The end is near
Yas Marina 2017
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
BBC changes F1 presenter with an eye on the 2012 Olympics
BBC changes F1 presenter with an eye on the 2012 Olympics
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Aug 2010   |  11:26 pm GMT  |  170 comments

I notice that the BBC has announced that its F1 presenter Jake Humphrey, will not be at the Japanese Grand Prix this year as he will presenting the BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games in India.

So the BBC will turn to pit reporter Lee McKenzie to anchor the show. This is a good news story in that it allows people to write “First Female F1 presenter” headlines and although I’m delighted for her, I resisted the temptation in this case because there is a more interesting angle than that for me.

Humphrey has been a revelation in the anchor role on the BBC. The coverage for the most part has been really very good this last 18 months and he has been at the centre of most of the good stuff.

I met up with him shortly before his debut in 2009 and got the clear impression that he had the right idea – he wasn’t going to try to be a know-all about the sport from day 1. This is a complex sport and it is incredibly easy to come unstuck, as various non-specialists who have picked up a live microphone have proved.

But this Japan GP move has nothing to do with McKenzie breaking through glass ceilings and everything to do with Humphrey being groomed for a central role in the London 2012 Olympics coverage.

The London Olympics is about as big a project as BBC Sport could ever envisage and Humphrey’s easy manner, quick mastery of a new subject and above all ambition, will translate to the games perfectly. You can almost hear the penny dropping among BBC Sport execs that here is the guy to anchor the most important event they will probably ever do, short of a World Cup football finals.

I began to wonder when he started tweeting about visiting the Olympic stadium building site in Stratford a few months ago.

But his response on Twitter today to the announcement about Suzuka sealed it for me.

“I’m keen to do the CWG (Commonwealth Games) with one eye on London 2012. F1 is still my No.1, my priority and my passion. Hope you understand!” he tweeted this afternoon.

“I turned down the World Cup to remain loyal to F1…”

I may be wrong but I don’t see him hosting F1 for ever. People for whom F1 is not a passion soon find that the travel gets them and their family down quite quickly.

But also, knowing a little of how broadcasting careers work, he has used the F1 role to cement his position among the leading sports presenters in the UK. But it’s not the be all and end all and there are other horizons. BBC’s main sports presenters are mostly quite old and tired and Humphrey must see a virtually open goal in front of him.

Once the 2012 Olympics kicks in he will probably be the BBC’s Number One and in that scenario the F1 department could well be looking for another presenter, which would be a shame because I think he does it really well.

And no, please don’t send in comments about me angling for the role, because I’m not. This site covers a wind range of topics and TV needs to feature occasionally, that’s all.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Interesting post. Hope he does stay with F1, Jake has been excellent in his role. Long before his extensive visits to the 2012 stadium I suspected he would be the anchor for the 2012 Olympics (to my mind, it's already a done deal). [mod]


Jake has been a cracking frontman for the BBC F1 coverage... I kind of hope he sticks with it (Dunno if I could put up with another "Grim" Jim Rosenthal :))

Although, Lee McKenzie is a lot Prettier than Jake HAHA!

I make no secret of my Dislike of Jonathan Legard. At least you knew what you were talking about!

and if twitter is anything to go by on a formula 1 weekend, I am not alone in not liking Legard!

Keep up the good job with your blog, as always it is very informative and interesting.

Regards, Ash


Yeah Legard is really poor, I get frustrated listening to him. It's a tough job, but they really need to get someone else. He doesn't seem to follow the action very well often missing key events.

Martin is brilliant, perhaps put Crofty on the Beeb with him and find someone else for Radio 5 Live?


I completely agree, I think Jake Humphrey's has done brilliantly; I really like his approach which shows his lack of knowledge about the actually driving and technical side of things, while he is very good at interviewing people and clearly has a good working relationship with many of the people within the paddock. As anchor you need that ease and competency in interviews and with the people - then the BBC can get in experts to supply the other info, as they do. Generally the coverage is excellent.

Oh and I must add my voice to the chorus that always goes out slating Jonathan leggard. I have always found his commentary pretty awful. Thank god for martin brundle. 5 live has also been very good, as always.


I met Jonathan at the Fans Forum and I commend him on his patience and willingness to take photos with the fans. However, I can't help but feel he is the new Murray Walker - loveable but constantly getting it wrong. The amount of times Martin Brundle has to correct him is laughable.

Jake would be a real loss to the BBC coverage as James was when the show moved on from ITV. I'm sure James is much happier and I'm glad things worked out as it did due to the fantastic, first class F1 blog that this is.

James keep up the great work. I enjoyed meeting also.


Yeah, except he isn't lovable lol.

Michael Grievson

I agree

There's something missing in Leggard. He seems very reserved and lacking in passion for whats happening on track


Completely agree. Leggard and Brundle clearly don't have any working chemistry. F1 is a unique sport as half the excitement is not available to the viewer (other battles, pitstops, rules & regs) ... and Leggard doesn't bring any added dimensions.

Murray brought an uncanny accurate history of F1 and James clearly did a lot of preparation and brought a lot of insights during the broadcast (esp. during the Schumi-Ferrari yawn fest).

I predict Jake will be there for years to come. In his earlier blogs, he mentioned that he was passionate about F1. Not to mention that the CWG and Olympics are 2 weeks each every 4 years??

Hope Lee does well but my vote would have been for Ted!

Michael Grievson

I also think being an anchor is very heard. Remember when Martin Brundle did it for a race a couple of years ago? He looked very uncomfortable.


I quite agree. Legard is the most irritating voice on TV, and I for one applaud the red button option of listening to 5Live commentary on race coverage. I feel sorry for those who don't have that option.


The problem with the 5Live option is that you lose Martin Brundle, who is an absolute legend.

Crofty + Davidson is a great combination though. I really enjoy their commentary during practice sessions.

Hopefully Legard will disappear next season. He's had a good go at it, but he's just not getting any better.


