Sports indie lands two-season contract for BBC 5Live

IMG is to produce two seasons of BBC Radio 5Live’s Formula 1 coverage following a competitive tender.

The sports production specialist, which is also responsible for audio coverage of Wimbledon, The Open, The Ryder Cup, Formula E and the UEFA Champions League, beat rival indies to win a contract for 2019 and 2020.

The deal includes live coverage of each season’s 21 races, practice sessions, qualifying and a weekly 5Live preview show and post-race Chequered Flag podcast.

Jennie Gow, Jack Nicholls and former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer will be retained as the BBC’s on-air commentary team.

Coverage of 2019’s 21 race season gets underway in Melbourne, Australia on 17 March and runs until 1 December, with the domestic British Grand Prix taking place at Silverstone on 14 July.

The 2018 championship, won by Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes, concluded in Abu Dhabi last month.

5Live’s coverage was previously handled by USP Content.

IMG Productions’ head of audio said Hamilton’s fifth championship victory has helped maintain a high level of interest in the sport.

“Formula 1 on BBC Radio has a great pedigree and a very dedicated following,” he added. “We are looking forward to bringing listeners an outstanding product with valuable insight and the very best commentary from the races themselves.”

The contract was awarded by 5Live commissioning editor Richard Maddock.