5live commentary and your ESPN / HULU stream of the race.
Don’t Want To Use A VPN?
If you don’t want to use a VPN, and you’re based in the UK, your only other option for watching F1 races – without paying for the F1 channel on Sky – is to use Now TV. You can purchase each race, although over time, this will be more expensive than a subscription to Sky F1.
Another option? You can stream F1 races via Foreign TV channels like Canal+ and RTL. To do this, you’ll either need to go to either platform’s website or use a cheap satellite dish to pick up the channel and run it through to your TV. Again, the commentary will be in German, so you’ll want to get Radio 5live up and ready for English commentary.
The Easiest Option?
For me, personally, the easiest way to watch F1 in the UK is to just do it via Sky TV. Take the hit, pay the money, and watch the races and race weekends directly from Sky. This is what I do; although it does cost a pretty penny. The Sky F1 channel is £18 a month on its own.
If you cannot afford Sky F1, the next best option, IMHO, is a VPN + HULU and ESPN. This will get you access to the entire race weekend, regardless of where you are in the world, and HULU isn’t very expensive at all – like $9.99 a month.
With the VPN, IVACY VPN is very cheap and it is really useful to have around anyway – it’ll make your phone and computer want more secure when browsing the web.
As of right now, this VPN + HULU hack is working for F1. But things could change in the future. That’s why I’m glad HULU offers a free trial; it means you can test out this workaround before committing to any plans.
As for the VPN, I use VPNs all the time, so I have an ongoing subscription with IVACY – I suggest you do the same.
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A good VPN like IVACY will keep your internet history and data encrypted, stop hackers from accessing your network, and protect your phone and/or tablet when you’re on public WiFi. You can also use VPNs to get around blocked websites at school and in your place of work.
As I said: VPNs are super-useful. I don’t leave home without one.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.