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Leave no Silverstone unturned

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Jake Humphrey | 09:14 UK time, Thursday, 25 June 2009

I am sending you this blog from my sofa, in my house, with a big smile on my face. Here's why it's such a big deal...

I always think of myself as the kind of guy who doesn't really need the trappings of a wirelessly-routed, on-demand, 21st Century existence, and then odd things happen to make me realise that I'm just as fragile and hopelessly addicted to this digital age as the next person.

The first nudge that I'm no Bear Grylls was when Harriet and I moved house just after the Turkish GP and had no hot water for 48 hours. We are talking less than two days in total spent boiling kettles to fill the bath, and showering while crouched in the foetal position breathing about three times a second. The way we moaned though you'd have thought it was a lifetime - how spoiled we are! In fact, I'm already pretty sure I'll be regaling my kids with tales of "your mother and I used to get by with no hot water when we first lived here you know!"

I hope it didn't show on TV, but I had to endure the three-second sub-zero shower on both the days I went filming with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button last week. I just used double the aftershave. I guess as Lewis tended to drive the £300k SLR with the gull-wing doors up he hardly noticed. Or perhaps he was airing the car. You can watch those pieces here and here if you missed them, by the way.

Keep your eye on that monitor, DC

However, an icy shower pales into insignificance when I tell you that for the past three weeks I have been devoid of the internet at home. If there is a sure fire way to feel like you're back in 1986 it's to move to my new house.

No internet, no home phone, and you only get mobile signal on the other side of the street! I did a Radio Norfolk phone interview on Monday morning after the British GP and I was in my pyjamas at 8.45am, on the opposite side of the road, and I seemed to time it just as the whole of Richmond was commuting to work, school or college. Most embarrassing!

The only time I remember being more shown up outside my own house was when I put on Harriet's incredibly girly slippers to pop outside and see her off to work one morning last year, shut myself out, and then proceeded to run around the corner in my dressing gown and girls slippers, waving wildly for her to stop and let me back in. As I appeared around the corner a load of schoolkids were boarding a coach to go on some field trip - abject humiliation. I now just say bye at the front door, for obvious reasons.

Anyway, back to my point. A man arrived today, drilled holes so my walls resemble a sieve and I am now fully cabled up, and have use of a landline once again. Even this was typically tinged with idiocy as I managed to lock myself out and so ended up meeting my neighbour properly for the first time and borrowing his ladder to get back in the house. It's worth telling you now that my mate James called me "General Accident" when we were kids.

Anyhow, I won't pretend my tardiness with this particular post-race blog is entirely down to the fact that I was cut off from civilisation, or locked out on the pavement since Sunday. I have just spent the best part of the past couple of days in something of a tired, monosyllabic daze after a weekend that will probably go down as the most memorable if not exhausting, of my career so far.

I remember sitting in a bar with Sunil, one of the producers. We had just checked into the rather odd Sunway Lagoon Hotel for the Malaysian GP and Silverstone seemed, and was, a very long way off. We chatted about what our home GP would be like over dinner during a sultry Eastern evening; it more than lived up to expectations.

The whole team got together for a meeting at Television Centre last week (no-one brought cake!) so we could discuss how to make this weekend feel different from our previous seven race weekends. We had a few ideas of how to make it feel memorable... and then F1 went and created its own drama that none of us could have scripted.

Last minute chat with Eddie

There is a special energy that comes from big news stories when you do our job. When I arrived in the production office on Friday morning at about 8am there was a real electricity in the room. The Fota breakaway threat had emerged around midnight, and we all knew the following days would be huge for Formula 1 and that, come Saturday and Sunday lunchtime, all eyes would be on how we handled the political story as well as the sporting one.

As Friday unfolded I got a real sense of just how big and all encompassing the BBC can be when it needs to be. On the way in, I listened to 5 Live, who had guys live at the track explaining the impact of Fota's threatened breakaway. Not long after my arrival, BBC sports editor Mihir Bose was enjoying the delights of the F1 production team's kitchen, and was charged with making a story that would be seen by many millions during the 10 O'Clock News. Sports news correspondent James Munro was there to deliver breaking news updates and regular bulletins on the BBC News Channel, as well as the main news bulletins at 1pm and 6pm. The web journalists were busy sending copy and filing stories - and I walked into the centre of the lot knowing that at some point Max Mosley would talk and we had to be ready.

Eventually, at mid-afternoon F1 editor Mark Wilkin took a call on his mobile, turned to me and said: "We need to go now". I knew he was talking about the Mosley interview and I'll happily admit that at that point I felt really nervous for the first time this season.

Pre-show nerves

You see, I feel pretty comfortable on live television, having done it every week, almost every day in fact since I was 18. However, speaking to the man at the top of the FIA, a sharp political operator, a shrewd mind, a man commonly referred to as the "cleverest guy in Formula 1" and the man at the very eye of this particular storm made me genuinely a little edgy.

As we bleeped our way out of the TV compound using our electronic accreditations and over the bridge to the paddock, I started to think about what was coming. I really felt that, as an F1 fan myself, there were questions that needed asking and explanations that had to be offered. I know many of you at home were questioning whether the sport you love would even survive this latest firestorm and I certainly felt a sense of responsibility and duty as the man charged with discussing the issues with Max.

What added to the feeling of pressure was that as we walked to the interview area was that it seemed the world's media were camped outside the FIA motorhome. Everyone wanted a picture, a quote, just something from Max to help tell the story. I walked past knowing that in a matter of moments the BBC would be lucky enough to be the only broadcaster granted a few minutes with the man himself.

We got into the Formula 1 Management building and there followed a mildly comic routine that wouldn't have been out of place on the Chuckle Brothers.

We were offered a tiny little white office to do the interview. Ironically, it resembled an interrogation room and wasn't really suitable. So, moments before the FIA president joined us I was out in the adjoining offices tracking down a pot plant and negotiating it's loan to 'dress the shot', moving tables and carrying chairs in and out whilst the camera men sorted the technical equipment. You see, with interviews like this you are either ready or it doesn't happen, and we had to be ready.

Someone then said Max was coming. I looked out of the window to see a pack of media moving slowly towards us. I guessed Max was in the middle of it.

Anyway, we spoke at length. If you haven't already watched the full version you can see it here on the BBC Sport website. Max was very eloquent, is clearly passionate about F1 and he firmly believes cutting costs is essential for it to survive. I enjoyed our chat. Max even said he liked our F1 coverage but moaned that no add breaks meant he couldn't nip off to the toilet. Quite a few people have mentioned this - I recommended a regulation three-minute stop for all cars on lap 30 should be written in to the rules!

I know in the grand scheme of things there are much bigger issues in the world right now. But in F1 circles this past weekend's story was big and it was great so many people joined us over the weekend to help explain it.

We're are in there somewhere... with Stefano Domenicali of Ferrari!

As well as Max on Saturday and Sunday, we spoke to Bernie live during the qualifying show and after the race we had various team bosses, technical heads, race engineers and even Felipe Massa live in the paddock. It felt like a weekend when everyone wanted to speak to the BBC and considering there was a lot to talk about and loads of air-time to fill I'm glad the F1 world was in a chatty mood!

Felipe Massa swung by for a chat

It now seems this weekend we witnessed the final manoeuvrings by both parties, followed by the resolution that all fans of the sport were praying for. Is that it for controversy and debate away from the track this season? Somehow I don't think so.

F1 has been known to change its mind before, but as things stand it looks like things have been resolved. Fota has proved how strong and unified the teams are and just what they can achieve together, Bernie has ensured the sport that he is the figurehead for has survived to continue to thrive, and it seems Max has now agreed that his time as president is up after all. It's worth pointing out that Max's tenure at the top has been a period where the safety of F1 has moved on immeasurably and drivers are now safer than ever before. He should take great credit for that.

The crowds were so big EJ had the Army called in!

