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Time to explore Singapore

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Jake Humphrey | 11:43 UK time, Monday, 28 September 2009

I'm penning this in my hotel room in Singapore, hoping my little nephew will shortly find the time to Skype me. He's only three, so Mum has to give him a hand!

Out of my bedroom window I can hear the mechanical whir of the cranes as they start to deconstruct the temporary circuit around the streets of Singapore, less than 12 hours since Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag.

It's incredible how quickly the world of Formula 1 keeps moving onwards.

Twelve hours ago this place was like a movie set, the scene of drama, incident and intrigue. As I look down on the track now, it's just a shortcut for commuters to nip through to the bus stop. You can't imagine it was the scene of last night's action.

Normality is returning to this micro-state, 2009's race already consigned to the history books - quite amazing.

Breakfast for the BBC teamBreakfast at the Mao Lin Café

Now, Monday is a special day for the whole BBC team because for the first time we can actually get to know this incredible place as we don't fly on to Japan for a couple of days.

And despite arriving almost a week ago, I don't yet feel I've seen Singapore's soul, and the apparent delights this place has to offer.

So, where have I spent my time? Well, firstly, my hotel room. It had one of those showers that's so powerful it feels like it's stripping off your skin while washing off the ingrained sweat that 12 hours in the Singapore sauna leaves behind.

The humidity was something else this weekend. Moments before we went live on air on Sunday, Eddie Jordan looked at me with his now familiar, 'what a disaster' face on. His entire shirt had stuck to his body in the heat (not a good look!) so I ushered him into one of the teams' motorhomes to cool off quickly.

I actually had a sweaty moment (or two) of my own this weekend.

On Sunday, before getting to the office I was due to introduce Lewis Hamilton at an event and just ask him a few questions in front of some assembled, quite important, guests.

I was then told that before he arrived they just wanted me to chat to the 20 or so suits who were gathered to meet the current world champion.

"Ok," I said, "I'll just do a couple of minutes intro about Lewis." The reply was somewhat alarming. "Oh, we'd like you to do about 10 minutes, just tell them about yourself."

Erm, right. They've come to meet a sporting hero, one of the most talked about men on the planet as he prepares to start from pole and try to win his first ever night race, and they think 10 minutes on why I'm rubbish at running because I've inherited my Dad's knees is a good warm up act? They don't want to know about me!

A quick scan of the room and I decided I'd do a nice preview to the race weekend.

I chatted about the season so far to a few polite nods of the head, and as I thought I'd done enough I said: "OK, Lewis will be with us any moment, any questions about him, the race today, or the season so far guys?" Not even the slightest movement from anyone.

If someone had scratched their head I'd have pounced on them like a cheeky auctioneer at a charity event, but nothing.

Right, I thought, no Lewis so a bit more chat. And a bit more...

Despite glancing at the door every 20 seconds it didn't move for what seemed like an entire race distance. I was starting to sweat badly at this point as I fed them everything from how the season began to the changed layout of the Marina Bay circuit, even the fact that one of the McLaren guys worked 36 hours straight to help improve the MP4-24.

Twenty minutes had almost passed by. In fact, it got to the point where I almost resorted to explaining to an increasingly impatient and fidgety crowd the importance of the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre. Alan Partridge would have been proud...

Eventually, however, I saw a silver flicker behind the door and thought: "Ah, here we go, that's a Macca top." So I launched into a short introduction and, when the door still didn't open, I thought the perfect thing to do to fill a few more ticks of the clock was remind the guys of Lewis's last race.

Finally, a creek of hinges and in strolled a very relaxed looking Lewis just as I said, "and in Monza he ended up hitting the wall right at the end of the race..." The timing was priceless.

I'd said umpteen positive and inspiring things about the guy, and his intro becomes "hitting the wall right at the end of the race... world champion Lewis Hamilton everyone". He just flashed me that winning smile.

In the end, despite my mammoth, 20-minute F1 rant, Lewis was great, the guys enjoyed what he had to say, and I didn't even need to think about discussing the expansion of Norwich Airport...

Jonathan LegardJonathan Legard studies the map as the hunt for food begins

Anyway, back to my point about hardly seeing the city yet. It's all because at this race the teams, and therefore us broadcasters, have had to stay on European time, so the race is in the middle of our day, if you get my drift.

Here's a run down of existing on European time in an Asian city. This is qualifying day:

12pm - Alarm goes off. Because the rest of our hotel was on local time, the previous four hours had been a mix of vacuum cleaners, doors slamming and kids running as the blazing sunlight always found a gap in the curtains despite my best efforts. Grrr.

1pm - Meet the team in reception... except Charlie and Fisheye, two editors who need to move their watches forwards by five minutes!

For some ridiculous reason we always ended up walking the 30 minutes to the track instead of the five-minute cab ride. The upside was a chance to have an 'Egg Set' in the Mao Lin Café - an odd coffee that resembled syrup in consistency and taste, two eggs poached for about 20 seconds, a hotdog roll with lettuce, tomato and egg, and French toast with a sugar spread. All for £2!

It was an incredibly popular joint with the locals and it took me two days to realise it wasn't that they were all frittering away cash on breakfast on the way to work - they were on their lunch breaks...

2pm - get to the track, feeling and looking like I'd crossed the Sahara before going for a fully clothed swim. Not attractive!