I like Humphreys when I get to see him (TSN in Canada cuts all the pre and post race coverage from BBC), though I think he should stop going to Coulthard for help with his wardrobe haha. To the Canadians out there he reminds me of Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean, who also has a very relaxed, laid back style of broadcasting that crosses over well to other sports, especially his anchor jobs for the Olympics. I'm interested in seeing how Lee gets on so it looks like I will be viewing the Japanese GP via "alternative" methods to tv. Are you listening TSN? 😉


As a fellow Canuck, I agree with your post. I can't help but add to your point about TSN. The coverage is so poor, it's really disheartening. While they have other sports coverage obligations to be sure, they should work on getting more of the BBC feed pre- and post-race and perhaps airing it outside of prime-time.

And please, PLEASE, TSN: stop going to commercial during critical phases of the race (like the SC in Hungary). One of the most frustrating F1 viewing experiences I've had to date!

It will be interesting to see what the vibe will be like between McKenzie, Coulthard and Jordan.


TSN will never listen. They'll continue to cut out from post-race driver interviews (and cut out post-qualifying interviews entirely) in favour of their sports newscast that they will play on repeat for the rest of the morning... or not even show the race because there is some golf or curling game that *must* be covered!

I'm just thankful that I can usually switch to Speed Channel to catch what would otherwise miss on TSN.


Recruitment BBC HR Direct

PO Box 1133





Jake Humphrey really has been excellent since day 1, Lee has big boots to fill there. I still wonder sometimes why they don't use Crofty and Ant more, particularly on the F1 Forum.


I'm not quite sure Lee meets BBC F1 presenter standarts, though it's anyway better than letting Jonathan Legard to do the job.


Good point, Eye candy is nice but not as good as knowledge!!


Hmm, interesting you bring it up. I wonder who might replace him....


gutted!! Jake has been the revelation of the last 18 months in F1!!


I'm not sure we'll be seeing the back of Jake for a couple of years yet. But certainly by the time the 2012 Olympics come around it wouldn't be unreasonable for someone young like him to want to settle down a bit more, have a family life etc.. Not be constantly jetting around the world.

He is a superb presenter and it will be a big loss to F1 when he eventually does call it a day. IMO he is better than anyone at ITV ever was and as a presenter much better than the legendary Murray too. (stands by for a flaming)

But yes, he has the world of BBC Sport at his feet. There aren't many BBC Sport anchors around now so he certainly has a rosy future ahead of him, and rightly so!


Murry was a commentator not a presenter, their is a masive differance as I am sure James would confirm.


He was a commentator, but he was also the anchor. I'm sure Murray would make a far better commentator than Jake, but that wasn't the aspect I was referring to.


Glad for Lee, I really like her pitlane interviews - very concise and relevant questions.

You wouldn't consider a bid for BBC host in 2012 James?


Wow James, that is the first time i've ever seen you comment on a reference to your job as F1 commentator.

There have been many calls for you to return on this site and you've always met such questions with a respectable silence.

Like many others I always liked the raport you and Martin Brundle had in the ITV days. you had massive boots to fill following on from Murry Walker and I think you did an excellent job. Not many people could have handled that so well.

But, I'm guessing that this excellent website and all that it brings to the fans and the sport would not be possible if ITV had retained the TV rights and you were still in the same post.


Insightful, James. I wish I can remember who wrote about this presenter-career being cut-throat, they usually start out presenting kids' shows, and it looks all lovely and friendly, and unimportant, but actually behind the scenes they're elbowing fellow presenters in intense competition to be noticed and picked to do something more important, something bigger.

Much like being team-mates on F1 I guess.


I guess I felt that he was not going to stay for always. Formula 1 was not his passion when he began his bbc f1 presenting, but huge respect that could adapt so quickly and make it look like f1 was his passion. He has done a good job this far, altough his 'Right, ...' after each comment by the pundits in the latest weeks was somewhat annoying.

Oh, and at first glance of the tittle I thought BBC was going to replace Jonathan 'what about' Legard.


Good for Jake but I really hope BBC can have some host other than Lee.

No offence, but Lee seems to be a fangirl walking in the paddock sometimes.


I agree with that. Don't think Lee is quite up to it, but let's see how she gets on.


Good luck to Jake, he's been superb so far. Lee McKenzie also seems very competent, sure she'll do a great job.


That's not the sound of you volunteering for the job, is it James?


Forgive me for straying a bit off topic, but have you ever posted a piece on what life on the F1 circuit is life for you as a journalist? What's the race weekend involve off the track? How much access to teams and drivers do you get? Are the F1 journos 1 big family back at the hotel? How much time do you get at home?


Yes! An insider's eye-view would be really good from James' years as a pitlane reporter/commentator. Maybe he's saving it for a retirement present for us all. Although, that will be a while!


Fantastic idea, James any chance of doing something, a book would be great!


Humpheries has been excellent there is nothing worse for an f1 fan then to have a half wit present... I remember when it first moved to itv (I won't mention names) but the presenter wasn't brilliant and a throw back to the eighties.

He doesn't pretend to know everything and has good banter with eddie and dc and not always f1 related.

Jake is v now current and prob position himself for motd once liniker hangs his proverbial boots up!

But Mr Allen, who has been the best presenter you have worked with????


I mean no disrespect to Steve Rider, but I really prefered Jim Rosenthal. He was less polished and sometimes said the "wrong" thing. I remember that there was a bit of antagonism between him and Ron Dennis which was a fun sub plot for a while. It made it actually exciting because you never knew what was going to happen.


goodness. Rosenthal was an embarrassment. Easily the case with Steve Rider being the effortless, and authoritative host.


well remembered.

I suppose if Jake leaves then Rosenthal could always return 🙂


I remember that - didn't it all kick off with Coulthard's launch control going wrong at Monaco, and Jim condensing 'Ron Speak' to tell Coulthard that "Ron Dennis says it was 'brain fade'"?


Let me fall asleep, how boring can a man be?


Who's he?


If the Beeb doesn't want another young 'un after Jake, perhaps they should bring Steve Rider back. He only went to ITV to present F1 after all, and it's well known the sport is his first love. He's also an excellent, knowledgeable presenter.


And if Lee is presenting the Japanese GP they might need another pit lane reporter. James you've made your position clear regarding the presenting role but do you fancy a comeback in the pitlane? You did a fine job there in the past.


