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When it rains...

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Jake Humphrey | 09:10 UK time, Monday, 5 April 2010

Unbelievable, simply unbelievable.

Our editing suite was stacked with every conceivable song mentioning the word rain. Our hard-working production manager Anne - whose task is to ensure the operation runs smoothly and fill the office fridge with chocolate every morning - was on standby with a stack of BBC umbrellas (that strangely all went missing!). Eddie Jordan had a large stack of shirts waiting to be swapped and changed. And I had researched oodles of stats and facts about what would happen when the rain finally came... which it would, because in Malaysia it always does. Right?

We waited. Two laps in and Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are both playing a blinder. No rain.

Twenty laps later and the Ferraris are scything through the field despite Fernando Alonso driving a car with technical problems. Still no rain.

Forty laps in and I'm one of about 60 people standing in the paddock looking skywards in disbelief as the sun continues to beat down.

So, the rains never arrived, but as I sit here on the flight to the UK, getting ever more excited about the scones my wife Harriet promised me she'd bake for my arrival home, I think we can reflect on two pretty successful race weekends since the BBC team boarded the plane for Oz.

One of the highlights for me was EJ's absolute pleasure in seeing the big names call it wrong in qualifying on Saturday. It was clear for all to see just how hot under the collar he was during that qualifying session, and I think his reaction is a small glimpse into the passion he still has for racing.

We were watching qualifying unfold in the Lotus hospitality suite. Because of the (almost) inevitable downpour, it was important for us to have what we call a 'cabled' position, which means if there is a storm of Biblical proportions then we have somewhere dry to broadcast from where we are not using radio frequencies to transmit during a storm.

As we sat alongside a throng of Malaysian businessmen and sponsors who were thrilled to see a Lotus into the second part of qualifying, Eddie was doing a decent impression of Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout.

He was bouncing off his chair, revelling in the smaller teams getting out quickly and putting in a 'banker' lap at the start of the session while the big teams proved that a reliance on computers can be a foolhardy approach. What I was seeing at that precise moment was Eddie Jordan circa 1999.

I can picture him now, resplendent in yellow, jigging up and down on the pit wall as Jordan outsmarted teams with much greater budgets and manpower. It is impossible for Eddie to not be transported back to those moments during qualifying sessions such as the one we had on Saturday - and I love seeing him almost internally combust with excitement. His love of the David v Goliath battles will never leave him and is the reason he achieved so much in the sport.

For those of you who missed the F1 Forum, it was a pretty relaxed affair this week and EJ had an early flight to steal away to. You'll doubtless be pleased to know that both he and his makeshift scooter helmet made it all the way to Kuala Lumpur airport safely. However, some poor Force India pit crew guy may be helmet-less in China!

Almost as interesting as what the viewers do see on air during live TV is the stuff you don't get the chance to see - so here's a bit of an insight into what happened on Sunday.

At the end of our show, poor old 'Tiger' the sound assistant suddenly lost all battery power to the pack that transmits the sound from microphones to you guys at home. Cue mild panic, a quick appearance of a Jenson Button post-race interview and suddenly Ted Kravitz was by my side with his mic, which was still working.

So for the final part of the programme I was using a microphone still attached to 'TK Max's' waist. Well played to him for being in the right place at the right time! So it wasn't only Sauber who had technical issues this weekend - but that's live TV!

I have now made a new resolution that by the time we get to Korea in September and the heat starts to make race weekends exhausting affairs once again, I'm going to be fitter. But being healthy and doing this job is tricky. Here's a good example of why.

On Thursday in Malaysia I was delighted with myself after I managed to make it round the track without stopping. And I am not a natural runner.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have checked out the two pictures I posted of before and after a tough 5km in sauna-like conditions. JakeTwitPics.jpg

Well, the observant among you will have spotted that I started in daylight and it was dark by the time I finished. I began running with Jonathan Legard and one of our editors, who we called 'Fish-eye' (don't ask!), but by Turn Three they were dots on the horizon as I ungainly dragged 15 stone around the asphalt.

The important thing was the satisfaction I felt at having finished without stopping. However, by Saturday my desire to attain fitness levels to match those of David Coulthard managed to fall apart spectacularly.

Because of the late-afternoon start times in Malaysia, we didn't make it back to the office after qualifying until about 6pm. I then sat down with Mark the boss to plan the running order for Sundays show.

We decided that Adrian Sutil sitting fourth on the grid would be a good live interview if he would agree to it, that we should hear from Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali and his opposite number at McLaren Martin Whitmarsh about qualifying, and that opening the show next to a weather radar on the pit wall would all offer us good value if a team would agree to it.

So, running order sorted, it was into the hire cars, back to the hotel and time to pack. But I was so tired after a long day that I lay on my bed (live TV is more mentally draining than it looks) and promptly woke up five hours later at 2am. I peeled two very sticky contact lenses from my eyes, brushed my teeth and then remembered that not only was there still a live show to prepare for, I also hadn't packed for home.

Now, I am notorious for forgetting stuff and I wanted to avoid an early morning rush so I set my alarm for 5.30am. What seemed like moments later I was woken up by my bleeping phone, jumped in the shower, packed, neurotically checked the room 10 times for stuff I might have forgotten and then set about writing links, 'prepping' interviews and researching online for the show.

Now, we don't use an autocue on the output so all the links, questions, introductions and 'back-refs' (references to what has just been shown) need to be scripted by me, and then(hopefully) learned before we go live. I finally finished my prep at 9.15am, sprinted to reception, checked out and jumped in the car to the circuit.

We rocked up at about 10.30, and sniffed around for the stories. I quickly made sure that Norwich City's defeat on Friday night had not been too damaging (it hadn't, as Leeds lost!) and then the whole team got together to watch the VTs (what we call the short films produced for the pre-race show).

