Ted Kravitz to remain part of Sky’s Formula 1 team

Ted Kravitz will remain part of Sky’s Formula 1 team for the upcoming 2019 season, this site can confirm following a period of intense speculation about his future.

Kravitz’s future has been subject of social media discussion for several days, with reports circulating last Friday that Kravitz will not be part of Sky’s set-up this season. In an article on this website, Sky have listed Kravitz as part of their 2019 team.

The story behind the story can be traced back to the end of 2017, when Sky appointed Scott Young as their Head of Formula 1, following Martin Turner’s departure from the team.

2018 was always going to be a year of transition as Young looked to see what, in his view, is working, and what needed shaking up within the Sky F1 hierarchy.

As this site predicted months before Young joined, the new person in town had a difficult task ahead of them. “Do they upset the apple cart by creating a fresh new line-up, mixed with the old and the new, or will they stick by their current talent?” were the words that I wrote half way through 2017.

And, as reported last September, it became apparent that Young was looking to shake things up. Both Karun Chandhok and Jenson Button joined the team ahead of this season, whilst the broadcaster was quick to deny other rumours that were making their way through the Grand Prix paddock.

Industry sources have indicated to this site for some time that Kravitz’s Sky future was in doubt. Motorsport Broadcasting can now confirm the reports that circulated over the weekend that Young initially opted not to renew Kravitz’s contract for the 2019 season.

However, this site can exclusively confirm that the decision to axe Kravitz was overturned from within, with discussions between Sky and Kravitz ongoing regarding his ‘return’ in recent weeks.

The u-turn from Sky is not a result of any social media storm that unfolded over the weekend, the wheels for his return were in motion far before the leak. This writer chose not to write about the subject of Kravitz’s potential exit given that negotiations were ongoing between both parties, and any decision to publish an article could jeopardise those.

Elsewhere, Sky have confirmed that Anthony Davidson will remain part of their line-up despite Sky omitting him from their press release last Friday. Expect a similar number of races for Davidson compared to previous years.

Analysis: Better heads prevail
Possibly one of the most surprising, and bewildering, Formula 1 broadcasting stories, on a human level, in years. Was Scott Young really thinking of getting rid of Ted Kravitz from the Sky Sports F1 set-up?

Amazingly, astonishingly, the answer is yes.

The idea of people coming and going is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. Ask Jonathan Legard, Gary Anderson, or Georgie Ainslie (nee. Thompson), three examples of where a UK F1 broadcaster has parted company with the talent in question (or vice versa) for one reason or another in the off-season.

The idea of a new person coming in to the lead the ship and wanting some fresh blood through the doors is also not a novel concept, it is a concept that exists in businesses worldwide.

But, the idea of not renewing the contract of one of the most popular on-air team members from the Sky Sports F1 line-up in a year where Sky needs every viewer and subscription they can get from Formula 1 strikes me as a very narrow-minded decision.

If you asked one hundred F1 fans on the street what they would change about Sky’s F1 line-up, I suspect very few would say ‘get rid of Ted Kravitz’. In a poll on this site in 2016 asking fans who they thought was Sky F1’s biggest asset, Kravitz placed second, with Martin Brundle heading the table.

Only Scott Young can answer why he thought axing Kravitz was a good idea. Whether it is his view that only ex-drivers and ex-F1 personnel can be pundits, I do not know. You do not need to have ‘been there, done that’ to be knowledgeable on a subject. Kravitz may not have been a racer, but he has risen through the ranks of ITV, BBC and now Sky.

Inevitably, some of the above leads us to the decision to overturn Young’s original move. Those within the Sky set-up will know how popular Kravitz is, and no doubt will have tried to fight his corner in the battle to keep him in the line-up.

Some of those working with Kravitz have worked with him since the BBC and ITV F1 days, so have had a longstanding professional and personal relationship with him. Given the outcome that we now know, clearly those that did fight for him behind the scenes went some distance to get the outcome they, and the fans, wanted.

