Sky Sports F1 make massive change to Imola broadcast

The Sky Sports F1 commentary team has been given a shake-up for the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

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Sky Sports F1 have made a major change to replace David Croft their coverage for the Formula 1 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend ahead of Sunday’s race.

Fans have become accustomed to hearing “It’s lights out and away we go!” from F1’s iconic commentator. But for the first time in over a decade, there will be a new voice behind the microphone as he will be replaced by Harry Benjamin for the race at Imola.

Croft has been behind the microphone for the opening six races of the 2024 campaign, but it was announced that he would be skipping the race at Imola as he looks to take some time away from F1.

The Stevenage-born commentator, affectionately known as ‘Crofty’, has led Sky Sports’ F1 commentary since the broadcaster acquired the rights from the BBC in 2012.

He has been a key part of the team over the last 12 years and before Imola had not missed a single race. But this year will see the iconic lead commentator absent for three races – ending his long spanning over 350 races without him missing a race weekend.

He celebrated his 250th race in the commentary box when settling in for the 2019 Azerbaijan GP.

Why David Croft will be absent for Imola

Back in February, Croft explained that he wants to spend more time with his family ahead of his upcoming wedding and gave the heads-up to F1 fans that he would be missing some races this season.

The 53-year-old will not travel for two further race weekends later in the season – the Austrian GP on June 30 and the Azerbaijan GP on September 15 – with Benjamin set to return to Sky F1 commentary duties for those races.

Croft started out as an F1 commentator in 2006, when he replaced Maurice Hamilton at BBC Radio 5 Live, after previously working with the station since 1998.

During his stint with the BBC, he was partnered with former F1 driver Anthony Davidson and pitlane reporters Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham. The trio all later joined Sky Sports as the rights moved away from free-to-air to subscription TV.

In his entire career, Croft has only missed one grand prix when the birth of his son, James, clashed with the 2007 European Grand Prix. His absence won’t be prolonged, however, as Croft is only planning to be absent for the Imola race before making his return to the paddock in time for the Monaco GP on May 26.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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