Watching the stuff on tape is important because often we need to react to something that is said during the piece, but when we are live we spend the time the VTs are being broadcast repositioning, sorting the guests and listening to other information coming to us from the gallery (where the editor and director sit, running the show). It's quite involved at that point and easy to miss something. So an hour with Martin Brundle, DC and EJ before the show is an essential part of the build up - as well as a good laugh.

Finally, we're on air with an hour's build-up, the race, the end of the show on terrestrial TV, the hour-long Forum on the red button and then extra filming for the re-run, highlights and BBC News.

When I finally got back to the office at 8pm on Sunday evening, I realised I'd eaten hardly a thing and I promptly devoured a MASSIVE bag of cheese-flavoured crisps and a can of cola. Not the food of a health freak, I know, but I needed to eat something. I figured I'd already blown it by then so I then ordered a cheeseburger at the airport - sorry, Mum!

(My Mum is a home economist and will the thoroughly disappointed with this tale.)

So, I've decided that I now need to work hard on my fitness, particularly as Sunil, one of the VT producers is running the London Marathon and is making us all green with envy as he becomes a picture of health.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the coverage this weekend. It was incredible to see the relief at Red Bull at their one-two finish. Huge kudos to Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil, Robert Kubica, Jaime Algersuari and Nico 'The Hulk' Hulkenberg, who all drove great races, and thanks to the McLaren and Ferrari boys for plenty of entertainment, too.

I'm really sorry to hear about those of you who missed some of the action because of the mid-race switch to BBC Two as a result of the Easter service being on BBC One. We did try to make the move as clear as possible before and during the race and, of course, if you missed anything, you can still watch it on the BBC iPlayer until the weekend.

Right, we've just been told 20 minutes to landing (and that it's 4C in London!). Almost home to see Harriet, who will no doubt tell me the diet 'starts tomorrow' and that her scones will only go to waste... I definitely agree!

See you all in China!


  • Comment number 1.

    Why didn't the race just start on BBC Two? I was lucky enough to be able to record both, but it seems it would have been easier for everyone if the entire thing was played out on one channel.

  • Comment number 2.

    Enjoyed the race Jake, but in the post race forum, you didn't mention McLaren at all, and you barely mentioned Ferrari, despite those two teams being the main excitement of the race. It was a bit disappointing, but I understand you have time constraints.

    Also - can we please have some continuity from race to race? It would have been nice to see the whole of Mark Webbers' pole position. Minor thing, but it would be great.

    As I say I'm not here to whinge, I enjoyed the race and your coverage was good overall. Here's hoping for a drizzle of rain in China - it usually does :-)

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Jake,good blog,good racing.As always great to see you,D C and EJ.

  • Comment number 4.

    Why is everyone moaning sooooo much about the channel change?! it's not like it's difficult to change channel, or if you're recording it's your own problem if you're too lazy to check the TV guide, or notice that the coverage is over and hour shorter on BBC1 than normal...

  • Comment number 5.

    Hey, Jake. Nice one for answering "that" chocolate question...fair play to yer, sir! Did'nt think you'd chose that as one of the questions as it was a bit of tongue in cheekery on my part, but I can confirm that a Twix Slam is very delicious indeed. If you stumble upon any more cutting edge ways to consume a cup of tea, let me know....I'm a bit of a tea monster myself and always looking to push the envelope where that stuff is concerned :D

    Once again sir, you are the man!

    Cheers, Rig.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Jake,

    Brilliant show and blog as usual.

    I have one criticism though, please could you stop waving your clipboard around during the show and even worse using it to jab at team principles. It's very distracting and I'm sure the people you are interviewing don't appreciate it much either.

  • Comment number 7.

    I've always wondered why the English are known as being worldclass moaners! but as regular reader of bbc blogs i now know why.
    people need to seriously get a grip on here!

  • Comment number 8.

    Come on justin_f1 get over it!!! you may feel that but i personally like the direct movement and the commanding action!!!

    I think Jake has move important things to remember than stupid criticism!! if it was a real problem his producer would have told him to stop it, that is one of the main jobs, make the viewing pleasurable!

    Great show and blog as usual, Keep it Up!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    Another great show Jake, well done to you and the team.

    I know what you mean about getting fit. I went to Monza last year and I was exhausted from walking around in the blistering sun and that was mid September in Italy, I imagine Kuala Lumpur was much worse. It had me thinking I need to get fit and lose some weight so I won't be as exhausted this time.

    We should make a pact or something :)

  • Comment number 10.

    Great blog again Jake!

    I like to thank for your apologies about the switch, I ended up recording just BBC1, and missing the rest!, watched it on BBC iplayer in the end!

    Why didnt it just start on BBC2 then?

  • Comment number 11.

    Great show as always, I appreciated the fact that someone got Eddie to change his shirt as the patches were rather distracting. Any chance that we will get to see the piece you did with Martin Whitmarsh that you promised us post qualifying? (and before anyone whinges this ain't a complaint, just an unforeseeable overrun in qualifying)

    As always a fascinating Red Button, but is there any chance you could give us a little piece on the forum updating us on how the new teams performed, they often seem to get left out of the mix when it comes to what they actually achieved. I loved your interviews with Kovi and Trulli post race, and must admit I agreed with the general consensus that Kovi seems the far more motivated and interested of the pair.

  • Comment number 12.

    I can't believe that people are actually moaning about the switch over to BBC2, and even worse how you managed to miss any action. How hard is it to change a channel? Legard made it perfectly clear when he said 'Welcome BBC2 viewers' that then was the time to change channels!

    Anyway on to positive comments, I now really enjoy the pre-quali/race shows (and The Forum). It actually looks at F1 on a whole rather than just being The Lewis Hamilton show which was the xenophobic road ITV went down and made viewing unbearable.

    It obviously gives more time to the front running teams as this is the general focal point of interest, but I am glad to see you talk to teams like Lotus as well.

    Also for me EJ is worth every penny he gets paid as a pundit, his banter, sometimes clear frustration at 'stupid' team decisions and his love of the sport all add up to great entertainment.