2pm-7pm - Film stuff in the paddock, write scripts, have meetings, iron my shirt on an ironing board that was honestly the size of a Tic-Tac. The big one couldn't fit in the freight, apparently. Thanks to production manager Anne for her help with the trousers.

8pm-11.30pm - Rehearsals, then live on air with our qualifying show.

11.30-11.40pm - find somewhere air conditioned and just blob, while the glamorous and perfectly turned-out world of F1 wonders disapprovingly who the sweaty bloke in the corner is.

12am-2am - Discuss the following day's show with the producers, wait for an interview with Sebastian Vettel that never happened, and keep saying to each other: "It's 1.30 in the morning, and we haven't even had dinner!"

2.30am-ish and finally it's the end of the working day in our little sardine tin. I posted a picture of us all crammed in on my Twitter page over the weekend if you fancy seeing it.

So, at this point I'd eaten a banana and too many Pringles and was toying with the idea of just heading back to the hotel to get some kip. Jonathan Legard wouldn't hear of it so began an adventure I'll never forget as our online colleague Sarah Holt joined us for a trip into the unknown... to find dinner at a time when the city was well and truly asleep.

It's a running joke with Ledgy that he is 'never knowingly underfed'. So, despite my protestations we were off into the exciting metropolis of Singapore, and ended up in the laundry cupboard of a five-star hotel.

Jonathan Legard on the hunt for foodJonathan considers his options

It's not as mad as it sounds. We just couldn't get out of the confines of the circuit with steel fences blocking our every turn, so we headed into a posh-looking hotel, the thinking being that we'd emerge the other side, avoid the barriers and culinary nirvana would be ours.

Instead we met the laundry cupboard and, thankfully, an incredibly nice guy who did show us the way out, via an underground car park that we'd never have found ourselves.

Jonathan was on map duty as we battled fatigue, hunger and the heat - and Singapore is still incredibly humid in the wee small hours of the morning.

We eventually saw a street stall that was open but, to be totally frank, apart from the fact it had green and yellow seating, which would have made me feel right at home, the appeal was somewhat limited.

Then we saw it, like a mirage suddenly appearing in the desert, or when you've waited for a night bus for ages and then you see the lights rumbling along the road towards you.

This place was vast, a huge neon sign saying '24 HOUR FOOD HALL', some chairs scattered on the pavement outside, and inside it was like the biggest school canteen you've even seen, complete with racks on wheels to put your trays on.

Ledgy marched straight up the first stall he saw while the picture of the 'intestine soup' somewhat put me off. Sarah and I headed for the vegetable and rice section while Jonathan had a great conversation that went something like: "Is that good?" "Yes," came the reply. "OK, some of that, is that good?" "Yes." "OK, that too..." It went on for quite a while and eventually we reassembled out on the pavement.

I've always had in my head a romantic ideal of eating local food on the street is Asia, and I must say, the company and the nosh were both absolutely spot on.

It was also interesting seeing the kinds of people who would be eating there in the middle of the night. No two people were the same. Clubbers, suited businessmen, taxi drivers, families, bin men. And there we were, three BBC bods in the middle of it all, filling our stomachs with rice and noodles at a most unusual hour.

The only thing slightly off-putting and not completely authentic was the soundtrack to our supper. The place was blaring out what sounded like the 'Now That's What I Call Music Nine' album.

The team tuck inJake, Sarah and Jonathan tuck in after reaching the end of their quest

Stir fried vegetables at 4am while Bananarama rather aptly serenaded us with 'A Trick of the Night'!

By 4.30 we were all tucked up in bed, tummies full, and eight hours later off went my alarm as the Mao Lin 'Egg Set' and another upside-down day beckoned.

And this is how it went on, a great experience but a slightly unnerving one all the same.

It resulted in me becoming obsessed with the time back home in the UK, much to the annoyance of the rest of the office!

Well, I hope that gives you just a small insight into how strange our weekend has been in many ways. Not as weird as Sunil, one of our VT producers, however.

Making live telly must seem a walk in the park compared to waiting for your first child to be born. At the time of writing there's no news but I'd like to wish him and Laura all the best.

Anyway, I always feel it's important to mention on here that I'm sorry we couldn't bring you the post-race top-three driver interviews on BBC1. We do always try to.

If you pressed the red button for a full 75 minutes of the F1 Forum, I hope that made amends as EJ asked 1999 champion Mika Hakkinen if he'd come back to F1 (no), McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh was stuck for words when we pressed him on Kimi Raikkonen rejoining the team (I think it'll happen) and Martin Brundle enjoyed his obligatory on-screen ice cream (choc ice).

I'd be keen to get your thoughts on the weekend. Once again Ross Brawn proved he might be a distant relative of Harry Houdini, and could the point Jenson Button took back off Rubens Barrichello, to make the gap 15 points, be the biggest of his career? What do you think?

Next for us, a trip from here to Suzuka. I'll do a photo-blog of the travels!

All the best,

Jake

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Brilliant race and brilliant blog as always Jake. BBC has vastly improved coverage this year and we get to see all action. NOT adverts!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    As ever an excellent blog Jake. Not sure what to make of the Singapore GP though. It's certainly a great spectacle under the floodlights, but the lack of overtaking made for a less that exciting race.

  • Comment number 3.

