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The new BBC F1 team
The new BBC F1 team
Posted By:   |  24 Nov 2008   |  6:16 pm GMT  |  40 comments

The new presentation team, which will bring Formula 1 to UK audiences on the BBC for the next five years was announced today.

Jake Humphrey, who hosted some of the Olympics coverage on BBC this summer, will host the programme. David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan will stand alongside him as pundits. Radio 5 Live’s football correspondent Jonathan Ledgard will commentate with Martin Brundle, while Ted Kravitz patrols the pit lane along with Lee Mackenzie, who despite her name, is a woman, with extensive A1 GP and GP2 experience.

I wish them all well and hope that they can keep all you lot satisfied, which is no easy task! Don’t miss out on the chance to give your views on the new line up at:

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Great to see that Martin Brundle has kept his role, a shame that James is not alongside him. Would have been great if the pitlane job could have gone to J.A. but Ted's a familiar voice!Eddie Jordan will love being back in the centre of things and DC is fresh out of the sport (as Martin was in 1997) so his insight will be valuable. I'm not familiar with this Legard bloke so it will be a tense wait until March!


Very gracious of you to say that! I think you've done a good job commentation form ITV. It's a shame the BBC didn't sign you in some capacity. Glad Martin Brundle will still be there next year though!


I'm really unhappy to hear the news of the BBC team and most notably that you're not part of it James.

My worst fears have been confirmed with the appointment of Legard. It's the typical BBC tactic of using an in-house commentator to double up and do a job he's not a specialist in (I know he's done Five Live's F1 but he's a football man first and foremost).

I had a bet with a friend of mine which I've lost (thankfully) because I predicted Adrian Chiles would host it and Barry Davies the man they wheel out for their football, tennis, hockey and Olympic coverage to be the lead commentator.

At least we've been spared that gruesome duo.

The saving grace is definitely Martin Brundle joining although no doubt the Beeb will not put an end to him entertaining us with his grid walk as this will be deemed too risque for Aunty's licence fee paying public to endure.

Still there is a bright side, the BBC's contract terminates in five years so hopefully it'll be back on ITV and normal service will be resumed.

Will you be commentating at all in 2009 James??


Along with some others, Iam running amok on that 606 board praising you James... (look for the name TSW)

However, iam disappointed you have not been chosen.

Many thanks James, youve been a credit to broadcasting, and by the way, started reading Edge of Greatness, im a Hakkinen fan but.....woah! Its awesome.


My worse fears have been confirmed with the new team.

It's a 'classic' BBC Sport tactic to double up the duties of their commentators and don't bother using specialists even though F1 is the most complex and technological sport there is.

Legard is a football man first and foremost and although he's worked on Five Live on F1 he's not got any charisma or a deep-rooted understanding of the finer points (listen to the climax of the Brazil GP for evidence).

I had a bet with a mate something like this would happen although luckily my worst case scenario didn't materialise. I thought they'd go for Adrian Chiles or Clare Balding as presenter with Barry Davies as lead commentator as he was used for more sports than anyone else I've ever known including football, Wimbledon, hockey, and the Olympics.

The only saving grace is Martin Brundle making the switch but knowing the Beeb, they'll probably put a stop to the grid walk because they'll deem such entertainment as too risque for the licence fee-paying public.

Still, I don't want to be the voice of doom and gloom and I'm determined to look on the bright side of things...the BBC contract ends in five years so normal service might be resumed.

Please ITV, please get saving for the 2014 season with one Mr James Allen on pole position in the commentary box.


It's the BBCs loss and ours, the fans, for not taking you on board as well! Hope to hear what your plans shall be soon though 🙂


The team looks pretty good. The only member I don't really know about is Humphrey, and it would seem a couple (Humphrey included) aren't the most passionate of Formula One fans. Obviously, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but at times I think that showed through when Jim Rosenthal did the anchor job for ITV.

Having said that, they have strength in Brundle, and Coulthard and Jordan will add much colour. I'm looking forward to it. I just hope they keep up the tradition that ITV set by broadcasting from the races themselves.


