Ex-Sky F1 presenter speaks amid latest sexism controversy

The incident led to their suspension after they made derogatory comments during the Spanish Grand Prix broadcast.

Federica Masolin, a former presenter for Sky F1 in Italy, has shared her personal turmoil in the wake of a sexism controversy involving her colleagues, Davide Valsecchi and Matteo Bobbi, in 2023.

The incident led to their suspension after they made derogatory comments during the Spanish Grand Prix broadcast, but both returned to their roles four weeks later.

The controversy stemmed from a comment by Bobbi about a woman near them, suggesting she was an “upgrade package,” to which Valsecchi humorously responded about not being able to “test” them, indicating a sexist undertone to their banter.

Valsecchi later announced his departure from Sky Italia’s F1 coverage for 2024, and Masolin also left her F1 role, which she had held for a decade, to lead the broadcaster’s Champions League football coverage.

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They were succeeded by Davide Camicioli and Vicky Piria, a former W Series driver, for the new season.

Speaking on the The BSMT by Gianluca Gazzoli podcast, Masolin expressed her distress over the backlash, defending Valsecchi and Bobbi as having no ill intent with their comments.

She described her close relationship with both, portraying Valsecchi as a “messy brother” and Bobbi as a “nice guy,” and insisted that their remarks were not meant to offend.

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Masolin emphasized the camaraderie and familial atmosphere among the Sky F1 team, suggesting that the comments were made in jest during a long day of live broadcasting and were not intended to disparage.

Despite the internal support, both Valsecchi and Bobbi publicly apologized for their remarks, acknowledging the inappropriate nature of their jokes and expressing regret to those who were offended.

Valsecchi used Instagram to convey his apologies, particularly to women and Sky, while Bobbi used Twitter to express his remorse, emphasizing his respect for women and his commitment to learning from the mistake to improve as both a man and a professional.