It's all a bit early-conspiracy, but I see where you're going. He did the Olympic 2 year mark show last week, and with Commonwealth I think he probably will be the lead anchor at the Olympics. However, I feel without F1 he might come a bit unstuck, after all this was his big break and if he didn't love it from day one, he would've quit after a year or two. I think we have Jake in BBC F1 for the forseeable future.


I agree. It'll be his regular job, with the occasional race missed due to major events. He genuinely looks to be enjoying it and the whole F1 circus - he'd have to be an actor rather than a presenter to fake the enthusiasm that comes through on-screen, in blogs, etc. No doubt he'll get jaded but it'll take more than two years IMO.

Bear in mind that he would be at home for five solid months - that helps with the family side. And is there any other BBC sports coverage that is syndicated so widely across the world? I doubt it. For someone as ambitious as JH clear is, it's hard to imagine a better bang for the buck in terms of hours worked.


Well Ted (Kravitz) presented the BTCC coverage for a couple of years, so i'm sure he would be upto the job. Of course EJ or DC could do it if they're still up for it in 2012.


Speaking of BTCC, bring back Charlie Cox and John Watson! That was a STELLAR commentating team. Knowledge, insight and razor-sharp wit!

I would pay to watch them commentate on F1!


That is what I was wondering - Ted often comes in with some v useful observations - and he has been doing it for longer


I really don't know if he has any interest in F1 but James Richardson is a class act. Certianly there's a case for Ted to be promoted. I think he could manage the hosting. I notice James Hunt doesn't get mentioned so much but for me to watch Senna with him commentating (and then on the monday read his telegraph column) is just an all-time sporting memory. So OTT but ITV do a sterling job with the team for the Tour de France.


James is very good, I agree. I met him at an F1 race back in his Eurosport days in the early 1990s - Hungarian GP 1991, from memory.

Stunned of Walton

I'd hoped that the 'changes'involved Johnathon Legard........


I don't think any other country covers F1 as well as the UK do. I do think its funny watching the live timing on my laptop and waiting to see who beats who to the "Hamilton's gone purple in sector one!"


I've seen some people being quite critical of Jake for this, but from my point of view, you really can't blame the guy for hoping to be one of the main facess ina n Olympic Games hosted in his own country, and the CWG are the perfect audition/warm-up gig.

While he clearly likes F1, its clearly not a passion of a lifetime for Jake, and as good as he is at his job, he probably partly views it as a stepping stone. He probably will move on in a couple of years but for now he does an excellent job, and I don't think we can be critical of him being ambitious.

I'm glad Lee got the gig for Japan over someone outside the regular coverage, and I think/hope that she'll do a great job. Unlike some of the female F1 presenters I've seen on other countries' coverage, she clearly knows her motorsport.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

What a killjoy headline! When first I read it I thought that the BBC were getting rid of Legard.

I was just about to open that vintage champagne that I've been keeping for all these years.

Humphrey has done a very good job and is backed up well with EJ and DC.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the commentary. I hope that when the time comes to make changes in that department the BBC will ask the overpaid Anne Robinson to do the job.....Legard you are the weakest link...goodbye.

Overall, the BBC's coverage is superb...but only combined with the Radio 5 live commentary.


I think he works because he comes across as a nice bloke. He is also patient enough and clever enough to keep EJ under control so I have no doubt he will be terrific for the Olympics. Well done to him.


[Mod] Legard and Brundle have no chemistry.
Humphrey is V good though shame he won't be around for much longer.


Brundle has never had great chemistry with any of his co-commentators. I really enjoy his insight and coverage, but I do get the impression that he might not be the easiest guy to work alongside.


Disagree there. JA and MB had a great chemistry, you dont win BAFTAs for nothing!

Likewise with MB and Murray Walker, but then EVERYONE knew Murray!


And loves Murray Walker


It would be nice to see you back on the telly James. You too have an easy manner. Good luck!


I am confident that Lee will do just fine. Sadly, gender still seems to be part of the story. It should not matter. It should not even be remarkable

James, my thoughts for some time have been that it would be nice to hear you doing the race commentary with Martin Brundle. That would increase my viewing pleasure. But presenter? Hmm. Does that mean we would hear less about wardrobe and more about F1? And maybe a muzzle for Eddie? Ah, the future looks bright. 😉


I agree. But there is always a bit of a fuss when someone is the first to do something. Remember when Hamilton started at McLaren, there was a bit of a furore about him being the first black driver. Now it's all settled down and he's just written about like any other driver, which is the way it should be.

As for Lee, I agree she seems very impressive. The secret I think is her knowledge of motorsport. She's actually interested in it, and knows quite a lot about it, which is something some presenters clearly lacked in the past.

That said, it's not absolutely required in a presenter. I got the impression Jake Humphrey knew very little about the sport when he started, but he didn't pretend to, and actually seems to have a genuine interest in it, which comes across on screen.


I have been trying to ask for ages why James isn't doing the presenting. No-one seems to like Legard's style; presumably something to do with a contract that they have to use him ???

Bring back James and Martin together. James you were the best.

We love Jake and have told him so several times on twitter. DC & EJ are fantastic too - makes for a great show.



Have you ever thought about doing an audio podcast for the site after each grand prix?

Something like:

It would be great to hear your voice more.


He did experiment with it at last years Monaco GP but my guess is he's too busy.


what a shame, he was doing a great job, a woman calling all the tech stuff- i dont know,, i use the races as an excuse to keep my wife quiet, now i'll have to listen to a woman anyway... where is the justice??? LOL - brundle will still be there wont he James?


I sent him a tweet regarding this. While the CWG and the Olympics may be important to the BBC. Jake, Eddie and DC's team is great (funny too)

My tweet to him was about his lack of commitment to F1 and how he should be sent back the the depths of CBEEBIES!

If anything, I hope they offer Ted the role if Jake leaves.


But then you'd miss all the info from Ted in the pitlane etc (which most of us kinda do now anyways, seeing how we're forced over to the better 5 Live commentary...)


i hope it is an open goal for him. his f1 presenting has been a breath of fresh air. good luck to him, i say.


Jake is doing a great job. Really enjoying the way the Beeb is tackling the coverage. Fans forum is brilliant although a source of many nasty looks from the girlfriend when I press the red button straight after 3 hours of a sport she really dosn't care for...


