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Thoughts on the changes to BBC F1 commentary team
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Thoughts on the changes to BBC F1 commentary team
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jan 2011   |  5:53 pm GMT  |  326 comments

Not surprisingly many readers and Twitter followers want to know my thoughts on the changes in the BBC F1 commentary line up with Martin Brundle taking the lead role and David Couthard joining him in the commentary box.


I worked alongside Martin in the ITV commentary box from 2001 until the end of 2008. We did well over 120 races together and I know he will have thought about this very carefully. He knows what is involved in taking the lead role; a lot of preparation and getting the bases covered. That is something he always relied on me to do and that’s his job now.

I think it’s a good move for him; he’s done the same role as pundit and gridwalker for 14 years now, throughout the ITV years and two years with the BBC. Why not refresh things a little?

It’s not without its challenges; rushing up from the grid, it will take some adjustment to arrive in the commentary box a few minutes before the race starts and do a mental “reset”, ready to talk for over 90 minutes. The lead commentator takes the strain, maintains the narrative, doing probably 60% of the talking, it’s quite different from the colour commentator who adds insights and colour.

Martin is more than capable of doing that. He’s studied the role alongside three different commentators now since 1997 and if he believes he can do it and fancies the challenge, I’m sure he’ll be more than ready to meet it.

As I’ve always maintained, the most important thing with a sport like F1 is that the commentator is passionate about his sport and is steeped in it and Martin ticks both of those boxes.

It looks like F1 will be broadcast in HD next season, certainly FOM is ready for it and many of the networks who take the F1 coverage have HD channels, including the BBC. So not only will F1 sound different next year, it will look a lot brighter.

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326 Comments
  1. Alun says:

    Can’t wait for the new season!! It’s going to be great and if it IS in sparkling HD then it’s going to sound amazing. My only worries are whether DC is “interesting” enough to be the colour commentator and just how bad are EJ’s shirts going to look in HD!

    1. Adrian says:

      Well they had to change Doctor Who’s costume because they didn’t like how it came out in HD….so who knows maybe EJ will be forced to change his shirts!!

    2. Sebee says:

      I love F1. Been to many races, in many countries. But outside of F1 I don’t watch much and was tired of paying $80 a month to get TSN to watch two races a month. So I cut the cable. In this day and age I should be able to get the stream to my ipad or TV for a season charge. I miss the years of free over the air F1 in Canada. It’s what hooked me to F1 in the first place. Thanks for letting me vent.

      I’m sure F1 would benefit in US as well by not being on SpeedTV and going free to air in HD. I don’t see anything else exciting at 8AM on Fox on Sunday. ABC, CBS, NBC have their all important morning shows on the weekends. Sounds like a discount on TV fees for a few seasons in US is in order.

      1. F1FanInCanada says:

        When I moved to Canada I signed up for cable immediately so I could get the F1. TSN does a bad job of covering it. No pre/post race show. We only get the qually and the race itself with the BBC commentary feed. I was looking up what it would take to go HD this year. But with the usual bundling shenanigans I’d have to buy all the sports HD channels on top of getting the HD hardware too. There’s no guarantee that it’ll even be on TSNHD there’s nothing on their website to say it will be.

        I’d pay good money for an HD stream to my laptop. Come on Bernie, there’s money to be made. You don’t need the TV networks anymore.

    3. wayne says:

      James, I would have been a lot more interested in a comment about the, in my opinion, nonsensical appointment of DC. DC has a real problem, he chokes everytime there is an opportunity to offer justified criticism of RBR and he’s not all that interesting to listen to (see his ’special’ session from the McLaren technology centre, mission control last year – it was painful to listen to).

  2. Gareth D says:

    Thanks James. But what do you think about DC?

    I don’t think it would work. Realistically they are both colour commentators. Correct me if I’m wrong, but lead commentators are usually brought through the media – so traditionally journalism, production etc. Martin however was a racer, so developed his media trade using his insider analysis. I believe it would be difficult for him to not be himself.

    As for DC, I think he’ll just be like MB when he first started off. Whether he’ll be a success or not is another matter, but I believe them both to be naturally colour commentators because of their backgrounds and believe they won’t gell as well as some might think.

    Cheers

    Gareth

    1. Stu says:

      What has tradition got to do with it? It’s 2011! Murray was an experienced enthusiastic amateur to start with. Brundle has something like 14 years of experience behind the mike and in pressure situations (pitwalks etc.)

      Murray was himself. Brundle will be himself. As James says, passion and knowledge is key. Most punters are intelligent enough to know when a commentator is winging it or less knowledgeable than themselves. As long as they have the common touch, an ex-driver is the better option imo. Professional Sports commentators are cuddly frontmen and link deliverers – they aren’t the guy you’d trust to sit in a pub and ask about the sport so why trust them to talk to you for 90 minutes when you’d rather the guy who actually did it for a living was there instead.

      great blog as ever James. Will continue to follow :-)

      1. Gareth D says:

        I get what you’re saying – but the role of the colour commentator is a former professional in that field – Martin Brundle and David Coulthard for F1, Andy Gray, Alan Smith, Andy Townsend for football, Jonathan Davies for rugby.

        The lead commentator is usually from a media background – Bill McLaren, Martyn Tyler, Alan Parry, Clive Tyldsley with the colour commentator for analysis. Martin is the latter and I therefore struggle to see the benefit of having two.

      2. Stu says:

        But you are pigeonholing Brundle purely based on the fact that he was initially an F1 driver and not from the media. What relevance has this to his ability to commentate? He has honed an innate ability over the last decade and a half to commentate fluently on his subject as well as any media trained commentator could so I still fail to see what tradition has to do with ability. Again, I cite Murray Walker as an example :-)

      3. Gareth D says:

        Stu – if you read you’ll see I didn’t question his ability to commentate.

      4. Andy W says:

        Have to agree with Stu, to write Martin off as nothing more than a colour commentator because he came into that role as an ex driver is to ignore the decades he has spent in the commentary booth being able to witness the hard work of the great Murray Walker as well as yours truly James.

        He has also seen how not to do it… and I think that lesson has been well learned given the number of times I felt Martin had to restrain himself from attacking legard for being the fool he was.

        I just can’t wait for the howls of anguish after Bahrain when we not only have a boring 1st race as teams get to grips with the new tyres and rules and the shouts that DC isn’t up to the job…. Lets face it its going to take him a few races at least to settle into the job and maybe even as long as a season to feel really at home in the commentary box, however I think he will surpass the efforts of JL within half a dozen races at most.

    2. iceman says:

      I think if anyone can make this switch then it will be MB.
      One of the historic races the BBC showed last year was the ’84 Brazilian GP, Martin’s first F1 race, in which he finished 5th. The interview he gave after the race was superb; looking back on it now, it was obvious proof that the guy was destined to end up on TV.

      1. Gareth D says:

        I hope so. He’s a top bloke and and wish him all the best.

        Anything has to be better than Jonathan Legard…… he just constantly sounded lost lol

  3. Nesto says:

    About being broadcast in HD, is that only on Sky or another specific channel ? I’m a viewer from the US and we, of course, just get what I assume is called the “world feed”. Its great news and much-awaited but I feel like we won’t all be enjoying F1 in HD this year.

    1. Jonathan says:

      sure we will. Speed now has an HD channel.

    2. Allan B says:

      In the States you get Speed HD, so they should be carrying F1 in HD.

      In The Great White North, Canada, we cannot watch Speed coverage of F1 as it is blacked out, we get to watch on TSN, this is available in HD so hopefully 2011 will be a very good year for F1 in Canada and around the world, as it gets shown in full HD worldwide.

      Martin Brindle I can understand but I think David Coulthards close links with red Bull, may detract for a position of neutrality.

      1. tobi-wan says:

        I agree Allan. DC’s employment by Red Bull should be declared by the BBC for viewers who aren’t aware of this. Turkey last year was a prime example where he sat on the fence. Brundle didn’t do that.

      2. Rob Haswell says:

        Mmmmwhat? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slk2PGCux8I#t=1m45 Coulthard clearly fingers Vettel in agreement with Brundle.

    3. Thomas, Canada says:

      I understand F1 will be broadcast in “native High Def” which means they’ll have HD cameras at the tracks. So the world feed will be HD which is great news for everyone – including the folks in N. America who get Speed and TSN.

      HD at long last!

    4. Aaron95 says:

      The BBC have the rights to show F1 in the UK. As they have two HD channels, I would imagine it will be shown on one of those.

  4. Briggy says:

    I’m sure Brundle is capable in the role, but surely you need one ‘expert’ and one ‘fan’ in the commentary box. It always sounds fainly ridiculous when Martin asks a question of a driver on the grid that he clearly knows the answer to – starts to look a bit like pantomime. Still, I look forward to being proved wrong on this one.

    1. **Paul** says:

      The problem is the ‘fan’ is the one who is normally responsible for spoiling coverage. Let me remind you that prior to legard the person in his role got a lot of stick for some of his comments, primarily because they were ‘as a fan’ and occasionally (like Legard) seemed rather one sided.

      So in my opinion the change is hugely welcomed, plus DC has experience of current f1 cars, something Brundle is now lacking in.

      1. DonSimon says:

        In fairness though, the sniffpetrol lot are all idiots who don’t really have a proper clue about the sport so they gave the last commentator (whoever that was!) a good portion of the stick. In the case of JL the stick was pretty much universal. Does anyone have a youtube clip of JL’s fron/rear wing mix-up? Brundles reaction is priceless.

      2. Mario says:

        You will never please every folk. In fact the more you try to please them the more you run into trouble. People will always find a thing to moan about. Let them moan themselves to death and as for us, we need to make sure we have fun.

      3. Andy W says:

        There is nothing wrong with being a fan of the sport… Murray was a huge fan of the sport and rarely held back his emotions regarding the sport and the drivers… I still choke up hearing his comments when Damon clinched his title.

        I want passion from my commentators rather the confusion and arrogance which was common place from legard as he time after time failed to understand the complexities of the sport, asked inane questions of Martin that he then tried and generally failed to answer himself without letting Martin get a word in edgeways, confused drivers, cars, teams ends of cars, pitted and lapped cars and all the rest. Or just bored us endlessly in his dull monotone and his tedious mangling of the english language.

      4. **Paul** says:

        I would argue that commentators should try and remain fair. If you look at other sports like Football you don’t hear Motty cheering one side and taking a stab at another because of his personal views, he stays professional. Murray may have had a lump in his throat when Hill won his WDC, but he didn’t let anything like that impact upon his commentary. He didn’t slate Schumacher because he was friends with Damon. That’s the difference, and that is what F1 needs to sort out, it’s a worldwide sport, and not everyone who watches UK coverage supports McLaren, Hamilton or Button. I would strongly argue that the last couple of people to have held the main commentator position have perhaps struggled to seperate their personal views from the commentry.

        I look forward to the Brundle Coulthard commentry team, I just hope DC’s input can be as good as Ant Davidsons on the Red Button, which is exceptionally informative.

      5. Bevan says:

        Excellent critique of the Legard character by Andy W.
        Legard reminded me of a scratched phonograph,stuck on the line-”and Jenson Button”.Good riddance.
        I’m sure we’ll be in for a better year now auditory wise,& visually we’re in for a 1080p surprise.Its looking good.Now about those continual regulation changes to cut costs but actually end up costing billions to implement,hmmm.

      6. Bevan says:

        In all honesty sometimes I wish the pair in the commentary box would just be quiet every now & again.I love those tech glitches that take out the commentary,allows one to focus on the real drama.James,don’t commentators realize that the cars sound 500% better than anything they can come up with,newbies might appreciate commentary for direction but us old hats know whats going on,sometimes before the commentary team as we’re all watching the same feed.Now that F1′s going digital I might be able to nullify the commentary courtesy of my AV receivers centre channel adjustment,”YIPEEE”

      7. Andy W says:

        Commentators do need to be fair in their commentary and to be honest thats the one thing I do think legard managed to do (or my internal white noise generator which worked full time whenever he opened his mouth drowned out his bias, unless you happen to be one of those who thinks a British commentator should never mention a British driver or team).

        The idea of silent commentators is an interesting one, yes hearing the cars by themselves is good, but a good commentator team bring so much more enjoyment to the sport. I grew up listening to Murray and loved his enlightened and occasional gaff ridden style. I know some people complained that James was dull, but I really liked his low intensity but well informed style. Brundle for me has been the best of the colour commentators I have listened to (although Anthony is getting extremely good on 5live, and has a brilliant partnership with Crofty… if Martin wasn’t on the main team I would happily listen to this pair).

        Regardless I suspect that DC is going to get a slating after Bahrain* but give him a couple of races and I suspect he will be miles better than legard at his best and a by the end of the season he will hopefully be good, I think it will be 2012 before the pair get fully into their stride.

  5. Steve Arnott says:

    Thanks for your views, James.

    Forgive me for this observation, but it seems to me that you’re a little frosty on the prospect. You barely mention DC at all, and most of your comments about Martin are tinged with caution.

    Would you care to elaborate a little? Do you _really_ think that pairing will work? Do you _really_ think Martin if Auntie Beeb’s best choice as lead? He does such a good job as wingman that I personally have concerns. And I hope DC gets out of his habit of starting every sentence with ‘indeed’…

    1. James Allen says:

      You read it wrong, or maybe you’re looking to make mischief. I think it’s the right thing for BBC to do

      1. DonSimon says:

        You have to listen to the people I spose. Pitty the BBC stumbled on sniffpetrol. You should be doing it man, best post-walker commentator so far and the only one that seems to know what they are talking about in any detailed manner. The 5live boys are good, but I still prefer Martin and you were the perfect foil for his parched humor. What was he like to work with?

      2. James I really did enjoy your commentary, (I promise i’m not trying to be all smart) but personally, I prefer you running this blog, I dont want you back in the commentary as this blog would end up going down the tubes

        I didnt have that much of a problem with Jonathan either, something about him did sometimes annoy me at time, but on the whole he was OK. What did annoy me was when I felt he would talk over martin….with something useless, when you just got the feeling Martin was going to say something profound…. and im certain Martin would “huff…’ then move hone fair enough….

        DC is a strange choice becuase his voice ins’t as lively, but I don’t really care, Im just glad Im going to be listening to 2 people I do admire, know a lot about F1, hopefully will respect each other… and I can just sit and enjoy the race.