And among all this some news emerged that would almost have been easy to miss. We're all, thankfully, going to have a British Grand Prix in the future, and if Donington Park can't deliver one then Silverstone will. I actually remember Eddie Jordan telling us weeks ago in Bahrain that he thought Bernie was so dead against Silverstone hosting another race that it actually meant Bernie was guaranteed to return the race there one day. EJ obviously knows the man well!

I have to say that with all the political manoeuvring and last-minute guests joining us over the weekend I had a great time. The biggest buzz of all was that it was played out to the backdrop of the most incredible support. There is no question in my mind that at the previous seven races this year the fans haven't been a patch on you guys. An amazing noise, colour, knowledge and passion filtered down from the stands.

What a place to record the opening link

I was filming an opening link on the track before the race and I could hardly take my eyes off the main stand. The fans were immense.

From driving away past the packed funfair at 10pm, to my drive in the following morning with fans starting to walk to the circuit from miles away at the crack of dawn, it all oozed a real dedication to motorsport and I think it's you guys who have helped save the British GP in a very big way indeed.

Right, enough from me, I'm off to watch a bit of Wimbledon on TV and then to a DIY store to buy a plunger. The kitchen in our new pad is straight out of 1989, ceramic white with blue flowers... classy! It'll be replaced in time but right now I just need it to work!

Before I sign off, just a reminder that you can sign up to my Twitter account at Tweets get going again for the German GP, and also as we're now halfway through the season it seems like a good time for feedback about what you like or don't and what you think is or isn't working... We've all got thick skins I promise!

Finally it was great to meet so many of you at this weekend's race, wherever we are in 12 months' time I hope to see you there too.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine,

Oh, and here are the rest of the photos from the weekend...

The Stig

Jake and Chris Moyles

Meeting the F1 fans

Ted Kravitz looks on as we chat to Martin Whitmarsh

The day ended with the BBC team meeting F1's real stars - the fans


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  • Comment number 1.

    Excellent blog as always Jake. Thought it was funny this weekend that as soon as there was a threat of a breakaway, Bernie suddenly falls in love with Silverstone again. Or maybe it was the sight of 100,000 paying punters that made him overlook the shortcomings he's moaned on about for years!

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm not the biggest fan of Formula 1, but even I have been keeping up with the row over the proposed changes to the sport- which is why I read this article. Thanks for the informative take on this weekend's events.
    I wanted to comment because I feel the article, together with the pictures, do a great job of showing the atmosphere and excitement of the GP weekend.
    Also, I'd just like to say that the article, having correctly structured paragraphs, is a nice, easy read (contrast this with the usual, one sentence paragraphs on offer on BBC Sport) Is there any chance other writers on the site can start using standard writing techniques?
    Cheers, Steve

  • Comment number 3.

    An excellent blog once again Jake, it's really great to have a behind the scenes look at how much effort goes into producing the programmes.

    Was particually intersting to hear you were nervous before talking to Max. I can imagian being the only broadcaster permitted to such an interview was a privilege.

    I would say - being halfway through the season - that you've exceeded the expectations as to how I thought you would be as a presenter. It is apparent you have a genuine interest in F1, unlike some presenters of other sports who simply do it because of the paycheck (no expenses claimed of course!). The qualifying and race programmes have a great balence between informing new viewers of F1 and having the indepth features that hardcore fans (such as myself) enjoy watching. Martin Brundle's pitstop feature on Silverstone raceday was especially good and well presented.

    Overall, a very good start to the BBC's coverage and we can now all look forward to a few more years of it now the breakaway series has been nullified.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi jake

    well done another great weekend, its great to see the you and the BBd are getting the big interviews and some great access to get us closer to the teams etc.

    well done on keeping out of trouble, i hope you looked up and down the pit lane before you crossed lol

    roll on Germany

    Dublin Ireland

  • Comment number 5.

    You looked like you had a superb weekend from the photos Jake and I bet you were chuffed to be signing autographs for the fans .... just as popular as the drivers. I was sat in the main stand for the GP right opposite the podium and everyone around us was disussing where you, DC and EJ were. So I got my W995 Sony Ericcson phone which has BBC iPlayer built in and using the Watch BBC One live feature I was able to spot you lot were standing by Toyota, which we couldn't see. But I did catch Martin Brundle chatting to Flavio on the grid during his famous gridwalk and I caught Patrick Head and Mario Theissen in a couple of grid photos. Then the battery indicator came on and I had to switch the camera off and only just managed one podium shot. Silverstone has an amazing atmosphere and has a wonderful friendly village and a great pub and I only hope Donington has something like this too.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Jake. The interactive forum is not very interactive, the lack of e-mails/texts has been disappointing.

    Can you not have say, 15 minutes, of the forum where nothing apart from e-mails are answered? What about a phone-in?

    Otherwise, brilliant coverage. EJ and DC bouncing off each other works very well, your school boy enthusiasm, the BBC F1 website, Jonathan and Martin (an inspired choice of commentary team), Inside F1, Practice with 5 Live commentary, the extra video streams. Everything has been wonderful.

  • Comment number 7.

    Excellent blog as per usual Jake, keep up the good work.

    I actually have an idea for a feature which you could do if your ever short on material. At Silverstone Martin acknowledge the work of 'FOM TV', who do an excellent job of producing the world feed for virtually all of the races these days. I think a feature on this operation could prove interesting for most fans, not just us TV production geeks. The feature could follow the FOM team as they set up the F1 Communications tent and all the equipment (Camera's, timing systems, the Thursday system test with the Safety and Medical cars), show what goes into producing the coverage, the people, the expertise, then show them packing up for the next round.

    I think it'd be interesting and would give some deserved attention to these unsung professionals who, as Bernie E likes to say, 'do a good job for us'. A nice little history piece on the origins of Bernievision would be appreciated too, throw in some archive F1Digital+ footage and us F1 coverage buffs would be very happy!

    Of course, this feature would rely on FOM being happy to be the centre of attention, which may be a sticking point as they're normally as secretive as the Gestapo...

    Anyway, good luck for the rest of the season, the BBC's coverage is excellent (though you need to promote the F1 Forum better, at the moment it's treated like a dirty little secret). :)

  • Comment number 8.

    Great blog again Jake, and great coverage from the BBC. I think the weakest link is still Jonathan Leggard - he gets things wrong and hasnt yet gelled with Brundle. James Allen had more passion and a better banter with Martin. That apart, well done, nice to praise the BBC for something its got right, rather than all things (political) it hasnt............

  • Comment number 9.

    Awesome blog as always, Jake, and awesome coverage too - first race since Malaysia that I've been able to watch on a proper telly thanks to university (the rest have been online) and what a time to tune in! Shame the race was almost processional but you guys did a great job handling the row escalating over the weekend.

    Just one quick question - what did you think of Max Mosley calling the breakaway teams "loonies" in your interview? I didn't know whether to laugh or be disgusted...

    Keep up the good work!


  • Comment number 10.

    Good interview with max Jake,i thought you stepped up well there mate,good job.

  • Comment number 11.

    The cherry on top of the great coverage Jake would be high definition broadcasting.
    Please ask Max,Bernie and your bosses to provide it as it is eagerly awaited.

    Enjoy your new place and don't get locked out. Perhaps at the next F1 charity event you can don your partners slippers and gown again.

  • Comment number 12.

    For anyone that wants to see F1 in HD please also post your comments or wishes on the BBC HD blog.

  • Comment number 13.

    Great blog and work Jake as always. I found the story about the house and the radio interview very amusing!

    Kudos for the interview too, I would have been extremely nervous about interviewing Max too. With regards to the room, Autosport said this week it looked like a "broom cupboard", which is perhaps a bit harsh! :P

    But yeah, keep up the great work mate.

  • Comment number 14.

    A thought about Mosley - Putting aside recent conflicts and a rather dictatorial approach, he should be remembered for developing motorsport generally. Everybody should be reminded of the shambles in the FIA when Jean Marie Balestre was previously in charge. Mosley proved to be the great hope and saviour. We should be cautious about his successor.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Jake

    Thanks for another interesting weblog. I agree with some people above that the BCC are doing a great job of F1 coverage - a big step forward from ITV's last year. Keep it up! The only development point I would give is that Jonathan Leggard is the weakest presenter. He often seems to be at odds with Martin with what they should be talking about. He would prefer to read off a list of cars' positions rather than looking out for an upcoming overtaking opportunity. I think the relationship between the two commentators needs to develop further, otherwise replace Leggard for next season's coverage.