    Great coverage, great racing. I really enjoyed your Bernie Ecclestone interview where he made you and EJ squirm! Nicely handled though. Looking forward to Japan.

  • Comment number 4.

    "the full 75 minutes of the forum"

    I thought that was a long afternoon! Good coverage again, however I thought that a lot of time (maybe too much) was spent on the spygate affair, with extensive reports on Saturday and Sunday, and several references by you after quailfiying and the race. I realise that it is one of most amazing stories to ever come out of a F1 season, but I hope that we can now move on.

    I dont know how you cope with management of your body clock. At least you have a week to adapt to local time in readyness for Suzuka. You are very lucky to have time to see Singapore. I'm very jealous. I only managed to see the airport when I passed through a few years ago. The airport is superb and I can only imagine that the city is even better!

    Looking forward to Suzuka. That will be a good track for your ciruit run! I hope in the build up to the race you can show some of the great overtaking manouvers, crashes and title deciding moments of previous years. Maybe another title will be decided this year. Roll on Sunday.

  • Comment number 5.

    I thought all you guys looked a bit spaced out this time. It didn't detract from the usual excellent coverage, but it did look like you were struggling agains your body clocks even despite the attempt to stick to UK time. As for the drivers, I really don't know how they manage. I am seriously concerned about what would happen to this race if it rained. I can't imagine how the drivers would see anything with the glare of the lights and the spray from the rain. It was good it didn't happen, and we got an interesting if not spectacular race. It is great to see F1 cars at their limit with the brakes, and things faling off. It was a true test of endurance, man and machine

  • Comment number 6.

    The coverage the bbc has done this year is nothing short of amazing, loved friday practice with sir Jackie right through to this blog ! Jake you and your team are doing a fantastic job, can't wait for Japan, all the best .......Steve

  • Comment number 7.

    Jake,

    After your stints on Football Focus etc I was in utter dismay when I saw that you had bagged the BBC F1 gig. I just saw the same disasters waiting to happen.
    But I've been really impressed with not only your presenting but your blogging too. I'm sure this has already been suggested but is there any chance of putting all your blogs into a book [or something similar] as an accompaniment to the the 2009 season? So far it's been a cracking read. Well done. Roll on Japan.

  • Comment number 8.

    Brilliant blog, as ever. Enjoy Singapore for the next few days. BBC coverage really has been fantastic.

    Shame about the 5live commentry not working on red button though. Mr Legard seems like a really nice genuine guy, which makes it all the more painful to have to point out that his ability to commentate during a slightly uneventful race is absolutely dire. He definitely has talent, but can never keep it going a race distance, and I don't think he is an F1 commentator...

  • Comment number 9.

    Great blog Jake! Also the F1 forum on the red button is fantastic! Great to get a slightly more in depth and honest opinion from the F1 big wigs, as opposed to the censored, media friendly answers they normally have to give!

  • Comment number 10.

    Great coverage from Singapore, good work guys.

    I thought Eddie raised a good point (always a first - only kidding Eddie) about Rubens putting his car in the wall in quali, and him taking an advantage from that. DC shot down Eddie's remarks point blank, but I think Eddie raised a really good point. Ruben's crash reminded me of Schumacher ditching his car in the wall in Monaco in qualifying a few years ago, and the FIA decided he (Schumacher) did it intentionally to gain an advantage by wrecking the end of the quali session. He subsequently took a grid penalty when the FIA investigated the data.

    Although I don't believe Ruben's did crash intentially, with a world championship at stake and a 5-place grid penalty already confirmed, did the FIA bother to look at Ruben's telemetry? I would be very interested to know, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Jake - could you find out?

    I think any crash in Q3, which is not due to some sort of obvious car failure (e.g. engine failure) needs to be investigated.

    FYI - I'm not suggesting a Piquet-esk crash, with the involvement of the team, I'm talking a Schumacher-esk crash where the driver took all the actions himself. (Both are clearly very different situations) And, I would like to re-iterate that I don't believe Rubens did crash intentionally (if he did, he did a much better job of it than Michael!)

  • Comment number 11.

    Jake.
    You mentioned about Brundle munching on his ice-cream on live TV. To be honest, and from my point of view of course it looks really unprofessional and actually puts me off watching the red button coverage. This is unfortunate because invariably this provides some of the better TV of the weekend. He seems to be chomping on the offending item for an inordinate amount of time and even after it was finished yesterday he still was actively digesting it as more questions were being asked of him. Wrong! (Bit of advice - give him some water to wash it down!)
    One more thing as well while i'm on the subject. Brundle's style of speaking does make him a very good commentry analyst as his perceived lack of emotion means that he generally explains the events of the race well. However, this style doesn't seem to fit well in a pundit environment (The F1 forum) as he simply doesn't seem to be bothered with what you are asking him by responding with obvious and rudely short answers.
    Love to know what you think about this Jake?

  • Comment number 12.

    Haha, as a well primed student at the end of another freshers week I can definitely relate to take-away food in the early hours of the morning!!

    Thanks for a great weekends coverage as always; not too sure you should look further into the Hakkinen comeback; but Kimi back to McC should be interesting; Rosberg to Brawn too. I'm quite looking forward to the end-of-season transfer window though... maybe even some deadline-day Man City-esq deals!

  • Comment number 13.

    Have fun in Singsing Jake- take a jar of kaya home for your nephew.

  • Comment number 14.