        Im more glad EJ is staying on, yes you can cringe listening to him, and when he leans forward, grabs a team principles hand, you just wonder what on earth he is going to come away with…. he’s like Bernie a bit, you have no idea….and it’s usually very clever…. it tells a story

        Nap we can debate this all day long, Im happy, Im fine with MB & DC in the commentary box, im looking forward to hearing JH (he’s a good guy) and EJ with the banter and following a really good blog from JA… bring Murray Walker in would be the icing, but I’ll take this any day….

        Blimey we could have Steve Ryder and Jim Rosenthal, nothing against them personally… but this put it in perspective…

        Just my honest opinion though

      3. Steve Arnott says:

        No, I’m certainly not looking to cause mischief. Frankly, I was hoping you’d get the gig, but I guess times change.

        Maybe I projected some of my personal reservations onto your piece. I’m a huge fan of Martin’s work, and honestly a little less so of DC (although I think he loosened up towards the end of last season).

        My concern is that Martin is the perfect counter man but we’ve never seen his skills as the lead. I wonder at the wisdom of taking two ex-drivers with a similar observational style in favour of a professional commentator.

        Let’s see how it goes…

  6. cosicave says:

    Yes. Very diplomatic James! :)

    Now, if I may be so bold; what was your opinion on your successor? !!

    1. henry says:

      Yes, now that Leggard is out of the hot seat, can we know roughly what you thought of him as a commentator? I dont feel any need to hide the fact that persoanlly I thought he was pretty useless, especially with the more obvious mistakes. A lead commentator should have experts there to help on the technical stuff and driver analysis, but when Leggard can’t even tell drivers apart and is delivering incorrect information which the punters can see on their screens, it does become a bit of a farce.

      1. James Allen says:

        I understand why you ask the question, but I don’t think a professional should criticise the efforts of another professional, it crosses the line, it’s unprofessional. I’m sorry if that disappoints you. We are all in the same pond, for many, many years together and comments and criticisms like that always come around to bite you. All I will say is what I said in the piece that the most important thing about the F1 TV commentator is that he is steeped in the sport and passionate about it.

      2. henry says:

        Of course, I was fairly sure that you would feel that it would be unfair to answer that question, but I thought asking it was worth it anyway! In the grand scheme of things, Leggard fewer errors that Murray Walker, so really it could more have been a problem of gelling with the fans. Either way, I am sure he will go on to success in his next role. I always felt he was better on football than on F1.

      3. Cliff says:

        James, Excellent response!!

        Many of the comments made in regard to JL are subjective rather than objective. I remember reading some pathethic comments made about your good self when you took over from Murray Walker. The point is that you were not Murray, you were being your self & JL was doing the same! I don’t think anyone can be criticised for that!

        On another matter, I read your book and found it a very read whilst on my hols (even with kids playing up). I have to say, I forgot about some of the events earlier in the season. If I could make one request, could we have a bit more on the technical aspect of sport. How did Mclaren feel when they realised that they had the jump on the other teams with the F-Duct? and how did they feel when they realised that RBR developed the F-Duct and added the EBD? I’m now reading the book again whilst watching the official F1 DVD. I’ve only got to China, but the bloggs are spot-on. All-in-all, money well spent.

  7. Mohammed Al-Momen says:

    James I would like you to some how give this message to FOTA, FOM and who ever is in charge. Formula 1 is very high tech, but it seems they have not embraced the internet as medium to for people to watch. I for one have not been able to watch a single race this year because of the timing (weekends here in Saudi are Thursday/Friday) and sunday isn’t the weekend in a lot of places around the world which means people are working doing stuff. Plus the timings usually suite people in Europe. So why not broadcast races online? why not allow for a subscription system that would allow me to view and stream the race at a later time in the day? I would pay for such service if it was available and I’m sure many would

    1. James Allen says:

      I have passed that on to FOM. Thanks

    2. Mark Crooks says:

      Isn’t that what DVR’s are for, press the button on the remote and watch it at your leisure later.

      IndyCar is probably ahead of the game on the Internet streaming front, but it only really works because if has fewer fans.

      F1 is hugely popular accross the glode so if they were to implement something similar it would require huge investment and resources to offer a reliable service anytime of day at an acceptible quality and bandwidth. That is why they are probably waiting for the broadcasters to deliver their own internet services.

      BBC iPlayer is probably the best example of internet TV streaming and download service and even it suffers from a decrease in quality at peek times.

      However saying that the cable providers across the globe are realizing that distribution of their network via the internet is the future. I reckon you will get precisely what you are after in a couple of years time.

      In the meantime I recommend you try installing Expat Shield or HotSpot Shield (depending on your location) and then access the BBC iPlayer service, it works a treat ;-)

    3. DonSimon says:

      Get yourself a UK VPN and watch the races on iPlayer. They are very cheap and I know many people in the Middle-East who use them for a number of things, including iplayer and skype. At least thats what I WOULD tell you if the legality of it was 100%…..

      1. Galapago555 says:

        So we are pushing the envelope not only with the Sporting Regulations, but also with the TV copyright rules… LOL

      2. DonSimon says:

        The pace of development never slows down, even for the fans! I can assure you my front wing does not flex though…

      3. Mark Crooks says:

        Expat Sheild and HotSpot Shield is a UK VPN plus it’s free and requires no configuration.

      4. DonSimon says:

        Bingo. Great stuff man, just sent expat shield to several people I know. Thanks for sharing those mate.

    4. Douglas says:

      Agree totally with this – a lot of people State-side resort to downloading illegal torrents of the BBC broadcasts. Would happily pay for a reasonably priced HD streaming version from the official site. $3-$4 dollars, no problem. Price of a DVD rental. That shouldn’t be too difficult to arrange – this is a pinnacle of technology after all.

      1. Mark Crooks says:

        I agree with you it would not be hard to do but it would be very difficult to manage and ensure a consistant experieince for all customers across the globe. There are far too many factors that can a negative impact on the end user experience, not to mention the fact that I am sure the Cable TV networks for your country of origin would have something to say about bypassing their own similar services.

        For example in the US I can imagine Speed TV would be none too happy and since the Cable TV networks own the majority of ISP services they can easily “limit” bandwidth from certain sites and services that rival their own.

  8. Hi James,

    Who will be co-presenting with Jake now that David has moved into the commentary box? I hope Eddie is returning, never a dull moment.

    1. iceman says:

      Yes they will need someone to keep Eddie under control! Ron Dennis has some experience in that area, I thought they might get him in for the job :) But apparently DC is going to carry on with his existing role in addition to the commentary duties.

  9. Richard says:

    I think they should have brought you back into the team James. I won’t miss Jonathan but I’m not sure this the dream team.

    As Rob Smedley would say, ‘Very magnanimous of you.’

  10. Daniel Mayhew says:

    Great news, Jonathan Legard was really bad but thinks i will stay with the five live though

  11. Mateus says:

    Will he still be doing the grid walks?

  12. Tim Horton says:

    James, what are your thoughts on David Coulthard’s position in the box, perhaps having 2 ex race drivers could be seen as a little too much of a good thing? Surely a journalist would provide better contrast and a differing view point instead of two men with similar agendas?

    1. unoc says:

      Disagree.

      F1 is the only event I know where the commentators aren’t both ex-players/racers/etc…

      I watch the tennis, both ex tennis world no1′s or whatever they were. I watch the swimming and all the commentators have swam at the olympics, I watch the cricket and the box is full of ex test/oneday cricketers.

      While I did like James’ commentary I still feel that the role of commentary is to add to what you can’t alreayd see and this combo should do the job. They woont be the most exciting pair or be the easiest listening (not calling legard any better though), but they will be adding more to it that what I can already see.

      I see a red helmet in a mereceds coming into the pits. it’s schumacher clearly. I don’t need a commentator screaming at the top of his voice MICHAEL SCHUMACHER has come into the pits, how will this effect thigns?

      I can see that and that is what I’m alreayd wondering. What I want is commentators to bounce of each other with how this will effect his stratergy, those around him and those who haven’t had a pit stop yet.

      That’s what a commentator should do. Provide immediate indepth insight from people who know what they are talking about.

      Yes journalists can be packed with info (JA is/was, Jake does a sweet effort at hosting the show), but they haven’t been there and done that kind of thing.

      Aslong as Brundle doesn’t try to be a ‘main’ commentator and keeps his humour and charm then it will just be two exdrivers bouncing knowledge off each other and into the mics. And that is what I think will be all for the best.

      1. Nick F says:

        When Schumacher is coming into the pits you DO want the commentator to say that. That’s got to be one of the most important functions of a commentator. …To say what you see. Especially when it’s a significant event. The most frustration I have with F1 commentary is when something REALLY significant is happening on the screen and I’m feeling emotional about it and nothing is said, or it takes them seconds to pick up that it is happening. Ideally you want the commentator to be, if anything, in front of the viewer in recognizing the drama and NEVER behind. The reason is that when the commentator misses something your there thinking about why they can’t see what’s going on and not thinking about the race. It is very distracting and takes you away from thinking about the race at a critical point. As a viewer you want to have a shared emotional reaction with the commentator or for the commentator to lead your emotional reaction.

        listening to the BBC commentary last year I grew to believe that one of the things that was going on was that the commentators were not actually constantly watching the TV feed. They have the luxury or curse depending on how you think about it to have lots of data. They have many timing screens and probably the ability to switch to watch in car footage (although I’m not sure about this). Because of this they are not necessarily going to be watching the thing the viewer is watching at a critical moment.

        I wonder if with the proliferation of data and streams of video they should introduce a third commentator. Especially for things like qualifying. Often times the official broadcast is actually watching the wrong thing and so it’s critical you have a pair of eyes watching the timing screens. If your doing that though you can’t watch the TV feed.

      2. unoc says:

        Really? YOu really want someone to be telling you what you already know? Sure if its offscreen… but not onscreen. They should mention it in passing as they talk about what it means for the race not just yelling an obvious fact.

      3. You may no that but a good portion of the audience probably don’t. In a sport like F1, where so much is not visible or not obvious, the commentator will always have to deliver a certain amount if information that is redundant for the keen fan.

        Tyre degradation, dirty air, understeer, oversteer, KERS, adjustable wings, fuel levels, all of these things will probably need to be explained to the lay person at every race and Brundle’s commentary will be no different in that respect.

      4. henry says:

        Hear hear. I could not agree more completely.

  13. jakub says:

    James, you avoided any comments on DC. How do you think he will cope in the new role? I have my doubts…

    1. Canadian F1 Fan says:

      As do I.

      I find him to be almost unbearable to listen to. I think it’s a case of “the older I get, the better I was” with him, and he’s and unapologetic Red Bull “homer” as we say here in Canada. Very poor choice imho and I shall continue to watch David Hobbs, Bob Varsha, and crew on Speed.

      1. Really? DC got up my nose when he was a driver because no matter what had happened, it was everybody’s fault but DC’s. Last year though, he was very frank about a lot of things. He even admitted that his ‘problems’ at McLaren were actually down to Hakkinen being a more complete driver than him.

        Hardly “the older I get, the better I was.”

      2. Canadian F1 Fan says:

        Really,

        I’m sorry, but I totally disagree and think you are missing the point. DC talks with an air of superiority that frankly, given his career, he shouldn’t be. I watch every race, and I’m having a difficult time remember this humility he apparently found. That, coupled with the total Red Bull bias should make him rather insufferable most of the year. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it based on the past history of his commentary.

  14. Laurence H says:

    Coulthard, noooooooo! Totally lacking in broadcast skills and charisma. Will now have 5live commentary on all the time. Hope they’re keeping that?

  15. Bryan Graham says:

    You didn’t mention David Coulthard, James. What are your thoughts on this pairing, and do you think their business links (both jointly, and with other business partners) will have any bearing on their ability to provide good coverage?

  16. Chris says:

    I think Martin can do it with ease, over the last few years he has out-shined the lead commentator, whether it be the legend that is Murray Walker or the mostly useless Jonathan Legard.

    This last season Legard has made too many mistakes, silly mistakes similar to those like Murray used to make in his final commentating season. Murray was nearly 80 and could be forgiven, Legard is about half that and making those mistakes. Legard appeared like he had given up caring about the sport.

    I think DC is a great addition to the team, he brings passion, amazing knowledge and even better experience. Having worked with Martin (as his Manager) for so many years I feel that will be a great rapport between them leading the commentary into a great era.

    Now lets hope the racing is better than ever.

  17. Luke Dalton says:

    not quite the line-up i was hoping for, but have always wondered how martin would fair in a lead role, i remember when james first commentated for itv (france 2000) james allowed martin to call the start. will look forward to how it works, will certainly be different and i expect a more american style (discussion based) of commentary. good luck to them!

    1. Frenchie says:

      Funny how things have changed since that first commentary. Even I wasn’t a big fan of James taking over from Murray Walker back then.

      And how awkward did Ted Kravitz sound in the pits too! He has really come good too.

      Whoever hired the F1 team at ITV did a bloody good job: James, Martin, Ted and Louise Goodman (who is still in the pitlane for the PA commentary at the GPs).

      Having only listened to a single BBC radio broadcast (US 2002) it would be hard to form an opinion on Jon Legard despite the very good reputation he forged there.
      He certainly did not make the most of his opportunity on TV. It is also a credit to James’ commentary legacy – he had to overcome Murray’s ghost for many many years.
      Personally, I’ve always felt Legard’s was more suited to football and hope he manages to go back if he can/want. Best of luck to him.

      I look forward to Martin Brundle taking the lead. As he once said on Australian TV, he feels his F1 driving days were no more than apprenticeship for his broadcasting career.

      As for Coulthard, we only heard him briefly on One HD when a track action was stopped by the rain (Malaysia 09 and 2010 Japan qualifying). I hope he does well. I’m sure he’ll have a mentor sitting next to him in the box and also assumes Mark Hughes will remain in the box too.

    2. Frenchie says:

      Funny how things have changed since that first commentary. Even I wasn’t a big fan of James taking over from Murray Walker back then.

      And how awkward did Ted Kravitz sound in the pits too! He has really come good too.

      Whoever hired the F1 team at ITV did a bloody good job: James, Martin, Ted and Louise Goodman (who is still in the pitlane for the PA commentary at the GPs).

      Having only listened to a single BBC radio broadcast (US 2002) it would be hard to form an opinion on Jon Legard despite the very good reputation he forged there.
      He certainly did not make the most of his opportunity on TV. It is also a credit to James’ commentary legacy – he had to overcome Murray’s ghost for many many years.
      Personally, I’ve always felt Legard’s was more suited to football and hope he manages to go back if he can/want. Best of luck to him.

      I look forward to Martin Brundle taking the lead. As he once said on Australian TV, he feels his F1 driving days were no more than apprenticeship for his broadcasting career.

