The BBC have today confirmed their line up for the 2014 Formula One season. Suzi Perry returns as presenter to front the coverage, with David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan serving as expert analysts.
Coulthard will also partner Ben Edwards in the commentary box, whilst Tom Clarkson and Lee McKenzie will be in pit-lane. However, as noted a few weeks ago, Gary Anderson is absent. Disappointingly, and in some ways disgracefully in my view, BBC have not acknowledged this in today’s press release. Why? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been with a team ten days or ten years, your contribution should be acknowledged. BBC, and Ben Gallop, acknowledged Legard’s contributions when the two parted ways at the end of 2010, so why not Anderson now? As it turns out, Anderson is doing more AUTOSPORT work for 2014, so BBC’s loss is AUTOSPORT’s gain.
The radio team is identical last year, with Allan McNish on board for fifteen races instead of the six races as it was last year. James Allen and Jennie Gow are back on board as well. McNish it appears has an extended role for 2014. Ben Gallop, BBC’s Head of F1, said: “The 2014 F1 season picks up pace tomorrow as testing begins and the BBC’s F1 team is ready to deliver another exciting year of coverage. We’re delighted that Allan McNish is on board with the team this year in an expanded role – his experience and expertise is an invaluable addition, especially as he joins us straight from a highly successful career on the track. The strength of our presenting line up is something we are very proud of and it’s great to have them back again for 2014. We’re looking forward to the new season and delivering audiences a great package across TV, radio and online.”
Allan McNish said: “Now that I have hung up my racing helmet, I am really looking forward to joining the BBC team again for what I am sure is going to be a fantastic new F1 season. With so many technical rule changes, as well as team and driver movements, there will be lots of things happening on and off track for the BBC team to bring to you.” McNish’s quote amuses me purely because: if the technical side was so important, then surely they would have kept Anderson? As much as I am looking forward to McNish’s contribution, I have to question why BBC are going in the same direction of travel as Sky with a driver heavy line-up. An interesting note is that BBC say that McNish “will also feature across the BBC’s F1 output”. How he will fit into TV’s plans I have no idea. I suspect he’ll be part of BBC’s highlights weekends on TV and some live weekends to add some variety to the line-up.
The last quote on the BBC press release is confusing and potentially misleading “BBC One and BBC One HD will show nine races live on TV [..] with extended highlights programmes of the remaining races. This goes the same for practice and qualifying.” I don’t envisage highlights of practice in any form (especially on BBC One!) and I think this is simply a mistake, but I will update this blog if I hear differently.