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Excitement builds as season approaches

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Jake Humphrey | 10:00 UK time, Friday, 13 March 2009

Hi everyone,

The weekend's just around the corner and it's my last one here in the UK before the season starts.

Most of the BBC production team fly out next Sunday to Melbourne and then the prep really cranks up a gear for the first race.

I can't believe how quickly my inaugural season has rolled around. I was at Williams F1 on Thursday chatting to Sir Frank's daughter Claire and she was giving me tips on how to avoid piling on the weight when travelling the globe. I declined the offer of a regular Friday night run around each circuit... at least until I've built up my fitness a little!

It honestly feels like two minutes since I was offered the job and here I am working out what I need to pack. Incidentally, I've just bought a new laptop, so I can wirelessly connect to you lot no matter which hotel/airport/circuit I am at and also so I can Skype the wife - a technology that's all new to me but apparently brilliant.

Thanks for your comments for the last blog by the way, I enjoyed reading about all your early automotive experiences. I don't think anyone forgets their first car. Oh, and connors-75 I only wish I did have Cat's number to pass on.

Anyway, there have been stacks of people leaving messages along the lines of how excited they are about this. As much I'd love to believe it's all about the BBC, the departure of those untimely ads and the return of The Chain, it's obviously about much more than just that.

We shouldn't underestimate how much people are keen to have The Chain kicking off every Grand Prix. I watched the new opening titles resplendent with that tune this week - I wish I could reveal what they're like but if I did there may be someone else introducing the first race. They're great, though - fast-paced, slick and certainly very different to what's gone before.

Melbourne will host the opening race of the season

I think we're all excited because the sport is promising a greater nine months that ever before.

Not only did last season finish with a jaw-dropping climax that would have been too far-fetched for a Hollywood blockbuster, but it also delivered our first British world champion in 12 years.

That set the tone for renewed public interest in a sport that's keen to deliver an even more eye-catching spectacle. The new regulations have had hardcore fans speculating, investigating and debating all winter long. And let's remember that these changes weren't a reaction to a problem in the sport; they were proactive steps taken by all involved to improve the show - which is ultimately what we all want.

Then there was Honda. Against a backdrop of global doom they looked like the first victim of many as internet message boards buzzed with "who's next?" chatter. But like a phoenix from, erm, Brackley, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are back in the game and the team will be on the grid in Melbourne.

Precisely where will Brawn's boys be, though? Coughing on Force India's fumes? Battling Red Bull for a place on the podium? Well, after the remarkable events of the past few days in Barcelona perhaps they'll both be lapping the third-placed like the Williams-Honda circa 1986.

To see a team that might not have been in existence performing such miracles has been stupefying. Add to this heady mix the news that the McLarens are apparently struggling for grip and posting distinctly average times, and we've got another almost unbelievable chapter in what's becoming an amazing period for the sport.

It's great Brawn GP have joined Williams as a true independent in the grid and it's commendable that the regulation changes that have had engineers from Milan to Milton Keynes getting three hours' sleep a night all winter.

It's impossible to know if Lewis Hamilton, the reigning champion, does have a car that will struggle this season or if McLaren do what we all suspect them to and arrive in Melbourne looking confident and fast. And it's a huge relief that the worst news of the winter has become the biggest fairytale of all.

Just like you all, I enter a new season of F1 with more anticipation and excitement than ever. And I think it's down to a lot more than just because I'm going to be there. Yes, the BBC is delighted to be back in the game but it's really all about the timing.

2009 - a vintage year? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Can't wait for that new opening sequence Jake!!

    While I enjoy seeing Hamilton do well in F1 I don't think it would be such a bad thing to see him in a bad car - that'll show us how good he really is, and it would spice things up a bit.

    Interesting mention on Red Bull - when their car was released everybody said they'd be right at the top. But they, like BMW, have gone a bit quiet over the testing period.. Still I'm sure we'll have 5-7 teams fighting for podiums this season! It's going to be amazing.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good blog Jake.

    Can't wait for the season to kick off with the new no-ad coverage, no James Allen or Mark Blundell, and these new regulations.
    From the testing times it looks like many teams are in with a shout which will make racing very tight with plenty of incidents. A good time for yourself and the BBC to be making a comeback.
    Good luck with Melbourne, I certainly will be up at whatever hour of the morning it is on the Sunday, and maybe for qually too.

  • Comment number 3.

    Great blog Jake!!

    This season is looking like a cracker again, maybe even more unbelievable than last season. I think Mclaren are in trouble at the moment but at the next test i think they may have sorted it out, a team like that does not just lose it. I just hope we see even more winners this year and over taking on the track instead of in the pits, bit like like the prost, senna and mansell years.