      As for Coulthard, we only heard him briefly on One HD when a track action was stopped by the rain (Malaysia 09 and 2010 Japan qualifying). I hope he does well. I’m sure he will have a mentor sitting next to him in the box and also assumes Mark Hughes will remain in the box too.

    3. James Allen says:

      Think your memory is playing tricks there

  18. jonas says:

    I think the fact that you didn’t actually share any thoughts on DC being in the commentary box says quite a lot! I can’t quite imagine how it will sound yet … I’m a huge DC fan, but I’m not sure about him commentating.

    Anyway, after the utterly dreadful commentary of the last two years I’m quite looking forward to it to be honest.

    It’s a real shame you’re not back in there, as I am sure your other readers here will echo.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not at all. I think he’ll be more forthright than people expect and his analysis of what’s going on is good, so it should work. THe real challenge is Martin’s which is why I focussed on it

  19. JA, curious as to how the migration of Coulthard will alter the “pre” & “post” commentary line-up.

    i feel that having a personable staff on this “editorial” side of the coverage can help lend needed insight for a less learned audience. ie: retain the interest of fledgling viewership.

  20. Nic Maennling says:

    There is a god ! Wonderful choice, but best of all we don’t have to put up with that hysterical motormouth Legard. I will admit that he was very clever to have absorbed all the information. I don’t watch the Olympics so it will be a Legard free year for me !

    Coulthard (James you will have to get the spelling of his name correct !) will have to be a little quicker on the draw and not spend too much time thinking about what he is about to say.

    Will the F-1 action be as good as the commentators ?

  21. Dom says:

    Any thoughts on DC as the colour commentator?

  22. R Martin says:

    Thanks James. Not sure we have heard anything more than a few rumblings about HD for a while. Just for the sake of clarity, by “next season”/”next year” do you mean 2011?

  23. Williams4Ever says:

    And so is DC released from his RedBull role?
    Wouldn’t him commentating on races be conflicting with his role as RedBull consultant?

    But then who am I kidding? F1 is one place where conflict of interests is norm and not an exception :D
    Martin was DC’s manager when he was commentating for ITV, and we have had driver managers as team principals and the list can go on.

    Having said that I am not sad that Leggard is gone, but who knows if they had stuck with him he too would have been a “Legend” in spite of all the flak he gets for his cock-ups in the commentary box, after all “Legendary” Murray Walker was not without his gaffes and writer of this blog (whom I admire) had his share of detractors when he worked on ITV team.

    David Croft is doing amazing job at Radio 5 and should have been promoted to the TV role with Ant Davidson and GPDA director (aka non active F1 driver) could have done the radio job….

    1. Gavin says:

      David Croft? Heard him do the darts, sounded like he wanted to be a comedian and not a very good one. Would rather have someone that takes his commentating duties seriously.

  24. Galapago555 says:

    “So not only will F1 sound different next year, it will look a lot brighter.”

    James, excuse my ignorance, but… why is F1 going to sound different next year? I’ve read lots of things about it sounding different as of 2013, with the new 1.5 four cylinder turbo charged engines… Maybe something to do with the blown diffuser ban?

    1. Galapago555 says:

      or simply because of the new lead commentator at BBC… :lol:

      1. DonSimon says:

        Maybe they are going to add some fan-noises at turkey/china/etc??

    2. James Allen says:

      THe commentators will sound different…

  25. Marc Lister says:

    Is Martin likely to carry on doing the grid walks before each race or will that fall to DC now? I enjoy Martin’s grid walks especially when he fights the German Sky woman for an interview!

  26. Zobra Wambleska says:

    James it’s wonderful that you can give Martin your full support and rightfully so because of his experience and professionalism. Your comments on David, however are notable by their very absence. Care to give us some insight on this?

  27. Carter says:

    Martin’s enthusiasm and dry sense of humour often has me in stitches during the grid walk; I am certainly looking forward to the new commentary format. I can only see this change bringing an even richer experience to us armchair pundits.

    Perhaps highlights of the Testing this year would be a good opportunity for Martin and David to practice (in addition to feeding my fix for F1 – and absolutely in HD please!!)

  28. Isotope9 says:

    Thank God…Jonathan Legard was horrible.

    He was usually confused as to what was going on…and the non stop talking about Lewis Hamilton (ie: Monza…Hamilton is out on the first lap and Legard was still talking about him 5 laps later…) and Jenson Button was annoying.

    I can understand being patriotic and all…but the commentators should be impartial witnesses to the action. Legard, clearly was not. Good riddance.

    As for broadcasting in HD…it’s about time

  29. Rungs says:

    Have to say, the BBC coverage for the last two years has been brilliant and this move will make it better.

    While I agree with a lot of what has been said about Jonathan Legard’s commentary (in terms of the negativity), I think a lot of the criticism aimed at him should instead have been aimed at the producers of the coverage. They were the ones who decided to give him the job for two years, and he was obviously having to tailor his words both for the armchair experts and for the casual viewer – not an easy thing to do at all, especially if you don’t have the in-built industry expertise of someone like Martin Brundle.

    And besides that, commentary in general is a very hard thing to do. I’ve never done it obviously, but I’ve been on radio and TV before, and even for short periods it’s hard! Especially if you’re having to sit next to someone of Brundle’s calibre.

    Having said that, JL also had the tendancy to say some bizarre and factually inaccurate things once or twice per race, and in the cutthroat world that is broadcasting, that just doesn’t wash in the longterm.

    I’d have preferred Crofty take the role and keep Brundle in the number two slot – but I still think Brundle and DC will be a brilliant combination.

    And in HD as well? Really can’t wait for the season to begin…

    1. Aaron95 says:

      There’s more too it than just factual inaccuracies. Murray Walker used to do that, yet we forgave him because his passion was so obvious in every commentary. I don’t know that there is a formula for a good sports commentator, or even that there will be consensus on what makes a good one.

    2. Andy Will says:

      Agreed
      Crofty on R5l was superb with Davidson, he would have got my vote for lead. He even got my partner interested in races as we were travelling during races.

      1. Paul says:

        Agree,
        Crofty is one of the best commentator’s on sport to day.
        His darts coverage was just as good as F1. He without doubt should have been selected as the main man in the box. I just want to fall a sleep when coultard speaks, a bit like his driving, I suppose if something goes wrong he will blame the mike!!

  30. Bob says:

    James, interesting insight as usual. I think this change in line up reflects to some extent the fact that as Martin is now some years out of F1 racing he is just that bit more removed from the technical side of it as far as being a driver is concerned. Obviously with DC only being out of the cockpit for a couple of seasons he has a greater insight, and more relevance so far as the technical side is concerned.

    Could you shed any light on his current / continued involvement with Red Bull – no accusation of bias, I’m just interested if he will have any insight on development and the future direction of development.

  31. Phil Bishop says:

    and what about you James? Can we expect you to be conducting driver interviews as this year and/or anything else?

    1. DonSimon says:

      Maybe a drive for HRT?

      1. Galapago555 says:

        I’m affraid he does not have money enough to pay for his seat LOL. Or am I wrong, James?

      2. DonSimon says:

        Honestly, I think you could buy the HRT seat for about €80 and a box of Cruzcampo.

  32. JimmiC says:

    I liked Martin’s role as a lugubrious observer, pitching in his observations and correcting the lead commentator. I’m not going to damn the man before he’s gone out to bat though and I hope it works out well. Certainly it’ll be a calmer commentary box with Martin and David. I hope Davidson gets some sort of role either as a pundit or a commentator in the future.

    Commentary is so important, I find. The two whom stand out for me as the best at what they do (with apologies to James!) are Toby Moody and Julian Ryder. They’ve got everything – chemistry, different dynamics, riders back stories. It was their lively discourse that got me into MotoGP before I even had a clue who half the riders names were.

    I am glad to see the back of Legard though. No ill will to the man, but I’ll have less headaches on a Sunday evening now.

    1. Rishi says:

      Spot on with Toby Moody and Julian Ryder – they’re a brilliant double act in the box. Their enthusiasm really shines through – it’d perhaps be a bit too much for something like BBC but I still love it.

      As a whole I’m not sure I agree with the Beeb here though. I personally didn’t have a problem with either Legard or James Allen as lead commentator but one criticism on Legard in some quarters was lack of enthusiasm and I’m not sure in this context Brundle will provide the solution and I too think he works as well as the observant expert. On the positives though, him and Coulthard should resolve any problem of commentary box ‘chemistry’. Additionally, though I’d prefer a broadcaster/expert combination, Brundle is popular with fans; respected as a commentator and former driver and this should mean that there won’t be a case where every mistake or undesirable idiosyncracy is pounced on. Maybe that is the jewel in the crown of the former driver-former driver partnership??

    2. iceman says:

      Another +1 on Moody and Ryder. Their commentary feels less like being talked at by a commentator, more like enjoying the race on the sofa with a couple of mates (extremely well-informed ones at that). Given their long friendship I’m optimistic that MB and DC will be able to evoke that kind of feeling for F1.

  33. d.h. says:

    As long as MB still does his gridwalk, i will be happy. That is one of the highlights of the race, especially his feud with the female presenter (cant remember her name) he is always pushing out of the way!

    As for DC, in his summarising he is always very pro red bull (probably because he is on their payroll), which can get very annoying. Hopefully he will become more subjective on all.

  34. Jay B says:

    I’m glad they decided to refresh things, but I still wish you were back doing the commentary, James!

  35. TIKO PAVONI says:

    Great news James, seems like it’s setting up to be another great season,now with HD!

  36. James says:

    I hope that the new team work well together and that the “less is more approach” is used. It is not necessary for someone to be talking all of the time…it is visual after all.
    Do we really need to know the exact lap time or by how many micro seconds a gap has increased or reduced by…..Martin will now be able to speak longer on points of interest that aren’t just to do with lap times a gaps.

    Go for it Martin…..and a little contraversey never did anyone any harm.

    1. paul says:

      Do we really need to know the exact lap time or by how many micro seconds a gap has increased or reduced by…..

      Yes,we do!

  37. DonSimon says:

    Great news. To be honest I thought James was pretty much the best option for them, but DC is a close second. Don’t think Brundle and Leggard ever really meshed. Not to forget him not really giving a monkeys about if it was a front or rear wing failure.

  38. David Hodge says:

    First off, and I am Jonathan is a nice bloke, but he just didn’t work on telly. He is a radio commentator and I am sure will find his niche commentating on football. He has that voice and style for it.

    Second, and I am not just sucking up because this is your website, a lot of us posted on the BBC blog and so on that you should get the gig. I think you described Martin and your partnership well and I know it would have worked again – viz that piece you did about the Silverstone changes early in 2010.

    Third, I hear from a friend in Germany that they are showing F1 in HD. So I am sure the Beeb can do it if they are so inclined – the feed from FOM will be in HD.

  39. Luke robbins says:

    I think we could see a change in style from the traditional commentary with this move. I can’t see brundell waxing lyrical about the weather and that. I imagine it will be more of an engaging conversation over the interesting points that occur as the race develops, and with hd, the commentators can now let the pictures do more of the talking.

  40. Bring on HD , wife is going to moan about that missing space now ! LOL

    Matt

  41. Jason C says:

    Good on Martin he’s superb, but I’m slightly surprised by the choice of DC when Ant Davidson is so experienced and so good. DC will have a lot to live up to.

  42. Lee Grant says:

    You’re one of only two people that can really comment on this story with any authority.

    I must admit I was surprised when I heard about this – not about Martin but about DC.

    I’m sure DC is a nice guy but would I label him as TV presenter?

    I think the Eddie, DC & Jake trio has worked well but I put that largely down to Jake being able to control things and chip in when Eddie & DC have dried up.

    If you listen to the Five Live team – Croft, Ant and more often than not Karun Chandok, then there is a real spark with all of them.

    We know that Martin had been into the Five Live box during practice at Abu Dhabi (or was it Brazil?). The consensus was that he was there to see who he clicked with. Obviously DC was the man for the job.

    No matter, I wish DC & Martin all the best.

  43. Martin says:

    Good move BBC !
    Now, can you please replace Jake with James Allen ? PLEASE ?

    ‘Martin’
    PS Thanks for the book James (and my daughter..)

  44. jonrob says:

    Well James I am sure that I speak for many who are disappointed that you will not be re-joining the UK English commentary team, but are relieved that a change is coming.

    I would assume that Martin will now pass the grid walk on to somebody else, Ted Kravitz perhaps, whose after race insights, often when the teams are packing up in the dark, are always well worth watching online.

    We could perhaps see more of luscious Lee, as well as just hearing her voice as has often been the case hitherto.
    I will feel a bit guilty not listening to Crofty and Ant (if he returns) next season
    on R5Live.

    1. iceman says:

      I think it would be difficult for someone else to take over that grid walk role. It’s a real melee on the grid these days. Martin is constantly shoving other TV companies out of the way, buttonholing heads of state and so on, which he gets away with because of his unassailable Queen-Mum-type status in the F1 paddock. I suspect Ted or Lee wouldn’t be able to throw their weight around in quite the same way.

  45. Mak says:

    Great the dynamic duo, AKA Webber Apologists/Lawyers Inc have taken over at the BBC.

    These 2 have never critisized Webber for all the wrong things he has done while they always critisized other drivers who did the same.

    Best example is Valencia, Webber in a rookie way just crashing into Heiki from the back and Brundle and DC were the only ones on this planet who tried to shift the blame on Heiki. Surreal.

    They are close friends with him and every time Webber screws up you can immediately hear Brundle think how he tries to spin it like it is the fault of another driver, the track, the bird that flew 100 feet high. Now he has a right hand to help him more with it.

    I think it is time for a totally new cast, from top to bottom at the BBC. They are way too friendly with some drivers and it clouds their professionalism.

  46. ChrisS says:

    Hi James, do you think the traditional model of a journalist/broadcaster paired with a former driver has passed its sell-by date now, if it’s possible to find two ex-drivers who are sufficiently articulate to do the job?

    If so, is there any need to preserve the distinction between the “lead” and “colour” commentator, as the BBC seem to be doing with Brundle and Coulthard filling those roles respectively? So long as somebody reminds the viewer of the order every once in a while, does it matter which of the two does what?

    Or is the traditional model of a Walker/Allen/Legard/Croft combined with an ex-driver still the most reliable way to do things? I guess next season will answer that…

    Will be interesting to see how Brundle does, he was so good as the pundit that it seems rash to make any change to his role, but as you say, it will be a new challenge for him.

