After drawing blanks of ideas for who will make the C4 F1 team when writing my report of Channel 4 taking over the FTA Formula 1 coverage, I have had a week to think about of who will be there, and I think I’ve got the team that could be the main men and women for the new coverage of Formula 1.
I’m gonna get the obligatory mention to Ron Burgandy, Brian Fontana, Brick Tamland and Champ Kind. None of which will feature in their line-up. Not even Champ Kind.
To start with, I’d like to mention people who many would think be considered, but will not be there. Firstly is BBC TV pit lane reporter, Lee McKensie. The reason why she will not be at Channel 4 is that she is contracted to anchor the Rugby and the Olympics, by the BBC next year, and therefore, she shall stay with the BBC, I think she will move to the Radio coverage of Formula 1, as a pit reporter, replacing Jennie Gow. This tweet from her also seems to back this up. This is almost the same with 2012 World Endurance Champion, Allan McNish. In this tweet, he also wished Channel 4 good luck with their coverage, looking like he will be retained as Co-commentator at BBC Radio, alongside James Allen, and occasionally Jack Nicholls. Eddie Jordan is a marmite character. You love him, or you hate him. I, for one, really like Eddie Jordan, and I think he is brilliant, however, now Formula 1 is off the BBC, I think that he won’t be picked up by Channel 4 to continue, so will probably retire and go off round the world in his yacht again.
Anyway, without further ado, these are my picks for the Channel 4 F1 Team.
Presenter: Andy Jaye
Allocating the presenter was the trickiest of the lot. I was constantly thinking of who to put, and I had no idea until @PurpleSectorGP suggested it to me on Sunday. Andy Jaye is an experienced presenter, and has had his hand at motorsport for a while. Many people may recognise him from the Berlin and Moscow ePrix’s with ITV, while deputising for Jennie Gow. He also has done commentary on speedway for Eurosport, presented at Sky Sports News, and also, most importantly, has worked with Channel 4 in the past.
He’s my tip for the presenting job, however I would like to point out Suzi Perry is still one of the favourites in my eyes. However, I’m not sure whether she would make the jump from BBC to Channel 4.
Pundit 1: David Coulthard
David Coulthard jumped out of an F1 car at the 2nd corner of the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix for the final time. The next race he was on hand for the BBC F1 team in Melbourne. He hasn’t stopped since. I have read the rumours about Coulthard joining Top Gear, however, I don’t think that this would rule him out of being a pundit again on C4. He also has connections with Channel 4, the sport producer ‘Whisper Films’ is co-owned by DC and also ex-F1 presenter Jake Humphrey, and Channel 4 bought a stake in the company last August. Therefore I can see him at Channel 4, as for Jake, I’ll get onto him later. He would be an amazing asset to Channel 4’s coverage.
Pundit 2: Susie Wolff
Susie Wolff became the first female driver in 23 years to take part in an official F1 session, and in November, at the Race of Champions, she raced for the last time, before retiring from professional motorsport. I admit, this one might be a bit of a long shot, but I believe that she could join.
Pundit 3/ Co-commentator: Mark Webber
This one is most definitely on the cards, I’ve been told by someone whose friend works in the industry that they are trying to get Mark Webber on board, not only as a pundit, but as a colour commentator. I think having Mark in the commentary box would be pretty amazing anyways let alone as a pundit as well. However, the new World Endurance Champion will want to defend his crown, next year, so I’d guess he’d rather do that than present for Channel 4. But he would be a brilliant asset to Channel 4, and I would guess that he would miss China, Baku, Hungary, Monza and Singapore, where I’d guess that they’d get David (Coulthard) back up in the commentary box.
Lead Commentator: Ben Edwards
To be honest, I think this one was a bit of a given. I personally can’t see anyone but Ben Edwards becoming the lead commentator at Channel 4, and I’m sure he is number one on their list. From commentating BTCC on ITV, and Formula One on Eurosport, F1 Digital and BBC, he has a lot of experience, knows his stuff, and in many eyes (mine included), he is the best motorsports commentator still in the job.
I’m sure many will say what about James Allen or Jack Nicholls, but I believe that James is tied down at the BBC, and I can’t see Jack leaving Formula E to become the Channel 4 commentator, and I wouldn’t want him to either, he and Dario Franchitti are amazing together, and are my favourite commentary line up.
Pit Reporter/ Interviewer 1: Tom Clarkson
Since joining the BBC in 2013, I think that Tom Clarkson has been a brilliant pit reporter, and in all fairness, I almost put him down for the presenting role. He would be brilliant for C4, and is another pick from the now ex-BBC F1 team.
Pit Reporter/ Interviewer 2: Jennie Gow
Jennie Gow fronted the BBC’s MotoGP coverage in 2010, however was dropped after a single season. In 2011, she started work for the BBC Radio 5 Live coverage of Formula 1 and has been there since, In Summer 2014, she was also announced as the presenter for ITV4’s coverage of the brand new FIA Formula E championship. It’s easy to see that she has been in motorsport long enough to know her stuff, therefore an easy possibility for Channel 4. Lee McKensie (as mentioned earlier), will stay at the BBC, so it would be logical if Jennie moves to Channel 4, replacing what Lee did for the BBC TV, as Lee would move to 5live, replacing her.
As I said in my last article, Channel 4 have been interested in Formula 1 for a while now. So why don’t they expand their coverage even more to have a magazine show, I know this does sound rather unlikely, but it is possible and could happen. In 2012, Jake Humphrey left his role as the anchor of BBC’s F1 coverage to stay closer to home, as his first child was born the following March. Now a father of two, I’m sure Jake would like to stay in the UK more, however as a co-owner of Whisper Films (as I mentioned earlier), he could make a return presenting a magazine show on Channel 4. However, I must add, this is a long shot. Maybe TF1 Friday (sorry, I know that was awful) could be a thing for Channel 4 to try and do, and with Jake Humphrey at the helm that would be another great bonus to C4’s coverage.
So my Final Line up is:
Presenter: Andy Jaye
Pundits: David Coulthard, Susie Wolff & Mark Webber
Commentators: Ben Edwards & Mark Webber (or DC when Mark races in WEC)
Pit Reporters: Jennie Gow & Tom Clarkson
(?)Magazine Show: Jake Humphrey
Either way, if you like my ideas, disagree, whatever, leave your thoughts on this below. And also, I’d like to thank F1 Broadcasting, which motivated be to do this. Hope you all had an amazing Christmas, and I’ll be back in the new year to look at the races Channel 4 and Sky will choose to show.