    Jake how often are you going to get back to the uk during the season and how happy is your wife about this?

    Oh and can you pass on a message to martin brundle who i had the pleasure of meeting at the 2005 silverstone grand prix. At the time i asked if there was any chance of him going on top gear and doing the lap against the past and present f1 drivers, and he said he couldnt as he worked for ITV well now hes with the beeb any chance now?

    Enjoy!!

  • Comment number 4.

    @ comment no.2

    I couldn't agree more. I couldn't stand James Allen - terrible commentator.

    I really can not wait for this season to begin. Whilst I appreciate not having commercial ads spoiling the action (2005 San Marino GP anyone?), the extra interactive material that the BBC is bringing to us makes me wonder why those guys at ITV didn't accommodate the sport better.

    I mean F1.tv on Sky tried to do that, and I subscribed to it and it was fantastic. Shame that not enough people subscribed for Sky to keep it on, but now that the Beeb are doing a similar thing for a fixed contract is fantastic and for this reason, along with the new exciting rule changes, I can not wait.

    I totally agree that now we'll find out how good of a drive Lewis Hamilton is. We saw how good of a driver Alonso was in a pig of Renault, for which I now respect him for, and now it's Lewis' turn.

    I hope that the BrawnGP car is as quick in a race as it is in testing - I would love nothing more than our next champion to be Jenson Button or Rubens Barrichello. Both deserve the title and hope that they win it!

  • Comment number 5.

    It will be interesting to see how Lewis compares to Kovalainen this season, he's going to be the measuring stick if McLaren are struggling.

    Hamilton was over a second quicker that Heikki this week fr instance......

  • Comment number 6.

    In response to a previous comment, teams can just drop off the map in the space of a winter... think Williams 1998, where new rule changes like the ones this year saw the team suffer tremendously...

    I hope that isnt the case though, Hamilton makes for great viewing!! Great blog Jake!

  • Comment number 7.

    It's looking a classic year of Formula One racing and I am so excited about hearing "The Chain" start off Formula One broadcasts. I started watching full time in 1997 so never had the pleasure of hearing it before but for me it always has been the sound of Formula One.

    Bring on Melbourne!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi jake,

    your comment about the untimely ad's i had to laugh at a bit. While most of ITV's coverage was very good, better than the BBC were doing before they lost the rights, during the long Sunday afternoons watching Schumacker walking away at the front of the pack the adverts would be something to welcome, and thats not to take anything away from Micheal! I held this view unitll the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola! We know what were talking about there!

    Anyways, just wanted to tell you what a lucky so and so you are to be going to, not just one but all of the Grands Prix this year, and to ark you if you could smuggle me aboard one of your flights to a Grand Prix one day! LOL! Good luck this year!

  • Comment number 9.

    Can't for the new season... so unpredictable, yet so exciting. Can't wait for the programme to start either: duh... duh duh duh do duh duh....

  • Comment number 10.

    @jamesnorrisuk - Think having to use Judd normally-aspirated engines, instead of their previously all-conquering Honda turbos which had gone with Senna to McLaren, and persevering with active ride suspension had more than a little to do with Williams' drop in performance.

  • Comment number 11.

    “… Skype the wife …” is that a euphemism Jake? Ha ha. ;-)

    Good blog and all the best for your first race broadcast.

  • Comment number 12.

    HuntsOilyRag

    I think you'll find that Williams fell off the pace in 98 coz they were using SUPERTEC engines after losing their RENAULT supply.

    Also, a bit closer to the present, think how Honda seemed to have found the pace to compete when Button had his good season, then the next few seasons they were useless. I think it would be fun to see McLaren scrapping at the back/midfield for a while but I honestly can't see it happening.

  • Comment number 13.

    I cant wait for the new season, the chain, and a complete advert free coverage!!
    This season looks to be as open as you get however even if BrawnGP, BMW, or Red Bull are able to be more competitive with the "Big Boys", I'm expecting Massa and Raikkonen to be battling it out in the end. I'm not so convinced that if Mclaren are uncompetitive now, they will make up any lost ground during the season. We'll see.
    OK wheel out Fleetwood Mac and let's get going!!

    Still a nice blog to start with...

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Jake, looking forward to the new BBC coverage. I was pleased when I heard that you were to be given the gig, I was worried when I heard some of the names being banded about. Having seen you switch with ease from explaining sport on CBBC to satisfying enthusiasts of a niche sport like American Football, I am confident that you are indeed the man who can balance the demands of all segments of the F1 audience from enthusiasts to children and all of the casual viewers in between.