  47. Steed says:

    Well, it has to be an improvement but they could have done better. Jonathan Legard, great F1 journalist, not so good F1 commentator – so it’s good that there is a change at last. But why not bring back the great James Allen – not without his critics, but that has always baffled me.

    Not sure about company man Coulthard – don’t expect James Hunt levels of incisive criticism here.

    And where does that leave the pit lane analysis? Jake (great) and Jordan (awful). Can’t the ever brilliant Ted Kravitz move up from reporting to analysis and replace Jordan?

    1. dkfone says:

      Jordan awful? He may not be everyones type but at least he isnt afraid to get stuck in. After Silverstone, he gave Horner a good grilling, same in Germany when Domenicalli was talking nonsense that Vettel was catching them with “show us the evidence”. DC just seemed to play it safe and tow the Red Bull line. I understand how Jordan annoys people, but he asks the questions I want to know, that others would be afraid to ask

      1. Aaron95 says:

        I agree. Eddie Jordan can be almost painful to watch on TV at times, yet brilliant at others. DC is the calm, quiet one and somehow Jake seems to bring balance to the trio, reign in Eddie when necessary and make the whole show interesting.

      2. iceman says:

        Agree with both of those comments: EJ is awful… in the best possible way. I couldn’t stand him at first (and there are times when I still can’t), but I soon realised that his abrasive style is the spice in the sauce.

    2. Matthew says:

      I’m going to be frank:

      I often wonder how the hell Eddie Jordan has managed to get where he is. The man is in another dimension. He is clearly adept at hiding another form of intelligence – the type that allows you to build and run your own F1 team with great success and yet appear to everyone on the outside as being a blithering idiot.

      There are many ridiculous examples of EJ’s comments from last season, too many to name an exhaustive list but it seems that wherever there is a stick, Eddie will get the wrong end of it.

      In the midst of a very serious discussion about Ferrari’s performance before the 2010 summer break, DC and Martin Brundle weigh-in with measured discussion around the team’s Championship chances and how crucial it is for them to build momentum for a push during the second half of the season. EJ, however, ignores this and states that the real driver behind Ferrari wanting to perform well before the break is to dodge having to answer any questions from the public whilst enjoying their impending beach holidays.

      Maybe I’m alone but I find that if there is an opinion to be had, Eddie picks the wrong one; the illogical one, the one based totally on gut and never on fact.

      Eddie was probably the only person in the entire world during the team orders scandal to hold the view that Ferrari should be punished because team orders are banned – NOT because they are morally questionable but just because they were against the rules. Almost everyone else either thought team orders were prevalent anyway, to suggest otherwise was ludicrous and to punish unfair OR they had an ethical problem with team orders full stop. Somehow, EJ was in the middle; someone who readily admits to using team orders as an owner but is quite prepared to throw the book at a team for using them, purely because of a rule designed to stop Michael Schumacher winning everything.

      Anyway, enough of my rant.

      Although I still think Eddie Jordan is a bit of a buffoon, he has many superb qualities. He is a real people person; you only need to see how he’s regarded by his colleagues and those in the paddock to realise this. From the inside, I imagine he was a passionate team owner, whose decisions were based on gut-instinct and success borne from assembling groups of talented personalities that he bonded together. I’m not stupid enough to think you can achieve what he has on luck alone. When I think about all this, it helps me to understand why EJ’s comments are almost always about the personalities, the human elements, the psychology behind the events that have unfolded. I still think these are often flawed and missing the sometimes glaringly obvious but I concede that he adds something that no-one else does and brings an extra spice that improves the debate.

      The show is better with him – even if it means I spend my time screaming at the telebox.

      1. Peter C says:

        Well said, a very sensitive post. I’m sure many people see it like that,EJ can be infuriating & drinks his soup with the wrong end of the spoon, but there is something about him that adds to the broadcasts. Even if its only for the laughs.

        The’wrong end of the stick’ notion is familiar to me, I live in Ireland.

      2. Born 1950 says:

        Well I must be the only other person in the whole world then who felt that Ferrari should be punished just because team orders were banned!

        There’s nothing wrong with EJ: he adds colour — same as DC. Martin has become very skilled as a commentator over the years — many’s the time he had to hold back as JL was waffling away in full flight. I think he’ll have no problem keeping going — he just needs to add some more excitement to his voice at times. He’s got that driver thing of always being laid back, however exciting the race is.

  48. Richard Bell says:

    Legard out is brilliant, DC in is risky but he and Brundle should be smart enough to know how to make it work.

    I’m not unhappy with the decision but I feel Ben Edwards or David Croft would do a great job alongside Brundle. Having 2 ex-F1 drivers commentating brings the danger of talking to technical/boring, commentators know how to make it exciting even when it’s not. But like I said, I think DC & MB should know how it works.

  49. Divesh says:

    It kind of loses the romance of having one “armchair fan” as a commentator and 1 race driver to add the racedriver’s perspective.

    With 2 former race drivers doing commentary I am afraid they may not show as much excitement as James or Johnathan did when something exciting happens.

    1. DonSimon says:

      I think they are both fundamentally fans though. As we all are. I wish DC luck.

  50. Jack Semmence says:

    I think this is great news, David Coulthard often provides some really good insight when they cut to him during the race so it should be good. I really wasn’t a fan of Legard’s, i thought that by 16 races into the season he could have learnt that Shumacher had the red helmet and Rosberg had the yellow one, but apparently not, and that often sent him off course for minutes at a time commentating on some imaginary race. Also, Brundle’s probably one of the best commentators in the world, over any sport, he’s so knowledgeable that it does sometimes seem like he’s got a crystal ball. And all in HD, can’t wait!

  51. Steed says:

    I thought it goes without saying, but maybe not – of course Brundle is perfect at this job and I hope he never stops.

    1. Mario says:

      “Perfect” is the perfect word to describe MB.
      He is absolute top class right up there with James Hunt the Great.

      1. Aaron95 says:

        The combination of Hunt and Murray Walker was a brilliant commentary partnership. Yet quite how it worked I don’t know, they clearly didn’t like each other, yet somehow it worked.

  52. Dave says:

    How do you think DC will do as the co-commentator?

    One question on my mind is how you think it’l work having these 2 recent ex-drivers, rather than the previous set up of an ex-driver as ‘expert’ allowing the lead commentator (a journalist or whatnot) to ask them the questions?

    Do you think DC and Brundle will be able to play off each other well enough, or are they going to be too similar in terms of views and experience?

  53. Dave says:

    Forgot to add my thoughts! Personally, I think it’s good news (depending on how the above pans out).

    I wasn’t much of a fan of Jonathan Legard from the outset, and so am happy to see a change.

  54. john watson says:

    Is your view through gritted teeth? The Beeb should have sat down all their talent and told them to get on with it and review everyone at the end of 2011. MB,s long term plan to extent his career should not be at the expence of somebody who has worked tirelessly and as you understand, did not deserve to be dropped.
    Cheers,
    Wattie

  55. Brian says:

    I think the main thing from a viewer’s point of view is that the co-commentators make a good double act who in themselves provide some entertainment – particularly as some races make for less than riveting viewing – the BBC’s MotoGP team of Cox & Parrish being a good example as they seem to realise that the sport is meant to be fun…

    The problem I have with Coulthard & Brundle is that they are a bit too same-y for me; there seems little to choose between them in style – laidback, reserved, uncontroversial, a bit middle-of-the-road. When DC was racing, I recall reading some paddock sage claiming that the problem with Brundle as DC’s manager is that he offered exactly the same qualities as DC himself (or words to that effect).

    I can’t help but think that the BBC have missed a trick by not going for real change and appointing the 5Live radio double act of Croft & Davidson who have now made free practice unmissable viewing by providing the facts and analysis but with a seam of entertaining banter that is sadly missing on the race day TV coverage.

    While Croft & Davidson are the true Morecambe & Wise of the BBC’s F1 team – I fear Brundle & DC will be more like F1′s own Terry & June…nice enough, but a bit dull…maybe this year they could drive to Spa together in a beige Austin Princess with some Demis Roussos on the cassette deck…

    1. Allan B says:

      “F1′s own Terry & June”, what an amazing image that is in my mind…..lol

      I hope they work but I am not convinced, I would have preferred a certain James Allen, and Martin Brundle but I guess we can have perfection, just yet.

    2. Mario says:

      We need another James Hunt. Problem is there will never be one like him again.

      1. David Hodge says:

        I suppose if they put a big pile of money in front of Eddie Irvine, he might do it but I am afraid that is Fantasy-land. He’s about the only one who would say what he really thinks.

      2. dkfone says:

        Agreed, Irvine in the commentary box, now that would be entertainment!

      3. frosty says:

        agreed.
        Irvine would be perfect. he really takes no prisoners when something has to be said, but is also very enthusiastic when heaping praise on a good drive.
        he actually expresses an opinion.
        DC feels like the complete opposite.

    3. Paul says:

      I will be tunning into crofty and Davidson this year, by far the best duo.

  56. Tony says:

    I always thought Kalf and Watson provided a nice alternative to Murray and James back in the dayy. Of course you watched both but a different perspective was nice. Two racers can work but I hope we don’t loose the questions that a non racer can ask, questions that a layman might need the answers too.

  57. kostre says:

    Hello James, if i can read anything out of the above pic, DC will be joining Brundle in the commentary box, some may accuse him of being biased to redbull, my question do you think DC will prove them wrong? if so how is it possible to do that from your experience?

  58. frosty says:

    This will be interesting but i’m sure Brundle will be as good as ever.

    Am not so thrilled about DC. He seems very robotic as a personality and can be rather keen to applaud drivers / teams that are his mates or former employers. While he’s quick to criticise those who he is less chummy with in F1.

    Brundle will usually tell it how it is, even press Bernie on difficult questions. The only time Brundle has ever been less that excellent was when he was managing DC. During commentary he would be constantly giving DC’s drives / errors positive spin when they really were not worth mentioning.

    It’s that bias i don’t want to hear from DC. It just spoils the whole race with someone cheerleading, instead of giving expert analysis objectively.

    Hope i’m proved wrong and even if i’m right, there’s always the excellent Croft and Davidson on BBC Five Live.

  59. Toti Harban says:

    Commentators should be journalists. Too many celebrities are taking the jobs of other proffessions. Martin has put in his time, no doubt, but Coulthard is a Scot for a start and the job should go to a Brit. He earned 11 mill a season at Mclaren and does not need to be this selfish. I am glad he won nothing. As for Jordan what was his reaction to Lewis winning in 08? He said he is an unworthy champion on BBC news. He just wants a free trip to the races and his tab paid. Like Jackie Stewart, he would not give back that 4.5 mill from RBS when everyong was losing their homes.

    That is what I hate about F1.

    1. Andy Rat says:

      Eh? Confused!!!
      I may have lived in Oz for the last 13 years, but last time I looked a Scot was a Brit. And since when were 13 Grand Prix wins ‘nothing’?Let’s see how many Jenson ends up with.
      Still think he’ll be dull, though!

  60. Steve McGill says:

    A real shame we can’t have you back James x

  61. Damon says:

    I’m really glad that they have promoted Martin Brundle to lead commentator and brought in Coulthard as his side kick as I really couldn’t stand Jonathan Legard. Some of the comments he made were just plain wrong or misjudged so am thankful the BBC have seen sense and replaced him. On top of that they are finally moving over to HD which I have been waiting for for a few years so can’t wait to see the extra detail that will bring; especially Singapore which will be something else.

  62. Andrew Myers says:

    Is that a cardboard cutout of DC in that picture. Something doesn’t look right about it!

    1. chris says:

      For all the charisma DC has got, he may as well be a cardboard cutout.

      1. Mario says:

        you should compete for the cruellest joke of the year title with this one.

      2. Xman says:

        Good Call!!! lol

    2. Paul says:

      No its a plank!!

  63. CJ the 2cnd, probably... says:

    Martin Brundle richly deserves this, and its good news for fans too. His analysis of incidents and moves is usually spot-on, he has a rich fund of colourful metaphors and he’s not afraid to say what he thinks either, all round very good value. I do hope he is retaining the grid walkabout, who else could follow that act?, even though he will start the race breathless at some circuits. Congratulations also to DC, his calm insight and analysis has been nicely contrasted with EJ’s silliness over the last couple of seasons, although EJ has much more to give too.
    My only reservation is that we will now have two ex-drivers in the commentary box, which will give great driver insights. I am thinking that some of the best chemistry has been produced by ex-driver highly plus informed fan combinations, i.e. Hunt/Walker, Brundle/Walker, Brundle/Allen. That said I wish them both well and look forward to seeing them in action.

    1. Femi Akinz says:

      Whats going to happen at Hungary? This is the race Martin traditionally skips.

      1. David says:

        That was only in the ITV days, he’s not taken that break since going to the BBC. I remember reading an interview with Martin in which he said the BBC didn’t agree to him having a race off at contract negotiation stage.

  64. Peter Freeman says:

    For two years personally I have endured Leggard waiting from him to stop talking so that I could gain some useful insight from Brundle. That he is to take the lead role indeed is good news!

    The one thing that I can not understand is how Leggard was chosen at all! I see that sensibly he has been taken off, but have the indescribably incompetent people who put him in the position in the first place been assigned their rightful jobs of sweeping the parking lot?

  65. Michael Grievson says:

    I think Martin will be more than capable. Clumsier obviously has credentials but he can sound monotone at times.

    One thing I liked about your commented James was you sounded on like you were having the time of your life

  66. Simon K says:

    Had thought you might be the man for the job. Always enjoyed your commentary on ITV but think Martin Brundle will do great. Interested to see how David Coulthard will adapt to his new role. With respect to Jonathan Legard I felt there was something missing so hope the changes will be for the best. Were you in the frame?

  67. hisham ali says:

    You talked about Martin as the lead but left out David. How do you think the two are going to work together? I know Martin used to manage Coulthard and they must have a good relationship. Will David be able to fill the shoes of Martin as a co-commetator?

  68. Dipesh Mistry says:

    It’s Coulthard’s role change that concerns me – as nice a bloke as he clearly is, without Jordan and Humphrey leading the conversations last year he was lost. Can Brundle really hold his hand if he is providing 60% of the commentary? The suggestion that Brundle was behind these changes because he didn’t personally get on with Legard is equally as bad. If true he should have just been professional and got on with it. Thankfully we still have Crofty on Five Live – phew!

  69. somka says:

    i don’t think will work two ex drivers in the commentary box. bad decision for the bbc f1 sport another boring commentary on the way.

