Channel 4 races to build Formula 1 team
New UK terrestrial broadcaster has just weeks to assemble presenters and production staff ahead of 2016 F1 season
Channel 4 are faced with a race against time to put together a Formula 1 broadcasting team for the start of the season, after taking over the UK television rights from the BBC.
The company will fulfil the remaining three years of the BBC’s contract until the end of 2018, after the corporation decided to drop the sport because of a $300m gap in their finances. This follows an increase in people watching television using catch-up services, which don’t require them to pay the licence fee.
Mirroring the previous contract with the BBC, Channel 4 will broadcast ten of the 21 races live in 2016, with the remainder presented as highlights shows. The identity of the ten live races is yet to be confirmed, but all will be shown without advert breaks during the race action, as will the highlights. Sky Sports will continue to broadcast all races live, as they did last year.
The switch was announced on 21 December, giving Channel 4 less than three months in which to put together a group to handle the presenting, production and technical side of broadcasting Formula 1. The BBC took a team of around 40 people to the live races.
David Coulthard, who has emerged as one of the stars of British F1 broadcasting, was the first