    I think it is very short sighted for people to be saying that Mclaren have no history of producing absolute dogs. Let us not forget from Mika Hakkinen's departure until the arrival of Fernando Alonso, Mclaren regularly struggled to produce competitive or consistent cars. Some in the industry suggest that Alonso bought half a second per lap to the team by providing some helpful hints on procedure and set-up. The Alonso data is no longer of any use, given the rule changes, and McLaren are back to struggling. I'd never write of McLaren, I have too much knowledge of the sport and respect for the team but lets not ignore some of their creations of the mid naughties (e.g. the car that never raced because it was such an unreliable and undrivale animal) and lets not forget that neither of their drivers have a reputation for being vaguely technical. They may struggle to develop their way out of their struggles!

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Jake,

    I too can't wait to see the new opening sequence. I'm not a "Chain" fanatic, but it is synonomous with F1 on the Beeb.

    Can I just point out that the BBC lost the F1 contract on the back of Britain gaining a F1 World Champion. And now the circle is truly complete!

    Chris, Bristol

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    And there was me thinking you would get me and Cat Deeley hooked up there Jake!
    Great blog buddy, i understand completely that you cant go into to much detail re the opening titles..what you have told us has certainly whetted the appetite further, ive done nothing but listen to "the chain" for the last 3 weeks! im even getting a live version of it from america off ebay..i figure if im going to smoke a few guys off the line in my mazda rx-8 then i best have the soundtrack for it as well! ha
    On a slightly more serious note, i am very worried about the lack of pace and grip coming from Mclaren Mercedes. Coming out today and saying that they are uncompetative just 16 days from round 1 is not the kind of chat i want to hear. And how can Brawn GP, who have only been on the go for about a week be smoking the oppostion during testing??
    Its defo shaping up to be an interesting season and i can only hope and pray that Mclaren Mercedes and Lewis in particular, can sort out the huge apparant problems facing them.
    Jake, are you going to be putting a blog on after each race, giving your opinion on the race, the show itself etc for us to read and comment on??

    connors-75

  • Comment number 18.

    Jake - I sit on the fence when it comes to your suitability to anchor this absolutely corking job. If you believe all you read there were questions over your beijing role and even the support job done for sports personality.

    However, I really hope it works out for you and that you defy any critics and make a great job of this fantastic opportunity. I think you join at a brilliant time for F1 when the people who really love the sport are the ones who will keep it alive.

    Brawn GP as a dark horse, McLaren looking catchable by the pack, Ferrari ominously quiet and focussed, Renault coming back to their best. Here's hoping it is vintage and that we get some overtaking that doesn't get interrupted by an ad!!

  • Comment number 19.

    "And let's remember that these changes weren't a reaction to a problem in the sport"

    That's exactly what it is, if they were proactive steps, they would've implemented changes 5 years ago like everyone said they should. But that's not to dwell on now.

    Im just pleased to see Brawn, Button and the BBC on me telly!


    @levdavidovich, Seeing as Jake couldn't possibly comment on your rant, i will do so on his behalf- Face.. Bovered.

  • Comment number 20.

    Thanks for referring pedantic #16 to the moderators. Still not sure (sorry, "I am still unsure") if that was serious. Anyway, to topics that actually matter...having set the bar so low last season, Brawn GP are set up to have a great 2009. Anything will be an improvement, I think they will have fun along the way, and certainly the Merc engine with its extra HP will be a huge asset, and early signs are pointing to improved reliability too. Agree with one of the posters that it will be interesting to witness Lewis in an average car, though somehow I can't see McLaren letting that happen. Roll on Melbourne!

  • Comment number 21.

    Jake, I'm a first time "blogger" and have to say I've been praying for Aunty Beeb to take back the F1 coverage. All my F1 friends are looking forward to the proposed interactive coverage ever since sky's failed atempt to extort money from us for the sort of interaction us armchair fans craved. (note to self, get a bigger tv!)
    Excitement is too short a term to use to sum up the feeling for the forth coming season.It looks like I shall be able to cheer on Jenson this year if all goes as well as the testing. About time he had a competitive car. It looks like F1 is carrying on where it left off last season.
    Keep up the good start

    Neil
    Bath

  • Comment number 22.

    @Carlo4

    When you've been watching F1 for as long as I have, then it's either your memory or your eyes - bring back SVGA optimised webpages - that is on the way out.

    My comment was of course regarding Williams' loss of form in 1988, not 1998.

    I've already got my coat. ;P

  • Comment number 23.