    Perchance, is Sarah Holt single and attracted to robots?

  • Comment number 15.

    Jake, you must have had a tough weekend - aside from the intro to Hamilton (above), you also managed to ruffle Bernie's feathers (Bernie, of all people!) and as for Mark walking off as you asked him a question... classic! (that was MY highlight of the race weekend, sorry Jake! hope you see the funny side which i'm sure you will!)

    Keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 16.

    And you get paid for this twaddle as you swan around the world trying to call it work. You guys are on just one enormous BBC freebie at the licence payers expense. F1? Big boys toys.

  • Comment number 17.

    Jake,

    If you're out in Singapore, and anywhere near Orchard Road then head for Bali Ba opposite the Hilton. Well worth a drink.

  • Comment number 18.

    Nice to see Mr. Legard proudly wearing his BBC polo shirt, even after hours. Keep spreading the good BBC word Sir!

  • Comment number 19.

    Another great blog, Jake. Keep up the good work - I can't wait for Japan already, and you'll have some more time to get your body clocks back onto daylight time!

  • Comment number 20.

    Jake
    Another great weekend of coverage from the BBC. Watched P2 on Friday, then P3 followed by your coverage of Qualifying on Saturday. The race coverage, folled by "the whole 75 mins of Red Button" was excellent.
    I like the way that the BBC runs features during Saturday's and Sunday's coverage to cover the people, politics and technology of F1.
    There is no doubt that you are part of one of the BBC's best teams covering international sport.
    The blogs from yourself, and the other members of the team, add extra colour to the race weekend.
    Keep up the great work for the rest of 09, and into 2010.

  • Comment number 21.

    Great blog as always. Just wanted to say though that Mika Hakkinen won 2 championships, in 1998 and 1999. Pedantic I know but hey!

  • Comment number 22.

    Jake, Singapore is a santised, controlling place, where there is no soul and frankly no place to be living. That was also reflected in the tragic event that was the Grand Prix, it was tedium with hummidity.

  • Comment number 23.

    Jake did I spot a glimps of rolled up trousers on the last episode of inside F1???

  • Comment number 24.

    Good blog Jake

    Have to agree with Nr3 - was hilarious Saturday lunchtime watching you trying to get something out of Bernie - he certainly put you in your place "get your facts right next time" ha ha

    Also Mark Webber walking away from you mid-question classic!!!

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 25.

    Excellent blog as usual Jake! Well played.

    I can totally sympathise with you about being on European time out in Asia. I worked in the Philippines for 6 weeks last year, and it was crazy. Because of the projects we were trying to complete, this resulted in the necessity of different start times. One week I'd be on European time, the next week i'd be on Asian time. By the end of the 6 weeks i didn't know what the hell was going on and my body clock was mashed up. Going for dinner at 4:30am is so strange, and it's so infuriating when you're trying to sleep at midday but the constant sound of a bustling city and hotel completely stops all hope of getting a decent kip.

    But Asia is an awesome place and i'd love to explore it some more. Singapore is definitely near the top of the places i want to visit. Maybe i'll be out there for the GP next year! That would be incredible.

    The GP yesterday was pretty good. Looked spectacular and was full of incident. It's great to see Lewis doing so well. I went to the same school as him (although i was a few years above him at the time), but there were always rumours going round about how good this guy was. So it's great to see him realising his potential. He drove a very cool and calm race in the humidity of Singapore.

    Just a shame he didn't have this car at the start of the season i guess!

    Difficult to see past Benson Jutton for the title now. The derriere would have to fall out of his life for him to lose it now. A cack-up of monumental proportions.

  • Comment number 26.

    JAKE AND CO
    GO TO SINGAPORE CRICKET CLUB AND TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS

    ALSO TRY NEWTON CIRCUS FOR GOOD SELECTION OF FOOD {AIRCRAFT CREWS RECOMMENDATION} WHEN I WAS THERE

    FINALLY CAN I HAVE A JOB LIKE YOURS
    GOOD TRAVELS

  • Comment number 27.

    As ever, hats off to you and the crew Jake - spectacular coverage and the more human touches from behind the scenes that make it real. The sport itself can be a little processional at times but you guys more than compensate.

    And tell Martin not to worry about the ice-cream snobs - we're all human and he should eat it wherever he likes!

    Keep it up!

  • Comment number 28.

    Excellent coverage. I have to confess I was worried when the beeb took over, as ITV had grown their coverage over the years to quite a slick, professional package. However, from a standing start you guys have been brilliant and easily outstripped them. I have enjoyed this season more than for many years, both as a result of the competitiveness of the racing and by the depth, intelligence and sense of enjoyment that comes over on screen.

  • Comment number 29.

    Great blog as always.... nice to read how you guys are just normal hungry people when away from the screen!

    I'm surprised you don't get more time to wander around Singapore... it's not that big...... =)
    Plus the food is amazing, loads of different varieties.... the locals love their food, and it's one of their favourite pastimes (along with shopping).
    I'm planning to head to Singapore for the GP next year.... maybe I should show you where to eat! =P

    When I use to work out in S'pore, I use to wear a vest to try and avoid the 'sticky shirt' problem..... but to be honest, it'll add another layer of clothing when you don't really want to wear anything at all! =)

    Anyways.... the end is near for Jenson..... can he do it?!?
    It's been a great season so far!

