Formula one's global television audience grew in 2008, a report by the sport's commercial authority has revealed.

Formula one's global television audience grew in 2008, a report by the sport's commercial authority has revealed.

The figures for last season jumped to 600m per race, which is 3 million more than in 2007, F1's official Global Broadcast Report said.

Italy, with nearly 38 million viewers in 2008, remains the leading television market in Europe, but the British market jumped 7 per cent to over 29 million viewers per race as Lewis Hamilton drove to the title.

However, Germany's audience continues to slip in the wake of the retirement of Michael Schumacher, despite there still being five race drivers on the grid.

With 29.6 million viewers on average per race, the country slipped behind France to now be Europe's third best television audience.

Outside of Europe, China for the first time eclipsed Brazil as the leading TV audience abroad, with 119 million viewers compared with Brazil's 110m.

Moreover, the five final races of the season saw average live audience figures grow by an impressive 25 per cent.

2008 was the fourth consecutive annual increase for F1's TV audience, moving chief executive Bernie Ecclestone to remark that the figures paint "an overall picture of the rude health" of the sport.

 

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