Independent sports production company Whisper Films has landed the production contract for Channel 4's Formula 1 coverage, with former F1 race-winner David Coulthard the first big-name member on the on-screen presenting team.
Whisper Films, which was set up by former BBC Sport F1 producer Sunil Patel, former BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey and Coulthard in 2010, has been awarded the contract after a competitive tendering process held by Channel 4's Head of TV Events and Sport Ed Harvard and Channel 4's new head of F1 Stephen Lyle.
Channel 4 recently secured the terrestrial television broadcasting rights for F1 after the BBC pulled out of its contract early due to cutbacks. The channel will broadcast 10 F1 races live along with each practice session and qualifying, as well as a full highlight packages of all 21 Grand Prix and qualifying sessions.
Whisper Films has also secured 'a number of key production personnel and presenters with extensive experience', including Coulthard, who presented F1 for the BBC between 2009 and 2015, and former BBC Sport F1 editor Mark Wilkin who has joined as programme editor.
Channel 4 says a full commentary and presenting team will be announced in the coming weeks in preparation for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on the 18-20 March.
“This is an exciting time for the sport and an exciting time for Whisper Films,” Coulthard said. “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.”
Harvard added: “Whisper Films outlined an extremely impressive and exciting vision for their F1 coverage, with outstanding on and off screen talent as an integral part of their pitch.”
North One Television, who have previously produced MotoGP for BBC Sport as well as the Isle of Man TT for ITV Sport, will also assist Channel 4 in a series of accompanying programmes to supplement its F1 coverage.