SKY SPORTS have suspended two Formula One commentators after sexist remarks made live on air.
Matteo Bobbi, who spent three years as a Minardi test driver in F1, and Davide Valsecchi, an Italian former racing driver and the 2012 GP2 Series champion, have been temporarily stood down from their Italian channel by the broadcaster.
Sky Sport ItalySky Sport Italy have suspended F1 commentators Matteo Bobbi and Davide Valsecchi for sexist remarks on air[/caption]
Sky Sport ItalyFrom the studio Bobbi pointed to a woman behind Valsecchi, in the paddock, and called her an ‘upgrade package’[/caption]
Sky Sport ItalyCo-host Federica Masolin was standing alongside Valsecchi and looked fuming[/caption]
Sky Sport ItalyShe then read out a viewer’s comment that led to more joking[/caption]
It comes after comments they made during the post-race analysis of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The former drivers were talking about the race when Bobbi, 45, began a sexist joke with his colleague.
He was in the studio speaking to 36-year-old Valsecchi, who was in the paddock at trackside, when he pointed to a woman in the background and referred to her as an “upgrade package”.
That led to Valsecchi responding: “I already know them but they told me I can’t test them. So I raise my hands.”
But their exchange on Sky Sport Italia went down like a lead balloon with the other broadcasters they were working with.
Federica Masolin was standing alongside Valsecchi and instantly produced a stern stare towards him before telling the pair to “be careful”.
As the joke continued, she grew more furious, and that led to her adding: “Can we watch some interviews instead of these two?
“Let’s hear from Carlos Sainz, please. I’m going to censure you two.”
Masolin continued to read a viewer’s comment after the interview clip that said: “Fabio is concerned for your physical safety, Matteo and Davide.
“Will they be safe and sound, after this gag, at the next Grand Prix. Appreciated by all their wives?”
Bobbi responded with: “Well when I get home I’ll get a beating, probably. Sorry, Davide.”
Valsecchi continued to joke, adding: “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 individuals have now apologised over their comments with Valsecchi writing 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 also said: “After the race I was the protagonist of a joke that came out in a completely unhappy way, although it was not in my intentions I generated an unpleasant moment that made the sensitivity of some people suffer. I ended up in gravel.
“Being anything but a disrespectful person I sincerely apologise to those who felt offended by reiterating my total and deep respect for everyone and towards women, particularly starting with the beautiful woman next to me.
“For 10 years I have been commenting on F1 with the friends of Sky, a family now and in 10 years I had never found myself in such an unpleasant situation.
“I’ve always thought that from mistakes you understand, learn and start again. What happened will lead me to try to improve further as a man and as a professional.”
Now both men will be absent from the coverage for the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix.