Channel 4 F1 vs Sky Sports F1: Your 2017 Verdict Revealed

The 2017 Formula One season was Channel 4’s second year covering the sport, and Sky Sports F1’s sixth season, in a static season on the UK broadcasting front. Of course, that all changes again soon ready for 2019.

This site offered readers the opportunity to comment on all aspects of their broadcasting, along with how Formula One Management have performed this year, following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 24 comments have since appeared, so thanks to all who have contributed.

Inevitably, it is difficult for broadcasters to keep things fresh in their second season with higher expectation, but readers such as Oskar and Jamie believe that Channel 4 continued to impress. I agreed especially with Peter‘s comment about their coverage:

I’ve found the Channel 4 team to be a real delight. Steve Jones is a really affable and light hearted presence to a sport that can sometimes take itself too seriously. I really didn’t know what to think of Jones when he was announced as C4’s lead presenter two years ago but to me he’s been a real gift. Coulthard, Webber and Chandhok are quite simply superb – intelligent, informed, eloquent and all with a great charisma and humour to them. Susie Wolff talks sense all the time and acts as the perfect foil to Jordan’s somewhat interesting perspectives.

The verdict was negative towards Jordan from a number of readers, more so than in previous years, with michaelpassingham saying that Jordan is “doing damage to Channel 4’s reputation”, and their Formula 1 coverage as a result.

Andy and Jonathan Teague felt the same way about Jordan, the former going further by saying that F1 is not one of Channel 4’s good programmes. Others believe that Channel 4’s coverage continues to remain on-top:

Sport to them is scarce, yet sacred. Of course they neglected it at times, like in Brazil, but when live, it’s clear to see the enthusiasm they have for Formula 1, because they’re new to it. – Max Turner

I’ve subscribed to Sky F1 since its launch, but watch Channel 4 EVERY time they have a race live as their presentation and team have, for me, a much fresher and entertaining feel. – SDA

One thing that Sky has which Channel 4 does not is Martin Brundle, and that remains the number one reason for many readers continuing to watch Sky’s coverage. Alessio Dimaria says that Brundle “still has the same enthusiasm and passion as he did when he first started.”

Dimaria also noticed Nico Rosberg’s punditry during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, noting that it was “a breath of fresh air” to have him part of Sky’s output

Overall, I prefer Lazenby’s gang to the Jones gang. David Croft is an able commentator, and is well supported by Anthony Davidson and Paul Di Resta in the practice sessions. Ted Kravitz is unsurpassed in the pit lane and paddock, and his Notebook is one of the highlights of the weekend for me. For the race I usually switch on in time for Martin’s gridwalk, and he is still the best in the business when it comes to co-commentary. – PhilR

1: Brundle, knows what’s happening and has the right broadcasting demeanour for every occasion. The grid walks are getting more tricky but that’s probably more to do with FOM directives on drivers than anything else. And 2: Ted Kravitz. How anyone can spend 30 minutes walking through a busy paddock looking at a notebook, being distracted and making an entertaining piece of TV every time always leaves me in awe. – ToneXIR

2017 was Liberty Media’s first covering the sport, and Max Turner believes that Sky failed to sufficiently refresh their coverage to reflect the new ownership and direction. As Turner eloquently says, “Solid becomes boring and the viewer looks elsewhere — and there is somewhere else for half of the season.”

I’m not sure if that’s their style personally, or whether it’s the Sky tendency to turn everything into a ‘saga’. I’m sorry to say I genuinely don’t think Simon Lazenby and Paul Di Resta entertain. I’m sure they’re decent guys trying to do a decent job, and their stuff is informative. But I just don’t think it quite works. And despite their considerable resources, it’s the Sky team that looks a bit threadbare compared to 2012. – Lesmo

Not everything agrees with Lesmo on Lazenby, PhilR believes he has “much improved over the last two seasons.” Elsewhere, the Formula Two commentary pairing of Davide Valsecchi and Alex Jacques received much deserved praise from Max Turner. Stateside, Jeff Bartenslager believes that the move of Formula 1 from NBC to ESPN will turn out to be a “big mistake” for the sport.

As always, the above is just a taster of what readers are discussing, and to be honest, there are a plethora of good opinions worth reading.


F1 Verdict - 2017 WordCloud full

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2 thoughts on “Channel 4 F1 vs Sky Sports F1: Your 2017 Verdict Revealed

  1. It’s nothing more than personal choice when it comes to subjects like this. Personally, I’ve never understood the ‘they need to change/freshen up the line up’ view, I like having the same crew if they deliver what I want.
    C4 lack depth in quality, Jones is pretty much the worst sports presenter I’ve seen, but I’m older, may be have different standards, and as I’ve said, it’s personal choice.

    Having dumped Sky for the last 3 months of 2017, I’ve resorted to 5 Live and C4.
    Whilst Crofty was becoming annoying, the Sky pairing beats C4, Edwards always ends a sentence as if he’s going to a commercial break. 5 Live is bad, partly because of the Beebs inability to cover a sport properly but mainly to a poor lead commentator.

    I’d never come across Lazenby until he fronted F1, but I think he’s quite good.
    In some respects, the choice of broadcaster is not about the broadcaster itself, but the people it employs. No doubt many of us would pick Brundle, Kravitz, McKenzie, Chandhok, Symonds and Davidson as their preferred choices, but the ‘ideal’ line up is unlikely when there is more than one broadcaster.

    I was impressed by C4’s coverage of Test Cricket when they had the coverage years ago, their F1 effort fails miserably in comparison, but like many things these days, that may be due to a less discerning viewer.

  2. I just wish that someone could commentary over the start of a race without saying “LIGHTS OUT, AWAY WE GO!!!!” I mean seriously, every single time!
    Although it became his catchphrase Murray Walker never started every single race with GO! GO! GO! He kept things nice and varied which I wish Ben or David would start doing

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