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BBC seeks new face of F1 as Jake Humphrey quits the Corporation
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Jake Humphrey
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Sep 2012   |  2:10 pm GMT  |  193 comments

The BBC is looking for a new presenter of its Formula 1 coverage in the UK after the main presenter Jake Humphrey announced that he is to leave the Corporation after 10 years.

Humphrey will become one of the best paid presenters in sport as the face of BT Vision’s ambitious new Premier League football offering, due to start next season. It moves him away from Formula 1, which he has presented since March 2009.

It’s an interesting move for the likeable Humphrey, who was well placed to become the main presenter for BBC Sport in the near future. He fronted the cycling at the London Olympics and has also presented part of the Euro 2012 football tournament.

It will take him away from the mainstream in one sense, but as TV fragments and moves towards convergence with the internet, he will be very well placed for the future. Broadcasters like Al Jazeera are expected to come into the domestic football rights war in three years time as they build up to their World Cup in 2022.

Humphrey will have the opportunity to host BT’s 38 live Premier League games each season for three years. The deal is a huge gamble for BT, which has paid £738 million for the rights. That they have entrusted the delivery of that to Humphrey is a sign of his standing in the industry. In that sense he is a loss to F1.

It leaves the BBC thinking about how they replace him, as they had built the whole presentation around a Top Gear-style ‘three amigos’ dynamic with Humphrey’s playing along in increasingly ridiculous sketches with the antics of Eddie Jordan and the mild dissaproval of David Coulthard.

Lee McKenzie has deputised for Humphrey during his enforced absences on other sports duties in the last couple of years and the BBC may go with her for its 10 live races and 10 highlights races each season.

But the dynamic with the other two other male presenters will clearly change, so it requires a root and branch rethink.

At the end of last season the BBC lost Martin Brundle and Ted Kratitz to the new Sky Sports F1 HD team. Coulthard’s popularity as a pundit and commentator has soared since then.

“I am incredibly excited to be joining the team at BT not just because I get to fulfil a lifelong dream of presenting the Barclays Premier League but because of the fresh perspective that BT will bring to both sport and broadcasting in this country,” said Humphrey.

“To be a part of this young, vibrant team who are as passionate about sport as I am, is a privilege. I’ve grown up at the BBC, and whilst I hope to work with them in the future, I’d also like to place on record my thanks to them.

“I am incredibly grateful to all colleagues, and of course the viewers, for their incredible support from CBBC all the way to Formula 1. My focus from the start of 2013 is on making BT’s coverage of football the best this country has ever seen.”

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193 Comments
  1. James Wilson says:

    And what would you say if they offered you the position James? Yes I hope! Although I like Lee Mck also…

    1. James Allen says:

      Very happy where I am thanks

      1. Keith Spelman says:

        Vote 1 – Lee McKenzie

      2. Gavin Campbell says:

        Really? Lee McKenzie has been quite weak in my opinion when she has anchored the show.

        I think they could possibly steal Matt from Moto GP – he’s of a similar age and would allow them to keep the same dynamic with a presenter who knows about racing.

      3. Dyoungone says:

        Excellent shout on matt from MotoGP.
        Does he know F1?
        Get your money on Matt as a slap in the face to the excellent Lee McKenzie.

      4. Andrew Jarman says:

        Sorry but can’t stand Matt from MotoGP. Is actively offputting and seems completely frivolous – it’s always a big relief when he hands over to the great commentators Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish

      5. Dave says:

        My choice as well. The gorgeous Lee McKenzie.

      6. Shaun says:

        I know afew are saying Lea Mckenzie should get the Gig now Jake`s off to Footie,But I`d like 2throw another name in2 the Hat,Whatabout David Coulthard taking over? I know he`s not very experienced in presenting etc, but he`s done afew items on his own on the F1 prog,and I think he`s more outgoing sort of guy,Who I think would grow in2 the roll of being the main presenter of F1,obviously the Beeb would hav2 bring in another F1 pundit/co commentor,And I think they should bring in John Watson who`s been helping James Allen on the BBC red button/Radio5live.

    2. Colin Watt says:

      Lee Mckenzie is a must to front BBC’s F1 coverage. She has coped very well when standing in especially the Japan GP a year or two back. She is also very telegenic, a clear and concise orator and seems to know her stuff on all things F1. The fact that she is from my home town of Ayr doesn’t influence my comments in any way, shape or form!

      1. Skinny says:

        Telegenic?

        I don’t want to watch the presenters; I want to watch cars, circulating tracks, voiced by people that know what they are talking about..

      2. Colin Watt says:

        Skinny, we all want to watch cars circulating tracks, however now that there is a show built around the racing then we have to accept that there is a need for presenters. I have yet to see any evidence that Lee Mckenzie doesn’t know what she is talking about when standing in. Have you?

      3. Gavin Walker says:

        I agree that Lee Mackenzie is a knowledgeable, credible F1 broadcaster, but I am not sure she isn’t perhaps a little too much of an F1-geek to anchor the show. In my opinion, she was absolutely exceptional in her previous role. I disagree with others here. I think she always asked the right question. Always. That’s actually a very difficult thing to do. She also manages to track down the drivers she needs to. But she has the level of knowledge that is needed regularly but only occasionally (if you know what I mean) in the coverage. The presenter needs less precise and surgical talents. Ted Kravitz, for example, is also brilliant, but there’s a reason he’s not Sky’s main presenter. BBC will promote from within. Guaranteed to be someone already under contract.

    3. Dave says:

      I’m fed up with the feminisation of the airways be it tv or radio. Males are definately in the descendancy. The last thing a testorone sport like F1 needs is a female commentator at the helm. Surprised Eccelstone hasn’t been forced to take on non male drivers. now that would be fun. Watch this space.

      1. LJ says:

        Have to agree. Personally I don’t find Lee good at all, I don’t find that her questions show any great insight or love of the sport, I would expect far more knowledge and analysis from someone being paid as a co-presenter of the sport. And I don’t like this need to have brought in another female to replace Louise, Louise had something that makes her simply irreplaceable.

        As a female I don’t feel any need to see quotas being met for the sake of it, I would far prefer the best person for the job, and in the world of F1 the best person is still going to be male.

    4. nathan ward says:

      suzi perry?

  2. sandyf1 says:

    Ahem, i think there is a chap who presents the f1 for BBC radio 5 live .What are his chances?

    1. Kay says:

      I think they’d probably limit too much on what James can do outside BBC. I.e. this website.
      :(

  3. Nandy says:

    Count me in. I’d work for a tenth of what was paid to Lee or to Jake. I don’t mind replacing either. I have 13 year of audience experience in F1. Haha.

  4. Jon says:

    This is a great loss for the BBC, Jake has been a great presenter for F1, he will be missed.

    Although I’m sure with him being an expectant father, being closer to home week in week out is also a better option.

    And I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job hosting the football. Good luck to him I say.

    1. JimmiC says:

      Echoed my sentiments exactly. I think he’s been fantastic as the charming layman – knowledgeable and well versed in F1 history and simplifying the complicated technical aspects of the sport for new viewers and those of us who don’t have a degree in engineering and struggle to replace lightbulbs. It’s a good move by BT and whoever follows him on the BBC will have (appropriately for the statuesque Jake) big shoes to fill.

      1. Heather Wood says:

        I really miss Jake and i think the girl who has now taken over is a pain!! I wish the powers that be wouldn’t keep thinking that they must put women in the front line. I am all for women but not in this instance.

  5. kevin says:

    I don’t know how others felt about him but I’ve never been a fan of Jake Humphrey. Most of all how he likes to cut off or give little jabs at Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard, two way more valuable personalities on BBC’s F1 coverage.

    1. Lojen says:

      Yeah I’m with you on that. I really liked him at first, but as time went by he become increasingly familiar to the point of rudeness. A bit of banter is fine and often amusing, but I feel he crossed the line a little too much.

    2. Wayne says:

      Agreed, each to their own though. I always said the guy was just using F1 as a stepping stone and thought he was too vanilla and plastic for my taste – the guy never had an opinion on anything ever (I know that’s not his job but still…..)

      1. John says:

        A shame he used F1 so much as a stepping stone. I quite enjoy Jake’s work … until he bangs on and on about those overpaid and overhyped xxxxxx who were made to look like amateurs rather than professional athletes during the Olympics.

        I will not miss the references to the “sport” he is moving to.

        Please lets us have Lee – she is passionate about F1 after all.

    3. JimmiC says:

      Eddie and David have skin thick enough to handle a couple of banterish jabs… they didn’t exactly fall off the back of a turnip truck.

      1. Wayne says:

        Thing is, because you can get away with something does not mean you should. This guy has helped turn EJ into a bit of a laughing stock on TV and it has become very irritating. You usually find that people jab at others to make themselves look good. It’s a bit like playground bullying – the bully does it to make himself bigger by making others look smaller. It’s not ok because it’s on TV.

    4. Mojo66 says:

      I completely agree. Regardless of whether Eddie’s and David’s skins are thick enough, I found Humphreys behaviour towards both men annoying and unneccessary. I heard he came from kids TV, and that’s how he often treated two persons who have achieved much much more in their respective lifes than this arrogant ***. I’m glad I won’t see him anymore.

    5. RampantHaddock says:

      Have to say I disagree with this, I didn’t really like Humphrey at first, but I warmed to him over time. He has a natural enthusiasm which is good to see, and appears quite genuine too. When he presented at the Olympics he was always the first to say he knew nothing about the intricacies some of the sports, but enjoyed watching nonetheless- which most people could probably relate to. To me he’s the only one of the 3 that are near bearable, infinitely preferable to the insufferable buffoon that is Eddie Jordan, or the dull as dishwater David Coulthard (although he’s not as bad as he used to be, granted).

      1. r.bartlett says:

        Hmm

        I echo the former comments. JH became insufferable which will only get worse now he’s been given a huge payrise….

        His infantile tormenting of EJ got beyond acceptable to the pint where he forgot what he was there for and like you seem to forget EJ has been around f1 for 20+ years and owned a team for christsake.

        To call EJ a baffoon is so way off the mark as to be baffonish in itself.He is very close to BE which means he hears things others don’t…

        Like him or not he is a shrewd operator

    6. richy says:

      could never stand him, still can’t, this is nothing but good news as far as i’m concerned.

      wouldn’t mind seeing Lee get the job, but like James says, i would utterly change the whole dynamic, which might well mean that they’ll look to bring in another bloke to replace Jake

      whoever suggested Mat Roberts could be on to something, i really like him on the MotoGP, and if he moved over to F1 then that would leave the MotoGP slot free for the return of the delectable Suzi…. (i know, but a man can dream)

  6. Simon Benedict says:

    Wow, what a loss for the BBC’s F1 coverage.

    If you have any doubt how good Jake is flick over to Sky and watch how bad Simon Lazerby is.

    Jake makes it look effortless and strikes the perfect tone.

    1. Ez Pez says:

      I Usually watch the sky coverage, apart from when the BBC are live, and every time I see Simon’s face, I have an incredible urge to punch him.
      Another man’s face alone has never made me feel like that, the only two facial expressions he seems to have are Baffled and Smug.

      1. +1 lol

        happy with everyone else on sky , even quite like johny herbert as well now.

        just replace simon..

        Matt

      2. LJ says:

        The Sky team is terrible, especially Simon and Damon!!!!! In the end I began skipping all the preamble (something I haven’t done in 20+ years) and just watched the race.

      3. James says:

        Simon Lazenby is dreadful to watch…

      4. RobertS says:

        I agree, When i saw the headline Jake leaving BBC I was hoping he had signed to SKY as Simon asks the worst, most obvious questions! Also on the BBC you can see the friendship the presenters have with the other drivers compared to sky!!

      5. James Clayton says:

        Funny, I had exactly the same urge when watching Jake. At least with Simon, Damon and Johnny (and Alan when he was deputising for Ant) at least you felt like you were watching and F1 race with presenters around it, as opposed to BBCs “the Jake Humphry and his Jolly Boys F1 Show… oh also featuring a race”.

        To be fair, I haven’t had much time to watch masses of build up this year, so maybe Lazenby calms down for the 15 minutes leading up to the race and all the fuss id something I’m not privy to?

      6. Wayne says:

        It’s not just Simon, it’s SKY TV’s whole cheesy, tabloid approach to everything. It was always going to happen and, well, it did.

        SKY coat all their sports coverage in a treacle-like smothering layer of gloss that is present to attract the magpies and reflect any attempt to actually analyse anything right back at the viewer. Anyone trying to watch is left dazzled and dizzy and none the wiser when you really get down to it.

        Overpaid analyists lounge around on expensive sofas offering incredibly weak and utterly obvious opinions on everything while being very careful not to actually commit one way or another for fear of looking slightly less shiny than the guy next to him/her.

        Some fo the ex-BBC guys (Kravitz) look like guys and gals who have found a £50 note in the street and invested in a bright new pair of shoes. They know those shoes look good but they have no idea how to wear them so they end up looking smug but awkward.

        And this is just what I have gathered from snippets from the website. I also ‘aquired’ one episode of the F1 Show and turned it off after 20 minutes.

      7. Andrew Livesey says:

        Kravitz [mod]….displayed a complete lack of historical background and F1 knowledge post race when running into Art Merzario in the pits at Monza. He belittled him and treated him as a figure of fun with no idea who he was or what he had achieved in the past both as a Ferrari driver (past and present) and private entrant in F1.

      8. moxlox says:

        Can’t disagree more with Wayne’s statement here. Seems like a diatribe written without objectively watching Sky’s coverage – be it F1 or Premier League football.

        Sky F1′s coverage is definitely not tabloid. Good analytical coverage (vis Ted Kravitz inside view, Anthony Davidson’s Skypad driving analysis etc), good interviews by Natalie Pinkham and Georgie Thompson, excellent commentary team, backed up behind the scenes with journalistic quality with people like Mark Hughes. Also recently several appearances by Nigel Roebuck. All providing good interesting content.

        BBC’s coverage inevitably has dropped below the peak they reached last year, because of the changes forced upon them. Sky have picked up the baton, and done a good job in their first year for the non-casual viewer.

      1. ham says:

        How can you critisis without having hardly watched it, that’s pathetic! Sky coverage is an almost identical model to F1 coverage for years on British TV, some bits better than others and some presenters better than others, Laze by being the weak link but he has improved’ personally can’t stand Herbert, how [mod] (he) could ever have been a steward beggars belief!

    2. Peter C says:

      “flick over to Sky”……that’s always assuming you can afford it.

  7. marc says:

    Too bad… so sad… he has style, humour, knowledge and creativity in the way he conducts and constructs the programme. The merry trio had to have its’ day someday. Still, I’m sure the BBC will keep the momentum Humphrey set. All positive in the end. For him too, surely.

  8. Irish con says:

    I have to say I don’t like jake. I never have. He is abit of a smart alec to me. But he is better that Simon lazenby. Thank god that georgie Thompson is hot or all f1 presenters would be crap.

    I always liked Steve Ryder as he has obviously some knowledge about the sport. And the guy before him on itv that did the boxing for a while was good also.

    1. lol , my wife asked the other day what was Georgie Thompson on my f1 programme for ! LOL

      Matt

      1. iceman says:

        There’s a rumour that Ant Davidson has a rider in his contract saying he has to be paired up with someone who makes him look tall
        ;)

      2. LOL , very good , when she stands next to Herbert and hill she is tiny … even with 6″ heels on

  9. Suky says:

    Big gain for BT

    Big loss for BBC

  10. Mike84 says:

    I’ll agree with what someone else said — when BBC became a part-time 2nd-class broadcast, how could any talented presenter not look elsewhere?

    He’s clearly ready to handle something bigger.

    Good luck. And BBC will survive.

  11. Sam Weller says:

    there is no viable replacement, except for one: James Allen.

  12. **Paul** says:

    I’m not really sure this matters too much. Jake seems like a nice enough guy, but what makes F1 entertaining is the sporting action. I’d guess that having a pregnant wife means he wants more time at home and less in foreign lands; and I certainly won’t knock anyone who puts their family over a job.

  13. Doug says:

    C’mon James…if you can stand EJ for a whole race weekend you’d be great for the job!

  14. Moohcowh says:

    I expect we’ll see a very similar statement from Lewis when he switches to Mercedes!

    Still, it’s not surprising for Jake, by losing 10 live races a year, it really limits his ability to shine in front of millions of people and unless Linekar leaves, there wasn’t a lot of room for growth within the BBC.

  15. Rich in Norway says:

    James, you up to the challenge?! Also maybe someone like Richard Hammond would be a good choice if they want to keep the Top Gear vibe going. I know he was mentioned originally and that people will say he knows nothing about F1 but I’m sure he knows about the same as Jake did when he started in 2009. Thoughts?

    1. Quercus says:

      It needs to be a live sports presenter, which is a very demanding job requiring special skills — have you ever tried talking normally with open talkback in your ear? Hammond is good as a presenter for pre-recorded stuff and docos but I doubt whether he’d be any good under the sort of sustained pressure which Jake is masterful at handling. He’ll be missed.

    2. Robert says:

      Richard Hammond has a racing license and has actually trained in a real F1 car – he knows considerably more about F1 than Jake did when he started. I will tell you the downside of Richard however – his height. Jake is very tall, and uses it to command presence even when surrounded by much more experienced commentators, so that he can (and does) dictate the pace and cuts effortlessly. That role is played by Jeremy on Top Gear, and Richard is _his_ foil. Without the height, and the Type A+ personality that both Jake and Jeremy have, I don’t think he could play that role. Eddie is to scattered to do it, and David too dry.

      Clarkson himself is too opinionated, else I might suggest him. So it needs to be a _presenter_, with a Type A personality, enough height to command respect, and has at least a little broadcasting background. And willing to travel a whole lot.

      If only Jenson Button was the right age to retire…

  16. Rachel says:

    On the one hand, I’m not surprised he’s moved to a role that is UK focused; guessing the expected child played a part in that decision. Although very surprised he moved from the BBC, as every indication was that he was committed to that and was being trained up to be one of the major sports reporters, after the Olympics etc.

    I think Lee has to be the favourite to replace him; from what I’ve seen she manges the other two quite well, but it’s going to depend whether the balance fits in with the overall direction they are going with the programme.

