Formula 1 Racing 2023: How to Watch and Livestream the Abu Dhabi GP
It's the last race of the season, and it's pretty safe to say that 2023 has been a year to remember for F1 fans.
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It's the final race of the year, and that means there's one last chance for some good old Formula 1 drama in 2023. The F1 circus heads back to Abu Dhabi for the season closer, as fans and drivers alike look ahead to the 2024 season.
This weekend's race won't be as dramatic a closer as 2021's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was (if you know, you know), but fans can still look forward to exciting battles up and down the grid. There are still several close rivalries that fans can look forward to playing out. Mercedes and Ferrari, second and third in the constructors' standings respectively, are separated by a mere four points, so you can guarantee that drivers on both teams will be giving it their all to bring home more points.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will follow the traditional race weekend format. That means Saturday qualifying and a Sunday race. If US fans want to catch this weekend's qualifying, they can catch it on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 9 a.m ET (6 a.m PT) on ESPN 2.
The main race, which takes place on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 8 a.m ET (5 a.m PT), will be held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The race will be aired on ESPN and ESPN Plus.
The entire race weekend, including practice sessions and qualifying, will be shown in the US on ESPN's family of TV and streaming networks. Those looking to follow all the drama will need access to the ABC and ESPN News channels on cable or live TV streaming services, or the ESPN Plus streaming service. We've broken down everything you need to know to stream today's race, and all the other F1 races this season.
What is F1 and how is it different from IndyCar?
Both IndyCar and F1 are open-wheeled, single-seater racing formats. This means that the cars can only fit one person and have uncovered wheels that protrude from the body of the vehicle. Despite their basic similarities, F1 and IndyCar offer very different experiences.
In F1, there are only 10 teams, with two drivers apiece for a total of 20 drivers. Most races must go for 305 kilometers, which is about 190 miles. Each driver needs to use two different types of tires in the race, so a pit stop is mandatory, though cars are not allowed to refuel. Races average around two hours in length and are held at venues all over the world.
Teams spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year developing their cars. All cars must have certain elements -- for example, gearboxes must have eight gears plus a reverse and last for six consecutive races -- but teams have leeway to tweak and change some parts of their car, including their engines, in the pursuit of speed.
In contrast, the cars featured in IndyCar are more standardized. They all have the same aerodynamic kit and chassis and can only be powered by one of two engines -- either a Honda or a Chevrolet. That said, teams are allowed to develop some of their own parts, like dampers and some of their suspensions.
IndyCar races occur on a wide range of tracks, from fast ovals to road and street courses. The length of the races also varies, with some, like the Indianapolis 500, lasting 500 miles and taking over three hours to complete. Not surprisingly, refueling during pit stops is a big part of the strategy during IndyCar races. Teams can field more than two cars, meaning that the number of drivers on the grid varies from race to race.
IndyCar is mostly considered an American sport and does not have the same level of money and glamour associated with it compared to the globe-hopping F1 circuit.
Why should I care about F1?
F1 races might best be described as a sort of action-packed chess match that takes place while drivers are throttling around a track at close to 200 mph. Teams need both strategy and skill to compete against some of the best minds in motorsports.
F1 is also full of strong personalities. The Netflix documentary series F1: Drive to Survive follows many of the teams and drivers over the course of a year and has helped raise the profile of the sport in the US. Released in February, season 5 of the series chronicles last year's rise of Red Bull and Verstappen and its effect on the other drivers. It also focuses on the internal battles between drivers on the same team, while giving viewers a peek into the tense, pressurized world of elite racing.
When, where and what time are the races?
Races are held on Sunday and are usually spaced two weeks apart. Here's the entire schedule.
Whether or not you have cable, ESPN's stand-alone streaming service is great for casual fans of Formula 1 and is a must-have accessory for fanatics. It costs $11 a month (or $110 a year) and currently, ESPN has a deal with F1 to show 18 out of 23 Grands Prix this year. The catch is that ESPN Plus doesn't always air the free practice or qualifying sessions, but it tends to air Sprint races and the Sprint Shootout.
