David Coulthard is the first signing of Channel 4’s Formula One presenting team.
It was announced last month that Channel 4 was to take over the terrestrial broadcasting of the sport from the BBC, after it was axed as part of cost-cutting measures.
Whisper Films has been awarded the production contract. The company was set up in 2010 by Coulthard, former BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey, and former BBC F1 Producer Sunil Patel, and a minority stake in the company is owned by Channel 4.
The channel will broadcast ten races live and uninterrupted by ad breaks, with the remaining races receiving a comprehensive highlights package.
The full presenting and commentary team is to be announced in due course.
This is an exciting time for the sport and an exciting time for Whisper Films. The F1 World has been incredibly impressed with what Whisper has delivered over the last five years and Channel 4’s decision is testament to that.
I’m looking forward to being part of an exciting new era for Formula One, with Whisper Films and our proven level of creativity and innovation very much at the heart of that – David Coulthard
The channel has also managed to poach Mark Wilkin, editor of the BBC’s F1 coverage, who joins as programme editor, as well as a number of other key personnel from the BBC.
It remains to be seen whether any other onscreen BBC F1 alumni join Channel 4’s coverage.
BBC 5 Live have extended their radio broadcast deal with Formula One, hopefully signalling a return of the successful team of James Allen, Allan McNish and Jennie Gow. However they could be targets for the channel’s presenting team, along with Suzi Perry, Tom Clarkson, Ben Edwards and Lee McKenzie.