Yay! No more copy cat commentary from a Murray Walker wannabe. I can't wait for the new season with BBC and no bloody adverts! lol


I dont like the new BBC F1 Team, I would have prefered either you James over Legard anyday.
The BBC seems to have given into the Allen haters but getting Legard, but he isnt an F1 commentator, he's a football commentator and even then, he can send you asleep but with James, you keep a boring race exciting!
How about asking for David Croft's Job on BBC Radio 5 Live?
Croft was dreadful last season by announcing Massa as the Champion while you and Brundle correctly guessed that Hamilton was still in contention for the title.
So the Radio Job is still up for grabs!
But I hope you dont drop out of F1 would be boring with you James and I hope the BBC see sense and get you in next time 🙂


Admirably gracious, James. Thanks for your work with ITV over the years. Despite what the media says, you will be missed. Good luck in the future.


Jake hasn't just "hosted some of the Olympics coverage", he's also the youngest ever presenter to host Football Focus, Match of the Day and Final Score. Fronted the BBC's Super Bowl, NFL, Womans FA Cup Final, Womans Football World Cup, and the African Cup Of Nations coverage.

He has also presented coverage of the Commonwealth Games, Cricket World Cup, Euro 2008 and will co-host this years BBC Sports Personality of the Year alongside Gary Lineker and Sue Barker.

So, hardly as inexperienced in terms of sports broadcasting as you make out.


But I hope you dont drop out of F1 altogether…it would be boring with you

Oooops..that was suppose to say:
But I hope you dont drop out of F1 altogether…it would be boring WITHOUT you!

It will be!


I've said it before already, but thanks so much for your commentry. You should have been in the team, but well done on being so gracious and keep up the passion (in some form or another)!


It’s a good team the BBC has. I think Martin Brundle is overrated. I noticed him making allot of mistakes last year and you had to correct him.

My biggest problem with ITV the last couple of years was the extreme bias towards Hamilton. The commentary team would make excuses for every mistake or aggressive move he made. It was extremely hypocritical considering a few years earlier whenever Schumacher made an aggressive move it was constantly pointed out. I remember in 2006 his final year when Massa out qualified him by one tenth, on one of those rare occasions. You and Martin were of the opinion that He was rattled no longer the fastest driver and how Kimi and Alonso would beat him in the same car. It turned out the next day Schumacher had 10 laps of more fuel than Massa. The same Massa who is consistently faster than Raikenen. Massa could not get close to a 37 year old Schumacher yet in my opinion was the best driver last year. Despite being a Hamilton fan I don’t think he deserved the title. He had the best all round car. It was fast in the wet, hot and low temp. Yet he just scraped it. If massa had better reliability he would have won it easy. I think as a commentary team you were really unfair towards Massa. If Ferrari were poor on any day you would constantly talk about how they need Alonso. In my opinion Alonso is good but as a team mate to Massa at Ferrari he would struggle. Massa is not as complete of a driver but he is defiantly quicker over a single lap. He is angularly the quickest over a single lap in f1 at the moment.


Hmm - a football specialist covering f1? Have to wait and see I suppose, but I personally would like to thank you, james, for your work over the years at ITV F1 - Adverts notwithstanding, the coverage was excellent and I enjoyed. Best wishes!


Hmm - too many non-F1 peeps in the line up. We want to hear about is been muttered down the pit lane and not just the official statements.

I am going to miss you James and please try to find a way to be in the F1 world!!

And what happened to Louise Goodman??? She is the best of catch up with the drivers after ever major event!


I don't know who Legard is,actually,but according to Duncan's comment above,I guess he's a football commentator?What the heck are they thinking?Lol...

Well James,like everyone here,I had my fingers crossed for you to be the commentator for BBC team,Though,from what I've read on F1 racing magazine (you know,the edition where they wrote about how you and Martin broadcast F1) that you're so asociated with ITV that it would be almost impossible for you to be there (hey,it's not me saying that.It's the magz.Haha...)

It's good that Brundle is there.At least we'll hear someone with a real passion for formula 1.And Ted Kravitz will be there too...All in all,I can only wish them the best for broadcasting.And I'm still waiting for my local TV broadcaster here to buy the programme license from BBC,I think no one's bought the license yet.


It is a shame that James Allen is not going to be the pit lane reporter, because he was excellent in that capacity on ITV. The strategy segments he made that were broadcast before each grand prix were quite brilliant.

I wander why they stopped. Perhaps in the post 200[3?] word of F1 there is little to say about strategy, as they all have no choice but to do the same thing to qualify on the first two rows.

Ted Kraviz has done a better job recently, but mostly because he seems to try to get under the skin of the people he interviews, the entertaining thing being waiting to see whether they loose their temper and hit him.

Anyway, I wander if James Allen would have accepted the pit lane job if he was offered it, it being a step down from the commentary job he enjoyed at ITV.