Are you sure you don't fancy replacing Jonathan Legard at the same time James?


Please do. Im sure JL is a decent chap, but his commentary style brings back memories of being forced to watch horse racing when I was little.

If not James, I say Jonathan Pearce.


He is good - a bit of a revelation. I have no idea how the new presenter will work out, but i hope she is better than all the other female presenters of sport i can think of. And i do hope there will be no flirting with DC ... and that will not be down to her ...


I assume you're not counting Claire Balding in your list of rubbish female sports presenters


Or Suzi Perry


Actually that's a good point - she is not bad.


well said


Can they begin grooming Leggard for a games role? Like, right now, and every Sunday until then?


After a shaky start last season, I have definitely warmed to him. it was probably the nearly getting run over in the pitlane that done it! the constant mocking of Eddie Jordan's attire also amuses me.


He is a great presenter. Was actually very good on CBBC as well. I do think that now he has settled in he is becoming slightly over familiar, particularly when talking to team principals about difficult subjects. Other than that he is great.

Personally I hope that he stays on for a long time. I don't think you need an F1 specialist as an anchor, and someone slightly younger and able to bounce off EJ and DC works very well. They should get all their anchors from the CBBC/Cbeebies staff. I vote for Kerry from Cbeebies next!

I liked Jim Rosenthal very much, and although Steve Rider is undoubtedly an amazing professional and brought a lot of experience to the job, I thought he was actually a bit too polished for the pit lane.

I think that the BBC has done a fantastic job. If they sorted out the two clear omissions they have made from the ITV team it would actually be perfect!


Good. I've never liked him. Always seems slightly out of his depth. And yet smug with it. Him, DC and EJ make an unwatchable trio and so I don't tune in till about 10 mins before race time.


Very interesting, thanks.


Although I must admit I'm not keen on women commentators, there's two or three reasons for this and it would certainly remove some of the pleasure I recieve from viewing F1! I hope it's not a regular occurance!



Jake Humphrey is so childish. He constantly comments on things that don't matter, like the attire of his co-presenters and has even been seen to go as far as to criticise guests for what they are wearing.

If he wants the respect of the UK public he needs to leave his childrens TV roots behind.

We want a strong presenter, not one that sets out to be everyone's friend.


Lighten up man!


Its called having a banter, remember its a show. You need to get a sense of humour.


I agree Neil. Humphrey isn't that good and he asks some silly questions - maybe he's told to.

I've lost count of how many questions he begins with "How much...?"

Ted Kravitz would be my pick, either to replace Legard (who is just terrible, so many errors) or Humphrey.

At least Kravitz has the voice for commentary.

Lee MacKenzie may surprise. She can ask pertinent questions. As long as she doesn't let EJ walk all over her, she could do well.

Mark D. Johnson

You folks in Britain don't know how fortunate you are to have presenters who actually travel to the races. Here in the US, our "anchor" (Bob Varsha) and the color analysts (David Hobbs and Steve Matchett) are sitting in a studio in Charlotte, North Carolina. A few years ago, they would pretend that they were actually in the same country as the venue, commenting on the weather and such, but they have no more input into the show than I do, sitting at home watching on television. Now they no longer keep up the pretense.

Dont' get me wrong; Bob, David and Steve are very knowledgeable and informative, but they lack the intensity and passion that is picked up while broadcasting live from the venue. I was fortunate to watch a race (the last one at Imola) broadcast on ITV when I was skiing up in Canada, and what a difference. Our coverage has the excitement of watching three guys discussing a film. SPEED channel doesn't event send them to the Canadian Grand Prix! All they lack are the artificial sound effects that the radio announcers would use while reading a ticker tape replay of a baseball game, pretending to be live, back in the 1920's and 30's.


We pay to have the broadcasters at the venues through our license fee.


The BBC presenters didn't always travel to the venues. I read Murray Walker's autobiography, and it was only very late in his career that he got to travel to the races outside Europe. For the majority of his career, commentary on those races was done in a TV studio, watching the race on a TV.


Yes, with a live feed from the circuits by another great F1 authority Joe Saward - who did it for 6 years! He tells all about it on one of his podcasts. (Hope mentioning him is not out of place on your excellent site James.)


Not at all, I've known Joe for 20 years


I always thought Humpherys was a horse racing commentator, certainly seems to talk enough horse s**t at any rate

clone Brundle and have him do 'colour' as well


Recently I have found him more annoying, the continuous jokes about there dress sense etc is just pointless, on saying that when he does his job, ie presenting a grand prix show and talking about what matters, he is excellent.

Lets hope the bbc have taken note on all the letters of complaint about Legard.


I think JH is pretty good. He's funny, quick and not afraid to ask 'big ego's' some reasonable questions. DC has got over his 'Redbull are brilliant' mode and EJ is shedding his 'after dinner speaker' and 'being a former owner' tag. JL is awful, I have managed to block his commentary out, and only pick up MB's comments. Overall BBC Vgood. Personally, I think that LM will be good. My fav' commentary was the late ITV with JA and MB, best yet.(shame about the ads)

Anyone suggesting that LM can't do it, 'cos she's a girl' should put down their Daily Mail and get a bit a life.


Exactly. LM will do fine. She knows moore about motorsport than 99% of the people watching.

Whether she can keep EJ in line remains to be seen though 🙂


I'd rather see Ted Kravitz being given the chance to step up for a race. He's clearly a total petrol head and his enthusiasm would easy cover any lack of experience. I don't see Lee having the depth of knowledge or the presenting skills and you need one or the other.

And I echo the anti-Legard sentiments above. Drives me nuts. I'd listen to the 5Live commentary on the red button if it weren't for Martin Brundle.


Good for her - I suspect DC and EJ will both take on a bigger role as well. Hopefully Ted K too who is also a big part of the excellent coverage.

Hate to say it but I agree with some (only some) of the criticism that has been levelled at Legard. I cringe every time he says something just plain ridiculous, leaving MB to correct him. They've got to sort out that commentary box pronto - it ruins the coverage for me - how can the beeb get it so right and so wrong at the same time? Time for the Five Live team to get in there for next season me thinks...