    Will we ever - can we ever - have another technological revolution given the present regulatory situation in F1? After Colin Chapman perfected his wing cars, the 78 and the 79, everyone else's machinery was obsolete at a stroke. So everyone decided to copy the 79, and hey presto, Lotus was never the same again. The copies were better than the original - the Williams FW07-Cosworth was the one to beat - until the advent of the turbos, when again everything had to change. Sadly, the history of F1 also shows that the true technological innovations usually were tolerated for a whlle, and then banned - first ground effect, then turbo engines, active suspension, traction control, etc. The reasion is usually cost, but I don't think that Colin Chapman spent a fortune developing ground effect, the dosh was probably spent by everyone else trying to keep up. I'm delighted to see the Ross-mobile doing so well - it proves that success is not just down to money, attention to detail is important, coupled with plenty of hard work. I'm also delighted to see Jenson looking so happy, in marked contrast to the gloomy guy from last year, whose only concern seemed to be to find something new to say to Louise Goodman when his race (as it often did) ended too soon after the start. Roll on March 29 - we must never break the Chain...

  • Comment number 24.

    Nice idea, I enjoyed your blog Jake and look forward to reading it all season hopefully.

    I am so looking forward to a race ending and the result coming up and us not being at an ad break ;) Yay for the beeb!!

    It's going to be a good season hopefully and I'm glad we'll still have Martin and his grid walks.

    Good luck Jake, hope we enjoy you as much as we enjoy the racing!!! Just hearing the chain makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Bring it on.

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi Jake, Loving the blogs, I know times set during testing are usually little indication of where teams will be at the first race but when Alonso, Massa and Kubica say the pace of Brawn GP is genuine that tells me that they are worried, Ross Brawn did say that they have a car capable of running in the top three and considering they started working on it in 2007 it is no surprise they are that fast. Maclaren do seem off the pace,running last years rear wing in testing and already have a new floor and aero package even before the first race and they are still well off the pace, with 3 teams having the Merc lump in the back does that put extra pressure on Maclaren? Ferrari are quietly going about their business as usual and the rest of the teams are much closer than previous years, looking like it will be a cracker of a season, Lewis and Jenson fighting for the title maybe....F1 back on the BBC...The theme tune...Perfection

  • Comment number 26.

    I agree with ForzaFernando who is spot on about Alonso massive contribution to the Mclaren team. Alonso's ability to develop the car is one of the reasons he is still the best driver in the world and if McLaren hadn't treated him like crap then they wud have won back to back drivers and constructors titles together. Am slightly worried for Fernando this year tho, I think the Renault may start the season like it did last year. It would pain me to see Fernando struggle in a car beneath his ability for another year, as much as I like Renault I'll be happy when Alonso finally gets his seat at Ferrari.
    I think the McLaren - Williams '98 analogy is a very good one, especially when you look at the records of their world champions, Hamilton has a virtually identical record to JV at this stage in his career. But we shouldn't forget McLaren produced a dog of a car as recently as '06, and before last year went 9 years without a drivers title and still haven't won the constructors since 1998.
    I think it'd be great to see McLaren produce a midfeild level car to see the quality of driver he really is, and whether like an Alonso or a Schumacher he can outperform the car and lead the improvement of the car over the season.
    As for the pace of Brawn I'm still unsure, i think they'll be up there fighting for podiums but they may well be putting on a bit of a show in testing in an attempt to attract sponsors. I would be surprised if they turned out to be a second ahead of the feild at Melbourne. I would also be horrified as I nearly put £2 on Barrachello to win the Aus Grand Pix at 66-1 last week.

  • Comment number 27.

    This blog is amazing. Everywhere else on the internet fans of different drivers and teams are at one-another's throats. Here everyone is just hoping for a good season of Formula 1, which is the most important thing. There's a great atmosphere of hope and faith that the BBC will correct the errors of previous years of broadcasting - good times.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Jake, I'm looking forward to the new season - and on the Beeb too!

    Congratulations on landing the job. But do a great job you must.

    I realise that this could bring a new audience to F1, some with little initial knowledge of the sport. Here, there will need to be balance. Feel free to educate the audience, but don't patronise: "So what does this do then?...". I've noticed that other BBC shows do this, but don't bring it to F1. After all, Gary Lineker doesn't explain the offside rule on MOTD.. he assumes (rightly) that the audience already knows this.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    I agree with KimiRa1kkonen's comment, this blog seems to be used by people who love and know the sport. I think the many comments regarding The Chain and lack of ad breaks indicates a few old boys among the bloggers.
    Lyria_f1 - Yeah I'm pleased the Beeb took on Martin Brundle. His race commentry, track talk through and grid walks were the best part of ITV's show.
    I see the Alonso/McLaren fiasco still raises comments. Love him or loathe him, Alonso has proved himself to be a world class driver and he still has a lot to give the sport, especially if he has a competitive car. I agree it will be interesting to see Lewis in a low par McLaren and conversly it will be interesting to see Jenson in a competitive car. Anyone remember his first season with Williams and also 2004 with BAR-Honda when it was only the Ferraris that stopped him winning a race.