    (PS, Kravitz was spelled incorrectly on first publish)

  17. Ben in Reading says:

    Lee surely deserves a shot, I have a recollection of her brilliantly coping with a cancelled/postponed quali in Japan(?) a couple of years back, and she certainly knows her stuff!

    1. Simon Benedict says:

      She struggles for on air personality in my opinion. And she’s only developed the ability to ask half-decent questions in the past year or so.

      1. LJ says:

        That’s the thing, she’s like a female Damon Hill without the experience in F1. She has no personality on-screen. And I agree, her questions have been pretty lame, and that’s probably with some assistance too.

  18. The Gunner says:

    Meh!

    I for one won’t be too upset to see him leave. It became clear that Jake liked to think of himself as ‘one of the boys’ despite having no background in the sport.

    Yes, he seems a talented broadcaster, his style is slick and well rehearsed, but he comes across as crass at times. Next time he’s on, just watch at how he rolls his eyes every time EJ says something. Yes, EJ can be a bit of a buffoon but he’s been there and done it, and Humphrey should show some respect.

    The Beeb could do a lot worse than Lee McKenzie. She’s easy on the eye, professional and the drivers seem eager to talk to her. I also find her style not quite so grating.

    Still good luck at BT, Jake. They must be shovelling wheelbarrows of money in your direction.

  19. for a second i thought it was going to read that he had joined Sky …

    Matt

  20. Anton says:

    How about you send your “CV” in James?

  21. Geoff says:

    James You are made for this role!!
    We need you in front of the cameras.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, happy with the things I’m doing thanks.

      Been there, done that

      1. JohnBt says:

        There’s breed of professionals like yourself who’s been and done it and like being the backroom boys. More peaceful I guess.

  22. thejudge13 says:

    In the words of wrong direction…err…sorry…one dimension…oh whatever they’re called.

    James – ITS GOT TO BE YOU! http://wp.me/p2HWOP-2i

  23. Kay says:

    “as they had built the whole presentation around a Top Gear-style ‘three amigos’ dynamic with Humphrey’s playing along in increasingly ridiculous sketches with the antics of Eddie Jordan and the mild dissaproval of David Coulthard.”

    Hmm… never gave me that Top Gear feeling from them. That though, however, does give an interesting suggestion. What IF BBC does for one race or two, get Clarkson, James May and Hamster to do F1 commentary? That’d be hilarious!!! And oh, get Stig to come in and have the three of them invite him for comments. :D :D :D :D :D :D LOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!

    1. hippyneil says:

      Please let this never happen.

    2. AJ says:

      It would be like watching the football, with Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave doing the fanzone commentary.

    3. growers says:

      Oh dear

      1. Kay says:

        Prefer stayin’ in here, thanks. JA didn’t tell me to get out. Besides, I don’t have to say things to please you, no? :D

  24. Elaine says:

    Oh Jake I don’t watch football. How will I ever replace you Sob sob xx

  25. Scott says:

    To be fair, the mischievous trio act was getting a little tiresome anyway. Time to start afresh: David Coulthard to Sky, which would be good as the chemistry between him and Martin Brundle was obvious. Hopefully Eddie Jordan will simply disappear.

    1. Guillermo says:

      I couldn’t agree more. This year, I’ve only really seen the races on Sky and the only element of the coverage that’s missing for me is DC.

      I’d simply replace Johnny Herbert with DC and you’d have the perfect team. I’d also love to see John Watson as an analyst. Great stories and great analysis.

      1. moxlox says:

        No thanks, we love the cheeky Johnny Herbert in this house! Makes us laugh a hell of a lot.

        Writing this comment reminds me of Copse corner 95. Damon and Schuey had crashed, and the majority of fans were very excited at a prospective Coulthard victory. But our small group started cheering Johnny much to general disapproval, and so were delighted when he won!

      2. mike says:

        Johnny Herbert’s comments are quite often very generalised. He needs to do more research because his insights are….. well not very insightful….

      3. ham says:

        Herbert is awful, couldn’t agree more with Guillermo

      4. James Clayton says:

        No no no. Replace Croft with Coulthard. Then replace both Um Er Anthony and Johnny with Alan McNish.

        Finally you’ll have a slick, fluid product!

    2. Tuv says:

      I don’t agree at all. I thought the chemistry between Brundle and Coulthard was excruiatingly awful. Being his long-time manager, Brundle hen-pecked Coulthard live on air in a way that was as stifling for Coulthard as it was embarassing for us. Note how Coulthard has come into his own since Brundle went to Sky. Bet you anything Coulthard stays exactly where he is – he has become very good as his new job and I think he likes being the lead expert commentatory.

      1. James Clayton says:

        I never saw any of that. If anything it was a little bit the other way around. I’ll never remember Coulthard’s classic comment “Well I bough a bag of Nails yesterday Martin, and it didn’t sound anything like that!” (in response to Martin comparing a poorly engine to sounding like a bag of nails)

  26. Phil says:

    Good luck to him I say.

    Alas the BBC coverage is not what it was and whilst I found him quite refreshing and open when he first started, the last year and a half have been becoming steadily more tiresome with ridiculous antics and egos getting in the way of the previously good coverage and particularly the forum in it’s first year, which I really enjoyed.

  27. Patrick says:

    Sounds like time to throw your hat in the ring James :)

    1. James Allen says:

      Very happy where I am thanks!

      1. Stephen says:

        Yes, but in f1 speak that’s a maybe.. I’m happy but could always be happier? Are you categorically stating you don’t want the job under any circumstances? That would be a shame. A true enthusiast presenting the show who’s not thinking about the score at Norwich while he’s asking a question would benefit everyone.

      2. Gareth says:

        Be fair! Even if James wanted the job, he’s far too diplomatic and professional to state that here. He would be very good in the role, though…

  28. Graham says:

    WOW

    Never saw this coming. The very best of luck to him, as he is an excellent presenter, however this may be the death knell for F1 on the BBC :-(

  29. DK says:

    Gutted, Jake is so likeable and natural at presenting. I was hoping if he left it would be to take over from Simon Lazenby at Sky who just cant cut it in F1 (IMO). BBC have lost a great talent who will be hard to replace. I wish him well!

