5 live Formula 1: the new season
By Simon Crosse:
The new-look 5 live team have arrived in Australia for the first race in Melbourne and it was straight to work for the blurry-eyed reporter Jennie Gow, who snapped up the chance of an invite to the Red Bull Launch held on the beach.
It allowed for the Red Bull drivers, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, to demonstrate their beach cricket skills (predictably poor) and give their thoughts on the new season (predictably confident).
Jennie is one of three new voices to 5 live as we re-constructed our broadcast team. Sky television are covering F1 this season for the first time and during the winter made a raid on our 2011 team, and while we wish Natalie Pinkham, Anthony Davidson and David Croft all the best with their new TV careers, we’ve put together a top trio of new talent.
Jennie has spent a decade covering motorsport and is as passionate about the F1 as she is about bikes. She spent a season fronting the BBC TV coverage of MotoGP and her other credits include the ThunderSport GB series, the Jersey Rally and Speedway.
She did a great job for us while filling in at the Canadian and Hungarian races last year so was in pole-position when we went looking for a new pit-lane reporter for 2012.
Stepping into the commentary booth is our new F1 correspondent James Allen. He’ll bring great experience and astute journalism to our coverage this year having spent over twenty years in motorsport as a writer and broadcaster.
He’s an absolute authority on F1 and won three consecutive BAFTA awards as part of the ITV team with whom he spent seven years as lead commentator.
Alongside James will be Jaime Alguersuari who, like no other broadcaster, can bring real first hand vision to our coverage. Jaime raced for the Toro Rosso team last season having a brilliant second half scoring an impressive 26 points including.
He’s driven the tracks and driven against most of this year’s grid after joining Toro Rosso in 2009 and becoming the youngest driver in F1 history, just 19 when he raced in Hungary.
The F1 community was shocked when Toro Rosso changed both of their drivers at Christmas and we were more than happy to offer Jaime the chance to stay in F1.
He’s with us for 2012, but there’s no doubt that the Formula 1 teams will be keeping close tabs on him for a return to a driver’s seat in 2013. I hope not for our sake! But being objective, he’s a brilliant young driver and I’m certain he’ll be behind the wheel of an F1 car one day.
In the meantime, he’ll also keep our on-air and production team bang up to date with the latest trends in music, and busy himself between races by DJ’ing, presenting his music radio shows in Spain and working in his home studio in Barcelona on the follow up to his album Organic Life.
So that’s the new 5 live team for 2012. We have six former champions on the grid and this season will be full of stories and some thrilling racing and we will have every race in full on 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra.
The coverage starts early with commentary on both of the ninety minute Friday practice sessions with some special guests lined up to join James and Jaime in the commentary box and BBC TV commentary pair Ben Edwards and David Coulthard taking the mic too.
On Saturday we’ll have another hour of practice commentary before the heat of qualifying and then the race itself on Sunday.
You’ll find us in all the usual places; 5 live and 5 live Sports Extra, online and on the Red Button on your television. Then there’s the Chequered Flag podcast, available here on this website and all the usual places.
It’ll be an exciting and fun season ahead. Hope you enjoy it as much as we expect to!
Simon Crosse is Executive Producer for 5 live F1.