While of course people will wish the "old ITV F1 gang" were all employed by the BBC, as my comment on another JA blog states, I think the line up is good and fair.

For a start F1 and the BBC are making the most of the "Hamilton Factor". The increase in ratings shows that there's a larger audience willing to watch the sport. People who probably usually watch football. People who don't know all that much about the technicalities of F1.

Which is where the non-motorsport members of the team come in. Names that some of the F1 first time viewers might recognise and also, more importantly, people who will ask Martin questions about being an F1 racer.

As I'm sure James will agree, one important part of an commentating double act is being able to fire questions to the F1 "expert", questions that we would want to ask ourselves. It involves us more as we feel that there's a commentator who is learning as we learn, even if he's acting.

Having 2 experts in one commentating team doesn't work. One needs to take the lead, the other needs to answer as many questions on the spot as possible.

Let's hope this new double act works. As for the lack of James in the new team. I think 12 years in ANY career is a damn good innings. Time to try new things. Commentating isn't the pinnacle of achievement in F1. There are many other avenues to pursue, new goals to achieve, etc. I say watch this space!


Ollie i was stood next to Jim Rosenthal at the Monaco grand prix, he's a huge f1 fan : ). We were all celebrating together when Raikkonen crashed it was awesome lol. Don't really know who Legard is but obviously if he's not an expert then he's just going to be getting on Brundle's nerves rather than contributing significantly himself. The Itv ads were annoying but the rest was good, i hope the BBC will manage to produce the same quality coverage.


Legard is a former 5 live F1 commentator who covered F1 from 1999 to 2004, then became football correspondent.

He is of the same vocal category as James Hunt was.


I've just been pointed here by someone who said "I know none of us like James Allen as a commentator, but check this blog out anyway". It's won over a large number of people who would have clicked it with the mindset "let's all laugh at the guy crying over his P45" and the unanimous opinion is that we all like your writing a lot and are looking forward to you having more time for it - and if you can win over heartless bastards like us you must be bloody good at it. There's also several people who are going to or already have bought your Schumi book because of this...


Whatever people think about James as a commentator, he has always been excellent in print, both on this blog and on his columns for ITV-F1 down the years.

His Friday Form guides will be sorely missed.


I completely disagree that you're a "Murray Walker wannabe" James. Yes, you try to maintain a certain level of excitement the way he did but that's a style I've always preferred over laid-back commentary. I think you've always been yourself on-air.

I'm disappointed that you didn't go to the Beeb. I'll miss Louise too. Best of luck to you both.


James Allen doesn't deserve all the abuse that he gets, but the internet is full of crackpots. There is even one by the name of evil g...

But the commentary as Jensen Button crossed the line when he won in Hungary was cringe worthy.

He probably just got caught up in the moment. The commentary was much better during the Hamilton era - first pole, first win, even the championship - neither commentator "lost it".


Personally i was glad that James "lost it" when button won.. So did we when he crossed the finish line! A very memorable event that deserves some memorable commentating!

At Brazil 2008 I couldn't hear the commentating as myself, my wife and our friends were too busy standing in front of our TV, screaming and jumping up and down hoping Lewis had got 5th. When he did we went crazy! Later on a checked out the commentating from the recording i had made and was surprised at how James and Martin hadn't "lost it".

Anyway either way it goes to prove that race commentating isn't scripted, it's not planned, it's live and a heck of a skill.

Thomas Karamintzas

The best of BBC's team are Martin Brundle, Ted Kravitz, DC and Eddie Jordan. I'm from Greece and lived in the UK from 1997 to 2002 as a student. So, the only F1 coverage i know is ITV's! And i think it was one of the best in the world. BBC cannot afford to let people down, but it's a tall order!


FWIW, those that say that Legard is merely a football man are wrong. He covered F1 on 5Live for many years and, IMO, is a better commentator than David Croft who irritates me on whatever sport he commentates on.

As he now appears to be the boxing lead on Setanta and doing the darts on Setanta perhaps he won't be doing F1 on 5Live next year so there maybe an opening for James there.

I lost interest in F1 when it left the BBC in 1996, the ad breaks just did my head in so I'm glad to see it back home.

Not a big Jake Humphrey fan. he just seems too wooden to me and is a bit of a jack of all trades but that's the way the Beeb uses its sports presenters and always has done (football aside) although Linekar doubles up on the golf nowadays.

You can't really blame the Beeb for wanting their own men. From what I can recall ITV only took 2 BBC guys with them, Murray Walker and Tony Jardine and the rest were new people.