  30. Matt Devenish says:

    It’s a shame he’s leaving, but totally understandable and I wish him the best. What the BBC F1 production team has produced in four years has been incredible, without a doubt the best coverage the sport has ever had.

  31. Brace says:

    Oh my God, I don’t care!

  32. Jay. says:

    Nice guy overcome by greed!!!!.

    1. Phil R says:

      He’s not Lewis…

      1. W Johnson says:

        Someone has to mention Lewis Hamilton in every thread even when there is no apparent connection…..

        greed could be attributed to most F1 drivers now and through history..

        Lewis is not doing anything different from other F1 drivers in trying to secure the best deal he can for himself (although I would like to see him stay at McLaren)….

    2. growers says:

      Or maybe he doesn’t want to work part time with the BBC? Or wants to progress his career? Or wants to be closer to his new family? Any of which would be a worthy reason to move irrespective of the money.

  33. roger stark says:

    James go on give them a call cheers Roger

  34. hippyneil says:

    This isn’t really a surprise. JH is a career sports presenter who was never truly committed to F1. To be fair, though, he’s been surprisingly good if a bit “laddish” at times.
    Liz is great and seems to be liked by the drivers. She knows her stuff and, I think, is liked by most F1 fans for that. However, the on-screen chemistry between her and EJ can be a bit creepy.
    If Liz is to host then EJ will have to go, I think, but EJ has the popularity-factor (don’t ask me why, I don’t know) so, sadly, I can’t see that happening.

  35. hippyneil says:

    (p.s. I mean’t Lee, not Liz. Leave me alone I have a cold!)

  36. Gord says:

    Well he going to be a father soon, so maybe he wants to stay in the UK.

  37. Joe says:

    in response to Jay in #30,

    I think you’ll find it is more to do with Jake not finding F1 as satisfying now (as he’s said in a recent interview – as he misses being live all the time – especially after races) and his wife becoming pregnant, and it is understandable that he doesn’t want to be leaving his family all the time.

    combine that with a bigger pay packet and the chance to present live premier league football and it is a no brainer from his point of view.

    Good luck to him, i say.

  38. rob says:

    My top 3 in no peticular order are

    James Allen
    Lee McKenzie
    Gary Imlach

    Just as long as nobody from Sky takes the job,they are F* hopeless

  39. AuraF1 says:

    As Gary Linekar has stated he has no intention of retiring for many years yet, Jake must have seen a dead end in the BBC ranks. He can’t really be promoted ahead of Gary and so unless F1 had remained solely on the BBC it was never going to last.

    For those who don’t like Jake I understand the complaints but don’t agree with them. The fact that Sky single handedly tried to clone the entire BBC format and changed nothing other than adding the Skypad (which seems to be an excuse for very attractive Georgie to show us her bodycon dresses and repeat whatever ant davidson just said) says a lot. I like Damon hill and johnny on there but Simon lazenby is sadly a charisma free zone who is giving it a jolly good rugby try but just seems like the ultimate odd bloke at the wedding.

    When Jake stumbled across Ted kravitz the other week on the sky show you were reminded why the old BBC team seemed so relaxed and effortless after the stumbling start in 09. The sky coverage misses that sense of friendship. It seems very business like but doesn’t dare step outside the pattern set by the BBC – it’s like a bit of a watered down reunion gig without all the key bandmates.

    You even sort of miss EJ…despite his calculated buffoonery you still see on the Sky show EJ diving in to garages and celebrations and the sky team are always left to one side. They don’t get into the action at sky, they hang back and watch it.

  40. Craig D says:

    Ah, that’s a shame. I think he’s a great presenter. Good luck to him.

    I recall him saying recently he’s got a baby on the way too, so congrats there as well! :)

  41. Krampa says:

    Is the BBC copying Arsenal FC?

    1. James Allen says:

      Being taken over by an American?

      1. Krampa says:

        No, getting rid of their prized assets?

  42. Shez says:

    Can’t say I am surprised. Jake will be missed by many, but for me he was at times too arrogant.

    It makes me wonder what is happening with the BBC coverage. DC and EJ, as far as I am aware are both out of contract for 2013.

  43. Spyros says:

    I really like DC in his on-the-race commentating role, but frankly I find the trio’s presentation a bit tiring… Jake was the best at it, though.

    (is it sacrilege to say that I don’t like EJ?)

    1. brian says:

      I disagree. they are like the three amigos but dc has great knowledge about f1, he knows not just the racing tracks but also a lot of technical stuff about f1 cars. so, I think dc should become the main presenter and bring in someone like johnny Herbert to help present the show.

  44. Justin says:

    Although the BBC show is incalculably better than Sky the Top Gear copy which in turn is a Last of the Summer Wine copy is getting a bit over the top.

    Interesting that the BBC lost their star of the future though. Clearly they are worse negotiators than McLaren

    1. James Allen says:

      Last of the Summer Wine? Hadn’t thought of that, but now you mention it….

  45. Mike Lea says:

    Lee McKenzie has done a decent job when standing in and, if I were the BBC, I’d sign her up for a relatively modest price, rather than shelling out megabucks for some ‘name’ presenter. She is down to earth, seems to get on well with the drivers/team bosses etc, knows what she’s talking about and isn’t smug…something which can’t be said of all sports presenters.

  46. c-m says:

    I hated all that nonsense that Jake and the BBC did for the Olympics and still do the F1. I Want to watch the sport and enjoy expert commentary and analysis, not watch a bunch of people clowning around on what looks like a kids TV programme.

    Sky haven’t got right yet, but I much prefer their more professional approach.

    1. EM says:

      Could not agree more. I can’t watch the BBC due to all the non f1 items they carry like travelogues and sketches. The day the three of them “arrived” at Silverstone on a tandem was the day I ordered Sky.

      Sky have many faults but they realise we’re watching for the cars, the drivers, the circuits and the teams, not the presenters lame hi-jinx

  47. Ben G says:

    I may be biased because I get paid by the BBC. But it’s a big mistake for Jake.

    He’s a great presenter. But too many BBC presenters think it’s them that makes the show, not the corporation. They think they can take the magic with them to another channel. But it rarely works. Look at Des Lynam and Adrian Chiles on ITV.

    These presenters are made, in large part, by the massive exposure the BBC is able to give them. On smaller channels they lose the oxygen of publicity.