    Finally once again Jake, great show and a great blog.

  • Comment number 13.

    Great blog Jake, good to see that you can get away with making jibes at EJ's shirt change mid qualy!

    @ Justin_f1....really? the clipboard bugs you?...haha...I think if anything it gives Jake a bit more command and respect, he's getting more direct questions across to the principles than Messrs Rosenthal & Ryder ever got across.

    Good blog Jake...surely everyone needs to get someone to spell check theis before posting onboard the plane?...Martins was also a little rough around the edges. I know I'm opening myself for serious SPAG criticisms now :P

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Jake, Excellent shows once again and Saturdays qualifying session was one the best ever. Shame about EJ's shirt - I felt for him during Saturday as the show went on his shirt got sweater and sweater! But it was also funny. As for the race, again not a bad race overall - it slacked off just past half way but Hamilton performance once again was awesome. Also the top 7 drivers are all so very close now - its hard to say who will be 2010 Champion. Roll on China.

  • Comment number 15.

    Why so many moans about the channel change? Is it that hard to change the channel? I really don't understand. Jake even gave a reminder on Twitter to change the channel and there was a 5 minute overlap. What more could you ask for!!

    I can only assume it is the work of pro-active atheists who are trying to influence the BBC's commitment to show its fair share of religious output on BBC One.

    Anyway - I missed the forum so will catch that on iPlayer this evening.

    P.S: I didn't realise the scripts and on-air bits were learned, always assumed it was an autocue. My respect and admiration for Jake has gone through the roof. Keep up the good work and thank you for all your pictures and tweets!

  • Comment number 16.

    I was narked about the channel change, we were watching the GP on time lapse because of my mate being to lazy to get breakfast on the go in time. However a little bit of cleverness and preparation stopped it being any real hassle, I just would rather that the BBC had shown the whole race on the same channel, I don't care if its BBC1 or BBC2.....

  • Comment number 17.

    great blog as usual!

    i'm looking forward to the european races - i refuse to get up early so yesterday although i woke at 6am and 7am and 8am and then 9am, i didnt get up until the race and forum were well and truly over so watched the rerun on bbc2 in the afternoon (the only downside is that i miss the post-race forum, and its not the same on the iplayer)

  • Comment number 18.

    It would seem that Martin and yourself couldn't sleep on the plane back and we are the beneficiaries, with loads of analysis and back room gossip to enjoy today :D

    I'm enjoying the images of Zebedee Eddie and Ted desperately trying to stay out of camera as you pull his mike across to Martin. And the bit in the Forum, when Eddie went off to catch his plane, had me howling with laughter. Meanwhile you could see that you guys were really enjoying yourselves which adds to our enjoyment, I think.

    I enjoyed the coverage and the race, this weekend. One thing that still worries me, however, is the new points system. It's tight at the top, at the moment, because three different drivers have won the first three races. You guys tried to do a quick comparison to last year's points system to see if there was any difference and were quite chilled about the whole thing but surely one driver winning a series of races from now on could bring an end to the championship even quicker than how it nearly panned out last year? Particularly if the rest of the points get spread around a bit. I mean, Vettel could so easily be on 75 points by now with the nearest a rival could be, being 54. OK, he's not but, with all this overtaking trouble, it seems a very likely scenario to me.

    Thinking about this, I was wondering if an answer to the overtaking dilemma might be to have a points system that also rewards overtaking! Just imagine, the fastest cars would deliberately want to start at the back instead of trying to put the car on poll! The rush to find ways to get past the dirty air would be even more desperate. Cars lower down the pack would be fighting all through the race. I know this wouldn't be a particularly fair system but it would be entertaining. It would need some sort of caveat that an overtake needs to hold for one lap to count (otherwise it would get all thorny over what was a successful overtake and what wasn't!!) and it would need a bit of programming added into the race stats computer. So, who wants to do a calculation of the first three races so far and see what impact such a system would have had on this year's championship race?

    Finally, thanks for the insight into your job. As I said before, you make it look too easy. I hope my post in your previous blog, mentioning a possible stuff up on air, didn't pre-empt your sound gremlins this weekend. But hey, it was only on the Forum and you all covered rather well :D

    10 days to doing it all over again, hey?!

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm glad the rain held off in Malaysia this year. Nothing worse than a downpour halting the racing, being left with an incomplete race and only half points allocated.

    The big McLaren and Ferrari made huge error in qualifying. I was glad that EJ gave Martin Whitmarsh a bit of a dressing down on that score.

    justin_F1 I hadn't noticed the clipboard waving but now you have drawn my attention to it. I hope you haven't turned it into the thing you are told not to look at but because you have been told not to look at it you look at it and all you can do is look at it.... that would upset me :D

  • Comment number 20.

    i think the reason why people are moaning about the channel change is because not all of UK have BBC2 and still need to sort out freeview/cable/satellite due to the digital switch over. i don't get BBC2 on my normal tv but as i have sky, i am ok. i do agree with most on the fact that all of it should have been on just the one channel etc.

    that my moan-ish out the way.

    what a superb weekend for the BBC team, loved every moment of, and the racing side, well what a weekend that was seeing top teams going from back of grid to near the front. nothing can be taken away from Red Bull, they had a great weekend.

    by the way, can we have a picy of EJ wearing the FI helmet, hehehehehe

    roll on China, woohoo

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi guys,

    Jake here, just wanted to answer your comments about the channel change.

    We’re sorry that some of you had problems with the coverage of the Malaysian Grand Prix. The decision to split the programme across two channels was arrived at because of a combination of two things.

    We wanted to attract the biggest possible audience to the race - and, for some reason, BBC One always attracts bigger audiences than BBC Two - and it was not possible to move the Easter church service from BBC One. Easter is obviously a very important day in the calendar for the nation's Christians, and the BBC has a wider responsibility to reflect that.

