Croft explains origins of famous F1 catchphrase

David Croft has explained how he came up with his F1 catchpohrase

David Croft has explained how he came up with his F1 catchphrase

Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft has explained where his famous “lights out and away we go” catchphrase came from.

Croft heads the Sky’s commentary team, a feed picked up by Australian rights holder Fox Sports.

With ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle as co-commentator, Croft has been a staple of the telecast since 2012.

F1 catchphrase

“So it was Australia 2012 and I was thinking in the weeks leading up to it, the first race of the season, I need to say something at the start of the race to give me two or three seconds to work out what’s happened off the line, and something I could say that I wouldn’t have to think about,” Croft told Speedcafe.

“I thought ‘lights out and away we go’, that sounds good.

“Now, what I didn’t realise, Ben Edwards said that as well, and he was on the BBC.

“Ben was in one commentary box and I was on the other so we were both saying it unbeknownst to each other.

“After a few races Ben came out of the commentary box and I asked ‘are you saying lights out and away we go?’

“I said ‘Sorry Ben,’ he went ‘yeah, me too.’

“I said, should we just carry on? I’ve no reason to drop it, I quite like it.”

For Croft’s 50th birthday, Edwards sent a video message where he ceded ownership of the famous catchphrase.

“It has turned into something that people love to hear and love to join in on, and tell me that they shout at the TV at the start of every race.

“If people are sat there watching and shouting the catchphrase at the start, that’s brilliant because that’s just bringing people together to have a bit of fun at the start of the race.”

Radio background

Croft started his career in radio, moving to BBC Radio 5 in the late 1990s.

There, he covered the 2002 World Cup, 2004 Athens Olympics, and world championship darts.

Croft has called more than 300 events and has missed just one event since joining Sky in 2012.

He’s fastidious about his work, spending the week prior to an event making notes he uses in the commentary box.

It’s a pen-and-paper exercise, including transcribing the grid after qualifying.

“There’s no script, there no safety net, you know – what happens, happens, and it’s my job to write that story,” he reasoned.

“While I get to work with some amazing drivers and drivers who are now commentators in their own, they’ve got that where they’ve raced off the line where the ‘lights out and away we go’.

“I’ve never done that,” he added.

“So this is my adrenaline-filled bit where I rev myself up to however many decibels I can manage, and off we go.”

The Australian Grand Prix begins on Thursday with F1 on track for opening practice from 12:30 AEDT on Friday.

All practice sessions, qualifying, and the race are live in 4kUHD on Foxtel and streaming service Kayo.

As previously reported, Foxtel subscribers with compatible iQ set top boxes also now have access to F1TV.

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