It was surprisingly revealed on Wednesday that ex-F1 drivers Johnny Herbert and Paul di Resta will not be part of the Sky Sports F1 presenting team in 2023, with the British duo having been axed by the broadcaster ahead of the new season.
The axing of Herbert in particular has come as a shock to most, with the former Benetton driver having been part of the presenting line-up for 11 years and was popular amongst many.
After rumour of his axing began to circulate following an interview posted by motorsport content creator Last Lap Lucy, Sky Sports released an official statement confirming Herbert’s departure from their line-up.
A Sky Sports spokesperson said: “Johnny has been an integral part of our Formula 1 team since the very first season on Sky Sports in 2012. We will miss his humour and big personality and thank him for his energy and enthusiasm over the last 11 years. Everyone wishes him all the best for the future.”
As mentioned, the rumour of Herbert departing Sky Sports was discovered by Last Lap Lucy, with Herbert having mentioned that he wasn’t going to be with Sky in 2023 whilst discussing his plans for the year.
“I’m not with Sky this year, unfortunately, but there are other things I’ll be getting involved with,” he told motorsport content creator Last Lap Lucy.
“I’ll be at Silverstone for sure, and the Monaco Grand Prix. I’m hoping to get to Le Mans as well this year, because that’s going to be a big event this time around.
“I’m doing a bit of karting – not racing, just testing. My son-in-law wants me to race but I don’t really want to, but you’ll probably see me on a go-kart track near you. I’ve got various things going on. I’m enjoying things on the track and also life off the track as well.”
As it currently stands, it’s not believed that either Herbert or Di Resta will be replaced for 2023, meaning the Sky line-up will presumably feature Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Naomi Schiff, Martin Brundle, Damon Hill, Karun Chandhok, Anthony Davidson, Natalie Pinkham, Ted Kravitz, Danica Patrick, Simon Lazenby, David Croft and Rachel Brookes.
Herbert’s departure is clearly an emotional one for the Brit and for the Sky team, with the three-time GP winner having posted a photo of the Sky F1 team onto Instagram, with the caption “Going to miss the team”.
Sky F1 presenter Brookes quickly commented by saying: “Not as much as we will miss you! Thank you for everything and being such a lovely “tv husband” – won’t be the same without you.”