    We did point up the switch repeatedly during the show on Sunday, so anyone watching the broadcast live would have been in no doubt about what was going to happen. Although many more people watch the race than watch qualifying, it would obviously have been a good idea to mention this during the qualifying coverage on Saturday, too, and we will make sure we do so in any similar situation in the future.

    We are also going to investigate a way of ensuring that when a programme switches channels part-way through, the electronic programme guides of PVRs recognise this and respond accordingly.

    In the meantime, should you wish to watch the entire race, you can find it on iPlayer until next Sunday morning - programmes are saved there until seven days after broadcast: and

    Sorry again guys - as always the whole BBC F1 team just want to provide the best possible coverage of the sport we all love.


  • Comment number 22.

    Jake, great blog once again and thanks for the explanation of the channel change: it was an annoying feature and without a caption on-screen advising a change of channel I was surprised when the BBC One feed suddenly stopped. An on-screen caption would have been nice, but no harm done in the end. I enjoyed the race, and indeed the coverage, and will be up bright and early again for China!

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 23.

    Great to see Vettel record a win.

    I was worried that the final story of the season would be that Alonso ended up with no real competition, due to the reliability problems at Red Bull.

    Hopefully this means a decent contest right up till Yas Marina...

  • Comment number 24.

    Hope you enjoyed your scones! Best F1 anchor on UK screens for years. Keep up the good work Jake!

  • Comment number 25.

    Hey Jake. I was certainly a really good weekend for F1. However, I do worry that if the Red Bulls now maintain reliability this championship is going to be a one-horse race all the way. Just why are the Red Bulls so much faster than anything else. Do you think that, if Webber had defended more at the 1st corner on lap 1 and if his pit stop had been perfect, he could have won? Or is Vettel too fast even for him?

    It was also interesting to hear EJ and Martin debating Nico Rosberg on the forum. I agree that in this race he pretty much cruised around and that he (and Massa further back) seriously lack the aggression at times that drivers such as Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel have. I get the impression that maybe Rosberg is a bit too laid back and, like EJ said, perhaps lacks a bit of hunger?

    Finally, I agree with others on the channel change issue. Like others have said, the whole thing should have been put on one channel. Thanks for letting us know the reasons behind that decision. It seems really strange to me that some people might just sit at home watching whatever BBC1 broadcasts. If some people in the UK don't have BBC2 it has to be a really small minority surely?

    Ooh, one more thing. Maybe I am just not that observant and missed an explanation at some point in the past, but who are those annoying people who seem joined at the hip to the drivers whenever they are talking to the media? Button always has a woman with long dark hair listening intently to every word he says while also recording on a dictaphone. Are they there to ensure they stick to the 'corporate message' as it were and don't say anything naughty? Or are they there to ensure the drivers are not asked any awkward question?

    Anyway, keep up the good work. Hope you enjoy those scones.

  • Comment number 26.

    thats a good question raised by Alex, and I think know the perfect person to find out the answer... Martin Brundle, maybe with DC tagging along to provide further embarrassing questions and observations (the double team the did on The Hulk at OZ was inspired).

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Jake,

    Excellent coverage and blog again this weekend, I managed to catch the forum for the first time this season and I wasn't disappointed.
    I'm always amazed at the interviews you manage to get throughout the weekend and you always seem to have much more access to garages than I would have expected.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 28.

    interesting blog Jake its great to get an insight into what happens off air and all the preporation needed for when you go on air.
    the race this weekend was awesome seeing the big boys mess up like EJ said and then to see them fight there way up through the field. Kudos to the other drivers that made the weekend very interesting and exciting to watch.
    this is the first time i have read one of these blogs and its not going to be the last :) thankz Jake and to everyone for making this weekend unforgetable.
    Good luck for getting healthier and i might just join you in your plea

  • Comment number 29.

    Jake, yet again a fantastic blog and it is great to know what goes on 'behind the scenes' at a grand prix weekend. I think you have the best job on earth!!

    Why did nobody give Nico Rosberg a chance pre-season against Schumi? He is an awesome driver who has consistently outperformed his team-mates. A class act and future WC.

  • Comment number 30.

    Great show and blog as ever Jake, thanks for your reply to the switch over issue. Will be interesting if the 'people in the know' can make the electronic programme guides work if it's needed again.

    China here we come - can't wait!

    PS Hope enjoyed all of Harriet's scones

  • Comment number 31.

    My ex-wife used to work in programme planning at the Beeb and she could never explain the decisions about what was shown in which channel even then ! Great coverage - Martin's grid walk is a big highlight - perhaps could work on making a bit more of it like when David or Zebedee (sorry Eddie but that's going to stick!) were with him !

  • Comment number 32.

    Hello comes nobody (especially martin brundle) had no bad comments for alonso, hamilton, button, etc after sepang quali, but they always have to put a negative on schumacher...i mean they have been racing for years now and they still stupidly messed up quali....when schumacher gets back on form and mercedes get back on form everybody is going to jump on schumachers fan wagon and pretend they have always backed him.....we will not forget the various posts like, 'does schumey still have it'...schmacher in poor form....schmacher stuggling!!! lol its quite funny how the bbc f1 team put negativity remarks on schmacher....i mean the guy us back for fun....not to hear all this rubbish about hes not good....when schumacher was dominating every race and every year...all of you named f1 BORING....but if alonso or hamilton win back to back or consistantly...IT IS WONDERFUL...really immature of f1...i mean the guys done more for F1 then all of the drivers put together...

  • Comment number 33.

    Hey Jake,

    I'm not going to complain about the channel you guys did pre-advise all of the change & all it took for us is to press one button on the remote. Yet another mountain made out of a molehill!

    My note is about your discussions....

    1) The BBC F1 Team seems to show alot of favouritism to Jenson. We all know DC is best mates with Jenson so especially post race looked as if you, DC & Jenson came across very smug & sniggering at Lewis' shortcomings (ie radio rant etc). The team constantly brought up & kind of made fun of Lewis' run in with the cops....& then DC kept bringing up about Lewis 'sacking' his father, throughout the weekend.

