Bob Varsha out of NBC Booth for next year


NBC Sports has confirmed its announcers’ lineup for its coverage of Formula 1 races beginning next season, hiring three veteran talents from SPEED – but not the same lineup that SPEED currently employs.

Veteran motorsports voices Leigh Diffey will serve as play-by-play man for both NBC Sports Network’s F1 and IZOD IndyCar Series coverage. David Hobbs (analyst) and Steve Matchett (analyst) will move over from SPEED to form the new broadcast team for the NBC Sports Group’s F1 coverage, which begins in March 2013. Additionally, Diffey will call IZOD IndyCar races on NBC Sports Network, following the retirement of legendary motorsports voice Bob Jenkins at the end of this season.
Diffey, Hobbs and Matchett bring continuity to NBC Sports Group’s F1 coverage, as all three have worked together for several years on SPEED’s coverage of the circuit. Diffey is a longtime F1 voice who has called the series both in the U.S. and internationally, as well as covering Grand-Am, ALMS and NASCAR events.

“We are privileged to add not one, not two, but three experienced and respected voices to our Formula 1 coverage,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “Leigh, David and Steve are all gifted storytellers, who live and breathe F1. They will educate viewers with their unique perspectives, which have been formed from longtime careers spent either behind the wheel, in the pits or in the booth.”

36 responses to “Bob Varsha out of NBC Booth for next year

  1. ” leaving a great commentator like Bob Varsha out of the line up is idiotic ” 😦

  2. why is bob varsha NOT one of the annoucers? was it HIS choice? or was he ‘not asked’ to join nbc’s F1 coverage??

  3. Not having Bob V is tragic

  4. It’s outrageous that Bob isn’t moving to NBC as well! There must be some contractual issue; that can be the only answer.

  5. Diffey is a very good announcer, Varsha is a very classy commentator, and announcer. Varsha is the best choice for the job, and will be missed. As a 50+ year follower of F-1 I find it disappointing that NBC did not step up to the plate, and bring the already well assembled team onboard to keep the “brains” of the outfit in place.

  6. Varsha has program responsibilities at Speed that go beyond F1, thus he is staying put… at least for now. Leigh Diffey is a great choice, better than Varsha IMHO.

  7. You got it wrong Sam! Bob Varsha was the Perfect Man for your new network F1 coverage. Too bad you obviously werent fan enough to see that on SPEED previous to your decision.

  8. VERY, very disappointed with this move, leaving Bob off the team. As a relatively new fan to the sport, Bob’s commentary and fun & informative interplay with Steve and David was part of what got me hooked. I think that losing the one American voice on the team at the same time as moving to a major American network is a huge mistake, and one that I hope gets corrected early in the 2013 season.

  9. Robert H. Thompson

    I agree with Erik, we need an American voice for F1 coverage.

  10. We want Bob Varsha in the booth for 2013.
    The management person who is making this choice probably isn’t an F1 viewer. To leave Bob out is really dumb.

  11. The very first time I heard Bob Varsha and David Hobbs covering F1, I immediately thought that this was by far the most outstanding broadcast team in ANY sport. Their knowledge and banter is priceless. I have been going to F1 races since 1970, and I enjoy their commentary of many of the races I personally attended. The addition of Steve Matchett was a brilliant one. NBC owes it to the dedicated F1 fans to preserve this amazingly gifted team. Thanks for the many years of enjoyment.

  12. According to the David Hobbs in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ‘http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/179600691.html’, Varsha is still under contract to Fox. Perhaps when his contract expires…

    Based on another blog,”Bob was approached about going to NBC, but reportedly Bob just wanted to do F1 for NBC and still work for Speed (Fox) and NBC wasn’t willing to go along with that. Leigh is also going to be the announcer for the IndyCar races NBC Sports will do and Varsha wasn’t interested in doing that.” … and according to USA Today ( http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/motor/2012/10/15/nbc-sports-group-formula-one-us-television-rights/1633845/ ) NBC will air four races — the Canadian Grand Prix in June, and the final three races of the season in November — while the remaining 16 races will air on NBC Sports Network. All practice and qualifying sessions will also be on the cable station.

    Miller said the intent is to broadcast everything live, but the network is working through a small number of scheduling conflicts. All 20 races will be live streamed on NBC Sports Group’s live-stream platform.

    Personally, after the Olympics, I’m surprised NBC got it 2/3 to 3/4 right with their hirings from the Speed (aka – Fox) crew. Lee Diffy is not Bob Varsha, but he’s easily better than Bob Jenkins who might have gotten the nod if he wasn’t retiring.

  13. Bob Varsha is perfect for the job. He has the knowledge of F-1, personality and voice. It is great that he is American but that it tangential. Leigh Diffy sucks. He talks too much and his voice is too high. Bad call NBC.