If you're an F1 fan who is also looking to get your Disney fix, the Disney trio bundle (which includes Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus) might end up being an even better buy for fans who also love catching the parts of the race weekend that typically air on EPSN2 or ESPNews and who need their Disney/Marvel/Star Wars fix.
If you're a diehard fan of motorsports and Formula series racing, ESPN Plus might not be for you, given that they rarely cover F2, F3 or Porsche Supercar racing. That's why ESPN Plus is ideal for casual fans who enjoy catching a race every once in a while, or super fans who don't want or need all of the extra bells and whistles of F1 TV, but want to beef up their coverage options.
If you find yourself unable to view the race locally, you may need a different way to watch -- that's where using a VPN can come in handy. A VPN is also the best way to stop your ISP from throttling your speeds on race day by encrypting your traffic, and it's also a great idea if you're traveling and find yourself connected to a Wi-Fi network, and you want to add an extra layer of privacy for your devices and logins.
With a VPN, you're able to virtually change your location on your phone, tablet or laptop to get access to the game. Most VPNs, like our Editors' Choice, ExpressVPN, make it really easy to do this.
Using a VPN to watch or stream sports is legal in any country where VPNs are legal, including the US, UK and Canada, as long as you have a legitimate subscription to the service you're streaming. You should be sure your VPN is set up correctly to prevent leaks: Even where VPNs are legal, the streaming service may terminate the account of anyone it deems to be circumventing correctly applied blackout restrictions.
Looking for other options? Be sure to check out some of the other great VPN deals taking place right now.
F1 in the UK is shown on Sky Sports and Channel 4 -- Sky Sports airs the races, practice rounds and qualifying, while free-to-air Channel 4 offers highlights broadcast after the day's action takes place. If you already have Sky Sports as part of your TV package, you can stream the game via its app, but cord-cutters will need to get the Sky Entertainment and Netflix package starting at £26 per month, plus an additional £20 per month to include Sky Sports.
Other options for streaming in the US without cable
Beyond ESPN Plus, numerous live TV streaming services carry channels with F1. Race weekends normally start on Friday with multiple practice runs and continue on Saturday with qualifying. The races themselves take place Sunday. ESPN typically airs practices and qualifying on a mix of ESPN 2 and ESPNews, while the races tend to air on ESPN. F1 events in North America often land on ABC.
Here are some of the best ways to catch the entire race weekend without cable.
You can catch the entire race weekend with a subscription to YouTube TV, but its price went up to $73 earlier this year. ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPNews are all included in the package, which means you'll have all the channels you need in order to watch every second of the action.
Hulu Plus Live TV is now cheaper than YouTube TV, and offers all the channels you need to watch every second of race weekend. As an added bonus, Hulu Plus Live TV comes with the rest of the Disney Bundle, which includes a subscription to Disney Plus, as well as ESPN Plus.
Sling TV's $40 Orange plan might be a good choice for F1 fans who are primarily looking to just watch the races on Sundays. This plan is one of the cheapest ways to get access to ESPN and ESPN 2. Those looking for ESPNews will have to opt for the $11 Sports Extra ad-on. Sling TV offers ABC as well but only in six cities.
Fubo costs $75 per month and includes ABC, ESPN and ESPN 2. The base package lacks ESPNews, but you can add it for an extra $8 a month with the Fubo Extra package, or pay for the $85-a-month Elite streaming tier that includes Fubo Extra. Check out which local networks Fubo offers here.
DirecTV Stream is the most expensive live TV streaming service. Its cheapest, $80-a-month Plus package includes ESPN, ESPN 2 and ABC, but you'll need to move up to the $109-a-month Choice plan to get ESPNews. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available in your area.
For gearheads looking to get every angle on the action, F1 offers its own streaming service. F1 TV Pro costs $80 per season, or $10 per month, and gives fans access to all races from F1, F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup. You'll be able to livestream every track session from all F1 Grands Prix and have access to all driver onboard cameras and team radios. You'll also be able to watch full on-demand races, replays and highlights, along with F1's historic race archive.
F1 also offers a TV Access Plan for $27 per year, or $3 per month, which only gives you on-demand access to races once they have been completed. You will still be able to view all F1 onboard cameras, along with full replays of F1, F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup. It also includes the historic race archive.