    2)Another very dissapointing point is the constant Schumacher-bashing. I wouldve thought that the professionals you guys are would understand that it is normal for anyone to be a bit off form when coming out of retirement ...but Im flabergasted that you all seem to think that after 3 years out (during which so much has changed) with no testing & a totally new car in a new team..that Michael would be expected to perform just like he did in his championship days from the go! I was excited to hear of his comeback as hes a legend & it was fantastic for F1 but no way did I have that high expectation for him straight away....I still say even now that he probably wont be his best until maybe mid to late season (maybe even later considering the current testing ban). As we know, one of his major advantages is to develop a team/car over time. He was known as one of the most commited guys in an F1 team so I cant help but to feel that thats what hes still focussing on now...not to start winning from race 1 - no one can be that unrealistic. Also....I'm sure if DC was asked now if he would expect himself to be on full form if he came back to F1 next season....his view would be more realistic. Im sure if anyone would understand it would be DC as a former driver but he doesnt come across like that. We all know that there are many who've never liked Michael, so I guess its not strange to see & hear so many to have an unrealistic & premature excuse to talk him down now. DC seems to be as critical of michael as eddie but when talking about Button in McLaren...DC immediately excuses Jenson as hes in a new team & a new car & needs time to settle - surely its not one rule for one and another rule for others is it?. I give Mr Brundle credit as he himself said that for Michael it will take time yet to settle. I know with Michael theres an extra air of expectation as hes a 7 times WC. Unfortunately this legendary status makes the media think hes a superhuman robot...but he is human like us all. At the moment everyone is questioning whether he will stick around. Anyone who knows Michael (whether you like him or not) knows that hes always in it for the long haul to help develop the car/team to be a winner so I know he will commit..but I do think that if he does leave at the end of the will be due to the un-necessary pressure & witchhunt by the press...if that happens that will be a very sad & shameful day for all in F1. I hope the media can be realistic & give him a break. The press have a history of pantomine & fondness of creating hate figures to throw stones at, so i cant help to think that the media are now trying to force him out. Your interview with michael, as informed as it was...however seemed very uncomfortable to watch & resembled probably the discussion that Lewis may have had with the Aussie cop in the car. At least Martin can remain realistic by saying that Michael is not yet at full form & it will take some time.

    Apart from that the overall coverage from the you guys is great.
    All the best!

  • Comment number 34.

    p.s...sarah holt's last negative blog regarding schumacher was shot down by the was very clear that the media or the bbx f1 team is trying to destroy, or less harsher, hurt schumey's name just because they have new favourites like hamilton and recently new champ be honest, i dont think anyone and i mean ANYONE can even garantee button will even win another world championship...he had a lucky year in 2009 and now hes excellent lol...i mean hamilton hasnt been close since 08 either. theres just too many talented drivers, but not any incredible drivers like schumacher...prob the closest is alonso, who seems to be a very classy driver, but then even he lacks motivation sometimes. which is evident when things are bad for u remember 2004? u mite as well of said schumacher has destroyed f1 because of his alonso is in a ferrari....he wodnt mind winning every race and every year.

    i think f1 is losing its authenticity.

  • Comment number 35.

    To Alex (comment 25)

    Those people with the drivers during the driver interviews are the PR reps in the team. They are there recording all statements by the drivers to the media as they need to know what was said.

  • Comment number 36.

    Jake, that is the identikit answer that Andrew Benson gave yesterday. Literally word for word.

    Thats pretty funny. But the switch over wasn't exactly a big deal.

  • Comment number 37.

    @ supasix-1, comment 33.....great to see someone down to earth and unbiast commenting on these ridiculous blogs....

    it is a schumacher witch hunt lol....i tottaly agree with the DC comment...i dont think DC would even finish a race if he came back.

    infact regarding my last comment...i will put on money on it that button will not win another world championship....and im not kidding...
    anyone can challenge me on this,,,,

    i bet u no one will lol...because for button to win another wc, he has to beat vettel, alonso, massa, roseberg, schumacher, hamilton, inface its impossible

  • Comment number 38.


    Good blog - as always. Quick question. Is there any chance you can have a word with DC about his choice of footwear? Every race weekend he is always very well turned out, but this is slightly tarnished by he decision to wear trainers.

    As a fan of DC, I feel it my duty to inform him of this oversight - so if you could pass on this comment, I think it would benefit everyone.

    May I suggest some lofas, or suede shoes? I think these would improve the overall look. Hope DC doesn't take this personally, let him know of the great choice with the light colored shirts this weekend.

    Let me know if he needs any tips on shoes, loving coverage this season, keep it up..


  • Comment number 39.

    hi jake ,

    great job again on sunday,
    i wrote a few weeks ago saying that f1 needs to change as its not exciting enough, i still think its boring.
    if it wasn't for rain the last two grand prix it would of been the same boring stuff we saw in the first race, and if it wasn't for lewis hamilton overtaking in malaysian grand prix then it would of been dull again. when red bull get their cars sorted which looks as if they have then they are going to walk away with it , vettel is the man who is going to end up number 1.

  • Comment number 40.

    Cracking coverage over the whole race weekend Jake. Really good to see its nice and informal...the whole team obviously get on well, and it makes it fantastic to watch.

    Take the comments on here with a pinch of salt seems many of the british public can be very critical (One week they complain you're doing too much on McLaren/Ferrari, next they complain you're not doing enough. And people complaining you didnt look at the new teams, when you were sitting in Lotus F1 and had a lengthy interview with Tony and Mike)

    Keep up the good work

  • Comment number 41.

    For what it's worth I really enjoyed the coverage this weekend. Even managed to get the parentals to watch the GP including the forum which eliminated the need to help cook the lunch during the race. Thanks for getting Eddie to change his shirt on Saturday BTW.

    Am looking forward to Shanghai. If it rains we're in for a good show. Glad to see the drivers back on the grid for Martin's grid walk. I'm assuming they have sorted out the pass tiff?

