While most of us were excited to hear that Formula 1 would take its talents to NBC Sports, there was some concern about the broadcast team. NBC made the right decision in quickly hiring SPEED’s team of commentators including David Hobbs and Steve Matchett. Leigh Diffey will take over for Bob Varsha as the group’s ring leader, but there’s still been some speculation over the future of pit lane reporter Will Buxton.
Last night Diffey posted this photo on Twitter, from an NBC production dinner in New York. You’ll notice one member of the team shielding his face with a menu. We can only presume that it’s Mr. Buxton, whose kept quiet about his next move, since it was announced on Twitter that he’d be fired from SPEED. Since then Buxton has gained lots of support from fans here in the United States and it would be fantastic to see him join the rest of the team at NBC next season.
NBC has the opportunity to sell F1 to an American audience. Where SPEED’s broadcast was a bit of a joke and the antithesis of the slick productions from the BBC and Sky Sports, NBC can change all of that. The network has a wealth of knowledge and experience in Steve Matchett, who is arguably the most underrated broadcaster in the sport. With Will Buxton, they have the opportunity to appeal to a much younger audience than the sport has previously attracted. That’s something that needs to happen if F1 hopes to have a future in the United States. By taking itself more seriously and gearing the broadcast to existing fans, NBC has every chance of becoming a success. None of us need to hear what DRS stands for, 250 times throughout a race.
Photo courtesy of Leigh Diffey.