  70. Why do you assume he will still do the grid walks ? as Legard never did them , so makes sense for martin to stop , and David to do them ?

    Matt

  71. Thomas W says:

    Hi James,

    It’s a real shame that the BBC didn’t want to bring you back as I think you and Martin Brundle made a really good team. However, I think two drivers in commentary box is a really bold move by the BBC, if it works it could be very good ,especially for dedicated fans.

    Also I just like to say that I really enjoy your website and your end of year books.

  72. wayne says:

    I would have been a lot more interested in a comment about the, in my opinion, nonsensical appointment of DC. DC has a real problem, he chokes everytime there is an opportunity to offer justified criticism of RBR and he’s not all that interesting to listen to (see his ‘special’ session from the McLaren technology centre, mission control last year – it was painful to listen to).

  73. Michael T says:

    I am so glad of this. I am sorry to say this, but Jonathan Legard was so devoid of genuine passion in his voice that it was the only weak part of a very strong BBC line up. For good commentary, it is key to have the right voice such as Toby Moody, Julian Ryder, Murray Walker and even David Croft.

    Unfortunately, JL created a lacklustre soundtrack to an exciting season – always ending sentences in an anti-climax and lacking a little panache.

    I’m not sure Martin Brundle will be great and the team with DC will be no match for the MotoGP Eurosport team, but he is confident, well-connected and extremely passionate. British F1 fans are in safe hands.

    Michael

  74. Tim says:

    When will HD be confirmed? Is there some sort of season launch for the broadcasters?

    1. Ashley Scott says:

      try looking at http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2011/1/11634.html

      You can’t get much more confirmed than that can you?

  75. TG says:

    Brundle and Quagmire! Great combo. Can’t wait.

    Shame we’re going to have to wait until 2012 for HD coverage, if there’s any sport that deserves it, it’s F1.
    But I’m not surprised by the delay, when it comes to technology FOM has always been a bit of a stick in the mud, even down to years of exclusively licensing F1 games to one platform instead of all three.
    Thank God someone had a word, though, because otherwise my off-season wouldn’t currently be occupied by F1 2010 on the XBox 360.
    Awesome game – if only because the in-game engineer sounds like a spitting image of Rob Smedley!

    1. The Artful Codger says:

      eh? they sound nothing alike?!

  76. Chris from Adelaide says:

    Would be nice to see you at his side again James. I think this change was needed badly. No offense to Mr Legard, but he drove me nuts, I lost count at the amount of times I found myself yelling at the TV after he said something that was 1 lap to late or something not correct only to have martin correct him.

  77. Alan says:

    As long as Crofty and Ant are on 5Live I’ll be happy.

    I don’t listen to the TV commentary so am unable to judge that side of things.

  78. Kieran says:

    What do you think of DC taking a role in the commentary box? I don’t think it’ll be right for him particularly after his effort from McLaren’s Mission Control last season.

  79. Austin K says:

    James,

    If I may ask: were you approached by the BBC to replace Jonathan Legard at all?

    Personally I think the BBC are making a mistake here- I would have tried to get you or David Croft to simply replace Legard!

    Cheers.

  80. JLR Racing says:

    It takes a big man to say what you said, James.

    Good on ye’ mate!

  81. Gary C-G says:

    This is good news, not to be mean but Leggard spoiled it for me, I watched most of the races with the five live commentary. I was hoping we’d have Crofty joining Brundle in the commentary box with Ant getting a drive this year.

  82. Adam Taylor says:

    a change for the better i believe, although i would like to see david croft given his chance, he does a very good job for the radio.

    James, now that DC is in the commentary position, is there any clue on who will take his position in the pits?

    1. That’s something I’ve not been able to understand. Crofty has been doing a brilliant job for years and is a proper fan of the sport. I know he and Ant make a great team, but why does he keep getting overlooked for the top job?

  83. John D says:

    I enjoy Martin’s insight so it will be interesting to hear him a commentator. I have really enjoyed your input on One in Australia are you doing that again this year? Also thanks for your book, I bought one for Christmas, it’s great off season reading. Hopefully Mark can win some more races this year.

  84. Tom (london) says:

    Hmm, I’m not that sure. He doesn’t seem to have the enthusiasm that Murray, James or even Legard had. I think Martin adds a lot but I don’t think he will inject any passion. I know this is what some fans were calling for but I think they were wrong. Crofty and Ant would have been better. Also I think Lee McKenzie should do more interviews, she did a great piece with Schumacher last season.

  85. Merlinghnd says:

    The obvious question was what was wrong with Legard and is Coulthard/Brundle going to be better??

    1. Martin B says:

      What was wrong with Legard? Well…he used to commentate on a replay as if it was live action. The number of times Brundle had to correct him, “That’s a replay, Jonathan”. He used to get the drivers mixed up. He was bumbling and confused when, for example, at the start of a race when much was happening. I sometimes got the impression that Brundle was getting fed up of having to correct him.

      As for DC – my first thought before reading any of the above comments was that he would continue to show bias towards Red Bull. But lets give him a chance, the BBC is meant to be impartial!

      On HD – I remember Bernie confirming this in a BBC interview midway through last season, so I can’t wait for this, it will look fantastic. I think the BBC broadcast the last race of the year on the HD channel, but it was just upscaled from SD on that occasion.

    2. Mario says:

      Yeah, exactly. What was wrong with Legard? He was all right to me.

    3. Peter C says:

      If you have to ask “What was wrong with Legard?”, then you may as well give up watching F1, even if only from the sofa.

      I agree that a good journalist would be the best bet, Crofty or Moody for choice, but not one that screams & screams until you wonder if they’ve been on too much Red Bull!

  86. David Turnedge says:

    I must say I worry about MB taking the lead role. It’s not easy. I also worry a bit about DC.

    That said all things change over time, so it’ll be interesting.

    But what we all want to know is: did the BBC talk to you? And would you have considered the role?

  87. Bascobits says:

    Nice one James.

  88. Banjo says:

    Crofty and Ant on 5Live have been brilliant on the Red Button. Brundle, i’m a big fan off, I think the Coulthard Brundle pairing will be a refreshing change to the F1 commentry, and one i very much looking forward to.

  89. Ralph says:

    Hi James,

    I notice you politely refrain from commenting directly on JL’s commentary alongside Martin!

    I must admit I have enjoyed the BBC’s coverage of F1, but only by virtue of the red button so I can listen to Ant and Crofty on R5 rather than Dullard!

    There has been some support on my forum for you to get back in the seat, is this at all possible? I know you do some/most of the press conference questions (when we get to see the press conference!) and you are obviously still “in the thick of it” so would you consider going back to it if the option appeared?

    Many thanks for your website, it’s one of the favourites of most on my forum. I did send you an invite once and that still stands. Just email me and I will sign you up James

    best regards
    Ralph

  90. Stephen dearsley says:

    They should have just got the two guys who do moto gp( I’m really sorry the names have slipped me!) absolutely fantastic, funny, technical and entertaining!!!

    Even the mrs can stand them :-)

  91. sean rpm says:

    Outstanding! No offence Jonathan, but, you do ramble and your knowledge is’nt that great and, to be honest i thought Martin was the lead commentator. With two former drivers with such a depth of knowledge and experience it’s going to make for some entertaining and insightful commentery.

  92. Al Meyer says:

    Would like to have seen David Croft given a chance but, as well as being a Brundle fan in general, the BBC have a great record in converting sportsmen and women into presenters/commentators.

  93. DannyP says:

    Looking forward to not hearing “…is on a charge” and “it’s Vettel from Webber from Alonso from Vettel from Webber”
    Also going to enjoy Brundle not being constantly interrupted. I’ll probably still flick between TV comms and R5Live comm as Crofty and Ant work well together.

    James, a truly excellent website, always my first port of call for F1 insight. Shame you were overlooked for the role (or turned it down!?!)

    Keep up the great work.

      1. David Turnedge says:

        Ah ha!

        Too bad, I think it’d be great to see you back. Your role on TV in Australia in 2010 and branching out with your own blog has made me a fan.

  94. Henry says:

    Brundle is at his best when he says less (with greater impact) than more, which he now won’t be able to do. And Coulthard’s monotone will be dull in the extreme. Not a great result.

  95. noahracer says:

    Lead commentators talk too much. Maybe Brundle will bring a sense of when NOT to say something and assume the viewers and fans have a degree of interest in watching the race without all the verbal noise.

    1. Mario says:

      spot on, there is a chance.

  96. Ceri Jones says:

    James, you are forever professional impartial and diplomatic – but the reason we read your personal blog is for your personal views on things. Time to get off the fence – do you think this will work? What did you think of the previous team of Ledgard and Brundle? We need to know!

    1. James Allen says:

      I think I’ve made it very clear that I think this will work. I think DC will be pretty robust in his views too.

  97. Cameron Isles says:

    Is Eddie Jordan paid anything by the BBC and will he still be part of the commentary this season?

    To be fair, I never really found myself wondering “if only an eccentric millionnaire would come on now and share some baseless punditry that invariably turns out to be misleading or wrong”.

    1. Mario says:

      hang on, that is exactly what I like him for.

    2. Marcus says:

      “Baseless punditry”?! He only started an F1 team from scratch and went on to win races, employed World Champions (gave one his first drive). Also, if I remember correctly, was the first to break the MS comeback story.
      Eccentric:yes, baseless: hardly.

      1. dk says:

        Exactly, one of the moments of the year for me was after Silverstone when the beeb were interviewing Button and Barrichello. ( Jenson started 14th, finished 4th). Button was saying to Barrichello: “you trashed me in Quali mate”. “Everybody trashed you in Qualifying” says EJ. Classic!

    3. unoc says:

      I like eddie.. more than coulthard… hopefully this means more eddie and jake show… :) inlcuding height difference and that eddie jordon sounds and looks like a leprichorn.

      But he’s awesome.

    4. David Turnedge says:

      Seeing Eddie post Jordan makes me appreciate why Hill called it a day the way he did and Frentzen suddenly found things unbearable.

  98. Ian says:

    Hi James,

    I think the BBC have missed a trick overlooking you. Jonathan Legard had to go, he lacked chemistry with Martin, charisma and in my view, talked down to the fans.

    I’m happy to reserve judgement on DC as colour commentator for the time being, however I am concerned with his connections to Red Bull and how they will affect his work (hopefully not at all) at the very least.

    Martin is an outstanding colour commentator, and ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is my view.

    At least it doesn’t mean we’ll lose your excellent insight through the websites.

    Ian

    1. Femi Akinz says:

      I think BBC are just reluctant to pair Martin and James so as to avoid being seen as ‘copy and pasting’ ITVs team.

      The savage attack of James by anti-Lewis fans for his support of Lewis (probably at the behest of ITV paymasters) meant James was seen or perceived wrongly as a Lewis fanatic. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      I used to enjoy the way James would set the scene for the race. You know the intro just before he brings Martin in to ask his thoughts.

      James, God has his plans for you and if you are to be in the box, I’m sure you’ll end up there.

      1. Alexx says:

        I think God also got tired of James screaming ‘Lewis Hamilton’

        a commentator should not be biased in any way, in order to have international appeal.

  99. Crys says:

    I think it could work well. Brundle and DC have known each other and worked together for a long time, so it will (or at least should) be quite a different to the way the commentary has been handled before… I’m not sure it would be successful with two drivers who don’t know each other as well as MB and DC.

    Having said that, I’d like to add my name to the long list of people who would have preferred to keep DC with Jake and EJ, and have James back in the commentary box with Martin.

  100. Niall O'Connell says:

    Disappointed to see Coulthard get this. Don’t think he has the the charisma or a neutral enough point of view.

    Love Martin in his current capacity but I’m not sure he suits the new role and will be doubly disappointed if we loose his grid walks.

    I also must say that I was quite fond of Jonathan Legard’s commentary and felt the pairing with Brundle worked well.

  101. Dave Aston says:

    Excellent news! I think it will be a brilliant combination. No disrespect to Legard, but he never struck me as a total motorsport nut, which is essential. If I can’t have James Allen, I’ll happily take Coulthard – it’ll be great.

  102. Racyboy says:

    James,
    Firstly I’m looking forward to this team, but for me, you were the best, even better than Murray.
    As for we fans, we’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This Blog has taken F1 fandom to another level and it would surely suffer if you were committed to the BBC.
    Besides,your tweets during the race tend to fill in the gaps and can provide more info than the tv comm.

    As for your reply to DannyP’s comment above,
    (Shame you were overlooked for the role (or turned it down!?!)
    [Neither]

    …that’s just teasing.

    1. James Allen says:

      I spoke to them towards the end of last year but not this year.

      1. David Hodge says:

        Well the Beeb missed a trick completely as they could have dumped Legard after one season – as it is, their 606 boards were awash with Legard criticism, mostly justified I add, and they could have stopped all of that. He must have some photos of somebody…

    2. CJ says:

      Agree and we would also miss James from the post-race TV interviews – he does those pretty well. For me James, the more interactive stuff you get time to do the better in terms of videos etc on the site. Agree that JAonF1 has become an invaluable and authoritative source of F1 info.

  103. Dan B says:

    Well I wont be sad to see the back of Legard, I was never a fan. If you didnt have the job James, I always thought Crofty would have been better in the first place and it now works very well with Ant on Radio 5 as a pairing. However on qualifying and race day, I always watch tv, Brundle’s insight too much to miss, even if the downside was having to put up with Legard. I think it could well work with DC and Martin next year, as long as someone like Mark Hughes is working along side still. Maybe James you have now cut out a new niche for yourself, running the best F1 fan site, the first port of call for many people, and having done commentary before, its something in the past that you dont need to cover again, but you would still have been my choice for the job though.

  104. Mario says:

    Great news about MB, made my day.

    I wonder what DC will be like as a commentator? My personal reaction to him was always strangely neutral. I wish him well, it is quite a big job. 500m people listen to you and project their expectations on you, so it is not for some one with low self esteem.

  105. Nulla says:

    Thanks James for giving me something to read during the off season and hope to see you again on One HD in 2011.

      1. Michael SW20 says:

        What is One HD? BBC One, if so what role do you play?

      2. James Allen says:

        One HD is part of the Network 10 set up in Australia. They show a lot of the content we produce on site at GPs.

      3. Will you continue leading the post-race press conferences this year, James?

  106. Hisham Akhtar says:

    I liked James and Martin together until Lewis-mania hit F1

    Brundle and Murray were the best though!

