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Sky suspend F1 pundits after sexist comments live on air

The remarks were made during post-race television coverage of the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday

Kieran Jackson
Formula 1 Correspondent
Friday 09 June 2023 15:12 BST
Sky Italia suspend F1 pundits after sexist comments live on air

Two Sky Italia commentators have been suspended after making sexist comments during the channel’s coverage of the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

Matto Bobbi and Davide Valsecchi made the remarks during live post-race coverage in Barcelona for Italian broadcaster Sky Sport.

Referring to a woman in the background in the paddock, Bobbi, who was speaking from a separate studio, described her as an “upgrade package.”

Valsecchi looked behind him and replied: “I know, but they told me I can’t test them. So I raise my hands.”

Alongside Valsecchi was host Federica Masolin, who looked uncomfortable as the conversation progressed.

She then interjected: “I ask for political asylum. Can’t we watch some interviews instead of listening to these two? Let’s hear from Carlos Sainz, please. I’m going to censor you two.”

She then later read out a viewer’s comment on air, asking: “Will we see them [Bobbi and Valsecchi] safe and sound again at the next grand prix after these comments – that will be greatly appreciated by their wives?”

Davide Valsecchi (left) is one of two Sky Italia F1 pundits suspended after making sexist remarks on air (Sky Sport )

Bobbi replied: “I think I’ll get a beating if I go home,” while Valsecchi said: “Well you know I’ve had eye surgery twice because I’ve been losing sight since I was a child, looking at those things.”

Both have since apologised for their remarks but Sky Italia told The Guardian that Bobbi and Valsecchi have been “temporarily suspended” and will not work during the next race, the Canadian Grand Prix.

Bobbi said: “I sincerely apologise to anyone who may have felt offended and wish to reiterate my total and profound respect for everyone and for women.

Matto Bobbi (left) is the second pundit who has been suspended (Sky Sport )

“For 10 years, I have been commenting on F1 with friends from Sky, who have become like a family to me now and, in 10 years, I have never found myself in such an unpleasant situation.

“I’ve always thought that you learn, understand and start again from your mistakes. What happened will lead me to try to improve further as a man and as a professional.”

Valsecchi posted on Instagram: “I’m very sorry because, on Sunday, after the race, I exchanged some jokes that were in bad taste and used inappropriate and disrespectful words.

“And I’m not like this. I would really like to apologise to those who felt offended, to women and to Sky.”

Bobbi was a test driver for Minardi in the 2000s while Valsecchi won GP2 – now known as F2 – in 2012 but did not land a Formula 1 race seat.

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