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.