  107. Aussie Rod says:

    It’s a shame we can’t get Radio Five Live in Aus because I think D Croft and A Davidson are a brilliant team. I love listening to them during the practice sessions and their podcast before / after races is great as well.

    Speaking of which, a pre or post-race podcast would go along nicely with your website James!

  108. Rungs says:

    Just browsing through all the comments on this story. I’m a bit surprised at how many people are worried about DC…

    The fact is that, whichever way you look at it, large portions of many of the races in F1 are still quite dull. Listening to a classically trained broadcaster attempt to make these portions of races sound more interesting by exaggerating and dramatising – as Jonathan Legard does – often annoys the fans.

    The BBC are obviously trying to work around this by putting more expertise in the commentary box. I think it’ll be a lot like Sky’s coverage of Test Match cricket.

    Sky’s cricket team is made up exclusively of ex-Test Match cricketers, and so instead of busying themselves by describing every ball during matches, they discuss all manner of things that are relevant to the match. Sometimes entire overs go by without much description because it’s often just not needed. Instead they talk about things that are more interesting at the time.

    That will work with F1 too. It’s a unique sport in that the off-the-track developments are just as much part of the sport’s appeal as the races themselves.

    We all like hearing about winter testing, gossip from the pits, which designers are doing what, which new aero parts on which cars are working well and which ones aren’t, which team is cooking up something special for the next race, which drivers are overperforming… etc

    So instead of hearing Legard try to create some drama out of a dull race, we’ll get more discussion/debate/expert analysis. And when the racing is brilliant, we’ll still get the more contemporary commentary from Brundle. I can’t wait to hear what it’s going to be like.

    1. Martin B says:

      Brilliant comparison with the Sky cricket commentary, I agree with you.

      Whether or not we’ll also get Brundle putting a chair on DC’s foot like Hussain and Gower on the cricket remains to be seen!

    2. David Hodge says:

      You get that sort of commentary from Crofty/Ant at the moment. They discuss all sorts of things. Sadly, we never get any viewer questions from Mr. Hugh Jarse and so on. I do miss the Test matches with pics on the telly and Brian Johnston radio commentary…

  109. Ron says:

    Not bad. Just that last year we had to live with one set of anti-Schumacher commentries. This year we would have two!

  110. Chris Bird says:

    A quality piece and even better responses to the comments….James you really are a class act. Get over to Speed TV, they need your help!

  111. Adrian Newey Jr says:

    James – any chance you will take over from the Australian Channel 10 crew? They are trully hopeless.

  112. ashnathan says:

    i miss your enthusiasm James, that is what the coverage has lacked since your departure. Legard’s ‘fake’ enthusiasm was terrible, I’ll never forget your commentary when Jenson won his first race in Hungary. France 2000 was your first race was it not? You were great there and I believe your next race Brazil 2001? You were brilliant. Have you thought of trying to regain your old job? Let the haters hate, you have my support 100%.

  113. NorthernSands says:

    Brundle has been an excellent colour commentator for some time now. We can’t turn back the clock to the great days of Murray/Allen and Brundle (I miss “Hello everybody”), and we shouldn’t keep Brundle pinned to the colour seat; he has his career to consider. I’m sure he’ll rise to the challenge. People say he doesn’t come across as enthusiastic, nor doesn’t get excited, but he does! He’s just been interrupted for the last two years! I think he’ll do an excellent job.

    I’m glad to see the back of Legard. The BBC coverage was awful in the beginning, but all of it improved except him. I hear some of the concerns regarding DC, and generally agree, but I think he’ll step up to the plate and deliver.

    Good luck to them both, I look forward to their coverage (living in Qatar I’m not sure how successful I’ll be at being able to see it, though).

  114. Bastosman says:

    Disappointed Crofty didn’t get the job; his “Leroy Jenkins” line about Kobayashi was the commentary highlight of 2010.

    I just hope having to provide the narrative and be constantly talking doesn’t affect Brundle’s ability to come up with some of his classic phrases.

  115. Clay from Australia says:

    James

    I don’t like it. The other day I pulled out the French GP from 08 and had a casual glance. Looking back on it now, I think the team of you, Martin, Ted and Louise was the best.

    You always had great structure to your commentary. From the start, to those first frenetic laps, and then the re-cap after say, lap 5 with an overview of the field. Then you’d always do the, “if you’ve missed the start, so and so happened”. Then when the pit stops came around you would always end up saying the equivalent of what was happening in my head (looking at different stop times and seeing where the drivers come out relative to each other etc)

    While Martin is good/great as the expert, I just can’t seem him being able to hold it together as the lead. I cant imagine him doing the “5 lights go out” or “GOOOO!” at the starts like Murray, you or JL.

    Also, no dis-respect to the guy, but DC is IMHO far, far too wooden and monotone. I know people say behind the scenes he’s a “play boy” etc, but on screen, in many cases he comes across as pretty uninteresting. I hope is doesn’t end up like that year in Hungary when Damon was in the booth, and you basically carried him through the whole thing.

    Happy its in HD though. Here in Aus was always got upscaled HD, so it won’t be a huge jump as those countries who been stuck with SD

  116. ahmed says:

    should be an interesting mix, definately a bold move by the beeb. I dont think they would have considered james at all, James had his time and it was a truely awful period between 2002-2008. James was prone to just as many inexplicable errors as Legard, maybe even more. When the beeb took over I think the fans rightly called for a change in commentry, just a shame it had to be Legard.

  117. Gary Rowe says:

    It’ll only work if DC can start just telling us what he thinks, instead of only what he thinks he should tell us – and he *really* needs to lose the RBR slant, it ruined his credibility for me last year …

  118. Fnordsrus says:

    It is great for MB to get this job. He has always been a real rock in the box. As James says he has had a long time preparing for this role under 3 different commentators. As for the comments about DC and bias well it is a passionate sport and I seem to remember a certain laconic James Hunt drifting way beyond the realms of neutrality. DC is a well spoken Scotsman who will offer up to date insight about modern F1. As long as he tones down the smutty references he will do fine. Thankfully the option of alternative commentary is still available. I like the other DC on Five Live. It’s a shame that Ant Davidson isn’t in the cockpit though. Now a little bugbear of mine. No more ludicrous, self indulgent nonsense about shirts. Let’s go motor racing!

  119. Hill Climber says:

    I’ve always thought that Legard commentating on F1 was like Claire Balding commentating on anything but horses. Both just seem flustered and uncomfortable.

    I’m not sure on the MB/DC line up and maybe still listening to Crofty and Ant by the fifth lap. I think MB/DC partnership will be good but too dry for me.

    How about resurrecting the thought of bringing Richard Hammond in? ;-)

  120. dzolve says:

    Steve Cram has shown that ex sports stars are certainly more than capable of taking on the responsibility of lead commentator and I expect Martin will be superb in the role.

    Inevitably though he will be less controversial than he was as a colour expert, Coulthard will need to step up to the plate.

    As for the grid walk, Lee Mckenzie would be great – personally, I’d love to see more of her!

  121. Jon says:

    In DC’s last year of driving I hoped he could commentate when he retired. Rather then his role he had last year. I’m not a big fan of DC or anything, I just think I’d like to hear his thoughts on things as they happen.

    So Brundle and DC is like a dream lineup for me. I love Brundle’s commentary.

    But wait, they are both drivers and aren’t specialised commentators? Well that’s why it’s my dream lineup.

    Just two ex drivers who know how it all works, having a chat while events unfold in front of them. Can’t wait.

    Accuracy, fairness and having their finger on the pulse are the things I am hoping for. Brudnle is not afraid to say if Hamilton or Button is in the wrong and I like that. When Brundle puts blame on a driver for something, he has alot of credibility.

    Bring on 2011.

  122. Andy C says:

    Having chuckled my way through all of the comments, thought I’d chuck my two penneth in.

    Great choice on martin, I think he’ll do well, and he wont have taken this on without a good deal of prep and practice.

    On DC, I like the guy, you know he knows what he’s talking about, and he will know at least who is driving what car (which will be one up on some situations last year).

    But lets give them a chance before we write them off.

    Personally I’d have liked to see ant davidson, but I’m more than happy with DC to be given a chance.

    Any details on the cohorts for Jake this year? I’m assuming DC wont be down in the pits with EJ and Jake.
    The only driver EJ didnt claim to discover was Fangio ;-)

  123. Jenny says:

    I don’t think Legard ever got to grips with the fact that he was on TV rather than radio. Much of his commentary was descriptive of what could easily be seen, rather than focussed on the action (which he often missed). Sure, it’s a tricky job and one that I think Martin Brundle has positioned himself more towards in the BBC years.

    DC has added some great insights in the few times during races when the commentary has cut to him. He’ll take a while to get up to speed but I’m sure they’re doing lots of practice with old races.

    Overall, a positive move.

  124. jmv says:

    Having a GP winner in the commentary box adds more credibility.

    At least someone can tell us in the closing laps of a GP what the leading driver is doing, feeling, hearing, etc.

  125. jmv says:

    Plus what can we say.. McLaren produces a lot of commentating talent.. Hunt, Brundle, DC.. maybe one day Kimi.. :-)

    Now that would be such a ‘must listen’… surely lots of viewers would tune in for that one.

    1. Ali says:

      Ah *dreams* You might be joking but I’d love to hear Kimi commentating. I know his voice is a bit dreary but he’d be one person you’d guarantee would tell it exactly as he sees it. I bet he’d be hilarious.

      1. Andy Rat says:

        Kimi AND Mika.
        In Finnish.
        That would be the dream line-up for me.

  126. Peter says:

    Mmm…I like how some people used to comment that Jonathan Legard’s commentary was suited to the Radio, so people used to switch to Croft/Davidson…who were commentating for the Radio…go figure…

    Very sad to see Jonathan go. He was passionate and had real enthusiasm, not matter what people’s perception of his was. Yes, he made mistakes, but unfortunatly, like you James, he was working beneath the shadow of Murray Walker, which every UK F1 commentator will have.

    Therefore, I guess what Martin & the BBC are doing here is to try and avoid that situation by moving Martin to the lead role as he already has the backing and respect of the fans as a commentator and not coming to the box and TV fans cold, like yourself and Jonathan here.

    Anyway, I’ll leave here hoping that Jonathan will be back on Five Live, probably as a Football reporter like before.

    Let’s be positive and wish him luck.

    Sometimes in life, thing don’t work out how you’d hope they would, and everyone knows that.

    Ciao!

    1. David Hodge says:

      I think you might have answered your own statement Peter! I fully agree Jonathan is a radio commentator and I also agree with your final point that he is a football commentator. He needs to continually talk on the radio to paint the picture for those listening. He does not need to interrupt a Brundle explanation to yell out “Massa is coming into the pits” when I can see that for myself on telly. Croft/Davidson works well and practice is now unmissable. JL needs to be on his own, on the radio. Example, the darts on the telly recently with Croft/Darting person which worked just as well as it does when it is Croft/Davidson.

  127. Andrew says:

    Which race was it last year when Brundle and DC did the grid walk together?

    With hindsight, maybe the Beeb were looking at the two of them as a pairing even then, as well as seeing if Coulthard could make a go of muscling in on other broadcasters and the driver’s pre-race routine.

  128. Wish Bone says:

    I listened to the alternative comentary in the last 2 years because Leggard completely spoiled it for me with his inane shouting (e.g screaming at the top of his voice when someone would set the fastest lap in Q1) and repeated sayings “IS IT GONNA BE GOOD ENOUGH? – NO IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH” “HE’S ON A CHARGE”.

    I really enjoyed Crofty from 5 Live, and think the BBC have missed an oportunity to have put togther the commentator dream team of Croft & Brundle.

    I don’t think DC has the voice, charisma or speaking style to make a good commentator.

  129. Alexx says:

    Im surprised Brundle hasn’t tried to get his son Alex on the BBC aswell!

    I think its a mistake from the BBC to give too much power & coverage to Brundle, it could lead them to become subservant to his demands.

    having said that i am a fan of his commentary,

    Croft, who is more balanced in his coverage, and brings a bit of laughter to the weekend, deserved the job over DC, imo, who is a ‘yes’ man.

  130. Scameron says:

    Whilst a change from Legard is welcomed I think it is a shame that DC fills the second chair. Racing and driving are but a part of F1 and two drivers will give a biased view omitting many of the techical and business influences around F1. When Eddie Jordan tries to bring the team owner perspective into the debate DC usually brings one of his worn thin analogies of ” F1 is like a marriage with divorce papers / Mika was favoutite /…etc etc.” Rather than a colour commentator DC will broadcast in black and white or “grey vision”. Can anyone forsee DC having a different opinion to his mentor? I think the production team needed to be braver. To be provocative how about EJ as the colour commentator – How much colour do you want? For me an Ex team boss or team member such as press officer + Ex driver = Balanced coverage?

  131. At least the BBC has listened and made a change. I’m sure it will work and, with HD the 2011 coverage will be even better.

    Like many, I would have preferred to see a return to the ITV lineup but I guess that would be too much of a climb down for the BBC.

    Also, the James Allen Brand has moved on to many more varied and interesting areas of F1 which ( I hope !) are also more lucrative.

    James, one thing puzzles me : even though they ask the opinions of all and sundry up and down the paddock, as far as I know, the BBC has never had you on-air as a guest.

    For example, I would have thought that you would have been the natural choice to talk about Michael Schumacher’s return.

    Have you never been asked ?

    1. Jamie Norman says:

      I always get the impression the BBC have tried to distance themselves from James.

      (James, please don’t take offence at my next comment as none is meant.)

      James commentary style was a bit marmite; you either loved it or hated it. Judging from numerous bulletin boards I’d say it was 50/50 split as well. Martin is universally liked by fans, you’ll be hard pressed to find many fans who dislike Martin, so the BBC had a perfect opportunity to try and recreate the Martin/Murry combo, than risk a backlash from fans for taking on James. It didn’t work, and the BBC should be applauded for recognising this, though i didn’t mind Leggard.
      As much I enjoy this website, and it is great, i never want to hear James do commentary again (big sorry), and i think enough people have voiced similar opinion for the BBC not to risk using James.

      Again sorry James, your website is fantastic.

      1. James Allen says:

        Well you are entitled to your view, but bear in mind we broadcast to many millions of people and won lots of awards, so I’m not sure a 50-50 split (if indeed it was that ratio) represents the full picture!!

      2. frosty says:

        I am sure you are right James.
        People mistake messageboard reaction as a true reflection of the general opinion which is obviously wrong. A minute percentage of regular viewers take to the messageboards, let alone get involved in hysterical witch hunts on commentators or fanboy wars.