  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Jake, another brilliant blog!

    Ok, now on to the bad stuff. As you've asked for our feedback - here it is!

    I'm afraid Eddie Jordan has made a bit of a mess of it this season. He seems like a really fun guy - don't get me wrong - I just don't think he has the natural "TV" quality. He comes across as a bit of a blunderer and often goes on unnecessary tangents.

    Secondly! Jonathan Legard. I will try to be as polite as I can about him. He tries his best. But to me at least, his commentary is woefully short of the expected level of what is, overall, the best F1 coverage ever. Cold, sterile, unenthusiastic, overdramatic when he doesn't need to be, unable to build tension, cliche-ridden, and worse, that Sinful quality he has of talking over Martin Brundle. Jonathan also seems distant from the rest of the team and from my perspective at least, he also seems distant from the sport itself.

    Also is there any chance we could see the full Onboard race on BBC iPlayer after the race has finished? It's kind of a pointless feature during the race when you want the TV coverage.

    Best of luck Jake, enjoy your new home and look forward to watching you at the next race! :-)

  • Comment number 17.

    @ Andrew Knight, it doesn't matter if people ask for it, Bernie will provide HD when its good for him. When its provided the BBC will take it.

    A number of things have indicated that a HD feed may be provided from the Japanese GP onwards, though don't get your hopes up. 2010 looks more likely.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Jake

    I'm loving the coverage on the BBC especially the F1 forum which has been really informative. I found the interview with Max to be really informative and I personally thourght he made a lot of sense, but then I'm very much an anti-tifosi (I personally hope Ferrari never get back to their winning ways) and FOTA has always seemed to me to be dominated by Ferrari. I've been enjoying your tweets, you really show how much enthusiasm you have for the sport and fun you have covering F1 even if it is sometimes tiring and uncomfortable. Im really looking forward to Germany and the rest of the season!


  • Comment number 19.

    I'd agree with some of the previous comments about Jonathan Legard being the weak link of the BBC coverage at present. It's actually got to the stage where I think I miss James Allen, which quite frankly I would have considered unthinkable at the start of the season!

    Any chance we can have Mike Gascoyne back as a guest sometime too? He was really informative at the Chinese Grand Prix - maybe you should interchange him and Eddie Jordan sometimes. I like EJ, but sometimes he's a bit too much!

    Also, get someone to give Ted Kravitz a regular column on the website!

  • Comment number 20.

    Jake - excellent blog as ever. Where was the much promised pink shirt on Sunday?

    Lots of positives to the BBC's coverage thus far this season (which I'll comment on at a later date), however you asked for improvement points so ...

    - Jon Legard - he must shape up now or I'll really be serious about James Allen. I feel giving Legard half a season to settle is plenty, and he really doesn't get it. You've improved leaps and bounds since race 1, so expecting the same from Legard shouldn't be too much. I've had to resort to the the Croft/Davidson commentary at time when he's letting the TV team down.

    - Eddie Jordan - sometimes he does drone on a bit. Can we have him & Mike G sharing the role?

    - Lee McKenzie & Ted Kravitz - It's great to have Ted guest posting on the mole blog, but can we have a more permanent presences from him? Also more substanive commentary from both during the race and build up. It's getting better.

    - Sunday Opening VT - for some reason, they have lost their 'bite' since the earlier GPs and this could really do with stepping up again. Not sure what they need, just something.

    As I said, lots of positives (including your improved performance) too.

  • Comment number 21.

    Another great blog, and welcome back to the 21st century :)

    As for the BBC coverage, I am really enjoying the work of DC, Eddie and yourself although I do think a bit tighter reign on Eddie could be handy as he does seem to lose the plot occasionally. However I feel the 3 of you are jelling very nicely and I do enjoy your coverage.

    I wish Martins techspots and the like during the build up would give us more information, I know the BBC is big on using the draw of Lewis and now Jenson to bring more fans to the sport so educating them is important, but please please can you remember there are millions of existing fairly knowledgeable fans out here as well, so how about giving Martin another minute here or there to speak to us as well. This is probably where I feel the BBC coverage is most lacking in respect to ITV's.

    The other weak link in the BBC coverage is Jonathan Legard, I am sorry but the guy comes across as next to clueless. His commentary is dry, lacking in any real passion and seems to show a distinct lack of understanding regarding the sport, add to this he has a horrible sentence mashing style of time filling which takes 10minutes to say precisely nothing in an aggravating and almost patronising manor. Then there is in my mind his worst crime, not that he speaks over Brundle (which is bad enough) but that he will interrupt something relevant and interesting by Brundle with inane pointless chatter. Yes he has improved since the start of the season, (at least now he can generally remember what he said 30seconds ago) but he is still woefully short of the mark. If I had my way he would be out the door tomorrow and I would be begging James Allen to reform his excellent partnership with Martin Brundle.

    Anyway keep up the great work, and I hope you enjoy Germany.... I am hoping for another cracking race.

  • Comment number 22.

    @cordas, I wouldn't ask for James Allen back (why switch one flawed commentator for another? :/ ) but Ben Edwards fully deserves the F1 commentary role, he's the best English speaking commentator in the world, its honestly a disgrace that he has been ignored by North One (who did ITV's coverage) and now the BBC...

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Jake,

    Actually I have the same feeling regarding the place where you had interview with Max was like a interrogation room at my first sight until I saw the pot plant behind Max,quite funny!

    Great job! Just keep us updated on your Twitter,Much appreciated!

  • Comment number 24.

    this past week in F1 has been challenging however i felt that you delivered an excellent report. At first i wasn't sure what was going on but after watching your interviews during the weekend i can now understand what was happening with the sport.

    i wish i could have been at silverstone but i'm glad you enjoyed the home race. :)

  • Comment number 25.

    #22 : Agreed - Either Ben Edwards or David Croft deserves the top job as far as I'm concerned.

    James Allen would be better than Legard, in my opinion. But nobody can beat David Croft, followed by Edwards.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hello Jake This is my first bolg and my 76 year old fingers don't adapt to the keyboard easily. I was Mo Nunn's partner with Team Ensign during the 70's and 80's. I have known numerous jounnalists,over a 60 year period, most of them ,very good! But I must say, as a minor insider, you colume today is one of the clearest, most intellegent and spot on view of F1 politics I have ever read. Good on you. Sincerly Chuck Jones

  • Comment number 27.

    Superbly written blog again -- it's great to read, keep them coming.

    Im terms of improvements
    - I'd have to agree with the comments about JL -- including the "patronising" bit. Brundle is super as ever
    - We're not seeing a whole lot of Lee. She seems to get a few small pieces, would like her to have some more significant opportunities

    Oh and toilet breaks not a problem - with live streaming on phone/laptop easy fix is to carry laptop around house....

    Another disadvantage this year relates to missing the live coverage due to another commitment. It's a nightmare with the f1 coverage on every bbc outlet going. It was much easier before with the limited itv outlets! I guess an excuse to make sure I watch it live.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Jake

    Excellent blog. I thought you did a great job this weekend especially considering all the chaos of breakaways etc.

    The driving lessons with Jenson and Lewis were brilliant. I haven't seen anyone look quite so scared as Jenson did! Laugh, I almost died.

    Looking forward to Germany although I'm off to Goodwood festival of speed first.

  • Comment number 29.

    great blog Jake....i look forward to them after every race!! bit late with this one but hey i forgive you. You did give me a wave on Sunday so that makes up for it i guess. Love the coverage so far this year on BBC...can't wait for my next gp Spa in August...see you there!!! x

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    Thank you for your coverage (I actually missed the BBC Sivlerstone converage, as I was in Italy - coverage is pretty good there, but less comprehensive [my Italian probably isn't good enough to catch it all anyway!]).
    I'd like to make a couple of points though: can we get more from Ted Kravitz? His strategy insights help greatly, especially when events (safety cars, etc) force the leaders to change tack, and I feel we'd gain from hearing about twice as much from him over the course of a programme.
    Also, thank you for pointing out the good Max Mosley has done for the sport (and motorsport in general) before his tactics got in the way of his policies.

    Enjoy Wimbledon, and any rest you can get before the next race!

  • Comment number 32.

    I think that Legard needs to be reaplaced. I gave him a chance but he just isnt good enough.

    For the extra feeds..I miss the main feed, with the onboard feed in small as watching the big onboard isnt very good and pratical.

    And can someone please tell the BBC GP2 is important and should be showed somewhere.

  • Comment number 33.

    Very good blog Jake. Loving the pictures. Was lovely to meet you too outside Pit Straight B. Thanks for signing my book x

  • Comment number 34.

    Wow, I can't believe I only just stumbled across this blog. Thanks for all the insider info, I love F1 and I'm glad it's now on the BBC but I do agree - no loo breaks are a problem!

    I also agree with the above comments about wanting more Ted Kravitz. Otherwise, I think you, DC, Eddie and the rest of the crew are doing a great job. Keep up the good work, I hope I can afford to go to a British GP one day so I can experience the atmosphere myself.

  • Comment number 35.

    Cool Blog Jake,

    From reading the blog it does seem that you and the team were very busy before and during the race weekend.

    I do love the coverage but my only criticism is the "on the radar" part, when the fastest lap is shown. I my opinion I think it looks a bit "cheesy" with the radar going round and then the words popping up. I personally would prefer it either put with the qualifying report or have the F1 car come across the screen having fastest lap, similar to the news part. Other than that the team should be proud of what they have put on this year for the UK audience.

    Keep Up Fantastic work!

  • Comment number 36.

    Those calling for Jonathan Legard to be replaced by that imbecile off ITV must have very short memories.

    I personally think Legard is very good. Surely this is where the additional red button commenatary options come in useful? Switch over if he's not your cup of tea.

    When the football is on, I prefer Alan Green off Radio 5 to John Motson. You don't have to listen to the TV commentary.

  • Comment number 37.

    Thanks for making me laugh out loud Jake, again, with your funny stories!
    I've been to Silverstone for the past ten years and I thought the atmosphere was brilliant this year. I really hope Bernie keeps his word! :)

  • Comment number 38.

    Jake, I think you did a really excellent job at Silverstone. I thought the pitlane interview with Max and Damon was great, you handled it so well. I like how you don't get overexcited and I never have to feel embarrassed for you, unlike EJ who seemed to regress this weekend and at times definately engaged mouth whilst leaving brain in neutral. I had warmed to him over the last few races but this weekend he made me cross. I think Jonathan and Martin are gelling well, and of course Martin's knowledge and ability to read each race so well is brilliant. And I absolutely love David Croft and Ant Davidson's partnership both on the red button during practice and the Chequered Flag podcast. The opening sequence showing the history of Silverstone was very impressive and I thought it really set the tone for the day, as one by one drivers past and present also queued up to say how great a place they think it is, which it is, of course. I'm really enjoying your blog as well. The vids and photos are great and it gives us a great insight, which adds a new dimension and is much more user friendly and personable than the usual web site trawls. Thanks and please keep it coming. By the way when are you doing "star in a reasonably priced car" on Top Gear? It's a must now you've had lessons from the current and next World Champs!!

  • Comment number 39.

    Great Blog Jake keep them coming.
    By the way, the two "Army" chaps guarding EJ have a few give aways, blue berets, Royal Airforce on their chest, RAF Regiment on their arms ;-) Could've been worse, Royal Marines get really sulky if you make the same comment.
    There's just no comparison this year with anything ITV did, the BBC team have made the weekend coverage unmissable. Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 40.

    Great coverage as per normal for the british gp. Loved the intro on sunday. Keep up the good work.
    Now was for yours and max's suggestion of a break half way- come on!! If people want to use the toilet then let them- they will miss a couple of minutes regardless because adverts will be showing! And besides, alot of people can pause live t.v. now. NO AD BREAK! ha

  • Comment number 41.

    Hi Jake, excellent coverage over the weekend ( i was at SS from Friday to Sunday but have watched a re run of both shows since). Interviews with THE top men in F1 is a real coup for you and the BBC for sure. I enjoyed the interview with Nigel as well , what a man!!. The hot air balloon ride must have been scary enough but with EJ alomg side god knows how you managed that. As you mentioned in your blog all now seems well in F1 again and lets hope peace has finally broke out and us fans can just enjoy the racing from now on. The atmosphere at SS over the weekend was the best i have seen in years and as Lewis and Jenson said on the drivers parade interview, they have been around the world since the start of te season but nowhere are the fans as passionate as in Britain.
    Keep up the good work.

    Oh PS can you tell Lee that she is even more gorgeous close up. ( she did a piece from the pit straight stand right by were i was sitting)!!! :) :)

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Jake

    Love your blogs. After each grand prix i look forward to reading your blogs. The coverage is just superb compared to ITV's. The only problem and its a big one i feel is Jonathan Legard it just isnt working it feels like he is complelty out of his deapth, I am cringing it sounds like hes still on the radio and still inturputs Martin. I know you have the red button to switch over to radio 5 live however Martin Brundle is the best comentator as far as i am concerned on any sport. I would love to see David Croft braught in. Other people have said Ben Edwards i dont think hes good enough though. I thorghly enjoy being able to watch practice on the red button fantastic idea. Yourself, Eddie Jordan and David Coultard are working really well. I love the bantta between David and Eddie having a go at people to put things right over the FOTA break away threat. Please keep up the fantastic work.

  • Comment number 43.

    As usual loved the whole weekends show's.

    Thank you for who ever gave martin's pit stop VT a decent length of time, and I loved how you did the graphics and commentary, please do more like this.
    Must agree that more time should be given to e-mails, but please no phone in's, you can get some really looneys on those. lol

    Blue and white tiles sound lovely, but don't change your kitchen till there is a sale on!!!!
    Can't wait for Germany, Pink shirt this time?


  • Comment number 44.

    Jake,is it you who puts in the hyperlinks or it the techies?

  • Comment number 45.

    A brilliant blog as always Jake! You guys really have seperated this season from the rest for me and I congratulate you on the quality of your coverage! As for J.Legard - I think he's doing just fine and getting on with Brundle well. I admit it was a bit cringe-worthy at Melbourne, but it just took a bit of experience to allow them to mould together. He's a brilliant commentator and I enjoy listening to the commentary. Although I would mention that I hope he doesn't put any money on his top ten predictions ;)

  • Comment number 46.

    Great blog as always...loving the coverage this year, sometimes its more entertaining than the race!!!! Everything is spot on right from the tone of Practice to the Forum (which is my favourite bit)

    Cant really think of anything major that needs improving, just polish the edges and it will be perfect!!

    BTW huge congratulations to whoever did that montage on Silvertone immediately after the opening credits on race day, that was brilliant and ive watched it over and over on i player...superb

  • Comment number 47.

    Hi jake you and the guys are doing a top job. Eddie and DC are both great and you have been brilliant. One comment I would make is, why do you start race coverage standing in the pit lane trying to interview people (this week Damon Hill) whilst cars are being started and run to the grid which is so noisy you can't hear each other and we can't hear the answer.The pit lane is not the best place to hold interveiws at this time of the race weekend.

  • Comment number 48.

    Fantastic coverage

    Whether it was the BBC logos or SOS AKA Save Our Silverstone but everyone in the paddock were up for an interview. Even Stewart White from Look East managed to nab exclusive soundbites from Bernie!

    Keep up the good work to the WHOLE BBC crew.

  • Comment number 49.

    Another awesome blog there Jake! And some great pictures here thousands of people I wish I could be you for one day. I missed the British Grand Prix but caught up on the BBC highlights and cannot believe the racing won't be at Silverstone next year!