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Jake. Good stuff. it's nice to get some local "colour". The red button coverage is excellent. The fact that the pundits don't always agree with each other just makes it all the more interesting. Surely Martin is allowed a wee ice cream now and then?! I'm afraid royalalbertdock appears to have emerged from the wrong side of the bed. The green monster of envy has obviously being doing his work. Ok. So it's a jb we would all dream of. Doesn't mean we should throw a hissy fit because someone else is doing it. It's a hard job Jake. But somebody's got to do it! At the risk of appearing obsequious You appear to be doing it pretty well. Keep the good stuff coming and I'll enjoy it vicariously.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hello Jake and the whole BBC team

    As ever the show was fantastic - I really like this blog showing us the reality of being away from home and the less glamarous side of being on a production team.

    Grats to Mr L for finding food at such a late hour.

    Race bit on the dull side unfortunately but onto Japan we go and if the rest of the races are dull and Jenson Button becomes World Champion then I will be happy.

    Cheers

  • Comment number 32.

    I totally concur with all compliments of you Jake, and the BBC coverage. You in particular have really become the face of F1 on the BBC and I think you've done a fantastic job. However I'm still not convinced of Jonathan Leggards commentary. I feel bad saying this as I know he's your friend and colleague but he often inadvertently contradicts a better informed Brundle, and doesn't seem to show the same level of passion for the sport as Murray Walker and James Allen. This passion and enthusiasm is what made Walker and Allen the perfect complement to Brundles extensive knowledge and clear explanations. In my opinion James Allen and Martin Brundle were the perfect pairing and I would love to see (hear) them together again.

    Does anybody else feel the same?!

  • Comment number 33.

    If you find yourself with an hour or two to kill in the evening, I would recommend a trip to Duxton Hill. Good beer, good company, good music - all reasonably priced, (especially if Auntie Beeb is paying).

  • Comment number 34.

    great blog jake!!!! great to hear how the weekend really was in great detail. love the pictures, and the twitter pics all weekend. thanks for having Jacques V on the forum....hoping he does get into F1 next year, his a great character!!!! look forward to Japan, have a great time i'm sure u will...x

  • Comment number 35.

    Please elaborate on your thoughts regarding the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre - have you considered access to Dixons?

    From your previous blogs I've seen that you're a fan of the odd jog - try one through Bukit Timah, the only inner city rain forest, bring plenty of water mind. Also have a go at the night safari and rehydrate with a couple of pints at Equinox at the top of the Swissotel (great views of what was the circuit).

    Good work this season chaps, can't wait to get back from Singapore and watch on the iplayer - the coverage elsewhere around the world really makes you realise how good we've got it.

  • Comment number 36.

    Really great blog. Thank you for being so open with us about everything - it's really fascinating to hear all the funny little stories that go on behind the scenes.

  • Comment number 37.

    Great stuff Jake.

    As already mentioned by some, Jackie Stewart's input for Friday 2nd practice was a great idea.

    Friday practice, Saturday qualifying and the post-race forum are the best parts of the weekend!

  • Comment number 38.

    I was really interested in watching your tussle with Bernie, to me it seems that he is loosing his grasp a bit. Who exactly is Sir Martin Sorrell? I thought he was one of the high muckity mucks in CVC...

    Loved the red button forum, but I wonder why you feel it necessary to do a highlights package of the race that we just watched at the start of the show. I would rather that you queued up the clips from the race that you are going to discuss and show them as appropriate, there is no need for the entire race highlights.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hello Jake, cracking work once again.

    Funnily and bizarrely enough, my friend was talking about sweating last night. She said that there is this stuff you can get which you have to put on the night before and then wash off the next morning. Once you've done that, you get no sweat whatsoever. She used it for her wedding and it worked a treat apparently. I don't think it's advisable to use all the time but surely it'd be something of a public service to stop a sweaty Eddie Jordan marauding around the paddock (shudder at the thought). I think it's called Maxim Anti-perspirant if you want to look it up.

    Anyway, safe journey to Japan and I look forward to your coverage next weekend. My friends and I put a bet on Jenson when he was at 80/1 between us we stand to make about £7000 so believe me when I say we'll have the alarm clocks set!!

    Cheers,

    Ben

  • Comment number 40.

    Could MB's Ice Cream become a forum regular?

    "This weekend Martin is discussing the first corner crash, while eating a magnum (other brands of ice cream covered in white chocolate are available)"

  • Comment number 41.

    Blimey, that really was boring pal. Do you REALLY think proper people are interested in how you spend our licence money on the other side of the world? Get a life.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Jake loved the coverage over the weekend and the win for Lewis lets me year my rocket red victory shirt all day Monday. By the way the shirt is what Martin Whitmarsh was wearing on the forum and is not orange LOL. That interview was brilliant and i loved the way he squirmed when asked about Kimi. He will be back with us in 2010. One last thing is that on the red button the tv schedule said the forum would only be on for about half hour . Im not complaining that we got 75 mins but it ruined my timer recording on my dvd . Cant wait for suzuka . Have a great trip and another great race weekend . Here is to another rocket red victory shirt day in a weeks time

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Jake,
    Really enjoying the coverage. I have mixed feelings about this night race. I was in Singapore last year a month before the race and saw a lot of the circuit, i thought at the time this is going to awsome. However for me it just doesn't work on TV, you just can't appreciate the city skyline and if it wasn't for the different fuel strategies there would be no place changes. Next year with only tyre changes why bother?
    It was a lovely sunny day here in the UK and i must admit i nearly gave up watching, in fact it was only Jenson that kept me in front of the TV.
    As always he put the laps in when it mattered.

