BBC F1’s new commentary team and in HD

The excellent BBC F1 coverage has been improved and tweaked further with a new commentary line-up for both the television and radio coverage for 2011.

On the television side, Martin Brundle will take over the lead commentator role over the lacklustre Jonathan Legard. Joining Martin is his old-pal David Coulthard. It will be fascinating how the pair will get on explaining the on-track action this season.

As for Radio 5 Live, the excellent David Croft and Anthony Davidson double-act will remain but will be joined by a new pit-lane reporter Natalie Pinkham. The previous pit-lane reporter Holly Samos left last season to spend more time with her family. It’s going to be interesting how Natalie will fit in with Crofty and Little Ant.

And yet the biggest news is High Definition. Finally, Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management (FOM) have seen the full picture – pardon the pun – and has adopted the HD format for this year’s Formula One World Championship.

Both the BBC1 HD and BBC HD channels will display the High Definition coverage and it will definitely make a big difference in enjoying the racing action!

Roll on the first race at Bahrain on March 13th!

5 thoughts to “BBC F1’s new commentary team and in HD”

  1. Martin Brundle will become BBC’s new lead Formula 1 commentator this year, it has been announced, following a shake-up of the coverage plans for 2011.

    Just hours after former commentator Jonathan Legard announced he would no longer be a part of the BBC team for this year, the corporation confirmed that Brundle would be stepping up to the lead role – with David Coulthard joining him as a co-commentator.

    Brundle, who retired from F1 at the start of 1997, has forged a successful career as a broadcaster but this will be his first time as the main commentator.

    Speaking about his new role, Brundle said: “I’m absolutely delighted and very motivated that BBC Sport has asked me to become the lead Formula 1 commentator alongside David Coulthard.

    “We have been friends, rivals and colleagues for 18 years and combined we have driven in more than 400 F1 Grands Prix and attended over 700. I’ve never felt more passionate about Formula 1 and I can’t wait to get started.”

    Coulthard is embarking on his third season with the BBC, having retired from F1 at the end of 2008. Although he is stepping up to the commentary box, he will continue to provide his expert analysis for both pre-race build-up and post-race shows.

    “I’m very excited to be joining forces with Martin in this new role of co-commentator,” said Coulthard. “F1 is all about challenging yourself and this will be a big challenge for me, but one that I am looking forward to. There is a great team on the BBC F1 show and we’re looking forward to the year ahead and to bringing something new to our loyal viewers.”

    The BBC’s decision to put two former racing drivers into the commentary box is viewed in some quarters as controversial – as it breaks away from the traditional set-up of using drivers only for expert analysis.

    However, Ben Gallop, the BBC’s Head of F1, thinks that Brundle’s vast experience and his strong relationship with Coulthard, will prove to be a winner for fans.

    “We’re always looking for ways to take our Formula 1 coverage to another level – and for 2011 we have an exciting new combination in the commentary box,” he said. “We’re keen to make the most of Martin Brundle’s wealth of broadcasting experience and his popularity with the audience by giving him the role of lead commentator and putting him alongside David Coulthard, one of the biggest names in British motorsport and a skilled race analyst.

    “We want to tap into their combined on-track expertise – together they will provide our viewers with more immediate discussion, analysis and debate as the action happens. The results of screen tests have been very impressive and we are convinced this combination will deliver a fantastic commentary for our audience for what promises to be a thrilling 2011 season.”

    Gallop also paid tribute to former commentator Legard, who earned tremendous respect in the F1 paddock but whose commentary divided the opinion of fans.

    “The change of direction we are taking unfortunately means there is no place for Jonathan Legard in our commentary set-up,” added Gallop.

    “We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jonathan for his great work over the last two seasons. He is a first-rate journalist and broadcaster who has been a core member of our team, helping to re-establish BBC Sport as the nation’s F1 broadcaster. We wish him all the very best for the future.”


    In addition, F1 Fanatic has posted the news on the new commentary team. See link:

  2. As for Hign Defintion, the BBC has confirmed it will broadcast this season’s Formula One World Championship in HD. has the story.

    The BBC has announced that it will broadcast the 2011 Formula 1 season in high definition in the UK.

    The news comes following the confirmation by Formula One Management (FOM) that all broadcasters will receive an high definition feed from this year.

    As revealed by AUTOSPORT earlier today, FOM officially confirmed true HD coverage starting in 2011.

    “Along with many, many HD viewers, I’m delighted that we’ll have a chance next season to see Formula 1 in all its glory on television,” said Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD and 3D.

    “It’s fantastic news that FOM has decided to green light HD broadcasts, and we’re looking forward to sharing with the fans all the races in all their detail on BBC One HD and BBC HD.”

    The BBC also confirmed that former team boss Eddie Jordan will continue to be part of its commentary team, in an expanded role as primary analyst.

    “It’s fantastic that Eddie is rejoining the team, and this year in a more expanded role,” said Ben Gallop, BBC Head of F1. “He’s such a core character with his outspoken views, unrivalled contacts in the sport and his ability to unearth the stories from the paddock.

    “We’re also delighted to be broadcasting in HD, something we know fans have been waiting for and it will really add something extra to our coverage for 2011.”

    F1 Fanatic news article:

  3. Martin Brundle thinks his BBC commentary box tie-up with David Coulthard this year will prove to be a huge success – despite scepticism in some quarters about having two former drivers working alongside each other.

    The BBC announced earlier this week that Brundle was being promoted to the lead commentator’s role in 2011, with Coulthard slotting in alongside him to help provide expert analysis.

    That move has led some to question whether having two drivers is the best policy for the BBC – while some have suggested that the new role will be too much for Brundle to take onboard.

    Brundle himself is convinced, however, that he will have no problems in adapting to the new position – and is equally sure that Coulthard will really thrive alongside him.

    “I read somewhere, this ridiculous article, that it would be an unimaginable strain,” Brundle said on stage at the AUTOSPORT International Show.

    “For me, an unimaginable strain is fighting in Afghanistan or bringing up a child in the middle of Africa – that is what means to me – not chatting to a few mates on the grid and then going and watching a sport I love from the TV commentary box. I have the best job in the world.”

    Brundle confirmed that his trademark grid walks would continue in 2011, but they would not take place at every race.

    “I will do half the grid walks or something, and I am ready to change on that. I have done it for 14 years and there are only so many ways that you can run up and down 24 cars and a safety car and keep coming up with fresh material. It is not actually in my nature to go barging in and being rude in other people’s interviews!

    “99 out of 100 people who come up to me anywhere in the world say they love the grid walk. It has become my signature, so of course I will do it. There are some tracks where the geography from the grid to the commentary box [is quite hard]. Sometimes we have to walk a bit then we have to take a scooter through a tunnel, somebody is waiting at the bottom of a lift, we press a button I go up nine floors, and I get in the commentary box just before the race starts. I am happy to give up a few grids. At ITV I used to do two out of three, which is about right frankly.”

    Speaking about his new partnership with Coulthard, Brundle said: “I have got David coming up and between us we have started over 400 grands prix, and attended over 700.

    “We know our sport, and we have got to entertain. We have to inform and I know we will be comfortable…I am very good mates with DC and we haven’t seen the best of DC yet by a long way. That ping pong match is not his forte, he will still be doing that but that is not his best work.

    “DC has got such a knowledge of F1 and such banter to go with it, that I am confident he will have plenty to say about a race. I can do the shouty bits when I have to, and yes it is a different job so I will do it differently – but I won’t pretend I won’t know what I am talking about.

    “I won’t give him gormless questions like, ‘oh that right rear tyre looks a bit odd doesn’t it David’. We’ll discuss it among ourselves. We will agree, disagree, we will throw to the pit lane and we will tell the story of F1.”


