has expanded its team ahead of its first season as a full-time F1 broadcaster with the announcement that 1996 world champion Damon Hill is to join the already-confirmed line-up.
Confirmation of Hill's inclusion alongside fellow former drivers Martin Brundle and Anthony Davidson comes as something of a surprise, particularly as the Briton has only recently stepped down as head of the British Racing Drivers' Club. He will provide an expert's eye view of the action as part of the team on Sky
's soon-to-be-launched F1 channel.
"The plans Sky Sports
have for F1 are very impressive, particularly the dedicated F1 channel, and I couldn't resist becoming involved," Hill admitted as the broadcaster released the news on its website, "There are so many reasons to be excited about the new season and I can't wait to get started."
Hill has already had a taste of dedicated F1 coverage on digital television, having been in at the launch of the short-lived 'official' channel back in 2002, but joins Brundle, Davidson, David Croft, Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham for ten of the season's expected 20 rounds.
"Damon Hill is a British motor racing legend and has incredible F1 knowledge and insight," executive producer Martin Turner explained, "He will provide our viewers with not just a driver's eye view, but also that of a world champion. There aren't many around and I'm delighted we'll have Damon with us during the season."
's bespoke F1 channel is due to launch in early March, shortly before the opening round of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, gets underway, and will also be available to Virgin Media customers, following a recent agreement between the two broadcast giants.
The new channel will join Virgin's TV service from its launch in March, complementing the complete Sky Sports
package already available. Subscribers to this package will have the F1 channel added automatically at launch.
“We're delighted to be able to offer this new channel right from the off as it's certain to be an exciting F1 season with a record number of races and six former or current world champions racing for the title,” executive director of digital entertainment Cindy Rose noted.