    The BBC will chose someone new for F1, and the BBC will make them a star.

    That said, I cannot say strongly enough how much I respect David Coulthard as a pundit and presenter. He is brilliant – always knowledgeable, passionate, and frequently completely hilarious. The BBC must keep him.

    1. Victor says:

      That’s an interesting insight, Ben. We often forget what the company does for us.

    2. ham says:

      Good post!!!!

  48. Nicksmith1246 says:

    Good luck to Jake, wish he would join sky though! Lee would be a great replacement but I will still be on Sky. F1 without Martin Brundle is like a car without wheels!

  49. Rein says:

    why is the BBC sending a team anyway? Sky is producing all 20 races. It would certainly be better and more economical to share the cost of 10 races and jointly broadcast them on BBC and Sky.

  50. Chris says:

    Things change, many times for the better, I reckon the BBC’s team this year is even better than last year. I’ve enjoyed watching Jake, but felt recently his schtick is starting to wear a bit thin. I genuinely wish him good luck on BT, but he’ll be presenting to one man and his dog, and I’d be surprised if the BBC can’t find someone capable of taking up the mantle.

  51. Il Leone says:

    I just feel this move is symptomatic of the BBC slowly losing ground in their TV coverage of F1 (their radio coverage remains first rate however!)

    Don’t be surprised if F1 gets further marginalised on BBC television across 2013. Sad to say, and I know not everyone can afford it, but Sky is the place for F1 and will increasingly be so over future years.

    I do agree Simon Lazenby is pretty bad. Worst F1 presenter since Rosenthal. Maybe Ted Kravitz should be moved up to lead anchor. Or Natalie Pinkham, who has a lot of knowledge. And Sky should definitely pick up DC when he comes out of BBC contract at the end of this season.

    1. Peter says:

      I thought Rosenthal made an excellent presenter. ITV did a great job. Shame about the ads though.

      1. Dougel says:

        You tell his heart wasn’t in it though. It was just a paying job to him not a passion.

  52. DrPaul says:

    How about this for an idea, Karun Chandok for lead presenter. He’s always impressed me when he’s been interviewed on TV and when providing commentary on 5 live. He’s well spoken, knowledgeable and very personable.

    1. JohnBt says:

      Very true and agree, Karun’s knowledge in F1 is impeccable IMHO.

  53. Serrated_Edge says:

    Massive loss for the Beeb…

    Might be a case both F1 providers in the UK have new main presenters, Lazenby on Sky is wooden and not popular with the viewers.

    What odds on 2 female lead presenters next season? Lee McKenzie on the BBC and Georgie Thompson on Sky?

  54. MichaelG says:

    That’s sad news. Not unexpected, since the BBC’s coverage had been trimmed back.

    As an American I have a question about BT Vision’s role in Premier League broadcasting. I thought Sky had the Premier League locked up as far as broadcast rights?

    1. Andrew M says:

      Sky used to own 100% of the rights, but about 6 years ago they were forced to share a minority of the rights with another broadcaster (if they didn’t they would almost certainly faced legal action in the European Court and lost).

      At the moment Sky shares the rights with ESPN, but Sky were never happy about ESPN having the rights as they don’t want such a prominent sports brand getting a strong foothold in the UK market. Sky teamed up with BT and put forward a join bid for the rights from next year, with Sky the dominant partner.

  55. madmax says:

    I never really appreciated Jake until this year when I seen how bad his job could be done by BBC’s competitors at Sky.

    I think Lee will do a good job in his place..

  56. Steve C says:

    Maybe not to everyone’s taste but JH was a good anchorman for the BBC F1 coverage.Not afraid to ask the questions others are to timid to ask. And good fun on the red button. a big loss.I just hope DC does not disappear in to oblivion by joining MB

    Sky is very poor.Damon hill & Johnny Herbert are utterly boring, as for their anchorman…where did they get him from? Only Croft & MB are worth any value.

    F1 viewing and interest in the UK has certainly gone backwards and the viewing figures show it.ITV did a fab job but the ads ruined it.

    We had the best coverage ever last year never to return. See the viewing figures here

    http://www.f1revs.com/

  57. Dan Taylor says:

    On the plus side of Jake leaving, perhaps his up-coming ‘behind the scenes’ book will now be a bit more juicy.
    After all, as he’ll be handing back that paddock pass 3 weeks after the books release, he won’t neccessarily care as much if he p*sses anyone off by revealing some home-truths!

  58. Cathy R says:

    James, please don’t leave this forum and go off presenting with DC and Eddie Jordan. This is the best F1 website and we need it to remain just as it is.

  59. James D says:

    Am not a fan of the ‘three amigos’ style at all. It’s become silly, very annoying over the past couple of years. To me the BBC’s coverage peaked in 2010, it’s become too much about the presenters, their personalities and their ‘jokes’.

    Hopefully this is an opportunity to lose some of that. If not I’ll be sticking to Sky.

  60. NJB says:

    If I were still watching the BBC F1 coverage I’d be delighted at this news. Humphrey was always an irritant, somewhat conceited and lacking any real depth of F1 knowledge.

    1. HB says:

      I think we’ll look back on the 2011 BBC coverage as the vintage year of F1 broadcasting.

      I’ve always thought that Jenson Button would be good in Jake’s role (if he ever retires) – he’s got that easy banter combined with seriousness when necessary.

      1. James Allen says:

        He was good as a co-commentator at Monaco one year when BAR had been banned

      2. John says:

        I remember that race well. Jenson was superb and his insight terrific. I was wondering if anyone would mention him. Jenson has a great future in broadcasting if he wants it – I look forward to it happening… but don’t want him to stop driving yet!

  61. Peter says:

    Losing Jake from F1 is a big blow. I thought he, DC and Eddie made a great presentation team and their enthusiasm together, orchestrated by Jake, was second to none. On a wider scale it’s an even bigger blow to the BBC who really had something great in Humphrey. Would have been great for him to continue into the next Olympics and possible future presenting roles (Wimbledon possibly). Sadly his defection is yet more evidence of the dwindling and now shockingly thin portfolio BBC Sport has. It’s a real shame to the corporation as they showed, like with the Olympics this year, that when they got it together there was nothing that bettered them. Under the direction of Barbara Slater, BBC Sport now lies in ruins and you fear for the future of F1 all together on free to air.