I hope and expect it to work out very well.

Good Luck James in the future though, hope to hear you on 5Live



I hope they use DC more than ITV used Blundell. They never seemed to give Mark much screentime, other than a few minutes before and after each race.

DC has got a great sense of humour and comes across so well on TV so it would be a great shame to see him relegated to 5 minutes airtime every race.

Perhaps to make up for him not being able to do donuts at the end of this season, they should have a section called "DC's Donuts" where he performs donuts before each race in a different F1 car each race.

Then he gets out, swears at someone and flirts with Louise Goodman for old time's sake.


I am really glad and no offence to you james that there will be a new commentator in legard fronting the coverage with martin brundle. Formula 1 is returning to what I feel is the channel with the right people, especially when they bring back fleetwoods the chain as the theme song, it makes me want to become a formula one driver when you hear that tune. It will be interesting to see how exciting legard will be, I would have thought ben edwards would be a good shout who covers A1 and also covered F1 on eurosport in the early mid 90s. I thought he was as good as murray walker, But james just annoyed me with some of his comments and his favourtism towards Michael Schumacher before he retired. Coulthard is a good choice as a pundit, although eddie jordan we shall have to wait and see, ted kravitz is very knowledgeable in the pit lane but as for mckenzie again we shall have to wait and see. I also think its good to have a new presender in humphreys, i did like steve rider alot but he never shut up about lewis hamilton and hope the BBC cover all areas off the top drivers and not just hamilton.


I, like lots of other people are, am disapointed that James will no longer be comentating for us. Im not of an age to remeber Murray, sothe Allen/Brundle coverae is all ive known, but I must say it has been absolutely fantastic. I have watched racesabroad, and the tv commentary there has been absolutely shockig, or it has been the ITV comentary. this brilliance was shown when Button won in Hungary, every time I see the end of that race, hearing James reaction as he crosses the line, the hairs stand up on my back. He may not of been perfect all the time,but he made races joyable, even if they were dull!


Legard's a good commentator though he's been "off" F1 for sometime. It's a shame JA has not been taken on, Legard would have actually made a good anchor man. Oh and Duncan, stop having a pop at Barry Davies, the guy's a legend and up there with David Coleman, who in my mind, was the greatest sports commentator of them all!


even though the adverts were a ball-ache sometimes, ITV and the production team did an excellent job for the past few years. F1 on the BBC became stale and ITV breathed new life into the sport, I am not enthusiastic at all or even looking forward to F1 going back to the Beeb, will have to wait and see I suppose.


JA writes: Thanks for the informed debate. Some interesting ideas here. Don't worry about the Friday form guide, I'll be doing that and the post race analysis online next year as part of my online output, negotiating where it will go at the moment. Will let you know in the New Year.


James, I have listened to your commentary for years when I lived in Australia. Although I don't know the people mentioned above (except Martin), I can hardly imagine anyone doing a better job than you.


As a non-football fan, I was very disappointed when ITV chose to terimate their F1 ontract to buy more football. I don't think the BBC will do it as well - even worse without Louise Goodman, Steve Rider, James Allen and Mark Blundell. Like last season after the first race the BBC got it, I'm waiting for Bernie to say, after the Oz race in 2013, that ITV have bid more and won it back!


It's a great shame, that the beeb couldn't of kept the original team on. i wish all the best for james! will miss him......


I don't know if you still read old blog entries but it was a surreal experience after witnessing Legard's first try at TV commentary on F1.

The major gripes i've been seeing on the net, thus far, are Legard's tendency to run through description like he's commentating for radio. Despite this, I think he also showed, through sheer contrast, just how much of a dedicated fanatic and journalist to the sport you really were, and in many ways your fanaticism is sorely missed by myself.

This is not to say that I was a big fan of your time at ITV by any means, if I may be honest. But I do feel that some of the criticism and abuse you received has been shown to be severely disproportionate compared to the technical savvy your brought to the role.

All in all, I'd just like to ask if there was a commercial edict from ITV to be so ridiculously pro-Hamilton during the time he came to the grid?

That is probably the major unforgiveable gripe about the last couple of years of ITV's coverage from myself. I felt that your focus on all-things-Hamilton was a slight to F1 fans and viewers that always turned in (through thick and thin) to appreciate the sport for it's global culture.


If not JA then Charlie Cox would've been preferable for this particular role. Ledgard is a workman-like commentator but this role requires bounce and bounce means one man -- Charlie Cox.

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