British athlete beats F1 in TV stakes

Max Mosley's prediction that the Japanese Grand Prix viewing figures would suffer through Michael Schumacher's domination of qualifying was proved correct on Sunday

British athlete beats F1 in TV stakes

ITV's coverage of the Suzuka race in Britain was overshadowed by BBC2's broadcast of the Chicago marathon, in which British athlete Paula Radcliffe broke the world record for the distance.

A total of 600,000 got up early on Sunday morning to watch the live coverage of the Japanese GP, which was repeated in the afternoon. But the re-run pulled in just two million viewers.

Meanwhile, an average of 2.2 million people tuned in to watch Radcliffe's historic run, peaking with 3.5 million at the climax.

ITV defended the figures, saying that Sunday's were better than those for the 2000 and 2001 Japanese GPs.

But the race fell behind the weekend's other sporting events too. Snooker's LG Cup final attracted 3.4 million, while the Heineken European Cup rugby clash between Gloucester and Munster pulled in 3.3 million viewers.

England's football match with Solvakia on Saturday evening unsurprisingly attracted the most, with 10 million tuning in.

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