    The big question at the moment seems to be Are Brawn GP just out for sponsorship or do they have a geuinely quick car? I think they will at worst be challenging for points and if all is as it seems then it's going to be interesting on the podium. Especially if the weather is as irratic as last year!

    It's going to be a long 2 weeks till the 28th/29th.

  • Comment number 31.

    F1oldb0y I would say look at the Brawn Gp's times over the test sessions, when they ran in Race Simulation they ran mid 1.21's which is fantastic in a fuelled up car. See brawngp.blogspot.com for more details on the brawn car / times.

    F1 in 09 is going to be fantastic imo. Not only returning to the Beeb but I think a return to wheel to wheel racing.

  • Comment number 32.

    i have a theory as to why Brawn GP are running as one of the quickest cars at the moment...
    on the face of it this makes a lot of sense, so here we go..

    They have no sponsorship livery/stickers on their car.

    the weight of all those stickers on all the other cars must be adding fractions of seconds to their practice times while Brawn GP just glide round the track with a smooth sticker free motor.

    (i am of course joking before you all jump in and slaughter me!)

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi Jake,
    Would like to wish all the BBC Formula One Team the very best of luck this season.

    I am really looking forward to the interactive RED button feature with lap times and highlights. The Friday practice will also be a great feature.

    Well Jake you are a very lucky man indeed. I think i could talk for everybody that they would love to be in your position.

    Good Luck James

  • Comment number 34.

    Bring on Melbourne

  • Comment number 35.

    I am really pleased that Brawn GP are going to Melbourne, and I am elated that they seem to be posting decent times in testing, and that their peers are indicating that they feel the times are genuine. However, the cynic in me wonders whether they are fast because they need sponsors, and obviously headline lap times will help.

    I am really looking forward to this season with it's combination of new rules and new technology, not to mention a potentially even field with Lewis Hamilton fighting his way thtough.

    As much as I am glad that it is back at the beeb and the coverage looks to be what we have all been dreaming for, I cannot help feel grateful to ITV for doing a good job for 12 years and sad that James Allen and Louise Goodman wont be with us.

  • Comment number 36.

    I am going to the Melbourne GP. I see that thier TV station "One HD"
    is transmitting the Race, qualifying and all F1 practice sessions in HD.
    Are the BBC not allowed to use this feed.

    I also thought that James Allen and Martin Blundle gave an excellent commentary.

  • Comment number 37.

    Can't wait for the new season and to be able to enjoy the action without ad breaks! I was driving home last night and the full length version of The Chain came on to radio, sad case that I am I took a longer route home and turned the volume up very loud! It could well be that the new regs are going to be a "reset button" on F1 and the pecking order will be shaken about. WE'll have a better idea of everyone's performance after 20 or so laps on Sunday morning.

    #23. There's never been anyone who could match Chapman for brilliance, but his cars tended to be all or nothing affairs, for almost every diamond like the Lotus 25 and the 79 (still for me the most beautiful F1 car ever made!) there was an absolute turkey like the Lotus 80! You can be too clever sometimes and get it horribly wrong, and I wonder if McLaren have made that mistake, we haven't long to find out!

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi Jake,

    It's lovely have F1 back on the BBC - I respect ITV for some of the efforts they went to with the coverage - but already the promise of the truly multi-media approach of the BBC to F1 has my appetite whet and seems to out-strip what ITV were offering in that sense. It will, frankly, be wonderful to no longer hear that annoying whining/distorted with music change of tone when the adverts used to set in.... :) Also very much looking forward to the goosebumps that 'The Chain' brings - whenever I hear it I still see Mansell's tyre blow-out from the original credits...I remember the last BBC broadcast with a few tears (and I'm only in my early twenties now!!).

    Season looks set to offer us a lot - frankly I am surprised but deeply proud of the Brawn GP team. They, alongside Williams, for me, exemplify the spirit of motor-racing and particularly the drive required from independent teams to come up with the goods. I know they worked so hard last season in anticipation for this season, continued to work over Christmas/New Year when Honda pulled out and now they finally have the chance most thought they'd never have they seem to have bitten the hands, wrists, arms and shoulders off!!! :)

    Then again I'm a bit gutted for Mclaren - how you can conduct so much testing with last seasons car at times (or at least last season's aerodynamic setup) is totally beyond me and something must have gone wrong in a big way somewhere... I still hope they can sort themselves out during the current test.

