F1 Highlights Won’t Play On YouTube (How To Fix)

This is a problem I sometimes encounter when trying to stream highlights of F1 practice/qualifying/race sessions on YouTube. Sometimes, the video just doesn’t even load and I get an error message saying “this video is not available” or something similar.

I think this is due to content rights restrictions, plus also perhaps YouTube increasingly clamping down on VPN usage, but it’s annoying, especially if you just want to watch a short highlights clips of some F1 action. F1 content is allowed to be played in most countries worldwide, so how can you fix this?

In general, disabling your VPN if you’re using one and refreshing the page is the best way to allow blocked F1 YouTube clips to play. If YouTube F1 content is officially licensed to be streamed in your actual location, the video should play once you turn off the VPN.

This is what seems to fix the issue for me, but there’s also lots of fiddling about you can do, and you might sometimes be able to still play the content on a VPN. Let’s offer some more detail below.

Fix #1 – Disable Any VPN You Are Using

This is the most simple solution. I almost always use a VPN when online for security and privacy, but it’s getting a little bit harder to stream some heavily rights restricted content on YouTube when using one these days. It used to be much easier, but now VPNs are getting detected and blocked a bit more on the platform.

Therefore, try disabling your VPN connection, and then refreshing the page with the F1 highlights video, to see if it plays.

In all cases, where I had this problem, the video then played when it didn’t before when I had the VPN turned on.

In fact, I’ve found two options that worked:

  1. Just disable the VPN connection altogether and play the video
  2. Try disabling the VPN, playing the video, and then re-enabling the VPN and refreshing the video again. Sometimes, strangely the F1 clip played fine once I disabled and re-enabled the VPN, and all other F1 clips played fine all times after that as well.

Therefore, just try playing around with your VPN software, disabling and re-enabling servers, and you might get it to work. Sometimes, you might have to turn it off altogether, at least while watching the highlights.

Fix #2 – Try Changing VPN Server Location

Another fix which sometimes work for some users is just to try a different VPN server location (but is definitely not a guaranteed fix).

Here are some thing you can try:

  • If using a VPN server in your actual current country, try switching to a different country
  • Use a VPN server in your usual home country if abroad.
  • Some server locations which have been reported to work in accessing YouTube F1 content are UK, Singapore, Canada, France, Iceland, South Korea and Indonesia, Denmark, Netherlands, Georgia. But it will vary across time and with different VPN providers, so experiment trying different locations and refreshing the page, to see what works for you.

Fix #3 – Watch The Video Via A YouTube Clone Site

Another more roundabout way to fix this problem is to watch the video via a site which “clones” or “copies” YouTube, effectively acting as a proxy site.

Click here to visit the Invidious Mirror Site and paste the YouTube URL into the box to play the video.

This should work fine even using a VPN, though speeds may be reduced. YouTube will now only see this mirror site as accessing the video and not your device, so the clone site effectively act as a “proxy” or “fence” to stop the VPN being detected and blocked.

Should You Change Your VPN?

When you encounter any kind of problem with VPN use being blocked streaming content on YouTube or anywhere else, it’s easy to resort to the usual fix of “change your VPN”. But it’s not that simple, as this page reports users of loads of different VPNs (even the more upmarket, expensive ones), having the same problem with YouTube F1 clips being blocked.

Even top range ones like ExpressVPN sometimes have this problem. Therefore upgrading isn’t really the answer in this case. It’s better to keep trying with disabling or changing the VPN server location, and most times you should be able to get F1 content to play with a little experimentation.


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