SPEED Live from Historic F1 Finale Bob Varsha is hosting SPEED’s live coverage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Sunday at 7:30 ET) as, for the first time in the sport’s 60-year history, four drivers are in contention to win the FIA Formula One World Championship heading into the final race of the season.
“It’s just a spectacular way to end what has been a surprising season,” Varsha said. “We’ve had a record-tying number of drivers leading the points and it will be incredibly exciting to see how (Fernando) Alonso deals with the Red Bull teammates … and it will be equally thrilling to see how the Red Bull teammates deal with each other.
“The team has said they would rather lose the World Championship than deny either of their drivers and equal chance to win the title,” Varsha added. “That differs from seasons we have seen in the past, where team orders often were to give all the support to the driver in the best position to win the championship. It sure makes for a dramatic finish.”
After 18 races across five continents, the title comes down to a battle between Spain’s Alonso (246 points, Ferrari), Australia’s Mark Webber (238, Red Bull), Germany’s Sebastian Vettel (231, Red Bull) and Great Britain’s Lewis Hamilton (222, McLaren).
Varsha is joined in the booth by former F1 World Champion mechanic Steve Matchett and former Formula One driver David Hobbs as the veteran broadcast team opens SPEED live coverage from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates with tomorrow morning’s practice session at 8 a.m. ET. Will Buxton is reporting from the grid.
According to Nielsen Media Research, last weekend’s ratings for the Brazilian Grand Prix were up 46 percent year-to-year (0.51 vs. 0.35). It marked the highest rated F1 race on SPEED since the ’08 season-ending Brazilian GP that also posted a 0.51 rating. With one race remaining this season, SPEED’s F1 coverage is pacing up nine percent compared to equivalent races in ’09.
This weekend’s broadcast schedule:
Formula One practice (8 a.m. ET, LIVE) from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Formula One qualifying (8 a.m. ET, LIVE) from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Formula One race coverage (7:30 a.m. ET, LIVE) from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates