NBC Formula 1 Broadcasts Could Be a Seamless Transition From The Speed Channel

Next year in the USA the Formula 1 television broadcast will switch from The Speed Channel to the NBC network.  The Speed Channel has been showing the Formula 1 races for about 17 years.  I have become comfortable with these broadcasts and I have found them generally to be informative and somewhat entertaining.  I have been concerned that NBC would be bringing in people to do the television broadcasts who know little about Formula 1 racing.

My fears have been allayed now that I see that NBC has signed up most of The Speed Channel team to work on their broadcast.  The lead announcer will be Leigh Diffey who is an experienced Formula 1 announcer and is very knowledgable about road racing.  NBC has also signed up The Speed Channel’s David Hobbs and Steve Matchett from their Formula 1 broadcast.

Bringing over David Hobbs from The Speed Channel to NBC is not a bad idea, but I would rather have them get a driver who has more recent Formula 1 driving experience than Hobbs and who is not afraid to say what needs to be said.  Jacques Villeneuve or Eddie Cheever come to mind.

Steve Matchett is a wonderful asset during a Formula 1 broadcast.  I am continually amazed how he sees things hanging from the cars or tire wear at speed that I can’t see until they show the images in slow motion.  I am very glad that he will be part of the NBC broadcast.

Further, I have read some speculation NBC might be offering the pit reporter job to “Wee Willy” Buxton, who did the same job for The Speed Channel.  The enthusiastic Buxton does a good job with this assignment.  I think that his former work with the Formula 2 series allowed him to develop relationships with the Formula 1 drivers before they made it to the big time.  This relationship allows Buxton to get access to the drivers on the grid.  I just hope that NBC gives Will Buxton enough time to go to the bathroom before the broadcast.  It seems to me ever-wiggling Buxton never had time to go to the bathroom with The Speed Channel.

As a result, it seems to me that the NBC broadcast of the Formula 1 races will be very similar to The Speed Channel broadcasts.

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6 Responses to NBC Formula 1 Broadcasts Could Be a Seamless Transition From The Speed Channel

  1. Enrico Tenni says:

    David and Steve will save your face my dear McKelvie. No offense meant but there are no substitutes for experience and have being a driver!

    • Hi Enrico,
      I look forward to David and Steve on the Formula 1 broadcasts. While I have no particular problems with David Hobbs, I did suggest that there might be other former drivers with more recent driving experience that could be made part of the show.

      Since I made that post Billy Buxton has been confirmed as the Formula 1 Pit Lane reporter. He does a great job of this and really understands what is happening.

      Steve McKelvie

  2. jeff says:

    Hard to understand why there aren’t “tons” of responses to his article. it’s not easy being a Formula 1 fan in the U.S.
    Diffey for Varsha is a fair trade, maybe an upgrade, & Hobbs & Matchett are my favorite commentators outside of the S.F. Giants Kruk & Kuip….
    as much as I miss Peter Windsor, young Will Buxtons enthusiasm has really added to the team.
    Mt personal concern is if we’re still going to have access to practice & quallies. Any info out there about that?

  3. Valerie says:

    I would also like to know if NBC will show practice and qualifying, as well as the award ceremony and the interviews afterwards. I’m going to miss Bob Varsha, though…I met him at the 1992 Barcelona GP.

    • Hi Valerie,
      I asked a member of the NBC broadcast team about this and I did not get a direct answer, but from other information that I have seen, NBC will be carrying practice and qually. I have absolutely no information about the interviews afterword. As the interviews are now integrated with the race, then I suspect that NBC will include the interview portion.
      If F1 keeps the same format as last year, then the interviews will be conducted on the podium. As someone who watches the races on television, I preferred the former way in which the interviews were conducted in a media room after the race. However the race fans who attend the race, and pay a substantial ticket price, would not see these media room interviews.
      I too will miss Bob Varsha, but Liegh Diffey will be fine. I don’t think that we will have any complaints about Leigh Diffey.


  4. Jeff says:

    I read yesterday that NBC will have 100 hours of F! coverage, devided by 19 races = 5.26 hrs per race.
    Looks like we’ll be covered!
    i also can’t wait to put the new I-pad retina to use – I understand there are aps for on board cameras, pit lane and the usuall timing & scoring telemetry. Of course 1 has to watch live to use these.
    Hence the delima – stay up late or get up early…..:)

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