Channel 4’s brand new Formula 1 team is unlikely to feature a dedicated technical analyst role, this site has learnt.
The full line-up had a photo shoot together during the week commencing 8th February, whilst Jake Humphrey spoke to Channel 4’s new Formula 1 presenter last Tuesday (16th February). Sources have indicated to this blog that the channel have opted not feature a technical analyst, which is the same view that BBC’s respective radio and television production teams have held in recent years.
As I mentioned in my pieces over Christmas, I said it was “critical that there is a technical view point represented in Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage.” Since then, we have learnt that Whisper Films will be producing the channel’s coverage, with former BBC F1 programme editor Mark Wilkin jumping ship to join Whisper. With other higher-up faces in the BBC F1 operation also joining Whisper Films, should we be too surprised by this news? Probably not.
One of the major stories that came out of Gary Anderson leaving BBC F1 in early 2014 was his opinion that the BBC (i.e. those now leading the Channel 4 operation) were “not interested” in technical analysis. More recently, Anderson speaking to AUTOSPORT last October said that “The casual viewers is where the big viewing numbers are and many of them don’t give a damn about what’s under the bonnet of an F1 car. They want action and they want a hero to worship.”
With Craig Scarborough, Mike Gascoyne and Mark Priestley all appearing on Sky Sports F1 in forthcoming weeks (the latter permanently from now on), you get the impression that Sky could become a centre of technical excellence on television if Channel 4’s coverage does indeed not feature a technical expert. How Channel 4 will choose to cover technical analysis during their coverage is unknown.
I would assume that, instead of bringing in someone dedicated to technical (like Ted Kravitz is on Sky), they will have a face such as Tom Clarkson duelling between technical where necessary and pit lane interviews. As I have said before on these pages, whilst I think Clarkson is a great reporter, I do not think he can be classed as a technical expert in the same way that Kravitz, Scarborough and Priestley are.