F1 Broadcasters at NBC Sports Say Goodbye With Legendary Shoey
Formula 1 will be brought to you by ESPN in 2018.
The certifiably tremendous broadcast team of Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, and Steve Matchett signed off for their final Formula 1 race after Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. With rights switching to ESPN for 2018, the NBC Sports crew will be retired from F1 coverage with the network, bidding farewell after nearly doubling the sport's audience in only five years. To say goodbye, the three journos went out in true and honest fashion—with a shoey.
The celebration, popularized by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, signifies a successful effort on race day, and in this case, the trio has more than 100 to commemorate. They each filled a race boot with bubbly champagne (except for Diffey, his was a leather loafer) and toasted one another, downing the sweet nectar together one final time. Not pictured in this celebration was racing reporter extraordinaire Will Buxton, another staple in the NBC Sports booth as well as F1 pit lanes across the globe.
Diffey will continue with NBC next season and beyond covering IndyCar and the Olympics. As for Hobbs and Matchett, they remained unemployed past 2017, with Hobbs likely hanging up his mic after a storied career in the industry. His former experience as an F1 driver qualified his spot-on in-race analysis for the American broadcaster and will be remembered well after this season's end.
Hobbs told Road & Track's Marshal Pruett in a statement:
“From a professional level, the NBC production has been the best I’ve been involved in. I’ve worked for CBS, ABC, FOX, SPEED, ESPN and now NBCSN. I’ve done them all, these guys did the best job. Leigh became a top-line host, which he inherited from Bob Varsha, and I think Steve and I jelled in a way that brought the technical side and the driving side together in a manner that helped the audience understand more about Formula 1.
“I think we struck a good balance, and I’m not particularly keen on the idea of this being our last broadcast, which very well could be my last.”
Do yourself a favor and reflect on the great moments of coverage, excitement, and wild personification by Diffey, Hobbs, Matchett, and Buxton throughout the last five years. While we hope that a similar legacy will be created at ESPN, it will have a majorly tough task of recreating the magic and chemistry that this team had.