The F1 is back and while Ferrari claimed the win on track and Fox Sports is claiming a victory of their own with a huge increase in viewer numbers for the 2018 event.

While the numbers are still below the Free to Air average of 376,000 viewers, Fox Sports 304,000 is a huge win for the “Live and Ad Free” positioning of the network.

The number represents a 36% increase year-on-year with a peak in viewer numbers at 5.40pm of 345,000.

The numbers for Qualifying and Practice on Saturday were big too, with 180,000 and 107,000 respectively helping Fox Sports overall with a huge sporting Saturday result.

Steve Crawley, Fox Sports’ head of TV said: “This is a fantastic result for FOX SPORTS and for Formula 1. We knew our ad-break free coverage of the qualifying sessions and race would be a game changer, and clearly fans loved it, with a 36 per cent increase on last year’s race audience.

“And the season has only just begun. Fans can expect more of our unrivalled coverage throughout the year, with every event from now on exclusively live on FOX SPORTS.”

His CEO Patrick Delany took the chance to sell their motorsport offering to fans “And it’s never been a better time to subscribe to Foxtel with our lowest offering of just $39 per month, sports lovers will receive the biggest and best line-up of local and international sport including the most comprehensive motorsport coverage of Formula 1, Supercars and MotoGP.  Fans can also sign up to Foxtel Now and be streaming all the live action instantly.”