Sky Sports have announced that former world champion Damon Hill has joined their team to cover the 2012 season on their new dedicated Formula 1 channel.
Hill, who won the world title with Williams in 1996 and raced in 115 grands prix between 1992 and 1999, will provide expert analysis on Sky Sports F1’s comprehensive coverage at 10 of this year’s race meetings.
The new service launches in March and Hill will be trackside with presenter Simon Lazenby at the opening race of the season in Australia, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July and the final race of the season in Brazil in November.
He will also be present at races in Bahrain, Monaco, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, India, and the United States Grand Prix which will be held at the new Austin circuit in Texas.
Sky’s presentation team also includes Martin Brundle, Anthony Davidson, David Croft, and pit-lane reporters Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham, and Hill’s presence at half of the races is a significant coup for the pay-TV broadcaster.
He is also the only member of the new Sky line-up that was involved with their former F1 Digital + operation in 2002.
More recently, he was part ITV’s coverage of the Hungarian Grand Prix in both 2007 and 2008, when he stepped into Martin Brundle’s position as co-commentator.
When he has appeared as a guest contributor on the BBC and ITV’s coverage in the past, Hill’s insights and opinions have been well received with viewers respecting his ability to express his forthright opinions in a considered and informed manner.
As one of the most popular drivers in F1’s recent history, Hill is a respected and authoritative voice within the paddock, having recently completed his five-year stint as president of the British Racing Drivers Club, the owners of Silverstone.
During his successful tenure he secured a 17-year deal for the historic circuit to host the British Grand Prix, and was at the forefront of an ambitious project, including modifications to the circuit and the construction of a new pits and paddock complex, which was used for the first time in 2011.
He has a wealth of experience competing at the highest level of F1, having achieved 20 pole positions and was victorious in 22 races during his eight year career.
After memorably clinching the world drivers’ title in 1996, the legendary ‘voice of motorsport’ Murray Walker famously said in commentary: “I have to stop, because I have a lump in my throat”.
“The plans Sky Sports have for Formula 1 are very impressive, particularly the dedicated Formula 1 channel and I couldn’t resist becoming involved,” he said.
“I’ll be a pre-race and post-race pundit rather than a race co-commentator. I was a commentator for the Hungarian GPs some years ago and I must admit, I don’t envy their job. It’s much easier to have something to say after the race when the dust has settled.
“There are so many reasons to be excited about the new season and I can’t wait to get started.”
Martin Turner, Sky’s Executive Producer saids: “Damon Hill is a British motor racing legend and has incredible Formula 1 knowledge and insight.
“He will provide our viewers with not just a driver’s eye view, but also that of a world champion. There aren’t many around and I’m delighted we’ll have Damon with us during the season.”
Sky Sports F1 HD, which launches on March 9, will be available to Sky Sports and Sky HD subscribers at no extra cost, and its standard defintion will be available to Virgin Media subscribers.