The familiar faces of Bob Varsha, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett once again will lead the SPEED/FOX Sports Formula One broadcast team as SPEED rolls into its 15th year as the exclusive U.S. cable broadcaster of the FIA Formula One World Championship, beginning with live coverage of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14 at 7:30 a.m. ET. One face, however, will be new to the U.S. viewing audience.
Will Buxton, the 29-year-old founding editor of GPWeek magazine, will report from the grid, replacing Peter Windsor, whose efforts remain focused on his start-up US F1 project.
â€œFirst up, Iâ€™ve got to admit that Iâ€™m just massively excited about the whole thing,â€ said Buxton, who will join the team shortly after he and wife Emma welcome their first child. â€œItâ€™s a huge honor to be joining the SPEED team, and in particular to be doing so at the start of what could be an incredible era in the history of Formula 1.
â€œF1 is a bit of a soap opera at times,â€ Buxton added. â€œAs a journalist itâ€™s what makes the sport such a joy to report on. Thereâ€™s always something going on in the background, and I wonâ€™t shy away from doing my best to get to the heart of every issue. That said, I donâ€™t think that my job at SPEED is simply to report the news. Far from it. As one of the lucky few who can actually get into the F1 paddock, I think that probably my biggest responsibility is to open it all up to the American fans: to invite them in, sit them down, introduce them to a few people and show them whatâ€™s going on. Itâ€™s the fans that make this sport, so my job is to give them the access they deserve.â€
According to Varsha, the SPEED team is welcoming its newest member with open arms.
â€œItâ€™s always a good sign when a job interview turns into a â€˜bench racingâ€™ session that goes beyond the appointed time,â€ Varsha said. â€œThatâ€™s what we shared with Will when he visited our SPEED studios. Despite being the youngest member of our lineup, heâ€™s a veteran of television and print with experience of both Formula One and GP2. I look forward to working with him on what should be another thrilling and unpredictable grand prix season.â€
Buxton, from Great Britain, served as the GP2 press officer from 2004 to the end of the 2007 season, and was sole communications/media representative for 2006 and 2007 He has been covering single-seater racing (F1, GP2, F2 and F3) since 2002.
Westbury Gillett will fill in for Buxton for the first few races of the season.
In 2010, SPEEDtv.com will increase its Formula One offerings, highlighted by a new fantasy game â€” SPEED Fantasy Racing: GP Edition â€” and a selection of video clips from practice, qualifying and race coverage. In addition SPEEDtv.com will introduce an enhanced stats package and continue with RaceCast timing and scoring from all sessions, as well as providing Matchettâ€™s popular post-event â€œChalk Talkâ€ wrap-ups.
SPEED will air 15 races live, complete with practice and qualifying coverage, and for the fourth year, FOX will air four consecutive events, beginning with the Canadian Grand Prix, using the same on-air team. Practice and qualifying for those four events will be live on SPEED.