    The unknown factor for the season at the start will be the changeable front wings - giving less downforce and a few kph along the straights for overtaking (only being allowed to do this twice per lap) and how this might offer some near-swashbuckling overtaking manouvers. With the hopeful late-season implementation of KERS (and particularly watch out for Williams flywheel version - this may be the standard and method by which other teams will follow) then we have potential for mixups/order changes and odds switches throughout the season.

    Roll on Melbourne, roll on your slick tyres and roll for all your money's worh when the lights go out and don't stop till you see the flag...!

  • Comment number 39.

    #35 If McLaren are as uncompetitive as the testing times suggest then this will be when we find out just how good a driver Hamilton really is. In 1996, Ferrari got their interpretation of the new rules regarding the width of the cockpit wrong and produced a pig of a car which only Schumacher could make something of. Remember his opening laps in the wet at Spain that year?

  • Comment number 40.

    James Allen was a great commentator working in the commercial confines of ITV.

    I hope you bought an Apple .... by far the most reliable bit of IT kit out there when globe trotting.

    There's a HUGE difference between going testing and going racing. Brawn has a fantastic F1 brain and he will take the team forward over the season, but it would be a very big ask for Brawn GP to win titles this year ... not impossible, but unlikely.

    More likely to be Massa or Alonso as WDC this year.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think 2009 has got all the right ingredients for a classic year. Personally, I'd like to see at least six different drivers win. I'd also like to see Brawn GP win their first GP before the first half of the season is done. To echo some comments re Hamilton and the potentially sub-standard McLaren, we will really see how good he is in the first few races. We've always seen him in a winning car, and whereas his talent can't be questioned, the real measure of the driver can be seen when they are wringing the best out of a car that can't do much!

  • Comment number 42.

    Great Blog Jake.

    All the very best of luck with the broadcasts!

  • Comment number 43.

    #39 - Schumacher is a little bit better than Hamilton, Schumacher is a little bit better than just about anyone but I get what you're saying.

    I just want a season where most (if not all) teams are competitive and whilst teams get to grips with the new rules it looks like it will be just that.

  • Comment number 44.

    Brawn GP when they were Honda had a lot of money spent on the development of this car, by a lot i mean more then any other team by far (why honda pulled out, invested too much, no sponsors). Its not surprising now that they are doing well. The question now is.... can they develop their car at the same rate as the top teams... Remember that Brawn GP now has little/none sponsorship, and have had to lay off a lot of their design/development team.

    Will be interesting to see if the KERS has the desired effect.

  • Comment number 45.

    hey jake

    good luck with coverage.
    great that the chain will be used though it was before my time.

    my first memory of f1 is the old fia title music used in the nineties/early 2000s about 5 minutes before the race and that guitar riff.

    any chance that could be returned to the coverage. Heres a youtube link to what im talking about:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbj32GPrLyE

  • Comment number 46.

    Good blog Jake, hope it all goes well in Oz.

    I certainly haven't looked forward to a new season as much as this one. Possibly the tightest championship in years.

    Also looking forward to the BBC's coverage, it has to be better than itv's efforts. Wahey, no adverts on the final lap!!! lol.

    One Q: What's the craic with the kers system. Are we going to be able to see on-screen when a driver deploys the boost?

    Have a good time in Melbourne.

  • Comment number 47.

    It's great to see F1 back on the BBC because it means a complete overhaul of how the sport is beamed to our living rooms. The Red Button stuff sounds exciting and I understand the BBC is putting pressure on Bernie to provide High Def coverage for 2010 - two big leaps forward in (hopefully) two years.

    However, ITV did a good job with their coverage. They gave the race a dedicated one hour of build up which the BBC didn't do, they jumped in twenty minutes before the race started, often from Grandstand. But after that, ITV didn't do anything else to revolutionise the coverage.

    In fact the F1.com live timing and the BBC's live race texts and comments where the only things that moved the coverage a big step forward.

    Anyway, bring on Melbourne. For me, the season starts on Thursday (19th) with Autosports season preview and The Guardians excellent season preview on Monday (23rd)

    Can't wait.....


  • Comment number 48.

    I'm so excited about this season. Really hoping for a competitive year and — given the performances of Kubica in the first half of 2008 and Alonso in the latter half of 2008, the down-to-the-wire competition between Hamilton and Massa, and the intriguing stories of how testing is going — it looks like this year could be really exciting.

    I've always been a Webber fan and now that the brilliant Vettel has moved to Red Bull I'm primarily going to be supporting that team in 2009. I really hope the car is competitive.