The outcry on Twitter that has dominated the weekend were a day late, and a dollar short. Kravitz’s absence from the first F1 test in Barcelona, where he would have normally presented his Notebook output on Sky Sports, made it clear to those watching that something was going on behind the scenes, making a leak inevitable.

Some of the comments on social media, specifically those directed towards Karun Chandhok (who Young has brought into the fold), have bordered on being frankly unacceptable and abhorrent.

I understand the frustration (proving the point of Kravitz’s popularity), but that does not excuse those who have directed abuse towards other members of Sky’s team, and Young himself for that matter.

About Kravitz himself, are his contributions as good as they were a few years ago? In my view, Sky overexpose him slightly on-air, and his content around the Notebook could do with evolving somewhat. Those are minor concerns though, and certainly nothing to suggest that Sky should get rid of him. He is still one of the best members of Sky’s on-air team.

Whether Kravitz has a long-term future at Sky beyond 2019, or whether he is with them for every race this season, is unclear. I would not be at all surprised if F1 themselves came knocking for 2020 if it came to fruition that this is a short-term contract between Sky and Kravitz.

For the moment, better heads have prevailed, and Sky have avoided a PR disaster after a weekend to forget across social media.

Now, when does Australia start?

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19 thoughts on “Ted Kravitz to remain part of Sky’s Formula 1 team

  1. Phew.
    I’m all for change and freshening things up, but not at the expense of someone who is well connected and brings something ‘different’ to the table. Ted ticks those boxes.

    If Scott was looking to make on air personnel changes, Johnny Herbert could go M. I. A, and not be missed.

    That said, I had no doubt that if Ted’s Sky HQ security pass was withdrawn, I would have hoped F1 TV, or even Channel 4 would have picked him up.

    • Bring back Ted. His notebook was always a pleasure to watch and very easy to understand all the information. We both looked forward to seeing him after every grand prix

  2. “Only Scott Young can answer why he thought axing Kravitz was a good idea.”

    Yep just as only Scott Young can answer why they thought drivers playing Jenga was a better idea than showing F2 live. If they’ve got any sense of humour there should be a #WheresTed feature in Melbourne where he visits lesser shown areas of the paddock or Melbourne!

    • #WheresTed should become part of the Notebook! Where he starts the notebook in a spot we never get to see, and then wonders off along the paddock as he always does.

  3. It doesn’t bode well for UK viewers (officially) saddled with Sky’s new exclusivity for live F1 broadcasts, that this new regime even considered losing such a unique broadcasting asset, nor that his long term future is potentially not secure.

    I would perfectly understand some paring down of the bloated wider line-up of generic ex-driver pundits, some of whom add nothing of value yet appear at every race – looking especially extraneous when collected around Damon Hill in one of their semi-circular, end-of-show round-up huddles.

    Adding Chandok however seems like a smart and encouraging move. He aquitted himself well via impressive and insightful reporting and punditry on C4, presenting as a refreshingly thoughtful and calm contributer – contrasting nicely with the overly-enthusiastic, yet often less well informed presenting styles of others.

    Whatever he lacked in his driving days, he more than makes up for with his sober, informed and well-considered contributions from the pit lane, and beyond.

    I had no idea there was any negative reaction to that announcement on social media. I simply can’t think of anything Sky subscribers could have to complain about, especially in the context of the wider existing line-up?

    I’m guessing that whatever criticism and abhorrent comment there was, had little substance to it…

  4. There was some substance in it (along with a lot of plain old inexcusable abuse) is as mentioned in the article would be losing another non ex-pro in sports broadcasting. Football is the worst for the ‘old boys’ network of anodyne pundits not wanting to upset their mates etc.

    Karun is a welcome addition particularly but if anything it should’ve been at the expense of one of the other ex-drivers not Ted and anyone other than Ant or Brundle would not have been a huge miss on the punditry side.

    I do think Di Resta is coming on well particularly in the co-commentary role. With Brundle only doing 18 races and turning 60 it makes sense to have a replacement ready to go if decides to retire (say when this deal expires). He seems to read a race pretty well (a necessity when paired with Croft) and his reaction the split second before the Red Bulls came together in Baku was very Brundle-esque.