    Video interview with Martin Brundle:

  4. Right let’s tackle the easy bit first. High Definition.

    FINALLY!! It of course has been said what a pathetic joke that F1, the premier of motor sports was not in HD. Hell, if children’s programs are filmed in HD, then surely this should have been a move Bernie should done ages ago.

    So finally, we get to see those super slow’mo shots in glorious HD and not in some fuzzy shit from the dark ages. We finally, properly, get to see the drivers eyes in what frankly could be the best HD meeting that is Singapore. Finally, we get to see those tyre marks on the walls of Monaco and not just some bit of black.

    Thankfully also I got plasma. My 50″ Pioneer Kuro will handle the fast motion just find and dandy!

    So it is good news…..of sorts. While F1 is only just going to make the jump to HD, our American cousins have had Indy Car and NASCAR in HD for nearly 5 years. Oh and that they also have HD IN CAR footage!! Oh and with MOVEABLE HD cameras!! Now granted weight is not quite such an issue with the thundering ( Days of LOL ), NASCAR er cars, but we need to have at least more cameras on the cars. The usual angles are fine, but only having the odd new placement on a single car is a bit sad. Especially since while not cars will have the same active cameras, they must all carry the equivalent weight as if they did all have the same cameras.

    Anyway, we got HD, so I’ll just shut up about it now. Oh but then again, they’d better not skimp of the bit rate. Grrrrr that’d be just as bad as not having HD at all.

    So Jonathan Legard has gone. I think I can add another FINALLY to that!! Now no-one wants to see anyone loose their job, but as a commentator, he sucked donkey balls. God damn awful. It’s with great credit to Martin that I listened to the TV track as much as I did. Were it not for the sometimes terrible sound quality or the sometime unavailability of the Five Live track, I’d have listened to his droning waffle a whole lot less. It was clear that the pairing were not the greatest of friends, and that the lazy shit didn’t even do a single Red Button Forum with the guys after. Hardly the image of a leading commentator. Hell, I cant even picture what he looks like for Christ’s sake! So nah stuff him, good riddance.

    But it’s not all roses and champagne just yet. While anyone is better the JL, I’m not 100% convinced DC is the best choice. For one, it’s not always best to have two very knowledgeable people in the team. It has potential to get a bit techy and could be tiresome for those watching who are not mega fans. Having said that, David is a boring fart and Martin is more than capable of explaining the action in a sensible logical manner.

    Then of course we have Coulthard’s Red Bull bias. I’m not sure Martins down the middle, tell it how it is style, will work well with David when Vettel takes out another driver again, or cocks up yet another overtaking manoeuvre.

    While Martin and Jonathan were not friends, that does not mean having two that are friends will work any better. I’ve worked with a friend, who later was my boss and things certainly did not work out well in the end. Also, don’t forget that Martin was David’s manager for a long time. This may help Martin in his “I’m the lead commentator” role in that DC always respects his seniors, so this may not be a problem.

    I will miss Martins grid walks though. He (nearly) always got a lot of respect and many drivers talked to him despite the pressure and tight schedule to get their cars and strategy in place. So long as he doesn’t piss Bernie off again, e.g. accuse the little dwarf of using Pikies to tarmac a track (Canada 20xx I think) again, he’ll get do to the ones that are “logistically feasible”. Could this mean we finally get to see more of Lee McKenzie? I think a “chick” who knows her stuff always gets her way on the grid. Just ask Suzie Perry. She has huge respect from all in the Moto GP series. Though of course, some of it may have come from this! Of course I’d take the “accidental” part with a very large pinch of salt.

    Accident my arse…..though I do like the look of hers!

    But back on subject, I’m willing to give the new pairing (there’s that arse again lol) a go. Both will give great insight into what we are watching. Just as long as we don’t have to hear about it constantly, yes I’m talking to you Legard, then it could work quite nicely. Having said all that, David Croft and Anthony Davidson are still the choice team and the BBC knows it by the very fact they haven’t tried to bring one of them over the to the TV side.

    So with all this and the major changes in F1, it’s yet again going to be a season to look forward to……AFTER Bahrain of course 🙂

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