    As for the Stig...did they finally reveal his true identity?! And they told us it was Michael Schumacher!

  • Comment number 50.

    Hi Jake,

    Great post, it's good to know a bit more about the anatomy of your work and I think you all do a tremendous job. Personally, I didn't know who you were before this year, but I immediately noted your ease in front of the camera and your comments/question provoke a lot of good responses from people. Credit to all of your team, many of which have relaxed into their positions and offer good contributions.

  • Comment number 51.

    The TV coverage is great (I agree a feature on how FOM's feeds work, especially during the race, would be great) but it is incredibly annoying trying to read your blog after someone's gone and put excessive links in there.

    Seriously, whose idea were all those silly links? I don't think we need to know the details about Richmond's underground station!

    I think having Mike Gascoyne back would be great. I like EJ but MG would be good too.

    I'm going to differ from some views and say Legard is doing a good job. It's easy to criticise but could any of us do a better job? I think not... ;)

  • Comment number 52.

    Hi Jake

    This blog is turning into a sort of X-Factor judging panel..

    "I thought you were great this week..not as good as last week but your improving!" :)


    Great job the weekend i really enjoyed the coverage. Now that we all know Schumi is The Stig (or is he??...) any chance you can get Schumi for the German GP or future events? Id love to see him take you around in that FXX it looks so fast!

    Also great to see Massa being interviewed, unlike the other clown Kimi, he actually seems to enjoy being interviewed and really comes across like a great guy. EJ was spot on, sack Kimi and get Alonso or Lewis in there ASAP. As a Ferrari man , i want to see people who want to drive for Ferrari and have some passion about it. Kimi has been too lax for too long. He makes Mika Hakkinen look chatty!

  • Comment number 53.

    Great Blog Jake, well written.

    Only 2 comments for the season's coverage so far:

    1. Don't change anything. Its spot on. (And that includes the practice sessions with Croft, Davidson & M.Hamilton)

    2. Ok, so the commentary has consistantly been an issue on your blog since day 1, with some for J.Legard and some against. From Day 1 i've supported JL purely because i thought he needed time to get used to the job. As people have said, he has got better and i'm unsure if the BBC have had a word with him as he's certainly stopped commentating as if he's on radio. I actually quite like the tone of his voice and i also suspect he's a bit eccentric, which is fine too.
    The problem is, he tends to say sentences in a rather staggered and stilted fashion (or should i say - "He seems to...say....sentences in a rather...staggered and...stilted fashion"). It doesn't sound right and whilst we're waiting for the end of the sentence to arrive, something has usually happened on track. I wonder if he does this as he's trying to read or interpretate other information at the time, but its getting a tad annoying.
    Its so frustrating as i want the bloke to do well and i get the sense he's almost there, he's just falling a little short.
    I'm prepared to give him more time though, him and Brundle have started to gel a bit better, and anyone who wants James Allen back must be out of their minds.
    If JL does go (and i hope he doesn't), then Croft should be the next logical choice, but is his voice dramatic enough?

    By the way, loving that bloke you've got on the team who provides the comedy at every race.. Something Jordan is it? Joking apart, even good old Eddie's getting better and is a good compliemt to Coultards more measured, professional approach to TV. They're a right double act them two. Many Laughs at my place when they're having digs at each other.

    Keep up the good work

  • Comment number 54.

    Greetings from sunny Norfolk!

    I'd love to see a feature on how Bernie gets all the cars and kit to the fly-away races. Singapore should be a good place to do a piece on it.

    I agree with the #21 cordas - please don't show us dumbed down features about the technical side of F1. I've been a fan for nearly 35 years (since I was 2!) and the more techy it is the better.

    Half term report? Excellent! Keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 55.

    First congratulations on the Mosley interview. Your style is kinda in the mould of Louis Theroux: you ask awkward questions but appear to come from a position of total ignorance, and I mean that in the nicest sense of the word. There's no suggestion that you're taking sides, you just give the impression that you genuinely don't know the answers and you don't bring a prejudice to the interview. It's a powerful technique that reaps rewards: Max was relaxed and chatty with you.

    It also appeared to work wonders on Bernie. He was, let's be frank, a bit of a fool on Five Live during practice, feigning ignorance over FOTA but making himself look stupid. On the TV coverage, however, he was the most sensible I've seen him for a good few years.

    Regarding the coverage in general, the opening montage was just brilliant. If ITV's coverage earned them BAFTAs then that sequence alone should have guaranteed one for the Beeb's trophy shelf.

    Big thumbs up to whoever decided to leave the world feed running on the interactive streams during the build-up. You couldn't leave it on a bit earlier so we could watch GP2, could you?!

    I'd also like to withdraw my comments earlier in the season about replacing EJ: leave him there - his verbal sparring with DC is becoming compulsive viewing!

  • Comment number 56.

    Hi Jake

    The chest badges reading Royal Air Force really should have given you a clue that they are not in the Army!

    I have two members of my family who are in the RAF, so it's a bit of a soapbox for me as the media seem to think that everyone in greens/a helicopter/a landrover must be in the Army!

  • Comment number 57.

    @#42 sportingwookie, just out of interest, why makes you think Ben Edwards isn't good enough? His CART commentary, F1 commentary on Eurosport, F1Digital+ or F1inCinema, what makes you think that? I assume you've heard his F1 commentary... I'd be interested to hear what you think he's faults are as most people think he's great.

  • Comment number 58.

    Hi Jake, i was really very impresed with the coverage over the whole weekend. You were able to convey the facts about the threat of a breakaway combined with the positivity about it being the British GP so well done for that. Also, i don;t know your background so apologies if you are a trained journalist but if you aren't then big congratulations on the way you handled Max and the way you worded your questions and responses to him. In terms of feedback for coverage i have one gripe that i have mentioned before, the opening credit music montages tend to be really good with upbeat music and in keeping with the image of the sport however too often at the end of the race it tends to be an acoustic slightly depressing number. I realise the team may be looking for a cinematic 'fade out' but the opening credits style fast, upbeat and positive music really does work better.

    On the interactive is there any way that we could have the main tv feed with the in-car view as the smaller screen in view. Like the in car but with the in car the smaller of the screens?
    Or a possibility of being able to choose the different in car views online similar to kangaroo tv at the circuit?
    Dont mean to sound negative as the production is all very good and your doing well,


  • Comment number 59.

    Your blog is great.. although half of it was about your house and most of it was stuff i didnt need to know!

    At the BBC you have really stepped it up a gear this year, with a website of similar quality/ or even better to that of ITV F1 last year.

    Still i think you fall short, your technical feature on the pits was a good idea, but whose idea was the rapid cut camera angles from one bit to another. I saw how you filmed it in the video on this webisite and the effort people have gone to with these DSLR's surrounding a car. thought we were going to see a good 5 minute piece on pit stops carefully analysing eachn point, learning a few new things like Martin suggested in his behind the scenes bit. Oh how i was wrong, more in the style of Top Gear, flashes of images, rapid cuts, i learnt nothing from your piece that if it was done well i probably would have... another waste of OUR licence fee on something that was very poor and probably expencive to produce. Unfortunatly on another negative note your comentry for BBC1 is poor, brundle is very good but Legard is shocking he is suited to radio not tv, please bring david croft across or bring back james allen, i could tollerate his voice.

  • Comment number 60.

    In responce to #12 the BBC have no control over F1 being in HD or not as it is FOM who broadcaste the pictures, and they HAVEN'T yet done a HD feed... to much money for Berni!

  • Comment number 61.

    Hi Jake,
    Another fantastic blog, a really great read.
    I really missed not being able to watch the pre race build up at Silverstone, especially when I was opposite the pit lane and I could see you guys filming live so I had to watch it on iplayer when I got home.

    I also wanted to write I was waiting backstage with a few friends at the grand prix party and whilst you were getting mobbed for your autograph, I was the girl that shouted out your name rather hysterically and said that she loved you, it was a bit of a talking point afterwards lol :p

    Keep up the good work and can't wait for Germany!

  • Comment number 62.

  • Comment number 63.

    jake,your down to earth aproach is much appreciated.keep up the good work

  • Comment number 64.

    Hi Jake, Once again a great blog. I have been quiet lately as I cannot find any typos or grammatical errors. Well done! On a different subject... When you find the person to sort your kitchen out, will you please forward their name?
    I thought your interview with MM was very well handled. Love DC. Love EJ. Adore MB. I am even beginning to like JL. I know he has a lot of stick, but I don't think people realise how difficult it is to keep talking, without breaks(apart from MB)for1.1/2hrs, possibly longer without a break,giving all the stats, and trying to be interesting during "flat" periods. I think people should realise that his job is more stressful than yours. Im sure you will back me in this. Keep up the great coverage. I have become a true fan! Look forward to Germany!

  • Comment number 65.

    All my mates love Leggy, especially his eccentricity. James Allen was a terrible commentator.

    Sniper in #57 Ben Edwards comes across as an average Joe. I've only ever heard him on Touring Cars. He's alright I suppose but he doesn't sound any different from Jonathan Legard or even David Croft who is very good on Friday testing.

    I like it the way it is.

  • Comment number 66.

    Jake just a short message, I've been a great fan of F1 for many years & I want to congratulate you & all of the team , the best presentation of F1 so far without a doubt. Well done to everyone & keep up the great work.

  • Comment number 67.

    Firstly, a big thank you and a well done for the Beeb's coverage of F1. I personally can manage to get through an entire race without the need for a trip to the loo, so a No Ad Beeb coverage is great!

    I love the multi-channel coverage, the website, videos, Forum, Twitterings, Blogs etc and I especially like the insights that we are now afforded in the Blogs by Ted and yourself.

    I think you are doing a great job, and the interview with Max and the teams ability to get Bernie's time was excellent... like you said in your Blog, us F1 fans are sitting here looking at F1 going mental and we have questions to ask, as surely the sport is about us and not just about Teams and the FIA... it's our sport too!

    In terms of things to consider then please, please, please don't bring in James Allen... for those with short memories try to cast your mind back to when the ITV F1 coverage started... he was not great and made many many mistakes, and in my eyes I don't think he got much better! I agree with the issue of Legard talking over Martin, so if they are not already do so, then maybe Martin needs to adopt the same technique that he had with Murray where one puts a hand on the shoulder of the other when they want to talk... as for the issue of calling a Toro Rosso a Red Bull, well come on.. we knew!

    If you were looking for someone to fill in for either of them then please please please get Anthony Davidson in, he is great on Radio Five and I'm sure he'd make the transition to TV just as well..... when he is not driving sports cars at Le Mans.

    My bigger concern is Eddie.. he's an interesting guy, but he asks some of the most long-winded questions I've ever heard. He has other things that annoy me but that would be more Character assassination rather than constructive criticism so I'll leave it there. I personally enjoyed the coverage when Mike Gascoyne stepped in, yes he should of had a coat, but he brought insight, knowledge and also a great understanding of the backroom politics that's at play amongst the teams, and don't forget he originates from Norfolk!

    Someone I know did question why David uses 'cue cards' but I suggested (which I hope is true) that David is writing down things of interest that he's spotted during the race/over the weekend so that he can bring them into the conversation... or am I being too charitable?.... either way I'm liking what he says and he helping Martin get some good interviews on the start.

    I'd like to see more of an interactive Forum after the races, as well as having it available on the web. It seems intermittent as to whether it is shown or not on the web. Also maybe as Ted and Lee get access to the teams during a race to ask questions, maybe fans can text in questions for Ted and Lee to pose to the teams. I know that I've wanted to get an answer to questions this season that Jonathan, Martin, Ted and Lee have not asked... some time us Fans might have an interesting angle to consider?

    But all in all your mid season report is a strong 8/10 from me.

    Well done and keep up the great work.

  • Comment number 68.

    I agree with Drewie77 about Eddie Jordan "qualities" as a contributor. The long-winded questions, not making balanced or relevant comments a lot of the time. He also seems to have a war of words going on with David Coulthard, which is frankly boring to me and may be to others? Like Drewie77 I thought that the time that Mike Gascoyne stood in for Eddie was a great improvemnet he brought insight, knowledge and also a greater understanding of the backroom politics not to mention the technical details of F1. If Mike is available I would vote for him to replace Eddie.

  • Comment number 69.

    I enjoyed the pitstop insight during the British GP last weekend, and continuing this "insight" series, I would like to learn about - how the FOM Graphics appear on our screen, how the images get to our TVs, how they start the race, how the timing system works and other interesting topics.

    Personally, I don't see anything wrong with James Allen's Commentary. I was thrilled to hear him again doing the press conference interviews also. Legard's OK but should probably stick to radio. With Allen, he and Brundle had a healthy relationship, which cannot be said for Brundle and Legard And he also said it like it was. Still can't beat Murray!

    I read that in this month's F1 racing that the BBC aren't too thrilled with Brundle going on holiday. Perhaps they could use thill as an opportunity to say goodbye to Murray or bring in Crofty from 5Live.

    Also, the coverage is super and Jake is far better than Steve Rider, who only seemed to appeal to pensioners which is not where F1 should be targeted at.
    It seems to get better all the time, which is surprising, because every race I think that you cannot beat the introduction and surely it won't be long before you run out of ideas. Somehow you don't.

    Keep up the good work and do more insights and you'll have a winner. If ITV won a BAFTA award for their rubbish coverage, then surely you've got it done and dusted already.

    Simon Hull

  • Comment number 70.

    Simon in #69

    The problem with James Allen was that nobody liked him. There were online petitions with thousands of fans calling for him to be replaced. He was a terrible commentator.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hi Jake,

    Silverstone was great. Shame I didn't see you, but the day was made even better when I got home to watch the great coverage provided.

    My half-term report for the coverage is 9/10. I was a tad disappointed that Murray didn't commentate at Silverstone. But maybe he didn't want to! I don't know!

    I think one thing could be improved. I would like to see more of Lee. She was great on A1GP and I feel her clear talent is being limited with limited on-screen appearances.
    I think Eddie has probably improved the most. He is much better now than in Australia. Quite amusing sometimes, but the whole team has bonded and everyone is clearly more relaxed. And the whole coverage has improved as a result.

    I don't share the daft view shown by some of Jonathan Legard. He unfortunately suffers from having a naturally monotone voice. So, if he doesn't shout and get excited, it sounds as though he is bored. And if he shouts, some say it is over-the-top. Not much he can really do about that.
    I do believe he was better on the radio, but he is still very good on the TV - particularly in Qualifying. I wish some people would stop giving him such a hard time. Constantly moaning wont be doing his morale any good.

    And those who call for his predecessor to return are totally mad.

    One of the few things I liked about ITV's coverage was there web feature "Ask The Team", where each member of the team would take it in turn to answer questions from viewers. We have this with Murray (and a fantastic feature that is too!). Could this be extended to the whole team?

    Some people thought you were the wrong person to be anchor. I wasn't one of them.

    Those people have all of a sudden lost their voices...

    You and the whole team deserve a BIG pat on the back Jake. Well done!

  • Comment number 72.

    enjoying the blogs, this is the first time ive replied because im getting tired of the leggard bashing, ive only seen 5 positive comments aout hi on this blog today, and im gonna add the 6th, i thnk hes a great commentator, much much better than james allen, i find his commentating informative and interesting. wouldl ike to see more of lee-alotmore! shes too underused, more of teds blogs, and if possible id like more features from murray walker, i know theres videos on here but my internet connection isnt the best and like to see him on tv more. all in all great coverage, im loving no ad breaks, and if i need the loo i have a radio in the bathroom for a miute of 5 live commentry. keep up the good work!!!!


  • Comment number 73.

    Ok a bit off topic here but . . . I am a bit ( we;; , no very , very ) suprised about the lack of news re the Max / FOTA story on the site , Are you afriad of Max nad the FIA ? , to only have his side of the story now ano no comment from anybody eles is sadly lacking , Its now Sunday am 28th and the whole site has not been updated since Friday .have you all taken a few days off ?...come on , fingers out ..