  5. Count me among those strong supporters and fans of Ted that are very relieved that Sky woke up and kept him.

    Although I used to be a fan of Crofty, his recent overwrought style has been grating on me and I’m not alone in that reaction. Hopefully, Sky may ask him to dial it down a bit.

    One question remains unanswered: will F1 TV Pro continue to use the Sky commentary feed? If not, who will replace them?

  6. I’m pleased that Ted Kravits is staying at sky as He’s such a big asset to them,I enjoy what he does as he tells the viewers what is exactly going on in and around the paddock.some people may not like him but what he brings to the sport of F1 is very useful for instance his analysis of every team at the end of qualifying and the race which is valuable!!

  7. Fascinating article. Thanks for the insight! Kind of relieved he’s staying. His work may need freshening up a bit but Ted Kravitz is still very good.

    A bit worrying if the idea taking hold is to only go for ex-drivers. Kravitz definitely has his place. Ex-team personnel alongside him could work though; a Pat Symonds or a Paddy Lowe if he becomes free.

    Not sure about Ted at F1 TV unless they can make a clear divide between him and Will Buxton. They’re both great but may not work as a duo.

    • Will n Ted? Ted n Will? – tell all! Love it, Jonathan, they’d make a great team, but personally, I like them , and think they should both stay as part of a pretty good team, ps see my posted comments.

  8. Agree with majority of comments here, always thoroughly enjoy Teds input, love his techy bits, but only one mention of PDR. I think Paul is well informed, and his clear and interesting input would be missed. If we have to have female input, to be pc compliant, I believe Natalie Pinkham is a far better choice, between the two females, she doesn’t gabble at the speed of an F1 car, and I believe, is by far the more knowledgeable and interesting and the clearer spoken of the two ladies, both ideal attributes for that job.
    As for two of the others, Karun, who I think is a good addition, but, at present, lacking in personality, which I’m sure, will develop with time and confidence, and Brundle, who needs to rein in his arrogance, adoration of Lewis and heavy bias towards Lewis, which is sick-making. His droning voice has grated on me for years, other comments re him, pretty truthful. His pit walk is pathetic though, simple!

  9. I’m very relieved that Ted will be back in the paddock.

    Ted provides something unique, and for me, the Notebook, (along with his Development Corner feature) are some of the highlights of an F1 weekend. Ted’s quirky style, and often off-on-a-tangent, somewhat rambling Notebook anecdotes are priceless, giving the viewers a real behind the scenes look at the stories in the paddock. He knows everyone there, and no one seems to mind when he bumps in to them in after the race.

    In my opinion, Sky does have too many former drivers on the roster.
    I’m not that interested in listening to the thoughts of Herbert, or Hill as they don’t have any current knowledge to add to the analysis, it’s not their fault, but it is a long time since they last drove a modern F1 car.

    I prefer the analysis of Brundle, Davidson, Chandhok and Button. I’d also like more airtime for Natalie Pinkham and Rachel Brookes.

    But, to be honest, Ted is the reason that I stay tuned after the race, which means that Ted is also the reason I sit through the advert breaks!

  10. They need to stop Johnny “Sort of” Herbert doing commentary. His sort of habit of sort of saying “sort of” in pretty much every sort of sentence makes me want to throw things at my TV. If he’s on F2 commentary again this year (should they show any of it live) I will genuinely (not sort of) be watching with the sound off.

  11. Dear David, wonderful to hear they’re keeping Ted though I do understand why his post qualy and post race shows might need more insight and less dry humour. What irks me is that Sky does absolutely nothing to keep their viewers informed/amused during the week. Does anybody know why they got rid of the midweek F1 report show. That was a keeper and relatively cheap to produce! Instead they kept Johnny ‘they’re allsort of hunting for grip’ Herbert. It is a disgrace the way Scott Young is trying to turn something reasonable into something poor. Being an NFL fan and a long-time Gamepass subscriber mr Young I can’t wait for F1TV pro.

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