Channel 4 F1 vs Sky Sports F1: Your 2016 Verdict Revealed

2016 saw a wave of change in the Formula 1 broadcasting world, with the BBC announcing its television exit at the end of 2015 and Channel 4 stepping into the fray. As usual, this site has had feedback on the coverage of both Channel 4 and Sky during 2016, and positives can be picked out from both sides.

The popular opinion amongst readers is that Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage has started off brightly, with some wishing that Channel 4 and Whisper are able to continue covering Formula 1 in some form beyond 2018.

Channel 4’s coverage has been excellent, I would love them to continue after 2019. – Tom

Given the relatively short amount of time C4 had to prepare, I think they have little to be disappointed about, which makes it all the more frustrating that from 2019, no live coverage. – davidd93

In particular, the revolving punditry received praise from the likes of James Hurrell and Naz, with multiple commenters noting how the mix of pundits from Susie Wolff to Eddie Jordan was right for the programming. Steve Jones was liked by the majority of readers. TMD_NASCAR noted that Jones settled in well whilst others added that the relationship on-screen between Jones and David Coulthard is excellent.

Channel 4’s coverage on the other hand has been like a breath of fresh air, with Steve Jones’s role and his banter with DC, key to the whole tone of their presentation. They don’t give Karun Chandhok enough airtime, but he still manages to always fill it with key points and predictions and his knowledge is incredible. – Golly

Channel 4’s graphics were largely praised by rosswilliamquinn and TMD_NASCAR, although steven felt that they would have suited 2006 more than 2016. One element that received criticism from multiple people was the ‘missing pundits’ as davidd93 correctly pointed out.

I do need to raise one point – missing presenters from the announcement.

  • Where was Nic Hamilton?
  • Where was Bruno Senna? (I only remember seeing him during the opening sequence of Brazil)
  • Where was Alain Prost (I only remember seeing him during one race weekend, but I can’t remember which one)
  • I’m not including Alex Zanardi since even before the first race, he basically denied any involvement, despite C4’s announcement.

As they were part of the C4 announcement, I was expecting more from all of the above as part of the rotational basis, but I was disappointed that that never materialised.

The second point of criticism concerned the lack of ‘in-depth analysis’ according to James Hurrell, with simonhullf going as far to as calling Channel 4’s output ‘dumbed down’.

Over on Sky, one of the main people praised was Simon Lazenby. Lazenby annoyed ThomasJPitts less in 2016, with simonhullf comparing him to a familiar name…

I think Simon Lazenby has really grown on me – he’s the modern day Jim Rosenthal – very solid, and most often asking the right questions. The much improved chemistry between Lazenby, Herbert and Hill has really helped.

A few readers noted that whilst Sky’s line-up has been around for a while, and opinions differ on whether this is a good thing.

I’ve been a hardcore viewer of Sky’s F1 coverage since the very beginning and have to say on the whole I’ve been very impressed with their coverage this season. I would agree that Sky’s lineup is becoming stale, but without a doubt Ted Kravitz, Martin Brundle and Anthony Davidson are the gems. – simonhullf

The rest of the team are their usual high quality, even if it does feel a bit stale now, 5 (?) seasons in. – ThomasJPitts

In terms of Sky, I’m bored of Lazenby, Herbert and Hill. Too stale and far too matey in the way they interact. – stevvy

The commentary line-up of David Croft and Martin Brundle received widespread praise with readers noting that Brundle is still the best commentator out there. Sky did receive the (now usual) criticism about their content outside of the weekend decreasing along with overhyping features, this being noted by stevvy, simonhullf and Rob Bortkiewicz.

Elsewhere, the BBC’s radio coverage received compliments from blog readers, in particular theirb podcast.

Five Live coverage has been good (although hidden away from the radio itself too often) – the dynamic between Tom Clarkson and Jack Nicholls is good in the absence of Allan McNish and it makes for an entertaining listen. – DC

As a group they actually seem to be having the most fun and have the most passion and aren’t afraid to argue their points with each other. Their post race review show/podcast is a staple of my Monday mornings providing a little more insight on the event and any fallout from long after C4 and Sky have packed up and gone. – James Hurrell

There is a lot more opinions on the post itself, including some 2017 suggestions for Sky and Channel 4 (most include the word ‘Jenson’) which is worth a read, as always the above is just a taster of feedback on the site.

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2 thoughts on “Channel 4 F1 vs Sky Sports F1: Your 2016 Verdict Revealed

  1. I always found that I watched the pre and post race shows on C4 but switched over to Sky for the actual race itself. I thought both channels did a good job this year. C4’s features and pundits were miles ahead of Sky’s. Hill and Herbert add almost nothing insightful to a broadcast they seem to just repeat what others have already said. Anthony Davidson on the Skypad is the best thing on either channel. He points out exactly how and why something happened and gives a level of insight the regular person could never see for themselves. It’s just a shame he does so few races now, Paul Di Resta is ok but he is nowhere close to Davidson. C4’s revolving pundits felt fresh and like they had something new to add to the discussion at least. Sky had the best commentators, Ben Edwards has a really irritiating squeaky shouty voice and Brundle is the best so it’s a no brainer to watch that part on Sky.

    If you could combine the two broadcasting teams into a super channel the perfect line up would have. Steve Jones as presenter, Revolving pundits from Mark Webber, Susie Wolf, Anthony Davidson, Karun Chandhok and Eddie Jordan and get rid of the rest. I know Davidson and Chandhok were rarely used as pundits but I think they would be great there. Also I’d find some way to keep both Lee Mckenzie and Rachel Brookes as the interviewers, I think they are both great. Then Ted Kravitz as the pit lane reporter as he is still the best in the business at what he does. Keep Davidson also on the Skypad as the insights he spots there are fantastic. That just leaves Croft, Brundle and Coulthard in the commentary box. The three man commentary worked great and with these three I think we would have the best of both worlds without the irritating Ben Edwards getting in the way.

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