      3. Max Power says:

        James, I found it annoying when the Beeb would show footage of previous seasons, for example last corner of Brazil 2008, and just edit you out of the commentary. That in my opinion was one of the most exciting moments ever, captured brilliantly by you and Martin. Dont get me wrong, they do a great job, I just find their bureauratic official ways a bit irritating

      4. Frenchie says:

        Max Power is absolutely right about Brazil 08. One of the most, if not the most, thrilling GP ever witnessed.

        A lot of credit goes to you and Martin for making it this exciting without going overboard that Monday morning (in Oz).

      5. JeremyS says:

        This “yank” who started watching F1 in 2007 (thanks torrents), really like James’ commentary, and it was the reason I did not bother watching Speed. The whining from an overly vocal minority makes me think the Brits are an overly critical group of chaps!

        I like most of what BBC has done, but JA should be the lead.

  132. Paul F says:

    I’m really glad JL is gone – he significantly affected in a negative way my F1 experience with his faux-enthusiasm and knowledge, and lack of compatability with MB.

    I never understood the opposition to JA, and I’m totally open-minded as to MB&DC, afterall:

    “If an idea does not seem absurd in the beginning, there is no hope for it.”

    -Albert Einstein

  133. Smiley says:

    It will be great to see Matin Brundle in the lead role, he is the only reason I listened to the BBC 1 commentary last season. I’m glad the beeb gave Jonathan Legard a couple of years to bed in but ultimately the relationship with MB never really worked.

    I really enjoy the Crofty/Davidson partnership during the practice sessions and don’t think it’s right in breaking that up for the sake of the TV coverage.

    The choice of DC I find very interesting but it has the potential to be great. DC and MB are obviously good friends which will give them confidence to openly express and discuss their views. I just hope the BBC give them both time to gel as a commentary team.

    Here’s to a great 2011.

    1. Greg says:

      Agree with you on Crofty and Davidson. FP is really good and having Chandhok when he wasn’t in the car was great.

      I think I’ll really enjoy the commentating this year, I’d rather have the commentators saying things I can’t see on the TV!

  134. Wayne S says:

    Now we have the MB & DC show in the commentary box, who will work with Eddie and Jake? Will Anthony Davidson join them? or Karun Chandok?
    I found Karun great to listen too, and the filmed segments he did really interesting and entertaining. Mind you I would prefer to see him a car again….

    As for Anthony Davidson, to be honest i wouldn’t want to see/hear the Croft & Davidson show split up, I usually watch the practise sessions, and they often have me in stiches with their antics, as well as really knowing their stuff.

  135. Ben G says:

    I feel bad for Legard – he did his best.

    MB & DC should work well – they are both friends and drivers.

    I suspect that DC was persuaded by the BBC to have ‘opinions’ that he didn’t really agree with, just to disagree with Eddie Jordan. So hopefully in the commentary box he will be more neutral.

    Personally, I’ve had enough of Eddie Jordan. There’s only so much nonsense one can take. So I’d like to see some changes in the pundit team alongside Jake Humphrey – someone from left-field like Jackie Stewart would liven things up.

    1. Greg says:

      JYS is irritating, I have respect for the mechanics fund he does, but no way should he be on TV for more than 30 seconds.

      Keep Eddie as he has had a few good moments at getting interviews.

  136. James T says:

    Ben Edwards would have been a great choice.

    His passion comes across in spades. I remember listening to him when he used to commentate CART back in the 90′s and you could feel the excitment.

    He would compliment Brundles serious, but insightful presentation.

    1. James Allen says:

      Agreed, but he’s been out of F1 a long time now

      1. Peter says:

        Classic Ben Edwards, Michigan 2000. The final lap starts at 2.58.

        Enjoy!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZQZ6MjtGPQ

      2. Steve L 1973 says:

        Brilliant, I’ve been looking for the Ben Edwards commentary on this since I watched it live 10 years ago. Most exciting climax to a race I’ve ever seen and Ben’s commentary is fantastic. I was hoping he’d get the nod on ITV instead of JA (who I hadn’t heard commentate at the time). James did a fantastic job (nr 1 in my opinion) but it’s a shame Ben never made it to F1 and is now heard commentating on Renault Clio races and the like.

  137. Paul Mc says:

    Feel a bit sorry for Legard, he tried his best and I wish him well in the future. My only real gripe was that he constantly interrupted Martin and you could tell during some races that Martin didn’t appreciate it.

    I feel Martin will cope just fine he has a wealth of knowledge and experience to convey to the viewer what’s going on and the critical areas such as race strategy and tyres.

    On DC I feel he will have to ditch the Red Bull cap if he is to win over the viewers and also I never liked his poor smutty jokes. In fairness to him he has chilled out a bit and become less robotic, I feel it’s taken a while for the groomed F1 interview style to wear off him and we’ve seen more personality come through.

    Looking forward to the season and especially in HD.

  138. Will says:

    I was initially very pleased when I saw this, for two reasons:

    1. I think Brundle has always been a brilliant commentator; he always comes across as extremely knowledgeable, I like his turn of phrase and I enjoy his dry, sometimes sarcastic sense of humour, particularly because it stops him from getting too ‘shouty’ and sensationalist.
    2. I don’t particularly enjoy criticising someone who obviously did their best but Legard was the least insightful commentator I can remember. He only made this worse by often interrupting Brundle with points he believed significant that weren’t. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is what annoyed Brundle about their working relationship. Other people have mentioned Legard’s constant repetition of ‘…. is on a charge’ but I also hated his exclamation of ‘THIS COULD BE CRUCIAL’ about an event that obviously was crucial like a pit stop by the race leader. He also had a bad habit of thinking out loud e.g. “now… what’s happened here” etc. Not good.

    The only thing I worry about is that Brundle will feel the pressure to be more like Murray Walker now he is the lead commentator. I really hope he doesn’t try to be something he’s not because the reason he’s so popular is down to his style thus far. Getting excited about everything when there’s not necessarily anything to get excited about won’t suit him at all in my opinion.

    James, I guess you probably still speak to him occasionally? Please tell him not to change!

    1. Richard A says:

      I agree with all points made, Will.

      Personally, my first choice would have been Martin and Anthony with DC retaining his pundit role with Eddy and Jake, but I’m really optimistic about the changes coming this season.

      As always, keep up the good work, James. Excellent site.

  139. David McVey says:

    Martin will be fine and I dare say David will soon be up to speed and if not, who better than an ex F1 driver to admit, not not publicly perhaps but to themselves that they’re not on the pace anymore and step down.

    I can’t see it being a problem, I believe Brundle’s knowledge is supported by a degree in engineering and Coulthard is an accomplished public speaker. Coupled with that the fact that they are very close friends means they will be able to read each other better. I always found it highly irritating when Martin would be imparting some pearl of wisdom and then Legard would interrupt with something insignificant.

    I think the commentary will be more informative and also run more smoothly. Nothing against Legard as such but he doesn’t have a race brain, we know Martin does and I bet David’s is pretty sharp too. He did pull off some brillian drives in his time after all.

    Give em a chance!!

  140. Peter C says:

    I’m not sure what to do. Shall I pre-judge that DC is going to be useless, like many ‘opinions’ on this stream?
    Or shall I just wait until the season starts, give it half a dozen races & see how he shapes up?
    Oh dear, what a conundrom.

  141. John Player says:

    I think there is no need for journalist backround “lead” guy that can do “oohs”, “wooows” and love to talk about “driver cracking under the pressure” type of things even if it is evident that there is thick smoke coming out of the car. Emotional stuff is overkill for TV, the picture is moving anyway, right? Nowadays there are blogs for that:D

    Commentators that have actually raced there tend to talk about things like they are, or at least close to it. So it is welcome news I guess.
    James Hunt is still the best example of ex racers I think. When Murray said “…bitter, bitter luck for poor Nigel Mansell..”, Hunt was always there to balance things out with his low voice, “…yes, and there we see Mansell completely overdoing it…”. He was honest and really understood the game.
    Brundle is just as good. Interesting to see, what DC can do next to him.

  142. Glen says:

    The worst thing about the MB and DC combination is that I was a young teenager when they were racing. Now they are growing more grey hairs – making me feel older. Though, Barichello is still taking to the track, so it’s not all that bad.

    1. Elliot says:

      And Schumi!

  143. william blonde says:

    I think Martin is biased in his commenting (he particularly seems to have something against Ferrari) and for that reason I dont fancy him being the lead. Does anyone else think the same?

  144. marc b says:

    Am I right that Martin takes a weekend off each year during the F1 season I presume he wont be this year ? or if he does are we having james back for a treat for the fans ; )

    1. Steveceve says:

      a treat??

      are you serious? James was cringeworthy as a main commentator.

  145. Nando says:

    They’re both too chummy with the same drivers leaves the BBC open to accusations of partiality. Presumably they’ve done plenty of dry-runs together and the BBC are happy with them.

  146. Michael SW20 says:

    It is a case of ‘small steps’ for the Beeb as they obviously have a team that works and feel that tried and tested changes will suit their requirements best.

    DC probably has a seat for this year and may be replaced after a review of his performances at the end of the year.

    MB is always spot on though with his predictions, so let’s enjoy the change.

    JL was far to wooden and very frustrating to the educated F1 viewer.

  147. Rob Jackson says:

    This is great news. Legard was awful. Martin and DC will be a fabulous combination.

  148. Jonathan Vogt says:

    James, Just thought I’d let you know that, although I’m excited about the Martin and David pairing, I do miss you in the commentary box and have really appreciated your input to Australia’s One HD coverage in 2010. I really hope that continues this year.

  149. AdrianP says:

    While not wanting to detract at all from a very dignified post by James, I think the real story here is the dumping of Legard. His Twitter response shows that he didn’t go willingly (the allusion to Heidfield and Karthikeyan, presumably being intended to indicate that he thinks he’ll be back).

    Legard was, I am sorry to say, in my view, absolutely hopeless. Even after 2 years, it’s clear that he still didn’t undertand F1 at all and couldn’t read a race, presumably because he hadn’t really bothered trying. For me he detracted from enjoyment of a race far more than he added to that, so it’s a very welcome decision to have shown him the door.

    Is Coulthard the right replacement – for the hardcore fans I think it will be a pleasure to have two professional racers in the box. There will also be good personal chemistry between Brundle and Coulthard. But I think it’s probably inevitable that with more professionalism will come less of a sense of raw enthusiasm, which perhaps is unwelcome for the casual fan. Croft, or indeed, Allen(!) rather than Coulthard would have been a no-brainer and I also think Jake Humphrey has been excellent – he clearly wants to understand motorsport (having taken up the opportunity to try it himself where he can) and he’s naturally a charismatic presenter.

  150. Andrew says:

    It must of been tough decision for the BBC about who to replace Legard. I feel that Legard’s style and lack of rapport with Martin did not help him but I sometimes found his calm soft spoken tones and comments welcome rather than someone screaming off the top of their lungs because Jenson Button wiped his visor!

    Croft I’m sure was considered very seriously with his passionate style but might have a tendancy to run over what Martin would say.

    DC and Brundle will no doubt have a good engaging partnership. I’m sure that the pair are currently forced by the BBC to be in some soundroom watching old tapes and doing a bit of commentating to that in order to get a feel for one another. The BBC have spent alot of cash on getting Formula 1 and will hardly want it to be a laughing stock.

  151. Steveceve says:

    Brundle has my support 100%, really not sure about DC. He seems way too Red Bull biased.
    Shame we can’t have Brundle and Chandhok!

  152. Matt M says:

    Hello James

    Could you maybe tell us how you felt when you got the same job on ITV and perhaps some of the process leading to it. Did you have to screen test ?

    1. James Allen says:

      I did four screen tests, live in front of the ITV audience! I stood in for Murray in France 2000, when he popped his hip and then when it was announced he was retiring at the end of 2001, I was given initially three races in 2001 which Murray did not attend to prove myself. I did those and then was given the job in October of that year and did the last two races of 2001 and from then on. It was what I had been working towards for many years and I was obviously very happy to get the job. I enjoyed the eight years in that role very much, we won three consecutive BAFTAs and some RTS awards for our work and nothing detracted from it. Clearly when BBC took over they wanted to put their own stamp on the commentary, which was understandable and now that their first go at that hasn’t worked they have taken a very logical decision. I’m on a different track now anyway with what I’m doing so happy all around.

      1. It’s clearly a win-win :

        I’m sure that other dedicated F1 followers will agree that your contributions via the jamesallenonf1 web site and the other things you do are far more valuable to us than the commentary on race weekends.

      2. Elliot says:

        Agreed with Chris – JA on F1 is the crowning glory of James’ F1 career – it’s quite simply the best F1 website in the English language.

      3. It’s not just the content of the articles :

        This forum is so much better than another I can think of because on balance the contributors here are more knowledgeable and thoughtful and we get frequent comments and answers from a genuine F1 insider.

        James has also ensured we aren’t plagued by those tiresome fan boys : you know, the ones that can’t accept any criticism of their chosen driver or team ( and it’s usually Ferrari ! )

      4. dzolve says:

        …seems a bit harsh to say the bbc’s “go at” doing the commentary didn’t work, James, just as it it wouldn’t have been fair to say that you weren’t in their plans a couple of years ago because itv’s commentary didn’t work!

        Personally, I suspect the change was precipitated by MB. As DC’s agent he appears to be a big winner here!!

  153. Rick J says:

    I think the pairing of a journalist/enthusiast and an ex-driver is the best one. You, James and Martin again, for example. Good F1 commentary needs enthusiasm to be able to infuse the dull moments – of which F1 has many – with enough energy to carry the audience through to the next exciting ones – and that requires an individual who is passionate about the ‘sport’ warts and all. I respect MB a great deal but his inevitable cynicism from really knowing how the internal games are being played comes through occasionally and sometimes leaves the viewer thinking that they could or should be doing something more productive with their time. As a knowledgeable inside expert off to one side that is fine, but I agree with you, a real enthusiast is necessary to carry the show – which was where Murray with all his faux pas shone through. Often this past season I found myself preferring the race coverage of David Croft and Anthony Davidson over the principal BBC team.

  154. Wingers says:

    I am very happy with the change in commentary for the BBC F1 coverage.

    Why, Legard will no longer taint the otherwise satisfactory coverage. I wouldn’t call the coverage instantly better with the replacement (DC), but I will reserve judgement until I get to listen to the new pair together. As I firmly believe F1 as a whole needs an American lesson on how to educate and entertain viewers, something I’ve said many times in comments here and elsewhere. Nascar and Indy are streets/leagues/galaxies ahead on the ‘show’.

