It may have decided to give up its coverage of the sport at the end of the season, but British television broadcaster ITV continues to pick up accolades for its Formula One programming - and the team behind the success hopes to continue next season.

The latest recognition came at the weekend's British Academy of Film and Television Awards, where the channel won a 'BAFTA' for the best sports programme for the second successive year. Perhaps driven by the subject of the piece, ITV Sport won for its coverage of the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, the race where British pilot Lewis Hamilton finally broke through to take his first F1 win. The channel focused heavily on Hamilton throughout the season - to the annoyance of some sectors of its audience - and was rewarded when the McLaren driver took the title fight all the way to the wire in Brazil, boosting viewing figures.

"I am delighted that we have won a BAFTA for our F1 coverage for the second year in succession," director of news and sport, Mark Sharman, commented, "The award is a tribute to the excellent work of our production and presenting team over the last decade and, in particular, last year, as we covered the amazing rise to stardom of Lewis Hamilton.

"The production team at North One Television has done a magnificent job of producing one of sport's most technical disciplines. Whether it is the award winning 'Insight' features, the consistently high standards of our race build-up and analysis, or the excellent work of a team of presenters that includes Martin Brundle and Steve Rider, ITV will hand over television coverage of the sport with the bar set high."

The channel's success coincides with the 'commercial decision' to drop its F1 programming in favour of bidding for greater football coverage, but production company North One is determined to remain involved with the sport when it switches to the BBC next season.

While BBC Sport is likely to take charge of the sport's return to the channel, North One has admitted that it hopes the corporation's radio coverage of F1 will set a trend, having been contracted out to independent producer Campbell Davison Media.

"It's a huge disappointment [that ITV has dropped F1]," North One chief executive Neil Duncanson told Britain's Guardian newspaper at the awards ceremony, "[But] we have not given up hope that maybe we could do something with the BBC. Who knows?"

 

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