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Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

Why isn’t David Croft doing Sky F1 commentary in Imola and who is his replacement, Harry Benjamin?

David Croft will be missing from the Sky Sports commentary box at the Imola Grand Prix as he takes a step back from three races this season.

Press Conference
David Croft, Sky F1, fistbumps Harry Benjamin, FIA Press Conference host

Formula 1 fans will miss out on hearing the iconic “It’s lights out and away we go” at the Imola race this weekend as David Croft is set to be replaced by Harry Benjamin.

This year will see the Sky's lead commentator miss his first races since joining the team in 2012, as he spends more time with his family ahead of his upcoming wedding.

The announcement was revealed ahead of the record-breaking 24-race season, which includes four double-headers and two triple-headers. Croft will miss three races this year - the Imola GP, the Austrian GP and Azerbaijan GP.

The Stevenage-born commentator, affectionately known as ‘Crofty’, has led the Sky Sports commentary since the broadcaster acquired the rights from the BBC in 2012. He has been a permanent fixture on the commentary team for the last 12 years, not missing a single race until this season.

Croft started as an F1 commentator in 2006, when he replaced Maurice Hamilton at BBC Radio 5 Live, after previously working with the sports team at the station since 1998. During his stint with the BBC, he was partnered with Anthony Davidson and pitlane reporters Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham, who all joined him at Sky Sports.

Croft has missed just one grand prix in his career when the birth of his son James clashed with the 2007 European Grand Prix. In 2012, he joined the brand-new Sky Sports F1 team alongside Martin Brundle and celebrated his 250th grand prix in the commentary box at the 2019 Azerbaijan GP.

Press Conference
Harry Benjamin, FIA Press Conference host

Press Conference Harry Benjamin, FIA Press Conference host

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Who is Harry Benjamin?

Harry Benjamin will be taking over the Sky Sports F1 commentary for the Imola GP as Croft takes a step back from some of the lead commentary duties this season. Benjamin led the Sky Sports F1 Kids broadcast in 2023 alongside Nico Rosberg and Danica Patrick, with a host of young presenters from Sky’s FYI broadcast.

Benjamin is no stranger to live F1 commentary, as he currently splits his duties between F1 TV and BBC Radio 5 Live. After joining the Formula 1 broadcasting team in 2021, he has worked across many motorsport series, including F2, F3, F1 Academy and the Porsche Supercup.

Benjamin shares his time with BBC Radio 5 Live, where he has led the Formula 1 coverage since 2022.

The presenter made his Drive to Survive debut for season six, released earlier this year, where he recorded voiceovers for the on-track action shown during the docuseries.

Benjamin will share commentary duties with analyst and former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok for the Imola GP. Ahead of his debut, Benjamin told the Sky Sports F1 podcast that he was “very excited”, adding: “Big shoes to fill, but I’m looking forward to it. What a track to do it at as well, Imola, and stood alongside Karun too. I’m honoured.”

David Croft

David Croft

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

When will David Croft be back on Sky Sports F1?

David Croft is missing just the Imola GP before making his return to the commentary box for Monaco the following weekend. The iconic F1 race is set to take place on 26 May at 2pm UK time, with Croft back behind the microphone to report on all the on-track action.

He will miss two further races later in the season including the Austrian GP on 30 June and the Azerbaijan GP on 15 September. Benjamin will return to the Sky F1 commentary team for these races.

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