As I predicted at the close of 2015, former F1 driver and ex-BBC commentator has joined Channel 4 for their Formula 1 coverage, which will begin in Australia in mid March.
His company, Whisper Films, which is co-owned by ex-BBC F1 and current BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey, Sunil Patel and Coulthard himself had a stake in it bought by Channel 4 in August last year. Therefore it came as no surprise that Coulthard and Whisper Films would join Channel 4 for the F1 production.
The biggest surprise is that North One Production, who produced ITV’s 1997-2008 F1 coverage, and also the current BT Sport MotoGP coverage, got some rights, despite being Whisper Films’ biggest rival for the rights.
North One will produce the supplementary programming for F1 on Channel 4. In my eyes this isn’t the greatest of moves. ITV’s F1 coverage was extremely biased as is BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage. I don’t like biased sports coverage, this could be an exception if it were for exampleMUTV or Chelsea TV.
It is yet to be confirmed where Coulthard will be on the team, whether it is just being a pundit or remaining as a commentator as well, only time will tell, and I believe that an announcement should be out next month, stating what races they will have and who their line will consist of. However join Coulthard from the BBC will be Mark Wilkin, who will join Whisper Films as programme editor.
Whisper Films in the past have made the documentary ‘Racing with the Hamiltons: Nic in the Driving seat’ and also produced highlights of the 2015 Race of Champions for Channel 4.
In the press release from Channel 4, Ed Havard, Channel 4’s Head of TV Events and Sport, Sunil Patel, Executive Producer for Whisper Films and David Coulthard were interviewed.
Ed Havard said: “Whisper Films outlined an extremely impressive and exciting vision for their F1 coverage, with outstanding on and off screen talent as an integral part of their pitch. We are delighted that David Coulthard will be at the heart of Channel 4’s coverage and look forward to announcing the full presenting team in the coming weeks.”
Sunil Patel said: “Whisper Films has an unrivalled production team with over 20 years’ experience in Formula One and unique contacts throughout the sport. Channel 4 and the sport have talked about a new approach and we believe we are ideally placed to deliver this.”
Coulthard said: “This is an exciting time for the sport and an exciting time for Whisper Films. The F1 World has been incredibly impressed with what Whisper has delivered over the last five years and Channel 4’s decision is testament to that. I’m looking forward to being part of an exciting new era for Formula One, with Whisper Films and our proven level of creativity and innovation very much at the heart of that.”
I am very much looking forward to the new season of F1 with Channel 4 and also what they can produce this season, so far, in my opinion, it looks rather good.