  • Comment number 74.

    Great blog and as usual, some great comments.

    I agree about Jonathan Leggard. Why does he get sooooooo excited about who's fastest in Q1, for instance? I think Crofty would work much better with Martin Brundle and JL could go back to doing R5. However, things are never bad enough to drag James Allen back to the microphone...

    Also, can we has less (or no) EJ. He talks such rubbish for 90% of the time and just seems to want to antagonsie DC, et al. Mike Gascoigne was very good and would be a welcome (and technical) addition.

    I think you and the BBC have brought another dimension to F1 that ITV never managed - some of the pre-race pieces (i.e. Monaco) have been great fun. The blog and its honesty are welcoming. I would like to hear more from the Lee & Lenny (sorry, Ted) show during the race though as one of Ted's great attributes, is reading the race and strategy from the pitlane.

    Anyway, next weekend marks the halfway point of one of the best seasons since... last year - roll on Germany!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    Great blog Jake (from a fellow Norwich City fan!) Does anybody know where I can rewatch the short film about Silverstone that was shown before the race? It was the one with the poetry that spoke about the history of the track. Would love to find it! Thanks in advance.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hi Jake
    You asked for a half term report so here's my teacher's assessment!

    I love the coverage, particularly all the extra interactive stuff (although I'm not quite sure why different stuff is available to watch on the iplayer each week - sometimes 1 practice session, sometimes 2 etc)

    My one criticism with recent extra curricular coverage is with some of the interviewing. You guys talk about something that you think is going on with certain characters and then when you get to speak to them, you ask your questions based on that opinion/agenda with, it seems, a belief that you will get the answer that you have already predicted. Since quite often these viewpoints are quite critical, it comes as no surprise to me that the interviewees refute the very 'on the nose' questions and nothing new or interesting is learnt. Specifically, Eddie is guilty of this kind of interaction but I've noticed you and David doing it more and more. It's like you want to prove that you're right in your assessments and think the shock tactic of asking critical questions outright will force a humble confession. Of course you are dealing with very professional, experienced, media savvy people so it never works out that way. I suggest you come up with a more subtle, encouraging approach where you're much more likely to produce interesting revelations by apparent accident and stop going for the jugular all the time. If nothing else, confrontational TV is best left with the reality TV programme makers, in my opinion!

    My one other concern is Mr Legard still constantly stating the obvious in his commentaries. Having listened to a number of commentators, over the weekend at Silverstone, I think there may be a better way of backing up the visual images than just telling us what we are looking at. For example, my brother spotted half way through the second session of the British GP that the only team still on the prime tyres were Brawn and that they had the softs to come, undoubtedly resulting in a very dramatic improvement in their performance in the final session. When this did indeed happen, I was surprised that neither commentator had picked up on this fact - either anticipating it or explaining it when it happened (although I think Martin Brundle finally mentioned it). It wasn't until some time after the race that Lee's interview with Ross Brawn mentioned this interesting choice of strategy. At the same time, I was watching the weather all through that second session to see if there was going to be a break in the clouds to give the Brawns the edge they were looking for, with the prime tyres. This was another commentary that was missed while the fans benefit at home continued to get the less than inciteful commentary.

    I hope these thoughts are read in the spirit with which they are given. They're just my observations but I hope they're of interest to you. You say you want to get better and after such an excellent start, there were bound to be a few hiccups that needed addressing. I'm sure you're the kind of guy who never settles for 'OK'!

    Enjoy your break. I look forward to reading about more dressing gown/slippers induced embarrassment in the future.
    Best wishes

  • Comment number 77.


    Thanks for another great blog giving us deeper insights about how you deliver the excellent BBC coverage. You asked for a mid-term review on how the Beeb is doing so far. Overall I think the coverage is excellent - I've even got used to having to make the timing decision for the toilet break all by myself :-) I'm glad that the website is now giving us Ted's pitlane notebook comments. I hope that continues. I think you have become a great anchorman and the 3 way conversations with DC and Eddie Jordan provide superb insider knowledge for us petrolheads. The red button forum post race is also fantastic. The one weak link in the chain however is Jonathan Legard. His commentary and comments are not up to the same standard as the rest of the coverage. The knowledge and expertise he exhibits is lower than those around him and his comments and commentary are sometimes plain wrong and even fatuous. He doesn't appear to listen to what Martin has said and often (wrongly) contradicts him in the next sentence. Martin clearly has much better knowledge and awareness of what's going on. JL hasn't improved much through the first half of the season. I think he's rapidly passing his sell by date.

  • Comment number 78.

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

  • Comment number 79.

    Great blog Jake,

    I must say i'm really enjoying the coverage this year, with all the internet add-ons and the forum etc.
    I also like the informal presentation, for example the banter with DC and EJ, it shows almost that presenters are actual human beings!haha!
    One thing i'd say to improve though is the race commentary, I don't think Martin and Leggy have great chemistry at the moment, perhaps this will come in time. I thing Leggy can get a bit confused at times and be stuck for things to say.
    I understand that it is high pressure, but perhaps bringing in another commentator may solve that problem, perhaps somebody with real F1 car experience. Ant Davidson is a very good commentator and has done a commentary or two for ITV, however not sure of his commitments to 5 live.
    Apart from that the coverage is far beyond what I expected, keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.

    Excellent coverage, apart from Leggard, who Is very poor.

    I'd like to see David Croft or Ben Edwards get the job.

    Please take this as constructive feedback, do not censor comments like this.


  • Comment number 82.

    Agree with many others that the weak link in the coverage is Legard. He wasn't especiaally good on the radio, and he's worse on TV, and this lack of ability is even dragging the excellent Martin Brundle down from brilliant to average. Like many others I can't understand why Ben Edwards hasn't been given a shot, he's by far the best Motorsport TV commentator in the UK (sorry to John Hindhaugh but its true).

    Otherwise, Eddie loses his way sometimes and Mike Gasgoyne was probably more entertaining, but generally, the coverage is first rate.

    Like the hosting, like the blogs, keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 83.

    Jake ...

    The BBC coverage is getting better all the time, from the "minimum standard" effort in Aus to the excellent coverage at last weekends British GP. So, well done!!! EJ's irrelevancies are becoming amusing, as are the expressions on DC's and your face when he ends an answer to a question on a completely different subject from the one he began the answer with. Incredible ability that man.

    Just the one complaint, Leggard ... sorry, seems like a nice guy etc, but the commentary is awful. I was never a fan of James Allen last year, but if you have access to any of ITV's races from last year I suggest you watch one, the difference is incredible ... Allen's knowledge, enthusiasm and professionalism are miles ahead of what we have now ... and I seriously was never a fan of the guy. Anyone out there who doubts Ben Edwards' ability should listen to the commentaries he used to do for F1 on Eurosport, or for the CART races ... excellent all round.

    Ok ... great blog!

  • Comment number 84.

    You guys need your ears testing. James Allen better than Jonathan Legard?

    The world's gone mad.

  • Comment number 85.

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

  • Comment number 86.

    Charlie Cox would be a better choice than Ben Edwards. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with the team as it is.

  • Comment number 87.

    i'd tend to agree with a lot of the comments above, I think the forum should include more emails and questions from the viewers, that is supposed to be the idea after all! not a fan of JL, but I listen with the 5Live commentary, as I think Croft and Davidson are great, it's good we have that option! loving the blogs, so keep it up!

  • Comment number 88.

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

  • Comment number 89.

    Personally, I think Legard is doing ok, but if you want a replacement, does anyone remember Leigh Diffey, the Aussie that the BBC employed as World Superbike commentator for a few years? Recently returned from holiday where I discovered him working on Sportscar coverage in America. A far better commentator than anyone else mentioned here.

  • Comment number 90.

    Good blog Jake, but mind your grammar and spelling or the end-of-term report will have to be marked down..

    "it's loan" should be "its loan" and "add" should be "ad".


  • Comment number 91.

