New commentator ‘honoured’ as Sky F1 make big change for Imola GP weekend

Jamie Woodhouse
A Sky Sports microphone in the grip of a presenter's hand

Sky Sports is arguably F1's biggest broadcaster

Harry Benjamin is preparing for his Sky F1 lead commentator debut in the place of David Croft at Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

With the F1 2024 calendar set to consist of a record-breaking 24 rounds, it was confirmed ahead of the season that Croft would receive some respite from that schedule by sitting out three race weekends, those being the Emilia Romagna, Austrian and Azerbaijan GPs.

Harry Benjamin ‘excited’ over Sky F1 opportunity

The first of those race weekends off has arrived and keeping Benjamin company in the commentary box at Imola will be former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok, who has been part of Sky’s Formula 1 coverage since 2019.

Put to him during the Sky F1 podcast that he must be excited for the upcoming race weekend, Benjamin replied: “Yeah, very excited. I mean, big shoes to fill, but I’m looking forward to it.

“What a track to do it at as well, Imola, and stood alongside Karun too. I’m honoured.”

Chandhok is also looking forward to the race weekend to come, as he returns to the F1 paddock for the first time since Round 2 of the season in Saudi Arabia.

“I’m excited to go to Imola to be honest,” he said. “I was thinking, I haven’t been in the paddock since Jeddah, because we did a couple of races in the studio back in London.

“And lots of change, lots has been going on. Lando [Norris] has won a race. I’m really excited to do this weekend with Harry actually. I think it’s going to be fun.”

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However, the duo are not leaving it until FP1 at Imola to get their first feel for commentating together, Chandhok revealing that he reached out to Benjamin and arranged for them to head to Sky headquarters to get some practice in.

Explaining how that came about, Chandhok said: “I sent Harry a text saying: ‘We’ve never done any form of commentary before in any other championship’.

“And you always need to build a rapport and you also need to understand how the other person works.

“Every commentator has their own style and every co-commentator brings something else to the table. So, rather than just being lobbed into the weekend, I sent him a text saying: ‘Do you think we should do a little practice run?’

With Benjamin saying it was a “great idea” from Chandhok to do that, he added: “I think it’s also quite important for me as well, for all the reasons that Karun just said, but even just to get ingrained with how to work with…

“What people might not realise when you’re watching commentary [sic] is the producer in your ear telling you things, or how to throw to Ted [Kravitz] or whatever, if he’s got something to say. That kind of thing. Just making sure I’m up to speed with all the processes and protocols.”

Benjamin is not short of F1 broadcasting experience, also leading BBC Radio 5 Live’s coverage of the sport. He has also headed Sky F1’s alternate F1 Kids broadcast.

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