Whittling down the contenders to host Channel 4’s F1 coverage

The past week has been quiet with no news on Channel 4’s on-air Formula 1 team, meaning that the earliest we will know news is Monday 1st February.

To recap what we know so far:

– Whisper Films and David Coulthard confirmed.
– Ben Edwards and Eddie Jordan rumoured by Daily Mail.
– Suzi Perry and Martin Whitmarsh are not part of Channel 4’s team

In my last piece on the subject, I made the following comment: “Are Channel 4 and Whisper Films planning on doing something different with the lead presenter role?” The answer appears to be a resounding yes. Whilst I do not know who Channel 4 have chosen, this blog understands that there are four names on the broadcaster’s list and there is enough information in the public domain to draw conclusions about which of the four is most likely to front their coverage.

The first person in the running is Steve Jones. Jones has previously presented The X Factor USA along with BBC One entertainment shows such as 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow and Let’s Dance for Sport Relief. This year, Jones is set to present My Kitchen Rules: UK and the Sex Box series. Both of those will air on Channel 4. On one hand you could say that this makes Jones less likely to present Formula 1, but both shows are pre-recorded so can be filmed around Jones’ schedule. On Twitter, Jones has started following Jake Humphrey. More intriguingly, Jones is now following Marc Priestley. Priestley and Humphrey are now following Jones back. Does this mean that both Jones and Priestley are part of Channel 4’s team?

A separate train of thought is that Channel 4 want one of their Paralympics presenters to lead the channel’s Formula 1 coverage in order to develop on-air talent with physical disabilities, as has been mooted over on Digital Spy. The most likely person in my opinion is Jordan Jarrett-Bryan. Jarrett-Bryan is currently sports reporter for Channel 4 News, which makes him an ideal candidate and probably high on Channel 4’s list. Unfortunately, no ‘Twitter evidence’, as I like to call it. One possibility is that Channel 4 could send him their Formula 1 reporter for the news team.

When the BBC and ITV released their Six Nations talent line-ups, one name was missing from ITV’s portfolio. That name is Craig Doyle. Doyle has presented BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage from the middle of 2014 following the swift departure of Melanie Sykes. Assuming Doyle was Channel 4’s number one choice, they would need to get him out of his BT contract first and need to find a replacement for their MotoGP and rugby coverage: it would seem unfeasible, but not impossible, for Doyle to present Channel 4’s F1 coverage and MotoGP on BT Sport.

Lastly, we have Rick Edwards, who in the past few days has started following both Whisper Films and David Coulthard on Twitter. Edwards, like Jarrett-Bryan, is part of Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage, meaning that Channel 4 should not need to do much negotiation to get Edwards on board. There was also Andy Jaye, but I am not as convinced that Jaye will get the role as I once was. Edwards primarily works for Channel 4, whereas Jaye works for other broadcasters as well which makes Edwards a more likely person to get the lead presenter role.

It appears that Channel 4’s Formula 1 presenter will be one of the five names above. It certainly will not be a familiar face to Formula 1 viewers. Given that it is February on Monday, we will know the identity sooner rather than later…

Update on January 30th – Rick Edwards on Twitter: “I would love to have done it but won’t be!” All signs appear to point towards Jones becoming Channel 4’s F1 presenter. I’ll update as and when I hear more.

Update on February 3rd – As reported above, it looks like Steve Jones has been chosen to lead Channel 4’s coverage. At 11:49, Murray in the comments noted that Jones had followed a lot of Formula 1 related accounts. I had a look and could see that Jones had followed every team and driver on the grid – including Red Bull Racing, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Within two hours of me then tweeting it, Jones had unfollowed the F1 people he had followed. The exceptions were David Coulthard and Lee McKenzie… unsurprisingly a Channel 4 spokesperson declined to comment when asked by Digital Spy.

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17 thoughts on “Whittling down the contenders to host Channel 4’s F1 coverage

  1. Your evidence is on people following others on Twitter. Rather than solid insider knowledge based on fact, you’ve chosen wishy washy. Brilliant. The host might come from above, but from incisive journalism, this will be more luck than judgement. Must try harder

    • Chris – I would not publish a list of names on here without secondary information from other sources. If a name has been mentioned above, there is a reason for it.

      Writing a random list of names in the hope I would hit the jackpot would not only be boring, but would also be shoddy journalism.

  2. F1 broadcasting blog has done a great job in this article summarising the info that is public so far. Also I don’t see them claiming to be a journalist!

  3. Unless I’ve missed something there’s been no official confirmation, from Whisper/C4 or Suzi Perry, that she won’t be part of the coverage. Certainly some other motorsport columnists don’t seem to be discounting her yet. While what you’ve written about Rick/Steve especially sounds plausible (not sure I buy Craig Doyle though, I can imagine him making a shortlist but can’t imagine him ever being chosen – more there to show the positives other presenters would bring, if that makes any sense) and I’m sure you fully trust your source, but the way you’ve written the start of this article “What we know so far” seems very strong without any public confirmation. Sources can lie or be lied to, and plans can change. After all at one stage we all knew Chris Evans wasn’t going to be hosting Top Gear…

    Think Rick Edwards is most likely, but Steve Jones in with a chance if has better motorsport knowledge / screentests better with DC/Eddie.

  4. In all honesty, I’d be pretty unhappy with anyone but Jaye. Steve Jones I don’t really want to see do it, that’s not his area I wouldn’t think, same with Rick Edwards, I don’t really think he’d fit the bill either, also 2 Edwards on the team isn’t right imo, I am yet to see Jarrett-Brown’s work so I can’t really judge. Doyle won’t pull out of MotoGP (and BT’s rugby) to do F1 he’s more 2 wheels than 4.

  5. I’m following Jake Humphrey, David coulthard and channel 4, does that mean Im in the running? I’ve stopped following Suzi Perry for good measure.

  6. Where is the confirmation that Suzi Perry will not be be moving over? I haven’t seen anything official but may have missed it…

  7. C4 doing something new and different didn’t mean assembling the old team. The BBC way seems to result in over focus on the BBC team.loads of wasted airtime . Its of note that DC never seemed to change his persona while ej no doubt went into showbiz mode to the detriment of his past achievement.

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