Stefano Domenicali joins Channel 4’s F1 team

Former Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali will be part of Channel 4’s Formula 1 team for the upcoming 2019 season, the broadcaster has announced.

Domenicali, who was Ferrari’s team principal between 2008 and 2014, will join the team “as a pundit and analyst for a number of races” this season. Adding Domenicali to the line-up adds a new perspective to the line-up outside of the cockpit, helping to keep Channel 4’s offering fresh this year.

Given Domenicali’s historical links with Ferrari, I am hopeful that this opens both Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel more to a UK audience this year, allowing UK fans to see more of their characters away from the track.

Channel 4’s line-up now consists of eight people in total. Steve Jones continues as lead presenter, with Ben Edwards as lead commentator. David Coulthard joins him in the commentary box, whilst Billy Monger, Mark Webber, Eddie Jordan and now Domenicali will provide analysis throughout the year.

Lee McKenzie continues at some races as interviewer, however, she will not be in the interview pen…

Restrictions placed upon C4
The BBC’s Andrew Benson is reporting that various restrictions have been placed upon Channel 4’s highlights programming by Sky, which this site can confirm.

I understand that Channel 4 cannot interview anyone on the grid before the race, nor can the broadcaster access the pit lane during the race itself. In addition, Benson notes that Channel 4’s interviews from the interview ‘pen’ must come from Sky.

As revealed last September, Channel 4’s highlights will be shorter this season, and begin a minimum of three hours after the race. The highlights package for the race will be two hours long including adverts, with qualifying clocking in at 90 minutes.

The race edit itself will be slightly shorter than previously years. In September, I wrote “around seven fewer minutes of action per race.” This will vary across the season, with races such as Australia this weekend hit the hardest.

In other words, Sky has a significant amount of control over what Channel 4 can and cannot air as part of its programming. It will be intriguing to see how Whisper Films works around the tight restrictions that Sky have enforced on them as the season progresses.

Elsewhere, fans will hear a different theme from the get-go on Saturday, with Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain no longer Channel 4’s signature theme. Channel 4 have yet to announce a new theme.

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11 thoughts on “Stefano Domenicali joins Channel 4’s F1 team

  1. Bad news for fans. Interested to see the impact on viewing figures.

    Messing about with C4 coverage like this won’t make more people want to pay for Sky….

  2. Real shame about the grid walk part of the coverage… Maybe a similar type of thing from the pit lane ‘enroute to grid’?

  3. Andrew Benson also said that Sky are paying so much to broadcast F1, they are now the major sponsor of the sport. Perhaps it would have made more sense to buy F1 when they had the opportunity. Then again, that may be sooner rather than later the way LM are hitting problems.

    I can’t help feeling the restrictions Sky are putting on Channel 4 might come back and bite them on the arse.

  4. The headline part – Domenicali joining them – is great. The rest of it is absolutely appalling! I cannot fathom how Liberty think these kind of limitations are good for the fans or the sport. No more grid walk. No pitlane reporting. No interviews in the pen. And Sky have stuffed up the damn theme tune as well. What is the point of the free-to-air coverage at all? So, so depressing.

  5. Its bad but it was all just bland question and answers anyway.
    They can do more news and features on drivers and teams instead beforehand.
    I never liked the idea of doorstepping someone deep in thought who could get killed in a few minutes time.
    Still doesn’t stop sky doing it I guess.

  6. Liberty Media don’t want people in the UK to be able to watch it because we are so good at it, they want to monopolise it so in the end it will become like Indy Car racing just for the Americans. They are trying to kill it in this country by making so many restrictions on Channel 4 which is ridiculous!

    • Liberty have no control, the poison dwarf sold it to Sky, they get to make the decisions as the highlights have been purchased from Sky not from Formula 1.
      Liberty have said as much in interviews that this isn’t their preferred option. The problem is as it ever was CVC we’re still dealing with legacy problems from the like the undeserved Ferrari bung.

  7. I think Channel 4 will send Lee or DC onto the Driver’s Parade and use that as part of the Pre-Race instead of Grid Walk. There will also be more VTs with Drivers and Team Bosses. Pushing Coverage into Primetime could aid figures and gain casual viewers but the further 1 hour will annoy the hardcore fans. I am however with the masses, Sky want to affect the chances of C4F1, but I don’t think audiences will suffer massively, unless people boycott the Sport we all love!

  8. Well, overall, Qualifying had a good programme on Channel 4 but the edit was ridiculous. Less than 30mins of coverage. I am pretty sure that we will be lucky to see half of the Race tomorrow. Love C4, Love Ben’s Commentary but the edit was ridiculous…
    Rant Over!

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