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Racing legends, experts reflect on Formula One at The Ridgefield Playhouse

Start your engines

Formula One Racing continues to attract fans from all over the world. Now that its ownership is based in the U.S., the popularity stateside is also on the rise. 

Leigh Diffey is NBC Sports’ lead play-by-play commentator for INDYCAR, IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, MotoGP, and Supercross. As one of the most prolific voices in motorsports, he sees F1’s rising popularity in his various travels.

“Even young kids are wearing the jackets,” Diffey said. 

Diffey will be joined by David Hobbs, Steve Matchett, and special guest Ricky Carmichael at The Ridgefield Playhouse on Nov. 28 for “Inside F1: 2022 Year in Review,” presented by Lime Rock Park. 

This multimedia event — held after the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi —  will review the 2022 season and take audience members into the world of F1 racing with insight humor and some rare stories. After three previously sold-out events, the former NBC F1 Racing commentary team is set to return to the Playhouse stage for an up-close and personal night that will take you behind the scenes of the world’s most-watched sport. 

The lauded trio is comprised of Diffey, famed race mechanic and commentator Matchett, and former professional racer and commentator Hobbs. Carmichael is a is racing legend who holds the all-time record for AMA Motocross Championships wins. He has also raced in the NASCAR Xfinity, Truck, and ARCA Series from 2008 to 2010.  

Carmichael has logged 150 wins over his career and never lost an outdoor championship, making him the greatest of all time. Carmichael will join Diffey, Hobbs, and Matchett to share his insights on elite motorsport athletes as well as his perspective on the future of the sport.

Carmichael said it’s an honor to join the trio for an evening that promises to be “a lot of fun for our incredible fans.” He said he offers a unique perspective having been a young champion, and can speak on the joys and challenges that presented.

“The good thing is back in my day there was less social media. The rules and responsibilities have changed a lot. But even then you needed to be mindful of how you conducted yourself. You have partners and sponsors and have to assume everyone is watching,” he said. “You want to portray yourself in the best light possible — it’s your duty on and off the tracks.”

F1’s popularity stateside has exploded in recent years thanks in part to the Netflix documentary series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” which premiered during the COVID lockdown. A welcome escape for those stuck at home, the series swept viewers away to exotic locations and drew them in with the lure and thrill that is Formula 1 Racing. 

From the glitz and the glamour to the characters and the dramatic rivalries, the series was a hit, breaking through to broader audiences. Stay-at-home moms and dads as well as the younger generations are now addicted to the world of racing.

The most recent season, which covered the 2021 World Championship, attracted the biggest audience to date, breaking into the weekly Top 10 in more than 50 countries.

Both Diffey and Carmichael agreed that the show has created a new legion of racing fans —  even Carmichael’s children enjoy watching it. While Diffey said Formula One is still somewhat of an elite and expensive sport, the show has made the world around it much more accessible to the casual fan. 

Despite appearing in the Formula One event, Carmichael said if he had to pick his favorite form of racing, it would be NASCAR. 

“It’s how I started,” he said. 

“Inside F1: 2022 Year in Review” is part of the Hearst Media Entertaining Conversation Series and sponsored by Porsche Danbury and Audi Danbury. For more information or to purchase touchless print-at-home tickets ($60), visit or call (203) 438-5795.