    Thanks for the explanation about the channel change although if people struggled with the whole change thing there are other issues that need to be dealt with ;-) It was well publicised read the TV listings people!

    Hope the scones were nice.


  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Jake.
    I love reading your blog and tweets. You and the BBC team should be very proud of the coverage you are giving us fans. The knowledge, understanding and humour with which you present your broadcasts is fantastic and my only hope is that we never go back to the dark days of ITV (shudder).
    Youve come alongway since the BAFTA quality gamong shows that you used to jump around on, on rapture tv, almost brings a tear to the eye...almost.

  • Comment number 43.

    The reason people are complaining about the channel change is that not everyone can watch live - some people have work or family commitments. It's not something you'd necessarily think to check when setting it up to record (at least I didn't) because normally a programme finishes on the same channel on which it starts!

    However, the BBC schedulers do this all the time with some sports (Wimbledon matches spring to mind) and it is always infuriating. It suggests that the BBC doesn't take sport as seriously as broadcasters with dedicated sport channels, and instead always tries to fit it in around the other things it does.

    However I appreciate Jake acknowledging the comments and taking the time to reply - so thanks for that, and let's move on and look forward to the next race and not forget that the BBC's F1 coverage is by far the best the sport has ever had in this country (and probably anywhere else).

  • Comment number 44.

    As always, very intresting blog. Really enjoyed the show.

    Stop moaning about your fitness - you look very slim on camera and you werent creating a flood hazard, unlike EJ !

    Since F1 went back to the BBC, I have been much more intrested in it, and quality of the coverage you provide is a influencial factor in that.

    Look forward to China!

  • Comment number 45.

    Hey Jake,
    A great show with the crew on Sunday, just wanted to ask if you can put EJ's idea of an overtake button to Burnie or the FIA, but with a little twist before the next race?
    When you were chatting about bringing back KERS, EJ's idea of a cheap quick fix struck me as a cracking idea. David mentioned a 1000rpm raise to the 18k rev limit would be fine with the common ECU used by all cars, but I (nor many other viewers) have no idea how much extra BHP an F1 engine produces with that 1000rpm raise!!
    Hows about we let the driver decide, with a max limit of 3000rpm if he wants it available! If its a car he can nearly pass, then 1000rpm or 2000 is enough, but if its much harder, he can use the full 3000rpm to get past (but at risk of blowing his engine up early etc). If he uses it too much, then his engine wont last the races it needs to, so driver beware!
    What do you think? Can you put that to Burnie, or get DC or Martin to do a feature on the engines & how much an extra 1000rpm effects its output?

    John from Belfast

    ps: whats the email address to the forum as I wanted to put this to you guys on Sunday?
    pps: DC in Belfast with the Redbull crew just before the Oz GP was cracking to watch! Give him a slap on the back for us all here in Belfast!

  • Comment number 46.

    just like to say the you have come on in leaps and bounds since last year. The whole coverage by the BBC is such a step forward from ITV and the interaction between EJ [Zebedee], DC and yourself is great.
    In terms of coverage of teams there needs to be a little more balance because little was mentioned about Williams, STR, Sauber this weekend - need to try and get reviews of each team each weekend.
    Now you have scoffed the scones - when's the diet starting? Can you not get one of the teams trainers to set it up and monitor your progess as part of an article on driver fitness this year?
    Anyway enjoy the cold here before getting back to Shanghai in 10 days.

  • Comment number 47.

    Hi Jake,

    Just wanted to let you know how fantastic it is to read your blog's, very informative and interesting, also congratulations with the coverage that you and everyone else involved at the bbc does with F1, it truly is great and a million times better than what we used to get on ITV!

    1 thing i'd like to ask you is, what do you do job wise in between each race, do you have other work on? Also EJ's shirts are awesome but your's are always so plain and boring, why don't you try and spice them up a bit!

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 48.

    Hey Jake,

    Another fantastic weekend of coverage on the BBC.

    Determined not to get dragged in to any bias arguments this week. I think some of the people here need to go watch F1 TV coverage in another country. I spent most of last season watching SpeedTV and cannot describe my joy at the depth and involvement of the BBC coverage. We get extended red-button coverage post-race, we get blogs from our presenters, we get to watch bits we missed on-line, we get to listen to more than one commentary stream and all people here can do is whinge that you don't talk about their favourite driver for two hours.

    Whatever. I know from experience that we in the UK are very, VERY fortunate with our F1 coverage and I for one am thankful to the BBC for making it so. Keep up the awesome work.

    Suz. x

  • Comment number 49.

    The church service should have been on BBC2, which is the minority channel. BBC1 is for programmes with a majority interest.

    As for the channel change I was under the impression that the whole race was going to be on BBC2 due to a comment made on Something for the Weekend the previous Sunday but had the foresight to check the listings in advance. It's not really that difficult is it?

  • Comment number 50.

    Another great weekend's coverage and another fascinating blog. Thanks Jake and the team! Maximum respect having read the above. Live, no autocue, at the mercy of unpredictable events, not to mention coping with the Tsunami that Zebedee was producing this weekend. I wouldn't last five minutes before I just lapsed into blind panic.

    Given the fact the Hamilton is currently managerless, and the speculation as to who he might appoint, perhaps Martin could do a short feature on exactly what a manager does for a driver, how important they are, and the relationship between driver and manager. Perhaps he and DC could make it a joint feature, as I believe he was- (is?) DC's manager for a while.

    Enjoy your short time back home- roll on Shanghai!!

    P.S. If you need anybody to carry the luggage, I'm available!

  • Comment number 51.

    Great blog as always Jake.
    Happy to hear you completed a lap of Sepang, are you planning to do a lap of every circuit this year?
    Would just like to mention that watching EJ being completely baffled during qualifying was fantastic! But he was absolutely right. McLaren and Ferrari really should have enough experience to avoid such a mistake but they are just too clever and complicated for their own good. They forget about the basics.
    I was disappointed it didn’t rain at the end of the race, it would have really spiced things up! However it is refreshing to see an exciting race with plenty of overtaking without the aid of the weather!
    Here’s looking forward to China!