    Really looking forward to Japan, back on a proper racers circuit. go Jenson.......

  • Comment number 44.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm with "astrotommo"
    Mr.Legard keeps interrupting Martin Brundle when he's trying to update us. Mr.Legard does not have the same passion and enthusiasm for F1 as Murray Walker or James Allen.
    Bring back Brundle-Allen!! Great team.

  • Comment number 46.

    Great blog and it sounds like you had a good time. I'm surprised about peolpe hating the Grand Prix because it kept throwing up excitment. Abit annoyed about how you handled the Ecclestone interview though. Not your fault he treats people and their opinions and very important questions with contempt if they have less money than him though

  • Comment number 47.


    If someone had scanned through and only read....

    "Thanks to production manager Anne for her help with the trousers."

    .. it would take some explaining!

    thanks for the entertaining read and the insights into F1

  • Comment number 48.

    Am I in a minority of one? I have watched F1 on TV since I was a kid, but I have to say Humphrey and Legard are the worst anchor man and commentator of all. Humphrey's stupid and banal questions are an obvious embarrassment to DC, EJ and co. and the sooner he returns to CBBC where he belongs the better.
    As for Legard, he doesn't have a clue of what's happening on the race track. He tends to just state the obvious which as a viewer we can see, or he makes comments such as 'here we go then' or 'what can he do', and often he gets the car, driver, tyre option and so on completely wrong.
    When he used to commentate on Radio 5 he could get away with these glaring errors because nobody could see them, not so on TV.
    Keep Martin Brundle, DC and EJ - they know what there are talking about.
    Bring back the perfect professional Steve Rider as the anchor man and James Allen to commentate, otherwise I will continue to listen to the radio covereage!

  • Comment number 49.

    brilliant blog as always Jake. it's great having F1 back on BBC, no ads, good stuff online plus the red button [for those who can get it] another option.

    i agree the 2pts gained on Barrichello were just as important [or more than] his race wins as these pts have secured him the title.

    Maclaren has shown [if it had done its sums right] that they would've been in the thick of the action but its been an excellent learning curve for Lewis Hamilton. he has learnt more about himself, his team, the losses [unxepected crashes i.e. Monza] than all the victories in the early part next year. he will return stronger for it & give Jenson a proper run for his money.

    all out racer vs the silky smooth will be a great battle to see

  • Comment number 50.

    Jake,

    I've got to say I am really impressed with the BBC coverage this season, the level of information is immense. It was a a great race this weekend.
    By the way Great Blog, its now a regular on my to do list at work every Monday after a race weekend, nicely coded of course.

  • Comment number 51.

    after schumi's possible return, then not, it seems there was a huge spike in interest in F1...now the scandal is most of what we see here in usa...has there been a drop in ticket sales? is interest any less on site at the events? how do you see things comparing year over year?

  • Comment number 52.

    Hi Jake,
    Great weekend. Excellent job as usual. I thought the GP very exciting this weekend edge of my seat especially at the end with Martin telling us with 3 laps to go it isn’t over yet; I breathed a sigh of relief as Jenson emerged around the last corner. Great stuff and well done to Lewis for a fantastic win. Everyone has been banging on about Jenson getting nervous, head down, mind management etc. I have been an F1 fan for years, this year cars performances up and down the grid have been so close (KERS aside), plus he didn’t even know if he would have a drive end of season last year and now he is a breath away from being the world champion. It has been mentioned that he has had a few lucky escapes, as Martin has often said you make your own luck. He has done a stunning job and more than deserves the title. Even if he just brings home the necessary points until the end of the season and does not win another race. He is obviously close to DC and earlier in the season seemed happier to come and talk with you guys, do you think you could get him on the Forum before the end of the season?
    I was a little surprised to find out about the whole Renault Piquet incident on Sky news before even a mention on the BBC. Were you all holding back or something? I totally agree with David Coultard as well he (Piquet Jnr) is very much the villain as the others in this and should not race in F1 again. Now this is done and over with do you think Max will go quietly now?
    Definitely Kimi for McLaren next year and I think Lewis will be fine with him there too. Lewis has always shown so much admiration and respect for all the previous McLaren drivers, although it’s a case with Kimi of what might have been in 2007. I still think they will make an excellent combination. If Rubens edges Jenson to the title this year (hope not) will he still go from Brawn? All the comments over the weekend seem to suggest that. Although a straight swap for Nico has to be the most likely outcome could this year’s possible world champ end up in perhaps a Lotus for next year? More likely Trulli I would guess. Interesting though.
    I thought your interview with Bernie was fantastic TV. Why so nervous Jake? He’s only a little guy, you were nearly bent in two interviewing him. I’m jesting of course, he is the last man anyone would want to interview about controversial F1 matters, let alone on live TV, Great stuff keep it coming.

  • Comment number 53.

    Great Blog Jake.

    The coverage is still brilliant and it's great that not only do we see what goes on in front of camera, but thanks to these Blogs we can see behind the scenes as well.

