Sky Sports SUSPEND two Formula One commentators from their Italian channel over ‘sexist comments’ – Maxsports
May 17, 2024

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Sky Sports SUSPEND two Formula One commentators from their Italian channel over ‘sexist comments’

Sky Sports SUSPEND two Formula One commentators from their Italian channel over ‘sexist comments’ made live on air… as one refers to a woman as an ‘upgrade package’ while the other said he ‘can’t test them’

  • Two Italian commentators have been suspended over alleged sexist comments
  • Matteo Bobbi and Davide Valsecchi have come under storm for the remarks 
  • They have since both taken to social media to apologise over the comments 

Sky Sports have reportedly suspended two Formula One commentators from their Italian channel over alleged sexist remarks.

As reported by the Express , Matteo Bobbi and former GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi made the remarks during their post-race analysis of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Speaking from the studio to Valsecchi who was in the paddock, ex-Formula One test driver Bobbi pointed to a woman in the background and referred to her as an ‘upgrade package’. 

Turning around, Valsecchi who won the equivalent of Formula Two back in 2012, replied: ‘I already know them but they told me I can’t test them. So I raise my hands.’

The exchange angered viewers and also caught their female colleague Federica Masolin off guard. 

Bobbi (left) was seen pointing at a woman in the paddock and referred to her as an 'upgrade package'

Valsecchi

Matteo Bobbi (left) and Davide Valsecchi have been suspended by Sky Italia over ‘sexist comments’ they allegedly made live on air during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend 

The pair made comments over a woman standing behind Valsecchi, which visibly appeared to catch their female colleague Federica Masolin (right with Valsecchi) off guard

The pair made comments over a woman standing behind Valsecchi, which visibly appeared to catch their female colleague Federica Masolin (right with Valsecchi) off guard

Masolin, after giving a lengthy stare to Valsecchi, told the pair to be ‘careful’ before adding: ‘Can we watch some interviews instead of these two? Let’s hear from Carlos Sainz please. I’m going to censure you two.’

Later in the broadcast, she read a viewer’s comment on air: ‘Fabio is concerned for your physical safety, Matteo and Davide. “Will they be safe and sound, after this gag, at the next Grand Prix. Would it be appreciated above all by their wives?”‘

Bobbi then retorted: ‘Well when I get home. I’ll get a beating, probably. Sorry, Davide.’

Valsecchi replied: ‘Well you know I’ve had eye surgery twice because I’ve been losing sight since I was a child, looking at those things.’

Following their suspensions by Sky, both have taken to social media to apologise for their comments. 

Valsecchi wrote on Instagram: ‘I’m so sorry, because on Sunday in the post-race I fell into an exchange of bad-tasteful jokes and used unsuitable and disrespectful words. And I’m not.

‘This is why I would like to apologise to those who felt offended, to women and to Sky. Really.’

Bobbi posting on Twitter said: ‘On Sunday in the post-race I was the protagonist of a joke that came out in a completely unhappy way, although it was not my intention.

‘I created an unpleasant moment that upset some people. I ended up in the gravel.

‘Being anything but a disrespectful person, I sincerely apologise to those who felt offended by it. I reiterated my total and deep respect for all women and in particular starting with the woman I have next to me.

Jack Nicholls was sacked by Formula E over alleged 'inappropriate behaviour' last week

Jack Nicholls was sacked by Formula E over alleged ‘inappropriate behaviour’ last week

‘For 10 years I have been commentating on F1 with Sky friends, a family now, and in 10 years I have never found myself in such an unpleasant situation.  

‘I’ve always thought that from mistakes you learn and start again. What happened will me to try to improve further as a man and as a professional.’

The pair will reportedly not be present for the Canadian Grand Prix. 

It comes a week after Formula E sacked their long-time lead commentator Jack Nicholls over alleged ‘inappropriate behaviour’, with the BBC also removing him from their radio coverage of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Bobbi was a test driver for Minardi in the early 2000s – which has since gone on to become the AlphaTauri outfit.

Valsecchi also had a testing role in Formula One for Hispania Racing in 2010 and later Team Lotus – now Alpine. 

Despite winning the GP2 series, he was unable to find a full-time race seat in F1.