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BBC seeks new face of F1 as Jake Humphrey quits the Corporation
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Sep 2012   |  2:10 pm GMT  |  194 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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Love Formula one but am going to have to switch to Sky to watch it, like the Ch4 commentary team (except Eddie Jordan) he is so rude and has the small man syndrome, he isn’t funny he is embarrassing


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!


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


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


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


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


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


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?


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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 ??


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


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


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.


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


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?


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


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.


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?


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.


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?


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!!


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.


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


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.

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