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The final countdown is on to the launch of the UK's hottest new TV channel - Sky Sports F1 HD.

Formula 1 fans will be waiting with baited breath for Friday March 8th, when the dedicated motorsport channel comes to air.

Sky Sports subscribers are set to receive the new F1 channel free of charge, enabling viewers to tune in to live uninterrupted coverage of every Grand Prix.

The channel will also be broadcasting live coverage of all practice and qualifying sessions, news, views and analysis, and footage from the GP and GP3 motorsport series.

It is the first time Sky viewers have been able to tune into Formula 1 on their satellite platform, with terrestrial broadcasters previously having exclusive rights to top-tier motor racing.

But F1 is now moving across to subscription TV - as part of an agreement with the BBC - ready for Sky viewers to tune into the season-opener in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday March 18th.

With Sky Sports F1 HD launching this weekend, viewers will be able to enjoy a full week's worth of season preview shows on Channel 408 before the first race.

2012 promises to be an exciting season for F1, with a competitive line-up and the addition of two more races to the calendar.

Former world champions Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and - of course - Michael Schumacher will be out to steal Sebastian Vettel's crown.

The 24-year-old German dominated F1 in 2011, winning 15 pole positions and 11 races, and will hope to emulate this success in the latest Red Bull car.

McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes have been working hard on their own vehicles over the winter and will hope to close the gap on last year's leading constructor.

And of course, Sky broadband and TV customers will not have to miss a second of the action.

The new channel - Sky Sports F1 HD - will be showing live, uninterrupted coverage of every race from Australia through to the finale at Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 25th.

Sky Sports F1 HD is available at no extra charge to all Sky customers who are subscribed to Sky Sports 1&2 or the firm's HD service.

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