Okay, maybe a lot of people won’t get this, but being a tifosi is a big part of my life. I started seriously watching Formula One racing in 2005, even moreso in 2006, but I always grew up with it being around, can remember glimpses of those beautiful red machines winning every weekend. But more than the sights, I remember the sounds. That is, the voices that brought my F1 broadcast each weekend.
And now, I won’t hear them again.
A little bit ago, on my twitter feed, a tweet from pit lane reporter Will Buxton led me to the devastating news: that Speed Channel had lost the rights to broadcast F1 in the US.
This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but that’s because you don’t understand. Maybe Devils fans will get what I mean if I say the F1 broadcast team is like Doc and Chico. Or Top Gear fans when I say that Bob Varsha, Steve Matchett and David Hobbs are as tight knit as Clarkson, Hammond, and May. But the rest of you…well, you’re out of luck.
Speed has broadcast the races live for the past 17 years, since 1996. They were there through the Ferrari glory days. They know the history. Steve Matchett’s technical analysis is unparalleled. David Hobbs says the weirdest and most hilarious things. And who doesn’t feel excited when Bob Varsha says ” turn up the volume!”
I have many fond memories of this team. The 3 hour live broadcast coverage between practice sessions for the US Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007. The Acura Pre-Race show (and it will always be the Acura Pre-race show). Michael Schumacher’s retirement in 2006.
There was one year when CBS showed some of the races for some reason. Not only were they not live and lacked pre or post race coverage, they also used their own commentators who knew nothing about Formula One and couldn’t pronounce the driver names! I understand that Heikki Kovaleinen is a bit of a mouthful, but “Philip Massa?!” REALLY! ARGH!
NBC got the new broadcast rights and I’m pretty sure it’s Bernie Eccelstone’s way of punishing the US for not giving him enough money or something. If you missed my tumblr rage at NBC during the parade of nations at the Olympics…my God. They were pulling facts out of their asses about countries they clearly knew nothing about. Qatar is not pronounced “cutter.” And no mention about the two female athletes from Saudi Arabia. This is why the world hates us, NBC. (Also they get my rage for skipping my favorite countries: Azerbaijan, Italy, and Monoco.)
So NBC, here is a warning for you: Do not mess up my F1 broadcast. Hire the Speed team if you can, because I doubt any of your reporters know anything about F1 (“My Gawd, Ladies and Gents! They’re turning RIGHT! I can’t believe it!!!”). Show the races live with quali. Show the podium ceremonies because I like to sing along with the Italian National Anthem when Ferrari wins.
And thanks to the great team of Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett, and Will Buxton. And Peter Windsor, former pit lane reporter! Thanks for some great memories of Formula One.