Jake Humphrey who has hosted the BBC’s F1 coverage since 2009, is to leave the BBC at the end of this year.
Instead, the 33-year-old will host 38 Premier League games live on BT’s new sports channel which will be launched in January. He will however, stay with the BBC to live out his contract which expires at the end of this year.
In 2011, BBC scaled back its F1 coverage over budgeting concerns, which allowed Sky to move in and set up their own dedicated F1 channel. Jake leaving will surely serve as a blow to the BBC who last year lost former F1 driver and now popular pundit and commentator Martin Brundle, along with their pit lane reporter, Natalie Pinkham and technical analyst Ted Kravitz. They also lost David Croft from their 5 Live radio programme who took Anthony Davidson to Sky with him.
A spokesperson for the BBC said: “Jake is under contract with the BBC until the end of 2012 so will continue to present F1 until the end of the season.”
While Jake released a statement saying: “I am incredibly excited to be joining the team at BT not just because I get to fulfil a life-long dream of presenting the Barclays Premier League but because of the fresh perspective that BT will bring to both sport and broadcasting in this country. To be a part of this young, vibrant team, who are as passionate about sport as I am, is a privilege.
“I’ve grown up at the BBC, and whilst I hope to work with them in the future, I’d also like to place on record my thanks to them. I am incredibly grateful to all colleagues, and of course the viewers, for their incredible support from CBBC all the way to Formula 1. My focus from the start of 2013 is on making BT’s coverage of football the best this country has ever seen.”
Humphrey was very upset when the BBC were forced to make the cut in programmes for 2012 but last year admitted to Chris Moyles that the BBC had no option.
He said: “I guess it’s a money thing. Yes it will be a money thing which is what this whole situation is about. I don’t want people to say, ‘Why did the BBC give up on F1? They basically had no option. The amount of money the BBC have now is not what they had to spend a few years ago”