  14. i thought NBC was an American owned company?

    not having Bob in the booth will make me feel like i am watching a european telecast. except for the increased commercials.

  15. Not having Bob on the NBC crew is a real disappointment. Bad move Sam. The chemistry will not be the same…I truly hope it was solely Bob’s decision.

  16. I hope Bob reconsiders and brings along Sam Posey next year.

  17. Bob Varsha is the US voice of Formula One. For the first time in years, I’m not excited about the season start. It won’t be the same without Bob. Matchett and Hobss are entertaining but Bob was the “grown up” at the table. Think I’ll try and find some pirate coverage on the web . . .

  18. I will not listen to leigh Diffey, he does talk to much and his voice is to high. Get Varsha! Until then I won’t be watching.
    Bob Bayless

  19. I am passionate about Formula 1, but it has always been painful watching while having to listen to Bob Varsha.

  20. I concur with all the remarks here, Ive been a fan of F1 since the early 60’s and I have been more informed and intertained by the broadcast since Ive been watching Bob V and David Hobbs, and the addition of Steve Matchett has brought technical validation to the mix as well as a perfect on air comradery. Bob adds a certain serious/fun/laidback/controlled/well spoken excitement to the show… NBC get this guy back somehow… He adds enough makes the show its best…

  21. I just watched P2 practice and frankly I hope things get much better because the commentary was stiff and boring. Diffy was dry and uninteresting. Even Hobbs and Matchette seemed stiff and they had little of the fun and interesting banter that made their announcing on Speed fun to watch. Maybe they just need to get their team chemistry down and it’ll turn out ok but so far it’s a real snore. They can also lose the suits and ties and the gaudy set looks tacky as well.

  22. saw F1 yesterday and Bob Varsha sorely missed, someone please come to your senses and step up to get him back where he belongs.

  23. BRING BOB BACK! LOL. Seriously, Do you guys at NBC really not know what it was like to get to turn on the cable to listen to Bob,Dave,and Steve do F1? Its the highlight of the weekend! Please Please, Please fix this!

  24. OMG soooo nice to have bob vasrsha commentating this week. what a relief. hope this is not a fluke. i’m sure leigh is a great guy but someone needs to give him a valium when he does F1. it’s not a nascar race…calm down leigh ! i agree with all here BRING BACK BOB .

  25. Great to see and hear Bob with David and Steve. I sensed more excitement from Dave and Steve to have the old lineup back, and to have Sam Posey included doing perspective was terrific. This is a big transition for NBC-go with the winners-and have them do personal on stage interviews at the USA races as they did at Indy. The crowd loved it, and so did the drivers.

  26. Loved hearing Bob Varsha voice this morning. Didn’t realize how much I loved his work until he wasn’t included in the new lineup. Hope he’s back to stay.

  27. Diffey needs to switch to decaf and stop shouting

  28. Agreed. Hearing Bob again was great. Leigh Diffy’s all right, but he’s not Varsha. Still, I always felt like there was a certain level of tension between him and Hobbs/Matchett. But maybe that’s just the “grown-up at the table” thing. Hobbs and Matchett are very good, but Varsha brings it all together in a way that Diffy hasn’t figured out yet. Hobbs and Matchett are experts on racing, Varsha’s a great broadcaster, and they were a great team. MORE BOB VARSHA! And kudos to him for staying loyal to Speed.

  29. Can’t tell you how happy I was to hear Bob Varsha’s voice Saturday morning when I tuned in for Qualifying. I 1st thought I was watching a recording of last years race. My son and I starting Hi-Fiving when we realized Bob was back! They need to make this a permanent situation because its absolutely not the same without him. He brings an excitement to the broadcast Diffy just can’t match.

  30. MyEarsHurt_Bob

    If only this “Bob (I need a haircut) Varsha” could be removed from all MotoGP and all NASCAR programming. Listening to his broken record coverage of F1 was absolute tourture. I am certain all his decade of comments could be reduced into one dozen remarks he made over and over and over and over again. Anyone who also had LiveTiming running could read him like a book. Only Steve Machette, and his never ending McClaren International Envy was worse. Barrett-Jackson is where Bob belongs. 100%.

  31. Leigh Duffey talks way too much and his false enthusiasm is way over the top. I ca’t stand to watch Indy Car on NBC sports. Where is Jenkins!

  32. thomas e Letourneau

    Hire bob varsha back it’s like replacing tim mcarver& joe buck for world series they the three hobbs varsha& matchet were together for 15years you break that up with Leigh Diffy what are you thinking!!! GET HIM BACK N B C

  33. Charles EHRLICH

    In minority but thrilled that Bob V is NOT on F1 anymore. He’s a total windbag. I used to shout at the TV: “Blah, blah, blah.” Hobbs is #1. Sometimes forgets who is whom but totally insightful and genuine. He’s been there. Matchett also very informative.

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