The BBC coverage of the British GP was the best I have ever seen and that was due in no small part to Jake. Quality commentators are a rare item and I can see the logic in using him for the Olympics. The way he took to F1, almost from the start, showed his quality and ambition.

I would assume, with some degree of confidence, that the Olympics is a big career move for him and I wish him the best of luck. But I will be sorry to see him go and this move does seem to suggest that that is precisely what he will do.

I think Lee will need some luck as well. It will be difficult moving in to a slot where the previous presenter has done so well. It will be a one-night-stand in a situation that Jake has tailored for himself. It’ll be unfair to judge her on that one race but it is what we will all do of course. And probably what the BBC will do as well. A one-lap qualifying.

No pressure there then.

Competition for Jake’s position will be as intense as that on the circuit. Will Lee’s previous with the F1 presentation team be a hindrance or help? What are the BBC looking for: someone with a bit of motor racing on their CV or another trial of a presenter on the way up? She’s 33. Is that too old to fill both slots? It wouldn’t be if she were male.

The fact that she is a women seems irrelevant to me and it would be unfortunate if this happenstance had anything to do with the choice. Mind you, EJ might have difficulty winning the competition for the most glamorous outfit.

Good luck to her. I hope she does well.


I can't believe that we are all discussing JH leaving F1 after he only just started. It goes to show what an impact he has had.

I think LM will do a great job. I thought her piece with Nico Hulkenberg at the start of the season was excellent.

If Jake moves on, and that is still a big "if" at the moment I think that they should realise what has made him such a success. I believe that his previous experience in live TV presenting given him a real edge and a confidence and authority that is needed to keep the show moving along on track.


I think Ted should do more, he's a lovely bloke.


Mixed feelings. Clearly the way the beeb justified "buying" f1 was to bring fresh air and make it more accessible to the occasional viewer. Jake does this very well because he doesn't come across as a nerdy fan boy. It's the (post 2000) top gear effect.

Personally I am a complete f1 nut and take great enjoyment from indulging myself in 3 hours of Sunday viewing. Jakes always remained honest about his relative lack of F1 knowledge which, whilst occasionally disappointing, does mean hes quite endearing and rarely looks foolish. Hence I'd want the football presenter Manish to fill his boots.

Legard, easy to criticise with a difficult role to fill. I think he does it reasonably well despite occasionally being out of his depth. Crofty or ted would be easy replacements though.


Jake has done really well, his post race blogs are always well received. Good luck to him. I am sure Lee will do well, not quite Suzi Perry but I am sure she will do a solid job.


Class of her own


IN all honesty I find Jake bland and without passion - I've never heard him make a controversail comment and he leaves all of the hard questions to everyone around him. Maybe that's why the bbc adore him? Between that and DC's blatent, often outrageous RB bias, JL's gibberish - I think F1 deserves better personally. Thank god for Brundle.


I have to say I think Jake does a really good job. I think some of the negative comments are missing the point of the anchor. He's supposed to be asking the questions that the audience would (which is exactly what his predecessor did) some of which are going to look obvious or even dumb to someone who knows the sport, but not every viewer does, and I think people are forgetting that. He is also supposed to be fairly neutral and calm, it's the pundits job to get excitable.

To get the good post race interviews he has to get on with a lot of the protagonists. He lets the pundits be the agent provocateurs.

I have to say I wasn't a huge fan of Steve Rider/Mark Blundell pairing. While Steve was very relaxed, professional and pretty unflappable presenter, his questions got a bit repetitive and to be honest, dull. I lost count the amount of times he asked Mark "so what have we learned today Mark?". Don't remember any tough questions there.

Jake's is trying to be the fan, the bloke watching from the sofa. And you have to remember there are a hell of a lot of new fans to the sport (my wife is one!). They don't know the detail or history that more hardcore fans do. F1 is elitist enough without the TV presentation being too technical and assuming too much of it's fan base.

I feel the 'bland and without passion' comment a little harsh to say the least. What about the Malaysian GP where he had to fill for the best part of the race and keep it entertaining and exciting? Or Brazil where the team got right in on the final moments. I thought there was plenty of passion there.

Before anyone accuses me of being a Jake fanboy, I was really against him getting the job when it was announced. I'd seen him present a few times and thought he still sounded like a kids TV presenter. Remember having a conversation with a mate and worrying how poor he'd be. But the Beeb does let new talent have a crack now and then, and it can pay off.

But hey, you're entitled to you opinion.

As not unrelated aside I do think the 5live team is excellent too. I have a sneaky listen to them on a Friday at work. Crofty and Ant are a great pairing, think Ant will make a very good replacement for Brundle if he ever hangs up his mike (not that I want him too). Karun Chandhok was excellent this week to. Would prefer to see both of them in an f1 car tho.


To me Jake is a plastic, mass produced front man - there are a million like him out there. Let's see a Jackie Stewart like front man who wouldn;t be worried about getting stuck in and ruining his rnext job with the bbc.


Of course he doesn't, that isn't his job. His job is to keep the show running on time, keep EJ in check and make sure they get everything in they need to. It isn't his place to be controversial or make enemies, that would be detrimental to the coverage if drivers or team owners started to get annoyed at the presenter!


Jake has brought the viewer closer to F1 by using on-air twitter and video clips/blogs very well. I also think you do that very well James.

Bernie is a supreme business man and the yoda of F1, but in my opinion, the use of the internet, twitter, subscription access features, is one area he has missed out on. I thought Branson would have exploited that angle? Lotus & Tony Fernandez seems to have tho!


I think Jake has done a wonderful job, he strikes a balance between keeping knowledgeable fans informed whilst making the sport accessible to new fans.

I've never been one to indulge myself in too much build-up inanity and post-race analysis, but the BBC's F1 Forum often makes for great viewing, and that in part is down to Humphrey's skill at anchoring it.

FWIW I find his blog a bit too sappy, as if it's been written for Newsround watchers. He does often mention that his wife is muttering because he's never home though, so I can appreciate why he may be under some domestic pressure to quit F1. He'd be difficult to replace IMO, I'd like to see him stick with it indefinitely for purely selfish reasons.