  62. Nic Maennling says:

    Very difficult task and Humphrey did a good job. However, I won’t miss his hysterical growling when the cars are only at the first corner ! Sorry Jake but we can see what is going on ! It’s television !

    The genuine in depth fans will never get the announcers they deserve because of the show-biz factor. DC has been absolutely brilliant this year. Bring on Lee. Lovely voice and I’m sure she will react appropriately.

  63. Andrew Webb says:

    Sad to see Jake go, thought he would have gone to Sky Sports F1 so surprised he’s gone to BT Vision. He was a breath of fresh air when he was announced and was given no chance and look what he did. Anyway on who will replace him, won’t be Lee McKenzie as she said on Twitter that she feels better in the pitlane then hosting it. So the NBBC to go back in time and get Steve Rider? Or maybe Jennie Gow who aids James and Jaime on Radio 5?
    I would like to do it , know F1 and could keep Eddie Jordan quiet….

  64. Tinks says:

    Never felt that Jake brought anything to the table in F1 other than the excitement of a Jack Russell terrier and Lee McKensie offers no insight what so ever other than “it didn’t work out for you today, what seemed to be the problem”.

    Bring back Louise Goodman…!!!

  65. Edouard Valentino says:

    James,

    I run the risk of stooping to the level of a “this person is better than that person” style of point. However, it would certainly be an added bonus if you were to present for BBC and also do the Radio5 Live commentary (I red button and choose 5live audio options during the live BBC races). Perhaps that may in logistical terms be awkward (Brundle did it in China in ’07 if I recall). Otherwise Gary Imlach would, in my view be the right person for the job. He is able to avoid the foggy verbiage and charmless waffle that has become ubiquitous on sports and entertainment shows in recent times.

    1. James Allen says:

      Interesting shout on Gary

      1. ben says:

        Gary all the way the man knows his stuff [mod]

  66. F1addicted says:

    Good. He’s always desperately over-friendly and fake. He will wither on anything non-BBC.

  67. As a replacement for Jake, what is the feeling about Jonathan Legard making a comeback as the lead anchor for the 2013 coverage?

    1. Mark says:

      Damn it! I was just about to post suggesting Legard, purely for trolling purposes (sorry, James!)

      I think Lee Mckenzie should at least be given a fair crack at it. She’s done it before with no complaints, she knows the team, and more importantly the drivers are familiar with her too.

      It sounds like a no-brainer to me. Common sense however, rarely prevails.

    2. Thompson says:

      Stop it, thats not even funny.

  68. jjpm says:

    Without any doubt the best to replace Jake his :
    Rowan Atkinson!

    1. HB says:

      We just need Kubica to come back so that he can interview ‘BBob’

  69. Thompson says:

    You know, the time is right for him to go. the forum peeked 2010. They have struggled to achieve that level since.

    Coultard as grown alot in the past 12months and I still find Eddie interesting as he will ask what everyone else is scared to ask but I agree Jake as gone as far as he can.

    And no, pls not Lee Mckenzie ….she would be rubbish – Allan Mcknish would be a good fit though – he comes across as really mature and understands the subject – was impressed with him when he stood in for Anthony Davidson the other week.

    And unless james has managed to control is over ‘excitement’ – he should stay were he is too.

    1. LJ says:

      I’d go with Allan McNish, although height is always an issue, the main presenter could do with some height. But other than height I think he’s by far the best suggestion so far.

  70. Dyoungone says:

    I have read most of these post and nobody has mentioned that commentator Ben is the most dull and most un-expiring commentator in F1. Love F1 on Sky but always watch DC’s grid walk.
    DC to stay at Beeb, James Allen to co-commentate with Lee McKenzie to present, cost saving at the BBC is paramount in these times.

  71. Paul Mc says:

    Why would James want to present F1 on the BBC anyway? To me its bottom of the ladder stuff. Presenters introduce and ask others for opinions rather than giving opinions like James does with every post on JAF1 and on commentary.

    I feel the build up shows are focused on the individuals trying to be funny and amusing pretty much as James described as a Top Gear style show. Sky do some nice historic pieces and some technical stuff but all in all both BBC and Sky do the same thing. I mean its repetitive now, interview checklist of Whitmarsh, Horner, DiResta, Button & Hamilton and your sorted.

    I tend not to tune in unless their is an interesting piece in the build up.

    1. ham says:

      Spot on analysis Paul

  72. Iain:R8 says:

    Conspiracy time!

    #1 Jake leaving because he had an inside tip that the BBC was giving up all F1 TV rights.

    #2 M.K. from Sauber to co-present, because Eddie looks frightened every time she comes near him. Hmm! I wonder why?

    #3 Tamara Ecclestone to replace Jake, because the BBC would then get the whole season for nothing.

  73. Rich P says:

    What about Charlie Cox . Hes an ex BTTC and he has presented top gear down under.

  74. knoxploration says:

    Can anybody imagine Murray Walker quitting F1 in his prime for another sport (and one that’s not even motor racing)? I didn’t think so.

    Jake, you did a fairly good from what I saw (I’m an expat, so only saw your coverage occasionally). The fact you can quit suggests you don’t live and breathe motorsport, though. That tells me that you’ve made the right move leaving, for yourself *and* the fans.

    1. James Allen says:

      Totally different situation – MW is a motor sport specialist, Jake is a sports presenter, who’s shown in last three years that he can front any sport very ably

      1. knoxploration says:

        Yes, and that’s my point. F1 deserves a motorsport specialist fronting its coverage, not a generic sports presenter.

        That’s no knock on Jake. As I said (well, tried to say, I lost a word) he did a fairly good job from what I saw. He didn’t have the passion of a Murray though, and that passion really does add something of value to the coverage.

        If I hadn’t been spoiled by what Murray brought to the sport, I wouldn’t know that.

  75. David Cooper says:

    Jake is, without doubt, the best anchorman in F1. You really need a balanced team, consisting of both broadcasting and sporting staff. The frontman (or woman) is one one with personality, not necessarily the most knowledge, who holds it all together.