    It's great that the BBC is doing the coverage again; I didn't think ITV was too bad but I hated the adverts and the BBC's online offering looks nicely extensive. Also, I'm a massive fan of The Chain :-)

    I won't actually be watching the first GP on the BBC though. Because I'm going to be in Melbourne, watching it live :-) I don't mean to brag but I'm so excited, I haven't been to a GP since about 1990 when I was a kid.
    Maybe see you there Jake!

  • Comment number 49.

    Be lovely to hear if you gave Steve Rider or Jim Rosenthall a call to get some tips off them. They did a stellar job of hosting coverage for a number of years and their opinions would be worth a listen!

    And remember, not all of us want the Chain back - it's a throw back to when the BBC treated F1 with disdain and as a second rate sport.

    Nonetheless, best for the new season.

  • Comment number 50.

    I am going to see the Test at Jerez tomorrow and cant wait to see the start of the season.
    The new cars are so different its going to make things very interesting.

    Jake, I am so pleased to see you will be our host! You will have a fantastic time!

    Roll on 29th !!! :)

  • Comment number 51.

    Im so excited now and especially as 'The chain' is coming back.

    However these new developments about the most F1 Wins wins the championship is a bit strange but we will have to see if it work outs.

    what is your view of this major new development Jake?

  • Comment number 52.

    #45 I love that FIA jingle too and of course echo everyone else's comments about "The Chain" coming back in its original form with no horrible remix a la BBC snooker theme (ruined!)

    Does anyone else remember this? www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bsfpb98Nss It is the BBC's starting grid music from the late 80s/early 90s and really brings back memories of the Senna Prost Mansell era. I guess there is no chance of bringing this music back too BBC? It seems to fit perfectly even if it is dated now I suppose.

    Getting some early nights before the 27th!

  • Comment number 53.

    Hi Jake,

    I too would love to hear your views on the disturbing new points system.

    I would love to see someone present all of the damning comments on the 606 boards to Bernie & Mosley so they realise how wrong their proposal is.

    He talks about excitement and passing - well all of the rules that have been changed to reduce aerodynamic grip and increase mechanical grip and also KERS have all been introduced to encourage more overtaking.

    Drivers weren't just sitting there not attacking because they didn't want to, they were doing it because the turbulent "dirty" air was so bad that they couldn't actually get close enough to make a move. Also because they didn't have confidence that the groved tyres would have enough grip for a move to stick if they made it.

    In spite of all of this I still remember a lot of great moves during last year, and not just from Lewis, and one of the most exciting finishes to any sporting event ever!!

    Bernie will perhaps say that there are always people cynical to change, but if the 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points system had been introduced I doubt there'd be a single complaint.

    If someoone gets 5 wins and then doesn't finish on the podium for the rest of the season and still beats someone who wins 4 times and has numerous 2nd's and 3rd's as well, that's just stupid.

    The greater points difference between 1st and 2nd would have increased the incentive to go for the win without completely devaluing well every position except 1st place!

    Well done FIA you've already pretty much ruined this sesaon for me, and I was ridiculously excited about it just yesterday!

  • Comment number 54.

    I hope to god the bbc dont try too hard to impress and over do it. Theres no need to jazz it all up with a load of glitzy glamour and razzamataz, let the sport shine through! I hope its about the motor racing and not much else.

    I dont mind an entertainer for a commentator, its probably needed, but only if theres someone there who really knows whats going on - Martin Brundle does a great job (he was the best thing about itv coverage, and i dont think i could have watched any of it without him).

    Good luck Jake, if you can keep all it all together and contain your excitement down in Melbourne then i reckon you are a better man then i! :-)

  • Comment number 55.

    For goodness sake dont take any tips from itvs coverage.

    Steve Rider was and is ok, but Jim Rosenthall was and is dire!

    I'm sure the bbc will just do its thing and cover the racing, and everything will be great.



    Not that i'm excited or anything. :-)

  • Comment number 56.

    Of course the BBC is a class act when it comes to covering sport, especially motor sport. I dont think we (i) have anything to worry about, a case in point is the new "The World's Greatest Car Chase" - not a word! Brilliant!

  • Comment number 57.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/cancel-the-fia-approved-wdc-selection-criteria-for-f1-world-championship-2009

    People who are against the new points system please sign this petition, it already has 6,000 signatures in the space of only a few hours.

  • Comment number 58.

    nice to see blogs in this format from people form the show... a very ground level approach...

    can't wait for the season to start

  • Comment number 59.

    I was looking forward to 2009 as I have to every F1 season for 20 years. Then it is revealed they are changing the most fundamental aspect - how they decide who wins. From being excited about the season and about watching it on BBC, I am now dismayed at the destruction of this sport. I will not be watching F1 again this year or any year. F1 is dead.

  • Comment number 60.