    Good blog Jake, and you have stepped up to the mark very well after people were labelling you the "weak link" a the start of the season. You've proved the pessimists wrong! However, Legard (and I have nothing against the guy) has been dissapointing. He has made frequent mistakes and says some strange old things which can get annoying. Also is there any chance of some more regular updates on the BBC website between race weekends?

  • Comment number 92.

    I think your Mosley interview should rank as one of the very best. The Beeb's coverage has been basically brilliant, especially the British GP weekend.

    One suggestion from me though: let Eddie Jordan know that he hasn't asked any questions yet this year.

    It seems EJ gives a (long) answer to some question in his head then the interviewee has to try and work out what the question is an answer it again. I like the guy and I imagine his contacts get you a lot of good material but he could work on being more concise and coherent.

    As for Brundle, crazy Dave and the rest - keep it up.

  • Comment number 93.

    Hi Jake

    Graet blog as ever - keep up the good work. Just wanted to say thanks for stopping to give me your autograph at Silverstone. I met you on the bridge as you were coming into the paddock and i was leaving, and you stopped to talk to the lady who was giving me a guided tour of the paddock, even though you were clearly busy on your mobile phone, so thanks for that - it made my weekend and you guys at the Beeb did a top job, as ever!!

  • Comment number 94.

    I am in complete agreement with iain2062 about the BBC's coverage - it is fabulous, but Jonathan Legard does seem somewhat out of his depth st times. It's very clear from his commentary that he has inadequate experience at this level, for example he gets highly excited even when a driver feints a move from miles back at a corner wher its impossible to overtake, never mind the fact he's too far back to pass anyway, yet the rest of us (including Martin) already know that nothing will come of it, and this is because of our experience of having watched F1 for long enough to have a good sound knowledge of the sport's basics.

  • Comment number 95.

    Hi Jake,

    Mid season ideas you ask? Simple

    1.Please get the BBC to re-examine their contract with Leggard. Brundle is not at ease with him as you well know, and a more sincere, impassioned commentator with some true history within the sport would obviously do everyone, including the BBC, a favour. Someone who possibly would not stifle Brundles grid walk humour in the commentary box would aslo be a bonus.

    2.More technical info from the likes of the great Ted Kravitz. Dont forget a large amount of your F1 viewers are actually car fanatics! And it is a car race, remember?

    3.Last but not least. Stop forgetting the other teams. Teams like Torro Rosso and Force India (sometimes even BMW, Toyota and Renault). Someone at Brawn only has to sneeze and your crews descend upon them like vultures. OK, slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean. But if a Torro Rosso or Force India etc has a failure its lucky to get a passing comment. Quite frankly Id like follow up information as to why that car has failed rather than some inane soliloquy about the table tennis skills of a driver living in his new ostentatious house in a tax haven.

    Non plussed about Jordan and Coulthard (wouldnt mind knowing how much Im paying them though). To be honest, I'm not quite sure why they're there.
    More coverage of the pits, the cars, the teams, indspersed with driver and crew interviews with the racing highlights, all glued together by Jake & Brundles off screen comentary would be far more appealing than having to watch these guys holding lolipops.

    The forum is hunky dorey.

    P.S. Bernies probs with Silverstone are not its facilities. Silverstone is not the worst F1 circuit in this respect. Delve a little deeper.

  • Comment number 96.

    This blog should be closed down now as it's not fit for purpose any longer. The FOTA lunatics that Max referred to have clearly infultrated the blog.

    Everybody I speak to, thinks that Jonathan Legard is an excellent commentator.

  • Comment number 97.

    @goldMarkL1: Charlie Cox would be better Ben Edwards!!! WHAT?! A lot of people don't like his MotoGP commentary, so why would he better in F1? He's a jumped up Aussie Disk Jockey who came to MotoGP commentary via a privateer entry in the BTCC, he was in the right place at the right time. He's so bad people choose to listen to Carton 'awful' Kirby instead of him! If you think Cox is good, check out Toby Moody, he in another league.

    Back to Ben, if you've only heard his BTCC commentary then, no offence, but your not really in a position to judge him. Virtually everybody that has experienced his CART,Eurosport F1 and F1 Digital+ commentary's think that he's the best in the business.

    I don't mind Legard, he's not good, but he's not bad. There's no doubt in my mind though that Ben Edwards could do a much better job.

  • Comment number 98.

    Well done Jake for both blog and commentary and lulling Max into a false sense of security! Next time you interview him wear tartan trousers! BTW I'd like DC's opinion on you in your partner's slippers?
    I'd like to say how much David Coulthard adds to the coverage. His comments are interesting, concise (yes concise EJ!!), fair and informed - and he listens, and thinks - revolutionary stuff for those of us numbed by 10 years of ITV.
    I understand the comments about Jonathan Legard. Something must improve. None of this bad press will be helping him to relax which, I suspect, may help.
    The "I'll just chip in when I have something interesting to say" approach to 'experts' working with 'professional broadcasters' worked with Murray and James Hunt, and Murray and Jonathan Palmer even but when there seems to be no natural rapport maybe JL should take over for a while (he is the professional commentator and racing drivers are always selfish - at least the best ones are). Try letting JL invite Martin Brundle to speak when JL wants his comment for the viewers, which hopefully would be often. At the moment there are too many cooks.
    I don't doubt MB would utterly hate it. But the object is to get a better, more natural, cheerful and enthusiastic commentary. And how about bringing JL in to some of the pre race or post race features/discussions. If it didn't work then I agree that one of them would have to go. I expect we know who it would be. However, he should be given his full year. The time to judge is the end of the season. Maybe we should all leave the poor man alone until then?
    I agree with all those who would like to hear more from Mike Gascoigne. His one contribution was memorable. It added to the coverage significantly. I suggest trying him out in a second expert role in commentary. I suspect JL would probably handle two strong personalities better than one.
    Best wishes

  • Comment number 99.

    Jake, another good job on the TV and on the blog.

    I've not commented for a while because most things about the Beeb coverage are excellent and others needed time to develop. As it is now half-way through the season most things are at the point whereby they have been given enough time to float or sink.

    I'd initially backed Mr Legard to the hilt at the start of the season, as I suggested that nobody could ever do the job to the standard that F1 fans demand for 2 reasons; firstly Murray Walker's shadow constantly draws unfair and nostalgia filled comparisons. secondly, motorsport fans are never happy, nobody has ever really been good enough for a certain section of the audience. Anyway, Jonathan has had enough time and he falls short compared to David Croft and when BTCC events have clashed with F1, I have found myself straying toward ITV not only because of F1's complete lack of overtaking but also because of Ben Edwards' dulcit tones. Maybe F1 fans should vote for the 2010 lead commentator? Then the malcontents would pipe down and allow someone to settle into the role. (My personal preference would be for Charlie Cox, the man can make paint drying entertaining!)

    The other point I have to make is regarding Mr Kravitz. Everyone that I speak to about F1 coverage agrees with me when I say that Ted is the strongest link in the BBC chain. Ted is simply brilliant! He needs more air time and a permanent blog. I was relieved that you did the Max interview in the broom cupboard because I was beginning to think that was where you kept Ted on race weekends.

    As for HD, I'd like to point out that Bernie's job is to make the sport commercially viable around the world. The marginal benefit to Bernie offered by HD is relatively minimal if at all apparent. People who watch F1 tend to be, if A. Casuals who watch only when there is a big event (like the 2008 finale) and B. Enthusiasts who will watch anyway. I can't imagine anyone thinking "oh I hate F1 but now it is in HD I'll watch it" to those people the sport will still be like shoving a rusty screwdriver through the sides of their heads, so will not watch.

    Overall the coverage is good and getting better!

  • Comment number 100.


    Great job on the race weekend coverage and also on your blogs. The BBC have done a truly outstanding job on the F1 coverage. I very much enjoy all the additional news stories and archive coverage posted to the iPlayer also.

    If your not busy enough as it is, is there any chance in the future for you doing your own BBC F1 podcast of the race weekend?

    Keep up the great work, roll on Germany!!!




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