Whisper will continue to produce Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage in 2020, Motorsport Broadcasting can confirm.
The production house, led by ex-BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard and Sunil Patel, has produced Channel 4’s offering since they entered the sport in 2016.
Following Sky’s successful bid to cover the sport exclusively from 2019, Channel 4 grabbed free-to-air highlights of every round and live coverage of the British Grand Prix – both elements sub-let from Sky.
Channel 4 accepted Whisper’s bid to produce their 2019 offering, and now the organisation will produce their 2020 coverage. Motorsport Broadcasting understands that Whisper fought off competition from North One Television to retain the production rights.
Neither Whisper or Channel 4 have made an official announcement, although industry magazine Broadcast are also reporting the news. 2020 is a big year for The Whisper Group, as they are also producing Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage from Tokyo.
The wording of the Formula 1 tender from Channel 4 meant that the number of interested parties would always be light on the ground.
Channel 4 stated that they would only consider proposals from parties with “extensive experience of production in the motor sport arena,” reducing the prospect of a new party entering the market.
Given the positive reception to Whisper’s coverage of F1 on Channel 4, it is unsurprising that Channel 4 have maintained the status quo for 2020.
What is unclear is whether the production contract between Channel 4 and Whisper covers 2020 only, or whether it covers the full length of Channel 4’s deal with Sky until the end of 2022.
Barring an approach from Sky for any of their talent, it is highly likely that Whisper’s Formula 1 coverage on Channel 4 will have the same look and feel in 2020.
Expect Steve Jones to continue to front their coverage for his fifth season in F1, alongside the likes of Ben Edwards, David Coulthard and Mark Webber.