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NBC bags members of SPEED F1 team

NBC Sports has picked up three members of SPEED's motorsport commentary alumni team to present its coverage from 2013.

The NBC Sports Group has confirmed that it will utilise the skills of three veterans of motorsport commentary when it takes over the United States' F1 coverage from SPEED next season.

While Bob Varsha will not be making the jump, analysts David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will both continue their roles with a new employer, working alongside Leigh Diffey, who will call the races. The Australian has worked in F1 circles for many years, having commentated on races for the both the American and international markets between stints in other series, including Grand-Am and the ALMS. Diffey takes over the lead voice role from American Bob Jenkins, who announced that he would retire at the end of the current campaign.

Motorsports Hall of Fame member Hobbs will continue to call on 30 years of racing experience, including careers in both F1 and IndyCar, while former Benetton mechanic Matchett will provide viewers with a unique technical insight.

“We are privileged to add not one, not two, but three experienced and respected voices to our F1 coverage,” said NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood, “Leigh, David and Steve are all gifted storytellers, who live and breathe F1. They will educate viewers with their unique perspectives, which have been formed from long-time careers spent either behind the wheel, in the pits or in the booth.”

Missing from the announcement was SPEED's pit-lane reporter Will Buxton, but the Briton is being tipped to return in a bigger role next year, possibly combining F1 with IndyCar Series duties alongside Diffey, who has been confirmed as host and commentator for the US-based open-wheel series. Buxton has split his time in 2012 between SPEED F1 duties and commentating on both GP2 and GP3 from Sky Sports in the UK, but will link up with the IndyCar Series when he hosts its end-of-year banquet in Indianapolis next month.

The news that NBC was to take over coverage of F1 from SPEED prompted a concerted social media campaign to get the broadcaster to hire as many of the existing commentary team as possible....

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Mark _

November 16, 2012 9:36 PM

@Tablerock - unlike the others Varsha has other duties at SpeedTV. You may have noticed that if the Barrett Jackson auction is on the same weekend Varsha covers that and not the F1 race. Personally I think that this is good news. Matchet is great and at times Hobbs can be pretty funny. Having F1 and Indycar on the same network will be great for open wheel racing in the U.S.

Frank Zappa - Unregistered

December 02, 2012 9:00 AM

I am very happy that Leigh Diffey will be replacing Bob Varsha. Bob is not witty, funny, nor interesting. Just because he can name all of the corner's names (like, Eau Rouge) at all the tracks doesn't make him qualified to call a race. I've really enjoyed the interaction between Diffey and The Boys (Hobbs and Matchett) on weekends where Varsha was doing B-J auctions. It always bugged me that Varsha kept trying to keep a lid on Hobbs, who is very funny/sarcastic and doesn't pull his punches (...that move took major attachments). But Varsha would try to stop his comments with "OK, steady on now...", etc. I disagree with the comment made on Sam Posey. He has tremendous insight into the sport of auto racing, and especially F1. He is a cerebral guy and I will miss "Posey's Perspective".

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