Not surprisingly many readers and Twitter followers want to know my thoughts on the changes in the BBC F1 commentary line up with Martin Brundle taking the lead role and David Couthard joining him in the commentary box.
I worked alongside Martin in the ITV commentary box from 2001 until the end of 2008. We did well over 120 races together and I know he will have thought about this very carefully. He knows what is involved in taking the lead role; a lot of preparation and getting the bases covered. That is something he always relied on me to do and that’s his job now.
I think it’s a good move for him; he’s done the same role as pundit and gridwalker for 14 years now, throughout the ITV years and two years with the BBC. Why not refresh things a little?
It’s not without its challenges; rushing up from the grid, it will take some adjustment to arrive in the commentary box a few minutes before the race starts and do a mental “reset”, ready to talk for over 90 minutes. The lead commentator takes the strain, maintains the narrative, doing probably 60% of the talking, it’s quite different from the colour commentator who adds insights and colour.
Martin is more than capable of doing that. He’s studied the role alongside three different commentators now since 1997 and if he believes he can do it and fancies the challenge, I’m sure he’ll be more than ready to meet it.
As I’ve always maintained, the most important thing with a sport like F1 is that the commentator is passionate about his sport and is steeped in it and Martin ticks both of those boxes.
It looks like F1 will be broadcast in HD next season, certainly FOM is ready for it and many of the networks who take the F1 coverage have HD channels, including the BBC. So not only will F1 sound different next year, it will look a lot brighter.