  • Comment number 52.

    Cracking Blog Jake! Follow it every single time, really enjoyed the fantastic coverage again even tho I was in Braintree with my nan (being rather ill!)

    Still managed to watch the qualfying on iplayer, race live and red button forum on iplayer again!

    Well done and safe trip to China!


  • Comment number 53.

    Great blog again Jake.
    I didn't have a problem with the channel change, far less inconvenient than in the old days of ITV and ad breaks or before Bernie moved the race start times of the Australian and far eastern races and we had to get up at 3am to watch them.
    Keep up the good work

  • Comment number 54.

    Here's a question for you, Jake (and others on the BBC team).

    Considering what part of the world you've just come home from, and considering that within 2 weeks you have to go all the way back out to china, would you prefer to have stayed in the eastern region and travel the relatively short(er) distance to china from there, or are the gruelling flights back home and then back out there worth it?

    It's something I've often wondered about. I know that to stay out there might put a bit of a strain on family commitments, considering the time between Grand Prix sometimes being longer than a week, but I'd hate to have to go through all that plane time to come home, only to have to head back out that way less than 2 weeks later. Would love to hear your opinions, since you and others are the ones that actually have to the travelling.

  • Comment number 55.

    Hi Jake

    Great Blog as usual. Very Interesting.

    Channel switch didn't bother me. I've always found looking at a program guide gives you a pretty good idea of what program is on what channel - Its not rocket science. So it was easy to set my recorder.

    The BBC team are keeping up last years very high standards, but I had to comment in particular on Eddie Jordan this year. He's even more hilarious than he was last year and its great to watch. I love the way he stumbles over his words and asks the most complex never ending questions (that sometimes don't even have a question at the end) and he was on top form this weekend, and was particularly funny as he was leaving the coverage on the F1 forum. The guy has loads of experience and his opinion is as valid as DC's or MB's (even though he'll always disagree), but he is a great asset to the BBC team and livens up the coverage no end.

    I didn't mean the above as if he is a liability or a joke, i genuinely think he is an entertaining guy and adds a different dynamic to the coverage. He's not a TV natural - and thats the point. (a very good point)

  • Comment number 56.

    I agree completely about EJ, Swerve1!! I loved the way he laid into Martin Whitmarsh over their qualifying cock-up. No deference shown there. He's a real character and the BBC coverage would me much poorer without him!!

    On the subject of presenters, while it's great to see Mike Gascoyne back on the pit wall, and I wish Lotus every success, I hope that the BBC snap him up if he ever becomes available. He's a natural in front of the cameras and would be a great addition to the team!

  • Comment number 57.

    3 races and 3 winners, makes 09 look tedious doesn't it! i can't believe we're heading to china where anyone of 6 drivers could come out leading the championship.

  • Comment number 58.

    sorry, make that 8!

  • Comment number 59.

    3rd practise session on BBC iPlayer please!!!!!!
    We have everything else available on iPlayer, even Inside F1, but no 3rd practise session.
    Go on, stick it on there. Not too much to ask... is it?

  • Comment number 60.

    "Sorry again guys - as always the whole BBC F1 team just want to provide the best possible coverage of the sport we all love."

    Sorry Jake, no excuse for splitting coverage to 1 and 2. No prior warning on the listings and you have a defined race time. 2 hours!

    To those who watched this live and had notice of the change I say good for you. But don't come up with comments like, "well too bad if you are too lazy to look at listings..." Some of us set this to record in advance for whatever reason, and had the BBC1 listing said F1 part 1, then I too would have recorded both channels, but it didn't and it didn't series link either. So why would you expect to have to search listings just in case the BBC may decide to split any program? That is a silly argument. One could say that this happens with tennis, but match times are not defined. F1 is.

    So a ruined experience on this occassion, but cutting off in mid broadcast did make us realise that 3 hours is a lot wasted time in front of the TV at the weekend.

    It seems that BBC schedulers don't think that viewers of religious programs are capable of reading listings either or being able to view TV listings, or indeed switching the TV to BBC2?

    Come on BBC, use your common sense.

  • Comment number 61.

    I am so glad that F1 is back with the bbc no breaks just racing from start to finnish.

    There is much debate about making the racing more interesting!! Or to be more accurate that overtaking is made easier.
    Here is an idea for your technical bods raise the ride hight by 6mm that would break the ground hugginging effect, possibly make the cars more unstable create greater tyre wear meaning more pit stops etc. Also might make it easier to overtake as the rear airflow (turbulence) would not be so great. All without a huge amount of expense.

    Talking of expense in your post race metting on the red button with Mike Gascoyne he alluded to more major change for next year.

    What are these?

    If the FIA really want to reduce cost for F1 the why can't we have 2 or 3 years of stability in the technical regulations, in that way teams would be able to plan ahead for 2 to 3 seasons enabeling them to have planed cost reductions, and it might just be possible for new teams to enter knowing what lies ahead for the next few years cost wise.

    Please keep up your excellent work. I do enjoy the bantter

  • Comment number 62.

    Great show again Jake but I was slightly disappointed that you never mention the middle teams. Kubica, Petrov, Hulkenberg, Sutil, Buemi and Alguersuari all drove brilliant races and they didn't make a single highlight or get a mention in the F1 forum.

    As a big Toro Rosso fan I was disappointed they got no coverage at all despite even Martin Brundle saying they provided us with the most entertainment.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 63.

    MadDex- The split coverage was clearly marked as such in the Radio Times, in the newspapers, on Ceefax, on the BBC F1 Website, and in the online TV Guide that I occasionally use.

    I'm sorry you failed to record the whole thing, and I appreciate that must be frustrating, but to say the split coverage wasn't trailed enough - well, I really can't agree.

