Channel 4 and Whisper Films have today confirmed the line-up that will cover Formula 1 throughout the 2016 season.
As noted, and analysed in a separate article, Steve Jones is presenting Channel 4’s coverage. Alongside Jones in the pit lane will be a plethora of pundits.
How The F1 Broadcasting Blog has covered the Winter story
> December 21st: Channel 4 in, BBC TV out
> January 11th: Whisper Films and David Coulthard confirmed
> January 11th: Your Channel 4 F1 team revealed
> January 16th: Suzi Perry out
> January 18th: 2016 scheduling confirmed
> January 29th: Steve Jones in the presenter hot-seat
> February 12th: ‘The Chain’ confirmed
> February 20th: No technical expert expected
> March 8th: Steve Jones (and everyone else) confirmed
Ben Edwards joins from the BBC, where he was lead commentator from 2012 onwards. Edwards will again be joined in the commentary box by Coulthard. In pit lane, Karun Chandhok will be interviewing the drivers up and down the grid (his role is billed as ‘technical expert’), with Lee McKenzie also jumping over from the BBC.
On the punditry side will be Eddie Jordan, Mark Webber, Susie Wolff, Bruno Senna, Alain Prost, Alessandro Zanardi and Nicholas Hamilton, all of who will be used in rotation through the season. Like his previous role at the BBC, Murray Walker will be interviewing stars of Formula 1 away from the race circuit. There are three main surprises here. The first is that Jordan and McKenzie will be part of Channel 4’s coverage despite early suspicions that both would not be involved, the former having recently signed up for Top Gear.
Furthermore, Bruno Senna has defected from Sky Sports to Channel 4. Lastly, Hamilton may be a surprise, but he has presenting experience having presented Channel 4’s coverage of the Race of Champions last November which was produced by Whisper Films. Overall, this looks like a fantastically strong team that Channel 4 have put together.
In other news today, it was announced that Channel 4’s coverage will be sponsored by the travel search engine website KAYAK.co.uk. Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer, said: “This is the dream team – we’ve brought together the very best on screen and off screen talent to make Channel 4’s coverage unmissable.”
David Coulthard said: “I’m very proud to be a part of this exciting line up which will give F1 fans who choose to watch the most creative and innovative free-to-air coverage of the season a totally fresh perspective. This season promises to be the most competitive for years and viewers can look forward to extensive coverage of all the races, expert punditry, unrivalled paddock and pit access as well as exhilarating stunts and features throughout to bring the audience right into the heart of the race action.”
Update on March 13th at 12:00 – In what I can only describe as a very bizarre development, Alex Zanardi has denied that he will be part of Channel 4’s Formula 1 team. This is odd because there was a VT shown with him talking during the press morning last Tuesday. I’m chasing up word from Channel 4 and will update this when I get word.
Update on March 13th at 19:00 – Pitch PR have re-iterated that Zanardi will be part of Channel 4’s coverage. They say: “Alex is very much part of the coverage. As per the press pack from Tuesday, which gives more details on each person’s role in the coverage, he will be filming features with DC during the season but will not be presenting at any races as he is in training for the Rio Olympics.”