Jake has been pretty good, but the way I see it, he is mainly there for the female viewers. Some of the things he says, I can't imagine him being there if it wasn't for the female audience. He is a like a Big Brother host.

I am a male racing fan so some of the things he says, does irk me. I don't watch the drivers to perv on them, or to enjoy when they smile like Jake does.

He does do a good job though, especially as he has gained more experience in the role. It will be interesting to see how Lee does. She's quite cute.


And she obviously knows her motorsport.


Good for Lee! I really like her!

I think it's great to have a female presenter host a Grand Prix.

I really enjoy listening to the practice on red button and crofty with Anthony Davidson are very good and lively. Last weeks coverage with Karun was really very good.


Having small children I still which JH did for Children's BBC and can't quite see him doing a serious job for grown ups - though his piece on Jim Clark was very good

I like listening to cricket on the radio because you get that feeling of going to a game with friends (or depending or age, a slightly daft old uncle and his friends). I quite like the BBC team, I get that same dynamic of being there with friends Humphrey draws interesting things out of Coulthard and Jordan, and lets them talk. Think of why Parkinson was a better interviewer than Jonathan Ross.

Which also means I wouldn't want you doing the anchor role James. Anchors shouldn't act as subject matter experts. If you go back to TV, put the expertise that comes through in your writing to proper use 🙂


To say Jake does a fantastic job for BBC F1 is an understatement. He's managed alongside DC and EJ to bring out a more open F1 to the fans. Back only a few years ago it was still very much closed doors.

Jake, however, along with the rest of the team (Brundle, Kravitz and Mckenzie) have done a stellar job with the F1 coverage in my opinion.

The only exception to this (which makes it true) is a certain Jonathon Legard. I feel he still lacks the capability to describe how an event has just unfolded. I don't know if it's the apparent BBC commentary training or maybe he just lacks that certain ability to describe events in a more fluid manner rather than almost basic.

I think it's gotten to the point they don't even mention his blog is available anymore because not enough people read it. In addition, I believe his "passion" or enthusiasm for the sport could be in question given he doesn't seem to be anything visibly extra for the BBC's coverage other than his blog.

We all know what the others do because it's what they consistently do every race weekend.

It's a shame that I do feel I'd rather he was gone from the team.


As the Olympics are on when there is a lull in F1 it makes sense to utilise one of their brightest stars rather than have him sitting around doing nothing for almost a month


Jake has been excellent, well done to him for presenting last 2 seasons so well, keeping in touch with the fans via twitter and also for asking some difficult questions from one or two people down the paddock when needed.

I must also say that Lee McKenzie has surprised me positively in her role as pit reporter, some great feature interviews - so I think she deserves the opportunity at the Japanese GP. I hope she does well.

Now for it to be perfect we just need a certain Mr. Allen back doing the race commentary - still not keen on Legard I'm afraid...


Jake H is an excellent frontman for F1, and I've no doubt would handle the Olympic coverage equally well: it's got to be the biggest presenting job in British sport. Shaun mentioned Clare Balding, the best woman sports presenter by a long way: I hope she and Jake are prominent in 2012.

As for his F1 commitments, I hope Jake keeps them up for a good while yet. Not completely confident of Lee taking over: Ted Kravitz would be my preferred choice. Still, I'll give the BBC the benefit of the doubt, their coverage, overall, is top class


I expected him to be just a face in front of the camera but Jake has been a breath of fresh air as soon as he started in Austarlia. It would be a shame to lose him.

Good opportunity for Lee though.

In 1997 I worked with her on F1 Digital and she is very knowledgeable and a hard worker. Likes a laugh as well!



PS- Good luck in the BTCC mister! Get that Golf taking on Baked Potato in the Cruze!


I wish a certain someone would get tired with all the travelling again...


Hi James,

You might not want to answer this, and if you don't I understand.

However, if you're not interested in the role, who do you think would make the best permanent replacement for Humphrey? This is on the basis that he may not return after 2012.




Jake has been an excellent foil between Jordan and Coulthard. I am not sure Lee can perform with the same brio and easy-going self-confidence with those two guys.

But if the BBC producers are as good as I suspect they are, they will not try to make her ape the same set-pieces but rather put her in a position to appear as charming as she can be.


No, that's not what this post is about. I don't want to get into that. So let's just leave it out


Ted is too good at what he does till be presenting. Id get jim rosental back. Great at the boxing and f1 on itv and much less biased than Steve rider


I would like to see Ted given a bigger part. He's great in the pitlane ( more capable than McKenzie in my view ) but under-utilised.

He should, at least, be brought into the forum every week as a full member - he's wasted waiting outside the FIA office and his insight into what he saw during the race would be invaluable.


I've been very impressed by Jake, not an easy job to combine 'robot' DC and 'manic' Eddie into a team. I used to think Steve Rider suffered for only being given Mark to work with.

I have always thought Ted was the best and most underused member of the entire show, both BBC and ITV. I would like to hear him commentate alongside Martin. I'm also in the 'anyone but Leggard' camp.

I find the red button frustrating, because I prefer to hear Martin and Ted, they add to the enjoyment. Unlike tennis where the 'no commentary' option would work really well.


If Jake leaves, I'd hope someone like Gareth Jones (who did the A1GP coverage) or Ted Kravitz get the job as I think they'd do a very good job.

I always hoped Ben Edwards would get the commentary gig as I've been a fan of him since he did some Indy Car commentary in the 90s. He has a great technique of conveying the excitement without just shouting louder.

As for you doing the anchor job James, I think your best work has is seen right here on this blog so it would be a shame for it to have to take a back seat to something else!


Am I the only one to think that Jake Humphrey is out of his depth in the subject of F1? Showing off his i-pad seems more important to him than to pay sufficient respect to some of the people he is privileged to interview...

Don't know what the BBC expects from an anchor, but it surely isn't an objective and insightful profile - they seem to encourage a sensationalism-seeking paparazzi-like profile.

As a F1 fan I am hopeful that he dissapears from the BBC coverage altogether - good luck to him taking over the olympics coverage and why not the world, as long as it's not the F1 world!