    I don't take the view of some that Jonathan isn't great at commentating. I think he's doing a superb job, and I don't think he deserves some of the comments put his way. Maybe he should join the team for the Forum. Apart from commentating and voicing over a few video tapes, we don't see much of him.

    Radio to Television requires a completely different commentating style. I think he's doing a great job, as are the whole team.


    Kind regards.

  • Comment number 54.

    @45 Agreed.

    Legard is improving, but.... I wish he would think a little more about what he says before says it... For example he told us that both Rosberg and Kimi are definitely driving a McLaren next season? HUH? Both of them? Definitely? What about Lewis who is one of the few drivers to already have a confirmed drive for next season...

    I know and accept that there are strong rumours linking both drivers to the 2nd McLaren seat, and I like millions of fans are I am sure desperate for any rumours, speculation and confirmation...

  • Comment number 55.

    @royalalbertdock RE: Comment 16:

    I turn my telly on pretty much only to watch Formula 1.

    I've been solidly impressed with the BBC coverage, both on the telly and especially the Website reproduction of Red button content. (I agree with others that JL is not a brilliant commentator, but I'll live, as the rest of the coverage is superlative)

    I *love* it all. I consider my License fee well spent here.

    I suspect that there are other programmes that I would consider a huge waste of my dosh... but I also consider that as the BBC does such a good job with my money in general (6 TV Channels, 8 Radio Stations and an excellent website!), I can suffer/not watch the stuff that is not to my taste.

    As my mother said, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all.

    Rock On Jake, you are doing a FAB job, long may it last...

  • Comment number 56.

    48. At 4:13pm on 28 Sep 2009, f1theultimate wrote:

    Am I in a minority of one? I have watched F1 on TV since I was a kid, but I have to say Humphrey and Legard are the worst anchor man and commentator of all.

    ----

    Maybe. No and yes. I think Jake is doing a brilliant job.

    P.S. Jake, don't you know you are meant to be wearing a thorn shirt, eating nothing but cardboard and wallpaper paste and sleeping in a sewer when on our tax payers pennies...

    Please don't rub our noses in the fact that the BBC actually pay you for doing your/our/my dream job, or that they look after you in what can only be described as a 'reasonable manner'!

  • Comment number 57.

    Jake,If you get time before you leave, try and eat at The Banana Leat Restaurant in Little India, which is not too far from the track. Excellent selection of India food and all served up on....... a banana leaf! (you can ask for a spoon but the locals eat with fingers!)

  • Comment number 58.

    Hi Jake - Crummy Blog, but I have to agree with the over riding sentiment of you being excellent in your Steve Rider role, knocks him into a topped hat mate. And I think you, David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan have the makings of a classic threesome, Funny, Knowledgeable and good chemistry - Keept it up

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 60.

    Very interesting insight into your weekend Jake, thank you very much!

  • Comment number 61.

    "As my mother said, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all."

    FYI, it would be trivial to create a watertight logical case to show that this statement is garbage.

    Repeating such a stupid phrase like that in public is NOT, I repeat NOT, a good idea if you want your opinion respected.

  • Comment number 62.

    Have to echo what many have said here the BBC coverage has been spectacular - and I was a fan of the ITV last year.

    Love your banter with EJ and DC - worth watching even when the race is dull.

    Would like to add to other armchair comemtators: lay off JL he's no more annoying or inaccurate than Murray Walker used to be at times and definitely has the enthusiasm.

  • Comment number 63.

    Cheers Jake, agree with the comment below, coverage was thoroughly enjoyable to the end you and the team do a great job.

    Always entertaining to read your blog.

  • Comment number 64.

    THE F1 FORUM IS AWESOME! AND THE BBC HAVE DONE AN AMAZING JOB!

    I hope Kimi does go to Mclaren :)

  • Comment number 65.

    NikolaAnne wrote:
    @royalalbertdock RE: Comment 16:


    the BBC does such a good job with my money in general (6 TV Channels, 8 Radio Stations and an excellent website!), I can suffer/not watch the stuff that is not to my taste.

    As my mother said, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all.

    Yes it does wonders in it's near ring fenced monopolistic position of self congratulatory self indulgence like some bloated Henry V111 with my licence money and always asking for more to pay inflated salaries in an overstaffed corporation.
    Perhaps your mother should have a word then with Alan Sugar and Simon Cowell


  • Comment number 66.

    Hey Jake. Great blog and really enjoyed the coverage this weekend (on my new, huge TV)

    The interview with Bernie was inspired and very funny and I agree with you that Kimi is definitely going to be driving a Macca next year.

    I cracked up laughing when Martin referred to Alonso as "Teflonso" on the grid walk. It really does seem as though nothing sticks to him! He deserved his choc ice after a busy afternoon/night commentating.

    Suzuka should be good. Roll on the weekend

  • Comment number 67.

    Loving the Alan Partridge reference!! First time I have read your blog ; you paint a vivid and honest picture! Keeping it real, where it is so easy to get swept up in the glitz and glamour. Sorry that was supposed to be a compliment lol!

  • Comment number 68.

    As a Singaporean, it seems surreal to see you guys in here, and tucking into the food that most Singaporeans would normally eat outside of the confines of the circuit.(The circuit's "Singaporean" food hardly represents what we normally tuck into)

    By the way we use a fork and spoon to eat the "vegatable and rice"(we call it mixed rice, acutally). We are Asians, but we don't use the chopsticks everywhere we go. :-)

    Great to see your blog as always, keep it up mate!

