New US Formula One broadcaster ESPN who took over the rights to broadcast Formula One for 2018 from NBC Sport have been forced to apologize for the technical issues that blighted their first broadcast of the new Formula One season.

Fans stateside missed the first 20 minutes of the pre-race coverage due to technical difficulties with the feed from ESPN to Australia. ESPN do not have a broadcast team covering Formula One in 2018 but instead take the live feed from Sky Sports F1 HD having reached a deal with Sky last year to do so.

In a statement released by ESPN on Sunday, they said:

We deeply apologize to Formula 1 fans for the technical issues that caused them to miss the first 20 minutes of the pre-race show for the Australian Grand Prix. We are sorry that our first F1 telecast did not go as smoothly as we would have liked but we are taking steps to prevent those same issues from occurring in the future. We thank the fans for watching and for their incredible passion for Formula 1.

We deeply apologize to Formula 1 fans for the technical issues that caused them to miss the first 20 minutes of the pre-race show for the Australian Grand Prix. We are sorry that our first F1 telecast did not go as smoothly as we would have liked but we are taking steps to prevent those same issues from occurring in the future. We thank the fans for watching and for their incredible passion for Formula 1.

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal waded in on the ESPN issues, with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing not impressed with the technical issues, he tweeted saying:

I don’t want to be negative, but i tried to watch. They need commentators here, the commercial breaks had awful timing, and leaving mid sentence then returning from break without explanation of what happened was terrible.

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