The axe has once again fallen at Red Bull Racing in the middle of a Formula One season, as the former world champions announced that incumbent Pierre Gasly has been dropped in favour of star rookie Alexander Albon.
V8 Supercars will once again call the Ten Network home, with the announcement of a six-year deal commencing in 2015.
A contract worth $241 million over six seasons will see the category return to the station it debuted the ‘V8′ moniker with in 1997. With the split free-to-air/pay TV model being in vogue these days, the deal is accordingly in conjunction with Fox Sports.
Ten last broadcast the series in 2006, when incumbent broadcasters, the Seven Network, poached the rights.
The station has been derided by many over this period for frequently delayed broadcasts, cutting races short in favour of AFL coverage, commercial breaks occurring at times within two laps of each other, as well as other incidents – notably missing the conclusion of a fiercely contested race in New Zealand when transmission failed.
In recent seasons, the category has been shunted to secondary channel 7mate which, while in high-definition, was not available to those who hadn’t made the digital switchover.
Seven will broadcast the series in 2014 – the final season of the two-year deal struck prior to the 2013 championship.
This deal paves the way for a potential championship round at the Australian Grand Prix, where the V8s have proven a popular support category since the event’s 1996 inception.
Neil Crompton would have to be prime candidate to jump ship, the former having been part of Ten’s previous coverage before moving to Seven with the rights in 2007.
Such a move would enable Crompton to return to co-hosting the network’s Formula One coverage alongside Greg Rust and Alan Jones, ostensibly leaving Daryl Beattie to his preferred MotoGP field.
Rust can be counted on to have some involvement with the V8 coverage, having served as pit reporter last time around.
We have one more season of Seven’s V8 coverage to endure. One can only hope they pull out the stops so the series’ era on the network will be remembered with a degree of fondness.