    Welcome to the F1 team Jake.
    I am so excited about the BBC presentation this year. I was very disappointed when F1 switched to ITV and although they did a reasonable job I feel that the home of F1 is and will always be BBC.
    There were a few weaknesses in the ITV camp... James Allen being the main one with his incessant recaps and seemingly uneducated comments. Then there were the adverts... nuff said!
    The BBC team looks very strong and I can't wait! I am so glad that Martin Brundell has been retained.
    As for the farce regarding how the championship s won... well, this is clearly something that has been pushed through by Bernie Ecclestone. I wish he would just retire and leve F1 to someone who has the sport, and not their wallets, at heart.
    Roll on Australia...


  • Comment number 61.

    redved
    Although I agree with you that for F1 to change the way in which the championship is decided is a bit drastic, I feel that someone with 20 years of watching the sport should know it's not just about the winning.
    Do we have a sport that rewards consistancy and reliability or just rewards the winner? There are equal arguments for both sides but at the end of the day the teams will be competing for the best they can achieve on each race day. I hope you keep the faith and enjoy the racing regardless of who wins.

  • Comment number 62.

    Hi lets say Hamilton wins the first 8 races and runs away with it do they say end of season most viewers will not want to see the rest of the season as they will think he has won it thats it

  • Comment number 63.

    @ collboxman

    No, the season would not end, even in the unlikely event of a whitewash. As there is still a constructors championship to decide and the final positioning of the rest of the grid.

    @ F1oldboy

    Consistency, reliability or winner? F1 is about all three. For the drivers it is only about winning (what else) but for the constructors it is consistency and reliability.

    @ Redved

    Why not actually add to the debate and state your reasons why F1 is in fact dead to you? Or is it simply that your unable to really create an opinion of your own and therefore unable to answer for it?

  • Comment number 64.

    Hi Jake

    Great stuff to look forward to with the BBC this season, can't wait.

    No reply to your blog, it was excellent, however it is really interesting reading everyone's comments and thoughts about the coming season.

    For what it's worth I think a greater margin of points between 1st and 2nd would be better but lets wait and see.

    Good luck for race 1, I like many others will be up early watching it live.



  • Comment number 65.

    @Jack_McGhee

    I agree F1 is about all three but the point is a driver can be consistantly good throughout the season but not win a race and therefore lose to another driver who has won a few races but does not finish in the rest. To be honest I'm not too bothered which system is used because I enjoy the racing from front runner to back marker. It's only been in more recent years (during the M. Schumacher era) that the tv coverage has extended to the midfield battles to show some excitement. (There was a comedy sketch that showed Schumy winning in a pedal cart!) Even with the old points system some seasons have been won early on when one team has dominated. Whilst I agree with Mr Alonso that they are bringing in too many changes at once, I think this season is going to be as interesting as the last and possibly there will be a few more teams in with a chance of the championship.
    I can't wait for the season to begin!

  • Comment number 66.

    I am so glad that Martin Brundle is going to be giving the race analysis - F1 would not be F1 without his inside knowledge and 'speak as you find' attitude.

    I think Brundle and Legard will be an interesting and hopefully superb combination. Eddie Izzard is also a great catch as well and I am looking forward to the views of all 3 but...

    Please, please, please do not fall into the mistakes that ITV made in the early years when some commentators would allude to inside gossip about F1 teams, drivers and so on in the pre and post-race commentary and then not expand on it - leaving us the audience left out and having to search in the tabloids to find out which driver had rowed with which, who dislikes who, who hates who, etc, etc. A big part of F1 is about the spectacle of F1 with all its faults.

    Finally, may I suggest a competition for the new F1 series?

    Can we have a competition for the man on the grid prior to the race who has the biggest mullet and the biggest gold medallion? We could also have one for which lady on the grid has the most make-up trowelled on her face? For some reason, F1 seems to have an abundance of such men and women that appear missing from so many other sports!?

  • Comment number 67.

    hi jake, i hope you do well, you did the olympics you say so i reckon you will do a great job with formula one, im looking forward to how you do

  • Comment number 68.

    just read the feature in top gear magazine about you in the siarpc car, gutted it wasn't filmed for the show

  • Comment number 69.

    Hi Jake, I agree it's great that Brawn GP have joined Williams as a true independent in the grid. Very Exciting!
    I would just like to say much I'm looking forward to seeing a true talent like yourself bringing the F1 back to the BBC! I know this year the coverage is going to be second to none, especially with the additional red button options and your in depth knowledge and views!
    It's really going to make the F1 accessible to both F1 super geeks like me and the general public.
    Good luck
    Harvey
    I have tried the SKPYE technology and it works great. Your wife will be very happy she can contact you regularly and best of of for free...

 

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