    And if you think three hours watching a Grand Prix at the weekend is "wasted time"- well, I'm surprised you're so bothered about this in the first place!! It's not a waste of time in my book!!

  • Comment number 64.

    The biggest problem with the mid race switch was that 'series record' didn't function. I have BBC F1 coverage on 'series record' on my plus box. It records all the qualy and races without me needing to do anything.

    But for some reason it did not record the portion on BBC2. Why?

    Luckily I was watching the race live, my recording being just a safety valve in casse I slept late.

  • Comment number 65.

    I enjoyed the race on Sunday
    but found Eddie Jordan very insulting when he had to talk
    it was like seeing my 3 year old throwing her toys
    especially when he called the MacLean team boss a Muppet.
    Can't we find some else?

  • Comment number 66.

    Must say last season's coverage was impressive but this year the Beeb is really on the ball, so congrats for that.

    I'd like to say I found it refreshing not to concentrate on McClaren or Ferrari for once. To have the interview with the Lotus main men, showing how the lower echelons of the sport deal with the whole weekend, was much more interesting than the same lines like you see in every interview as the drivers move from camera to camera being asked pretty much the same questions every time. The Forum is a banker for me, guaranteed entertainment even if the race does turn out not to be the spectacle we all hope it will be!

  • Comment number 67.

    I have just seen the silliest comments ever...Mercedes boss Mr Fry saying that they can build up on Nico's 3rd place finish. First: Nico and Schumi are realistically in 7th, 8th or even 9th considering the Force india's. The only reason why he was third was because of the decision Ferrari and Maclaren made in Qualifying...Not only Nico lost one place finishing 3rd from second on the grid..but admitted he was worried were Hamilton was. So they have to build from 8th or ninth not from 3rd because they are not there and it was pure luck..but I get he had to say it, he works for Mercedes.

  • Comment number 68.


  • Comment number 69.

    This year - as last - there are to be grid penalties for excessive consumption of engines (inter alia) - I note Ferrari are currently high consumers!!! Can an update of this info be posted with the results and standings - it would seem to be relevant to the different teams standings for later in the season certainly, even if not currently dramatic news.....

  • Comment number 70.

    Well, having spent the weekend on my mate's stag do around the streets, pubs, and clubs of London, I had to watch quali and the race recorded, so I used iplayer for the whole lot and recorded the onboard stream on my freeview pvr.
    I love that even on a recorded event I can have multiple angles, and the additional position scroller really helped as did the picture in picture to help me sync them up

    Even with it all recorded I felt it was still a complete experience. thanks for all the great efforts over the weekend that made it so (and thank **** I managed to avoid all results!!!)

  • Comment number 71.

    To add my comments to Channel Gate, I used my generic satellite recorder to set the Grand Prix to record. Naively thought the Series Link would pick up the 2nd part. It didn't but no problem at all due to the excellent Red Button and Sports Multiscreen for highlights. Stop grumbling everyone!!

    Thanks for the excellent coverage BBC and particularly to Jake, EJ and DC for their fantastic build up work. EJ's sweat patches and interrogation of Martin Whitmarsh were particular highlights. I have been a Formula 1 fan for years, going to my first South African Grand Prix when I was a young lad. The return of Formula 1 to the BBC and the whole package has re-ignited my love of the sport and I am really looking forward to this season.
    Excellent blog Jake, keep up the good work!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Hallo Jake!

    That's not about last weekend. I've just wanted to ask something. Will you and your team consider coming to Bavaria Moscow City Racing this summer? Hope to meet you guys :)

    best regards from Russia
    Elena aka elidare

  • Comment number 73.

    @ Supasix 33

    I agree entirely with your comment. I have already complained about the commentary teams bias. Although I think Jake has taken our comments on board, I am generally disappointed with the performance of this commentary team. I don't mind commentators having a particular favourite driver, they are after all, motor sport fans too. But this tabloid style commentary is not welcome in F1.

    I remember Murray Walker had a particular affection for Damon Hill and his commentary when Damon won the championship was a memorable, very moving piece of commentary. But I don't remember Murray ever deliberately trying to riddicule a driver. I will remember Murray for his infectious enthusiasm, impartiality and respect for all the drivers.

    I think we are in a era where reporting in general seems to concentrate on sensationalising trivia. For the record, this is not what real fans are interested in. We want to see and hear drivers being applauded for their bravery, skill, decision making, meteronomic precision and so on. For anyone reading this, who thinks I'm just having a go for the sake of it, listen to the commentary of any premier league football match. The commentators at the ground always relay the kind of enthusiastic, impartial commentary which I think we have lost in F1.

    The Hamilton incident in Austrialia is a case in point. The commentary team made such a meal of it, with the clear intention to humiliate. Not once did they mention, that when Jenson was around Lewis's age he was caught doing a 140 mph on a French motorway. I suppose that was just the excuberance of youth and not something that one needs to remember or dwell upon. Whereas Hamilton's incident was the result of pure stupidity! Now Michael Schumacher is getting 'the treatment'.

    Another case in point, Vettel getting driver of the day ahead of Alonso and Hamilton. I really like Sebastian and he drove an excellent race, but I'm convinced Martin Brundle has his favourites and Vettel is very much one of them. In fact, not one of this current team seems to show the kind of professionalism we would expect from someone working for the BBC.

    Anyway, lets hope the commentary is better in China, afterall we are stuck with these guys for at least the rest of the season. Here's hoping I have something more positive to write next time out.

  • Comment number 74.

    Hi Jake, Love reading this blog. Just wanted you to know what big fans me and my new husband are of the BBC F1. We got Married Saturday 3rd April and we both (inseperate houses of course) watched the qualifying while getting ready on the Saturday morning and set the alarm on the morning after our wedding to ensure the first full day as a married couple was spent watching the Grand Prix!

    Keep up the good work Jake and the team! x

  • Comment number 75.

    can you give us a chorus of on the ball city jake?????


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