    Also, they listen to fans, and with the incredible volumes of fans voicing their displeasure in Legards ability (everyone had ample opportunity to gauge an opinion so fair dews), there is no way he would have lasted the entire 2010 season elsewhere.

    In South Africa, SuperSport puts together an F1 highlights package of the races, without overlaying the commentary. So what I initially thought would be a nice recap of 2010 became unwatchable, as every single ‘exciting/interesting’ moment is completely destroyed by Legards mumbling, 4 incomplete sentences-in-one phrases, nonsense. How he is called the ‘senior’ is beyond my comprehension. I appreciate that being a professional commentator is not easy, but I do not recall James ever bumping over simple sentences, or using exciting commentary lines such as ‘Here he comes’, ‘There he goes’, ‘He’s the man with the plan’.

    The best moment of the season commentary wise was the Brazilian GP, and on the slowing down lap Legard said something quite silly as usual, and Brudle muttered ‘idiot’ (if you have the race go look, can’t find it on youtube), it was the funniest moment, and summed up my friends and my feelings 100%, after many occasions of yelling at the TV for Legard to stop talking nonsense.

    Here is to change, and I really hope this change is as good as a holiday! Bring on F1 2011

    1. Adam Cohn says:

      Actually Brundle says “Indeed”, not “Idiot” but he might as well have done, it must have been so frustrating working next to someone who talked over the top of you all the time and that you had no “flow” with.
      I disliked JL style very much but I’m sure he is a great person and wish him well for the future. Looking foward to 2011 and the new BBC team, I think they will do great!
      Thank you James for a such great website and always interacting with the fans, much respect.
      (as an aside, I’m always impressed with how you manage to deal with the same questions over and over because people don’t bother to read the comments, good on ya!)

  155. roger stark says:

    Hi JAMES YOU UNFORTUNATLY DID THE NIGHT SHIFT IN F1 WITH SCHUMACHER MAKING THE SPORT LOOK BORING I THINK THE JOB NEEDS A JOURNALIST IN THE BOX TO ADD A BIT!!!

    1. James Allen says:

      True that 2002, 04 and 06 was hard work to make interesting!

      1. Max Power says:

        I don’t recall 06 being boring?

  156. Morag says:

    Glad to hear Legard has gone. Never took to him and did not think he hsd the ability to hold his end. I’m pretty sure he did not contribute more than Martin did as I always believed Martin was lead commentator at BBC anyway. It is a pity BB did not have you (James Allen) on board somewhere too as I miss your in depth and insightful abilities.

  157. Andrew says:

    As mention James got the dull end of the stick with trying to make the Schumacher/Ferrari years interesting and fun. I must admit I was not a fan of James’s passionate, loud (his reaction to Button’s first win was worefully over the top) but I enjoy James’s views and comments for more on the site and have totally done a U-turn on him now.

    It will be interesting to hear the DC/Brundle duo work and I’m sure there will be mistakes or moments when it isn’t working. But just like the 2010 season it will need time to come good, alot of people was slagging off 2010 after the first race in Barhain!

  158. Darren says:

    I agree with a lot of people on here who have said that having two ex drivers might not be the best thing.

    However im happy to reserve judgement and if James thinks that Martin is more than up to the job you have to respect that, after all James was Martins longest partner.

    I would have prefered Crofty to get a go at it. His commentry on the darts was good, prooving that he is a good commentator in general. Was there not a rumour that MB and Crofty dont get on? I could be making that up but if so is there any truth in it?

    To use the schumi coming into the pitlane example from earlier in the thread I think what you want from a commentary team is the main guy to say “schumis coming in this is lap whatever” and make it sound exciting. The second technical guy then elaborates on it and explains what this may mean in terms of race development etc.

    I think MB & DC will make a solid commentary team but I just think it will possibly lack the excitment needed to spice things up for viewers.

    However I hope im wrong and they will turn out to be excellent!

  159. EM says:

    This will be the least F1 related post ever here, promise!

    First to all those who say “a commentary team should be one journalist plus one ex-driver” you are the Hispania’s of commenting. MB and DC is something different, a potential inovation which could pay off very nicely. Luckily the BBC aren’t doing what they’ve always done but experimenting.

    Second to those that say they’re not sure DC will make a good co-commentator I hope then when you consider a career change you remember your own advice.

  160. mofs says:

    I wonder whether part of the problems people have with the lead commentator is the shadow of Murray hanging over. His voice was synonymous with the sport for a considerable number of years, and I do wonder whether his style of commentating (for all its humour and it’s bloopers) is what people are struggling to look past. I actually enjoyed your commentating [the Hungarian Grand Prix with Button winning his first race, oddly with Anthony Davidson, was a particular highlight) and your knowledge was apparent, as was your rapport with Martin. I wonder if by getting the current face of British F1 broadcasting to commentate, they are aiming to prevent that backlash and let david have the job where he can be a bit more pensive and reflective, as opposed to reactive as the lead commentator must be.

  161. john g says:

    the point of a commentator, especially on tv, is to give insights on what’s going on that you wouldn’t be able to pick up from the tv. for example if someone is putting in several green / purple sector times (or particularly slow times), if someone is pitting off screen, what tyres they are on etc. Brundle is able to do this, legard simply was not, he didn’t seem to understand anything of what was going on, and so simply just stated, or should that be shouted, what he saw (incorrectly half the time). he never seemed to grasp the concept that he was not on the radio and despite being a commentator was not required to give a full time running commentary! occasionally just leaving a little silence, for example over an onboard shot, says more than a commentator could ever say.

    and how can legard say during quali for example that someone is fastest or on provisional pole when they are first to put a lap in!! it shows a complete and fundamental lack of any knowledge whatsoever. literally moments after webbers massive crash this year, he starts blabbering on about something completely inane and irrelevant.

    not only am i glad legard has gone, i am also happy that another person with massive insight and knowledge is stepping into the booth. he was partial to RBR as he was probably still on their books. that will change now. i am really looking forward to F1 2011

  162. Mike Dawson says:

    Change, it’s quite an interesting topic. Sure I have personal preferences to whom I would like to hear commenting on F1. One thing that has clearly been evident in all of the past f1 lead commentators is thier knowledge and passion for the sport. This is very clearly evident in MB.

    …but, is he the best man for the job? This is where to topic of change arises. Am I just happy for his awesome role as technical driver consultant? Do I want to protect him from the barrage of criticism? First, he’s a big lad and can take care of himself. Perhaps I’m not wanting change?

    In any event f1 is relentless, thus is what we love about the sport, time waits for no man, design or aero part.

    We’ll look back in ten months time on another great season, there’ll be a new champion and we’ll be looking forward to a new season.

    Martin will be great, DC will grow into the role and Eddy will have a fantastic array of questionable shirts. 2011 is going to be great.

  163. alexbookoo says:

    When James took over from Murray Walker I thought he was rubbish. Not that I had liked Murray Walker that much, but he was amusing. After a year or so I realised that James was much better than Murray Walker because he didn’t get everything wrong. It was simply the change that had skewed my judgement.

    I thought maybe a similar thing would happen with Legard but it was no use. He got everything wrong without being amusing at all. I feel kind of sorry for him now but I wouldn’t have felt like that while I was shouting at the tele during races.

    They should have got James back but this is still good news. As long as DC can be a little less dull.

  164. Wade lavery says:

    It’s great new with MB and DC. They love the sport, they know what they are talking about and what a year we are in for with the top four teams. I was only speaking with Ross brawns dad the other day and he told me to put money on Schmi for this year as all the work they have put for this year. Not long now:)

  165. Young Slinger says:

    A bit concerned about EJ’s extended role!

    1. Steve L 1973 says:

      Agreed, am I alone on here thinking Eddie is actually, erm, pretty rubbish in his role?

  166. davissi says:

    James your comments are very positive and insightful, you experience and knowledge is second to none. Carry on being a great journalist and blogger you deserve great success.
    I wasn’t fond of your commentating to say the least but I cannot fault what you write and the information you gather. You are one of those people still involved in F1 in the inside and you deserve to be there.

  167. Lewis Jones says:

    Haven’t read all the comments above but would echo concerns about Eddie Jordan running amuck without DC to reign him in. Is there no one better than could work with Jake as ‘main analyst’? (John Watson, Johnny Herbert, Damon, Jackie Stewart or maybe Paul Stoddart, if you want a former team owner)

    Also David has to drop the pro-RBR bias if he is to work in this role. Antony Davison would probably have been a better choice to work alongisde Martin.

  168. JDOD says:

    I’m actually quite pleased with the paring, they both know their stuff and are both capable of dishing out some critism.

    One thing concerns me though:

    Can anyone imagine Martin or DC shouting
    “Gooooooooooooooooooo!”
    When the lights go out?

    If it doesn’t work next year, I’ll submit my out commentary DVD!

  169. jonas says:

    Just as with James on ITV and Leggard on BBC, if 3 million people like DC and 10 thousand dont … the ten thousand will go on and on about him on blogs until the BBC ditch him.

    Thats the way it goes.

    Rather selfishly, I am glad JA on F1 will be James’s main outlet as it is, as many have stated here, the best F1 site on the net.

  170. Matt W says:

    Hi James,

    With regards to the post race press conference, I have always wondered how that works. Do you have a script given to you of questions to ask or do you decide what to ask?

    I always love the post race press conference, it is one of those traditional elements of F1 that I hope they keep in the coming years.

    Regards,

    Matt

    1. James Allen says:

      No I decide what to ask. I make notes during the quali or the race and refine them once we know the outcome. The quali one is high pressure because you don’t know who you are talking to until 2mins before they walk in the room. The race is a bit more relaxed.

  171. Janet says:

    James Allen would have been the better choice in my opinion!

  172. Joe says:

    Hi James

    While we are on the subject of David Coulthard i just wanted to ask you a question about the man himself.

    Is there a school of thought among the British F1 media – and if so are you a part of it – that DC could’ve and should’ve been world champion in 2003? Personally, I think he should have been and here’s why:

    He calmly won the opening round in Australia, staying out of trouble while everyone else got in to it. At the next round in Malaysia he was running very well and very high up the order and almost certainly would have picked up a podium had it not been for electrical failure (i think it was) which put him out at an early stage of the race.

    He would have won the rain-soaked Brazilian GP (the 3rd race) had it not been for Webber and Alonso having their infamous moments as they climbed the hill from the final corner, which lead to the race being red flagged, moments after DC made a pit stop.

    The next round at Imola heralded the beginning of DC’s 2003 single lap qualifying nightare.

    I can’t help but feel that HAD he picked up a solid podium (or even a strong 4th place for that matter) in Malaysia, and HAD he won in Brazil as he should have deservedly done so, then he would have arrived at Imola on the crest of a wave of confidence; probably feeling more confident about himself than at anyone stage in his career.

    I just feel that the rotten luck in rounds 2 and 3, after the great start in Oz, had a psychological effect on him, which led to him putting himself under huge pressure to put his challenge back on track and not let ANOTHER opportunity to become WDC slip through his fingers AGAIN. I think he went out to qualify at Imola and overdrove which snow-balled for the rest of the season…

    Has DC even spoken about this and whether he thinks the rotten luck in rounds 2 and 3 that year affected him? I just can’t see why he would’ve have suddenly turned bad at quali if he’d arrived in Europe as the clear championship leader?

    One thing’s for sure: the Mclaren MP4-17D WAS up to the task – Raikkonen could’ve won that title had he not made any 2 of at least half a dozen driving erros (admiteddly the Nurburgring engine failure didnt help), with running wide at Stowe corner springing to mind…

    1. James Allen says:

      NOt really heard that one before. He had a great career, no doubt

  173. Brad says:

    JOE, as the legend RD always said F1 its IF backwards! DC rocked, and not winning the WC isnt the beall and end all. He has huge respect and a great bloke with high standards and moral conduct. ( and by the way i am not DC ! )

    Mb should have died on his backside 14 yrs ago as he was never mr inspiring, but his dry humour and intelligence won over all comers. I feel that DC has the ingredients to partner MB, and as they know each other so well it will really be a partnership with good communication.

    With all due respect to James, i felt there was a lacking somehow in his last yr as lead, but i respect and listen to him more now and without JA the sport is worse off no doubt.

    Leggard – well he never really clicked and i think it was good and fair of the bbc to give him 2 yrs, but 2 races told me he was to go. Having said that the listener and standard has changed so much that if Murray started now he would probably not hit the spot either?? I love Murray by the way aswell.

    Life moves on as JL said on Twitter. My hope is that Anthony Davidson moves up from just radio as he is top class, and should DC not pick it up then AD would kick in big style!

    Having said this all, none of the people involved have ever done less than their very best and deserve respect for a hard and fast moving complicated jigsaw that is an F1 season – Happy new year to all :-)

    1. James Allen says:

      Agree about Ant D, he’s a fantastic broadcaster

  174. Steve JR says:

    “…and the McLaren is going down the hill…” – I’m really not going to miss him.

    I was hoping that the owner of this blog would step into those shoes again but we are denied yet again.

    The prospect of having MB as main dude is interesting. His real strength in the box has been to make the viewer feel like they are in the car.

    So the dream team commentary box would be:
    JA – lead
    MB – support

    failing that
    Antony Davidson – lead
    MB – support

    failing that
    Crofty – lead
    MB – support

  175. Bobby says:

    Should be interesting to hear as Martin Brundle assumes a role that has been taken in gridiron football in the US by Pat Summerall and more recently Ron Pitts, both former analysts who have taken lead chairs. Summerall by the 1970′s became known more as a lead who also presented professional basketball and golf coverage. Hope you will see how Brundle will act — as low-key as Summerall, whose career lasted nearly 40 years as a broadcaster, including Super Bowl XXXVI, Jack Nicklaus’ sixth Masters, and other signature moments, or will he go loud.

  176. Derek Lorimer says:

    I would have promoted David Croft to be lead commentator. He is brilliant.

  177. Kim Chapman says:

    Martin was awesome in 2011 new commentary for 2012 is rubbish please take him off whoever he is Promote David to lead commentary, I am now going to sky because of poor quality new format.At least run the race in full even if it’s not live.
    I waited for the first week to see how it was, now I’m off to sky….I hate giving them money, but I need my F1 fix and you have disappointed…JAKE GREAT AS EVER…WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO PIT LANE FEEDS DURING RACE…The new tech expert is boring….no introduction to who they are and what there credentials are but both have voices to drive you crazy!
    You probably wont post this one!

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