This is good news for F1 fans. At least we will get one respite from the annoying and incessant verbal barrage this year. It is a wonder we don't hear a great thump from the commentary box as Martin lands on on Jake's perpetual motion jaw. He could but won't, learn from the jazz world that a bit of silence now and then can carry a lot of weight.

Challenge to James - a survey about whether or not viewers like chattering Jake.


Nic,Are you confusing Jake Humphrey with Jonathan Legard? Because Jake goes nowhere near the commentary box.


Agree fully


Well, if we're playing fantasy F1 line-ups, how about

Anchorman: Ted Kravitz

Commentators: Ben Edwards (or Crofty) and Martin Brundle

Expert pundits: David Coulthard and Mike Gascoyne

Much as Eddie Jordan has excellent access to F1 personnel, his delivery is sometimes awful and it is clear that he and Martin have had a major falling out in the past, their body language during F1 forums is terrible!


If Jake's announcement marks the start of a recruitment drive by BBC for its 2012 jobs they could do a lot worse than asking for John Watson.

He is a knowledgeable, passionate, witty and above all, unfailingly fair, commentator on motor racing. Working with the irrepressible Martin Brudle would not phase him one tiny little bit.

For Japan it must have been a tough call for BBC between Ted and Lee. The difference in their respective abilities is smaller than the gap between Rubens and the pit wall.

Alan Goodfellow

I've been really impressed with the amount of insight Jake has offered us through his blogs, video blogs and even his Twitter page on occasion (thinking here of the pic he posted of DC standing in the paddock having a shave just before the show started!)

I remember a blog he posted where he included an audio recording of what goes on in his ear-piece during a show. How he manages to keep EJ and DC in check with so many voices in his ear at the same time is beyond me!


I am glad that Jake has received acknowledgement for the job he is doing. When the BBC re-started the coverage I had my doubts, but he has got it just right as ringmaster to the David and Eddie show - enthusiastic fan who isn't too technically minded.


I've always really liked Jake on the BBC coverage, after an understandable stiff start he's really shone as someone who keeps the pace moving and knows when to be light and when to be serious.

I thought his best work was at this year's British GP when he really ramped up the national pride and sense of occasion. Was it then the BBC decided he was Olympic man? Because he's been off the boil since. The Jim Clark piece was like a tick on a things to do list. In Hungary he was more sloppy than usual, more childish and on the F1 forum more informal than ever.

The reminders here of Steve 'steel hair' Rider and Mark Blundell show how far the BBC have taken F1 coverage. I actually look forward to the pre-race now.

Lee McKenzie has her moments for me but can she work on a new phrase to replace 'just tell me what happened'?

Enought criticism from me, the total BBC job is so much better than ITV who let's not forget were head and shoulders above the poor coverage we used to get from the BBC originally.


Jake Humphrey is an awesome, awesome F1 anchor. I can perfectly understand, given the talent he has wanting to look elsewhere to more high profile positions.

He manages to satisfy everyone. I am a die hard 1 fan and love him to bits. My mother in law knows nothing about F1 but commented on his quality and he actually managed to appeal to her utter novice level as well.


I've really enjoyed the bbc's coverage. Jake has been really watchable, and brings a genuine enthusiasm to the show, you get the sense that the more time he spends in f1 the more it becomes his passion. DC and EJ are good fun as pundits and the three work well as a team.

I think that the forum is fantastic and the coverage great.


It's the Olympics. In London. The UK's single greatest sporting event for a generation. It's unlikely that any current anchor will be omitted from BBC Sport's coverage of the Games. It'll be all hands to the pumps - particularly given the sheer depth of sporting activities on show (athletics, football, tennis etc). At a guess, Humphrey's presence at the Commonwealth Games will be to give him valuable experience presenting live sport broadcasts from a studio, rather than on the hoof outside an F1 garage. But it is only two weeks. The BBC has no cricket, no Champions League or live Premiership games and a mere two weeks every Summer at Wimbledon. Given the length of the championship, spectacular locations and profoundly global reach, F1 is pretty much the jewel in BBC Sport's crown and presenting it is just about as good as it gets.


... unless you get tired of the demanding traveling all season long ...


Jake Humphrey is clearly seen (rightly) as a rising star by the BBC. I agree it's unlikely he'll do F1 forever - I also wonder if Sky or ITV will try to tempt him away from the BBC which does not have much sport these days.

The BBC has a strong team with DC, EJ, Ted and of course Martin Brundle who is a natural as commentator.

Legard seems to have lost the plot somehow. I liked him on the radio and forgave his initial difficulties making the transition to TV, but it is now clear to everyone surely that something isn't working.


One of the key things I think Jake has brought to F1 is that he has helped bring the coverage to the casual fan. This is why they probably comment on things like their fashion sense, it lightens the coverage and while it might annoy the die hards it helps integrate the viewers into the trio.

Jake doesn't have to be an expert as others have mentioned he is the anchor and while he is knowledgeable and seems to have fitted into the paddock well (would the team principles want to be on the BBC if they didn't like him?) You just need to find the blog where he posted his talk back and realise how challenging it can be to present live TV!

Lee will be great she has a history in motor sport - the ITV show and A1GP so there is no issue with her knowledge. As for Jake and 2012 - he presented Beijing in 2008 and presents football when there isn't races so would be involved in anyway and won't London be in the F1 summer holiday? If anything I get the feeling that DC is being groomed with the more responsibility he is getting.


DC is still on RBR books and it's obvious by his biased comments - I've been incredibly proud of the BBC as trying to present an unbiased program on any show it does ( for its whole life )( OK it obviously shouts for the British boys ) - but I wonder how long the BBC can go on employing DC as eventually he will get the chop because you can get away with it for a short while, but the Beeb axe will eventually come, and rightly so. ( This is irrespective of what I think as DC as a commentator )


I think DC is being groomed to take over from Martin Brundle when he decides to hang up the mike.


Indeed - I think he can get away with it because they make no secret of the fact that he's a Red Bull employee. I thought recently he's tried to be a bit more even handed but there certainly have been times when he's sounded more like an Red Bull spokesman than a pundit.

But then, conflicts are inevitable in a tight knit sport - anybody with inside knowledge will have some connections. I remember Brundle being criticised for pro-Coulthard bias in the days when he was his manager.