    A woman would freshen up the team, but it would need to be someone strong, the keep EJ in line! I suggest a good person for the job would be Suzi Perry. She did a lot for the profile of Moto GP, and can really hold her own in what is essentially a man’s world. Now she is no longer part of the Gadget Show, maybe she would be available?

    1. Baz says:

      I do think the Beeb should consider Suzi Perry. She did a brilliant job on Motogp and is a natural main presenter plus beautiful. I would also get rid of Eddie Jordan…the man does my head in!!

  76. JonathanM says:

    The obvious thing is that a number of months ago Jake stated BBC coverage unnchanged for 2013. Does his going mean he realised this was not going to happen?

    It has to be Lee as his replacement. Espeically if, as I suspect the Beeb will change to no live coverage – all highlights package in 2013. Beeb could use her alongside DC to present highlights with either Ben/DC in box or using Sky Commentary.

  77. ArJay says:

    Well, James, so far three “happy where I am” replies from yourself.
    Reading between the lines, does this mean that the BBC is about to announce that it is pulling out of TV coverage of F1 at the end of this year and confining itself to live radio presentation of all races from 2013?

  78. Dave says:

    Lee McKenzie is my choice. She done a superb job standing in for Jake.

    Now it’s time for her to take over completely. She is charming and interesting to listen to.

  79. F1Fanatic says:

    Alexandra Legouix would be good. She’s very up and coming at the moment. She worked for McLaren F1 for a while and seems to be presenting all sorts of championships and programmes at the moment http://www.alexaandralegouix.biz

  80. mystaaRS says:

    Maybe Steve Rider would be a suitable replacement for Jake, though after his harsh comments at the Autosports awards i doubt it will happen. Since he is retiring this season, perhaps Michael Schumacher could become the new Presenter, accompanied by Ralf?

  81. phil says:

    Why not give it to Jim Rosenthal or even bring in dougie Donnelly or rishi?

  82. Squirrel says:

    Oh come on! Funny how all the replies support Lee are from the guys – ok, she’s not bad at the brief interviews but I doubt she could sustain carrying the show. Jake will be missed, he’s grown into the role and I think he’s done well. Paired with DC, they have been informative and informed. The spoiler has always been EJ. Whoever takes Jake’s position is going to have to have the patience of saint to deal with that irritating little twit.

  83. Richard says:

    Lee is good at what she does but imo she didnt handle the main role well at all she didnt seem comfortable doing it either.

    Matt roberts isnt right either he has no confidence suzi perry was miles better.

    What about steve ryder

  84. Jacki Jam says:

    As a female fan of F1 and Top Gear and a 911 owner and driver I’d love the job…but other than that vain ambition…I’d still vote for Lee McK as it’s about time we had a female on the core team and it would give things a great shakeup from the Top gear type ’3 lads’ formula.. however fun that was it needs to move on… give a woman a chance… and when oh when are we gonna get a full racing female F1 driver ??

    1. Steve Urry says:

      Agreed Lee would be great and has done a great stand in role.

      Regarding female drivers (and there already have been some) the answer is when one good enough comes along, but more likely when one with enough money comes along.
      I would love to see it don’t get me wrong but it is a real battle for them

  85. Maggie York says:

    Do not agree. This was the woman who accosted Alonso in the pit lane after he’d crashed out
    with- “So Fernando, what was that , simply driver error?”
    He acknowledged it.
    Brains, think on her feet with people warbling in her ear,
    She’s good.
    Come on ,Lee.

  86. Bob says:

    Can somebody confirm that Bernie Ecclestone is not taking over and it was all a very unfunny joke at the end of todays race !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. James Allen says:

      I thought it was a brilliant idea. Good way for Jake to sign off

  87. John Hirst says:

    Than goodness Jake Humphrey has gone. Unfortunately he has the affliction of Verbal Diarrhoea which spoilt an excellent programme. It was a relief when Lee Mckenzie stood in – so she should get the job permanently.

  88. John Hirst says:

    Just had another thought. Michael Schumaker is probably available……………!

  89. Graham Hall says:

    Leave Matt Roberts alone, he’s doing a great job where he is!

  90. peter moore says:

    people seem to be forgetting the jakes role is to steer the ship, having a go at him for cutting EJ or DC off is ridiculous that’s his job! JH has been brilliant on the bbc over the past few years and i’ll be sad to see him go, i have sky and only watch it when i have to, they don’t seem to have the comprimise between the laymen and the engineering viewer that the bbc have. and as for the guy off moto gp i hope not there whole coverage just seems amatuerish for some reason

  91. Dooky says:

    James, how do you rate Skys first season in F1? I remember hearing Brundle on the Autosport award saying how much he looked forward to joining Sky, and he highlighted all the possibilities they had to bring the sport closer to the fans. While I agree they have done that to some degree, particulary
    with the Skypad and the analysis. But there’s still something missing, isn’t it?

    I recall Brundle in the four-five first races looking a bit uncomfortable,
    as if he felt that they had the potential, but didn’t really utilize it. I guess you learn much from the first year, but do you reckon they will
    change their style of approach from next year on?

    1. James Allen says:

      That;s a whole post in itself. I’ll invite fans to contribute to that, Look out for it in next week or two

  92. ronnie mcquillan says:

    good luck jake,you did a great job.looking forward to seeing more of lee,please

  93. Steven White says:

    Yes – good luck Jake. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take Ben Edwards with you

  94. Neil says:

    maybe it’s time for a different dynamic, here’s a thought use EJ & DC as experts paring them up with differing petrol-heads each week similar to how ‘have I got news for you!’ works. one week Steve Coggan next week somebody different maybe Chris Evans, Rowan Atkinson or JK for example

    1. Tom says:

      Jay Kay should be a Top Gear presenter in my opinion :) – He’d be fantastic at that!

  95. Matt says:

    Chinese whispers from BBC Sport is that Suzi Perry has signed to be the new face of BBC F1 in 2013.

  96. Tom says:

    Sky Sports F1 HD have a much stronger team and higher quality, more extensive coverage. It’s a no brainer if you ask me. It’s not expensive either, many people already have an HD package with Sky, which means they can get the F1 channel at no extra cost. I thought they did an amazing job in their 1st year covering the sport and I can’t wait for next year!

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