Season opener the Australian Grand Prix had an average audience of 526,000 viewers between 4.30am and 9am UK time on Sunday, with a five-minute peak of 1.02 million as Jenson Button took the win.
Live coverage of the race itself, which ran from 6am to 7.40am, was watched by an average of 874,000 viewers. The BBC’s live coverage of the same race last season averaged 2.13 million viewers, a 51.1 per cent share of the audience. However this audience made GP the most expensive BBC show on a £ per viewer basis and persuaded the broadcaster it should relinquish exclusive rights for 2012.
The BBC, which will broadcast half of this year’s grand prix live as part of its new joint rights deal with Sky, averaged 2.7 million viewers for its highlights programme between 2pm and 4pm on BBC1, a 22.9 per cent share.