Viewers in the U.S. will be able to see Formula One television coverage on NBC in 2013. Some events will be shown on the main NBC network channel and others will be shown on the NBC Sports cable channel. The NBC Sports Group will televise all F1 races as well as qualifying and practice sessions. It replaces Speed which had held F1 broadcast rights for the past 17 years since they took over from ESPN.
F1 coverage on NBC will sound fairly familiar to U.S. viewers as they have kept the majority of the old Speed broadcast team together with Leigh Diffey (play-by-play) joining regulars David Hobbs (analyst), Steve Matchett (analyst) and Will Buxton (pit reporter). Leigh Diffey, while not Speed’s usual F1 anchor, has substituted several times for Bob Varsha over the years when he was busy with other events. Varsha, who has been the voice of Formula One in America for several decades, has decided to stay with the network.
The new F1 season begins in March 2013 and so we will have to wait a few months to see how the NBC Sports Group’s Formula One coverage compares to the previous version.
This year’s Bahrain Grand Prix is less than two weeks away and it still isn’t certain if it is going to happen or not. Until a couple of days ago everyone was saying that it would happen while a few were saying that it shouldn’t. Now it appears that doubts are setting in with Bernie Ecclestone saying that he will not force any of the teams to go but that if they don’t go they will be in breach of their contracts with him. Not that he’s forcing them, oh no, it’s up to them isn’t it?
Of course this uncertainty is nothing new as last year this race was scheduled, cancelled, rescheduled and finally re-cancelled.
It is well known that the Formula 1 powers-that-be have a love-hate relationship with the Australian Grand Prix organizers in Melbourne and their strange reluctance to hold their event in the middle of the night just to please TV schedulers back in Europe.
It appears, however, that most of the teams have no such issues and they have even gone so far as to design their cars for the 2012 season to look like the duck-billed platypus which is endemic to eastern Australia as a mark of respect to their hosts.
It remains to be seen how the design of the cars will be changed throughout the season as they visit other countries.