It is official – Suzi Perry is not part of Channel 4’s Formula 1 team. This evening, the former BBC F1 presenter confirmed on Twitter that she would not be part of the channel’s new line-up, whilst also ruling herself out of a Top Gear role.
To regular blog readers, the news should not be a surprise given that this site first reported the information on January 16th. It looks like, barring a major change of direction, that Steve Jones will be leading Channel 4’s coverage when the Formula 1 paddock arrives in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix.
The other major story this evening, first reported by Radio Times and then The Guardian, that Eddie Jordan will be part of BBC’s new Top Gear team. The Guardian believes that Jordan’s Top Gear deal “is almost certain to be finalised in the coming days.” That news comes at loggerheads to Charles Sale’s report a few weeks back which claimed Jordan will be part of Channel 4’s F1 team. It is highly unlikely that Jordan will be part of both teams, so one report is right and the other is wrong. I’m leaning towards Radio Times with this one. It’s plausible that Jordan could balance Top Gear with Channel 4’s live races only, but I don’t see it happening.
The Guardian’s report (if true) eliminates another player that could have been a permanent part of Channel 4’s team. Based on the survey results from the beginning of January, you would have to hope that Channel 4 have managed to get either Mark Webber or Allan McNish on-board. If not, then you’re looking towards Graeme Lowdon or Susie Wolff. Martin Whitmarsh ruled himself out two weeks ago, whilst Lowdon as part of Manor have today confirmed a Le Mans entry.
In 42 days, the lights will go out for the first practice session of the 2016 season. In 43 days, Channel 4’s first highlights programme goes to air. And yet, there is still a lot to learn…
Update on February 11th – Eddie Jordan now confirmed as a member of the Top Gear team.