Formula 1’s second straight weekend in Bahrain, which crowned a first-time winner in Sergio Perez, also yielded a significant gain in U.S. TV viewers over the first one. The Sakhir Grand Prix, run on a new-to-F1 shorter circuit and without the sport’s reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton due to his positive COVID-19 test, averaged a 0.40 National Nielsen rating and 717,000 household viewers on ESPN2. That was up significantly from the previous Sunday’s 0.31/500K for the Bahrain GP on the same network (although that race started three hours earlier, at 9 a.m. ET). It was the highest-rated F1 telecast on ESPN2 this season, and the fourth-best overall.
With F1’s North American races and Monaco GP cancelled this year due to the pandemic, all F1 races have aired on ESPN cable networks rather than ABC. This weekend’s finale in Abu Dhabi will air on ESPN2, and returns to a Sunday morning air time (8 a.m. ET).