That's an interesting point. It's certainly been challenging for him when put on the spot about Red Bull's problems


Glad to someone enjoys the hosting of F1 by Jake Humphrey.

Sorry to say he gets right up my nose.

His condescending manner to both Eddy Jordan and David Coulthard and attempts to front the program are tiresome at best.

F1 does not need it, I for one will be happy to see him off to practice for 2012.

That bloke they had on ITV was ok though.


Dee Jay or should I say ..... James, your alter ego finally got the better of you !!!!


Jake did the 2008 olympics and was pretty poor IMO, I remember hearing he would be F1 anchor after that and dreading it, fact is he's done well presenting F1 whether thats becauise the subject suits him better or because he's matured remains to be seen.


Something I've always been intereseted in learning about is how the TV coverage is put together. It seems like a major logistical exercise, and generally nowdays the coverage is fantastic.

How does the director communicate with the individual camera operators around the circuit? How do the camera operators know which car to follow? Are the camera operators trained in driver identification? Who develops the onboard cameras and decides their placements?

Would love to know more!


Shock Shock Shock !!!!!!!!!!

Stunning that the JA Forum finally agrees on its first thing !!!!!!!!!!!

Every writer here thinks Jake has done a superb job and I 100% agree and I can only wish him the very best in his career whether its many years of F1 or he moves on.

Now - to look around F1 and see that other faces may be changing at some point - James any views -

- Charlie Whiting ( Another with 100% respect and will have to retire at some point )

- Bernie ....( What can I say - Its not worth us all writing in because truth will be stranger than fiction )

- A case for permanent F1 Stewards. ??

- Williams gets bought ???

Cheers fora great forum.



I think Bernie will be replaced by Flavio Briatore.


Oh dear god no!

They need Alan Gow (BTCC series director). You see what he's done with that series since he took over again in 2004. Major TV coverage deal, and brilliant competition.

No nonsense administrator, really knows his stuff. That said, we wouldnt want him to leave BTCC.


Of course he has been excellent!

It is about time for more of a female presence though. The team currently looks like a bunch of old men. For such a 'cutting edge' sport its quite remarkable how sexist f1 still is with the women just there to look pretty.


Agree with everyone else. Jakes presenting makes you feel like you are almost there. Its great fun with the 3 guys, I even missed Eddie when the volcano thing happened.


Jake will be missed- I had the pleasure of bumping into him at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. He is very unassuming, can connect with a complete stranger in 2 secs and make that person feel comfortable talking. I do think the way F1 is covered also makes it more popular and Jake plays a big part in that. In contrast Speed TV in the US has the uncanny ability to herd all the critical moments into during ad breaks.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

For those who are interested, I saw this rather odd interview with Legard.

He talks about his experience as a commentator.

The interview get's a little weird at around 2.10


Interesting question- who will replace Lee in the pits? Surely she isnt going to do both roles?!

My punt is aimed for Holly Samos. She already has a great rapport with Ted on 5 live.


Ted will do both jobs, I imagine


And speaking of "studio" presenters, there are two female "studio" presenters in saloon-car/truck events in the US. Lindsay Czarniak, a Washington-area news reporter, held the front for TNT's six-race Sprint Cup saloon car studio show (produced in cooperation with Fox Sports staffers), assisted by Larry McReynolds. Krista Voda, a saloon-car pit reporter, holds the pre-race hosting gig for Speed's pickup truck racing coverage for the majority of races (exception of those races when first-half Sprint Cup races are separate from Camping World Truck).


Jake = great. A touch of Top Gear 'laddishness' tempered by a good attitude and sense.

Brundle = absolute legend. Love him to pieces, always insightful. I'm just not keen on the open shirt gold necklace combo as it reminds me of my dad!

Crofty and Davidson = the practice sessions are always a great show and it would be great to hear these guys during the race. Also, Chandhok was superb!

Lee McKenzie = I'll reserve full judgement till after the full show but can she please stop starting every single interview with the negative approach of "Tell us, what went wrong?" / "A terrible day for you today?" / etc. There is a way of sounding positive whilst at the same time empathising with a driver.

Good work JA!


I thought Charlie Webster made a cracking job of the GP2 coverage when it was on ITV4. Would be more than happy to see her presenting F1.


The racing series is what's important.I'll put up with whoever's constant barrage of words in order to see MY sport.Jake does as well as could be expected filling Walker's shoes.

James is the best,and I'm curious about Mr. Rider now,he must be really good to get such a ringing endorsement from JA.Bet Bob Varsha ranks highly with Mr Allen,even though they did not share the booth back in 1993.And what a memorable year that was-we finally got over not having John Bisignano because of you!

Here's who deserves a chance as pit reporter for the beeb:Victoria of "FormulaOneFancast" on You Tube.So infectious.James please look into this treasure from the UK,she has no female equal on your side of the Atlantic(I only say that because of Krista Voda)and would do a better job of that gridwalk than anyone except...why you,of course,Mr Allen!


i wonder if lee knows how to say anything other than...

"just tell us what happened?"


Jake Humphrey is a breath of fresh air hosting F1, if the Beeb are looking to shift a presenter over to the Olympics why not try the ever annoying Eddie Jordan, he could let us all know (whilst wearing one of those shirts) that athletes had more to contend with 'in his day' and all this shoe technology is ruining the purity of the sport. Maybe David Coulthard, who better to appreciate and sympathise with Britain finishing 4th behind the US, Russia and China as an also ran, he made a career out of that position. Whilst Eddie and David concentrate on the Olympics bring in Eddie Irvine he'll put a few people straight in the paddock without the need for sucking up to 'old friends'. Irvine may be a little harsh at times but who wouldn't want to see him giving Shuey some more stick.


Murray brought an uncanny accurate history of F1 and James clearly did a lot of preparation and brought a lot of insights during the broadcast (esp. during the Schumi-Ferrari yawn fest).

I predict Jake will be there for years to come. In his earlier blogs, he mentioned that he was passionate about F1. Not to mention that the CWG and Olympics are 2 weeks each every 4 years??

Hope Lee does well but my vote would have been for Ted!

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!