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Sky set to end F1 coverage in New Zealand

Pay-television broadcaster Sky New Zealand is set to lose rights to Formula One but renew deals for fellow motor-racing series V8 Supercars and Nascar, according to the New Zealand Herald.

The newspaper said Sky did enter a bid for the rights from the 2019 season, but this was rejected. The Herald added that the news is likely to be confirmed tomorrow (Friday), along with an announcement that Sky has extended deals with Australia-based V8 Supercars until 2020 and US series Nascar until the end of 2021.

Sky will show the remainder of the 2018 F1 season, but is understood to have been concerned over a fall in ratings owing to later start times introduced for European races and the availability of official highlights via social media platform Facebook.

The majority of European races have now shifted to a start time of 1am on Mondays in New Zealand from midnight on Sundays.

Local F1 fans have also be drawn to the Facebook highlights package, which has been freely available from 6am on Mondays.