Dissecting Georgie Thompson’s decision to leave Sky F1

The news that The F1 Broadcasting Blog broke ten days ago that Georgie Thompson had left the Sky Sports F1 team came as a surprise to many. For about a week after the blog post went up, news on the matter from other websites went quiet, until this past weekend when several websites began reporting on Thompson’s status. Some suggested that she was off to BT, whilst others believe that she will remain at Sky in a different capacity.

An interesting train of thought though comes from Phil Duncan’s blog on the Daily Mail website, where he suggests that Thompson was unhappy with the amount of air-time she was getting, and wanted a bigger role for 2013. It is a fascinating perspective on the matter, and suggests that Thompson wanted the main presenting role for 2013, thus ousting Simon Lazenby from the post. In 2012, Thompson presented The F1 Show on Friday’s along with the Sky Pad segments on Saturday and Sunday of a race weekend. You can see why travelling to the other side of the world to present about 90 minutes of television over three days would not appeal to her. Personally, I would consider Thompson before 2012 one of Sky’s main presenters, she was definitely one of the main faces on the Sky Sports News channel.

So what she considered a bigger role than Sky Sports News at the start of 2012 in fact turned out to be a smaller role. It probably also should be considered the viewership that The F1 Show was getting – less than 100,000 viewers a week – and Thompson may not have wanted to travel around the world to present to a ‘miniscle’ viewership when her previous role was based in London and getting double the figures. Let’s not forget that Sky expected 167,000 viewers per week for The F1 Show, what they got was only a tenth of that. That would have only added to the belief from Thompson that she was in a smaller role than previously and wanted a bigger role within Sky, if the Daily Mail are to be believed. I do wonder how long Thompson’s unhappiness with the Sky team has been ongoing for, at the latter end of last season Thompson was staying in London alongside Anthony Davidson during race weekends, which may suggest that something was up as far back as then.

Drop Simon Lazenby? Considering the reaction he got overall in 2012, it might have been the sensible option. I’m not sure I would have necessarily agreed with it, as I believed stability was crucial heading into 2013, but it appears at this point that Sky were left with little choice. Thompson in my opinion would have been able to steer the ship better than Lazenby, and clearly gelled in well with the Sky team as seen by her weekly presenting slots on The F1 Show. Some may say I am basing this on her appearance rather than presenting skills, personally I think Thompson is a better all-rounded presenter than Lazenby (and Natalie Pinkham for that matter). It is not as simple as just saying “we’ll drop Lazenby”, though. Especially when you consider that Lazenby and Sky Sports F1 executive producer Martin Turner worked together before 2012 regularly on Sky’s Rugby product. So Turner would almost certainly have stuck with Lazenby, leaving Thompson with the option of staying or going.

It will interesting if we do find out how much truth there is to the Daily Mail article. But if Sky have let Thompson go, then they have just left a huge open goal for BT Sport to fire straight into.

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13 thoughts on “Dissecting Georgie Thompson’s decision to leave Sky F1

  1. Frankly I would love to see Lazenby go. He is by far the weakest element of the team. He doesn’t know or care about the sport. He constantly puts his foot in his mouth. He’s just terrible.

  2. A shame. For me she seemed to be less ‘wooden’ and more able to have a bit of a laugh while still remaining professional than Lazenby and seemed to gel better with the various pundits, whereas with Lazenby the whole thing just seemed…………awkward.

  3. I agree Lazenby should go, he should have gone after Monaco 2012, but taste and professionalism have never been high on Sky’s agenda.

  4. I think there is a STRONG chance of Georgie going to BT Sports IF information on how BT Sports will structure itself after getting ESPN has ANY legs 😉

  5. Has there been any update on this? I’m actually quite disappointed that she has gone, I though she was a really good presenter with an easy manner and she picked up the in’s & out’s of the sport really well over the season.

    I’m 50/50 on Lazenby – at times he annoys me the way he doesn’t listen to the answers for the questions he is asking (already looking at his iPad for the next question and butting in before the answer is over). At other times I find him ok.

    And the new presenter Rachel… she sounds (and looks) as if she is terribly depressed all the time. Surely she must have a smile? I don’t think I could stand being depressed by her all season. The Craig guy seemed a bit of a tool at the start of the year when he had some stupid nickname and acted all cocky, but he is a bit more refined now.

    Please say this isn’t going to be it – I’m already through the three practice sessions for Australia and Rachel is making me reach for the prozac…

    • Thompson’s exit was reported about a week or so after me breaking the news from a few tabloids, along with a one line Sky statement in those reports. They have never said anything properly about the situation, though.
      I personally think Brookes is better than Thompson and Pinkham and deserves a bigger role within the Sky teams – Brookes of course is currently part of the Sky Sports News set-up. I would happily see Brookes and Kravitz presenting The F1 Show together instead of Pinkham.

  6. I’ve come quite late to this topic but I have to echo the comments above, Lazenby personifies all that is wrong with Sky’s coverage. Sky seem to think that you can send a generic rugby production team to cover a sport that none of them seem to have any passion for.

    Sky’s coverage is mediocre at best because the production team are doing ‘sports coverage by numbers’. Apart from the ex drivers none of them seem to know or care what they’re talking about.

    Each week Lazenby gets fed the same moronic, repetitive questions down his earpiece whist looking like he’s doing his shopping list in his head. On top of listening to this production marionette we also have to watch his one man gurning competition. The only time he’s remotely watchable is when his tourettes kicks in and he says something wildly inappropriate.

    Pinkham I’m still not sure about, sometimes she comes across as a real female petrol head and other times I worry she’s one up from a PR girl, enjoying the glitz and celebrities.

    Brookes looks out of her depth and unsure of what she’s talking about.

    Craig Slater should never be let anywhere near an F1 circuit, his individual pieces look like student telly and I’d have fired him after Kimi laughed in his face for the most ridiculous question ever asked of an F1 driver, especially Kimi.

    Kravitz and Croft do a good job as pundits but as they were in F1 way before Sky they haven’t been tainted by Sky’s generic mediocrity.

    To come back to Thompson, she was technically the best anchor Sky had, and after the pundits and colour men came across as the most knowledgeable and passionate.

    Keeping Lazenby and letting Thompson go is just another event in Sky’s continuing contempt for it’s monopolized viewer.

  7. Although I have to agree with most of what you say I have to note that a bimbo type role with SURE hardly enhances GT role as a sports journalist

  8. If the rumours of GT going to BT are true then she may be just paying the rent until she starts.

    There’s also the chance she took the job because it offers some F1 paddock/pit access and she wanted to make things awkward for Sky. Can you imagine the cringe factor if the Sky team were told to blank her live on air!

    I’m not saying GT is the most ideal choice to anchor SkyF1 but compared to Lazenby she’s a presenting god.

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