  • Comment number 69.

    Hi Jake ,
    I have a question about the race on Sunday. It was suggested that the driver who had been ordered to drive through the pits would follow the Safety Car into the pits. As it turned out he didn't , but, if he had done that would he not still be under the Safety Car restraints which do not allow him to do his drive through while they obtain ? I say this because the cars do not begin racing again until they cross the start line and he would have entered the pits before they had done this.
    Just wondering,
    Best Wishes,
    Kenny

  • Comment number 70.

    Good blog, Jake, but please remember that there is no such thing as 12am or 12pm. It is 12 noon or 12 midnight!

  • Comment number 71.

    Great blog as always!! First time i have posted but have been reading since March. Good interviews. Have to say i was a bit disgruntled by martin whitmarsh. He looked more like a naughty schoolboy than a team boss when asked about kimi. Heikki is well aware that he has to step his game up but didn't need mr whitmarsh being quite so unprofessional about it - he needs to take some tips from ferrari!! Bring back ron dennis!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Jake,

    Great Blog as usual, always keep a keen look out for a new one from yourself, to few for my desires, but your a busy man, who others whether you feel it or not actually want to hear your thoughts, not a summary of what they already know.

    I would bet Lewis was waiting for the right moment to walk in, he seems to take a delight in watching your struggle, "Chin Ups anybody!". I think he has come to enjoy your company and in his frantic world, your a source of welcome relief to the seriousness of his everyday life around F1.

    My friend was in Singapore last year and he told me about a fruit called the King of Fruits, Durian I think it is called, apparently there are stalls just selling that alone, and the smell of them can be felt from 100 paces, but the taste is worth the uncomfort.

    As well as the streling work you and the team do to bring us viewers back in the UK our F1 coverage, could you pass on my warmest thanks to Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie who's pit lane roles, gives us the viewer the in race/qualifying/practice goings on as they happen, it is not an easy role considering how much disinformation they have to hear and how they are poking their noses into while events are taking place, but in all honesty even if the race is a procession their moments of insight help to keep the feeling of the race alive to the chequered flag.

    And yes loved your brave attempt at getting exclusive answers from Bernie, and Eddie you can tell has come to really respect you, which is great for in turn you have helped Eddie be a better person in front of the camera.

    Keep up the great work, looking forward to Friday practice.

  • Comment number 73.

    Quality stuff Jake! Q: Were you an F1 fan before you got this job, or just a casual fan? I ask, because you also did the Superbowl a couple of years back I think, and pulled that off superbly.

    @GeraldPhilipS: 12:00 and 00:00 would've been even better!

  • Comment number 74.

    Very entertaining Jake. love the work on the tv and online. keep goin fella.

  • Comment number 75.

    Jake,

    Forgot to ask from Post 72,

    HONDA..as you are going to the home curcuit of Honda and Brawn are more than likely to wrap up the constructors championship there, is it possible for Martin or Eddie to see if they can contact Honda to hear their point of view.

    Is it Irony or a fitting tribute? Fair enough without the mighty Mercedes Engine perhaps it would of been different, but the start of the season they gave Brawn GP a fantastic start and would love to hear if they are proud or regretful.

  • Comment number 76.

    Thanks for the blog Jake..

    You guys at the BBC make the F1 coverage amazing.. really smashing ITV to pieces..

    I hope it long continues... you, DC and even EJ make great television during F1.. Ant and Crofty are great for FP on the red button..

    Top notch stuff!!!..

    Thanks

    J

  • Comment number 77.

    Cool Blog Jake,

    I enjoyed the Singapore GP, Shame that Rosberg and Vettel had Drive-Through Penalties because they could of pressured Hamilton more for the win but still Hamilton did provide a good race.

    The pics look cool and from reading the part about wandering around for food sounded quite funny.

    Anyhow Keep Up Fantastic work and Roll On Japan!

  • Comment number 78.

    You give a great insight we would not other wise see,the twitters ,twitpics and blogs go along way to showing us what goes on .Realy enjoyed it all . Sympathy for the long intro for lewis ,i think id have pretended to have a heart attack ect to get out of that one lol , great job by all.

  • Comment number 79.

    This is the first time that I have checked out your blog. Absolutely brill. I must commend your coverage of the races this year. I will look forward to reading your next blog after Japan.

    Anyway, Jenson has a 15 point lead with 3 races (yeah, yeah, get to the point) which gives him a great chance to snatch the championship on Sunday and boy does he deserve it. Forget all the negative comments regarding his recent form, the lad is an intelligent driver with awesome speed (check out his lap times just before his second pit stop).

    Go Jense go!

  • Comment number 80.

    What a waste of licence fee payers money. Ponsing about at our expense!!

  • Comment number 81.

    Jake,
    really enjoy reading your blog.
    Story about Hamilton and those businessmen is awesome ;)
    Elena

  • Comment number 82.

    Brilliant blog! But what DO you think about the pedestrianisation of Norwich City centre? ;)

  • Comment number 83.

    Clinterous - Don't comment if you have no idea what you're talking about. What would you like them to do... not eat?

    Jake, excellent blog once again! Really loving getting the inside story from something so fantastic!

    I swear I nearly fell off my seat with the Lewis intro! Talk about perfect timing!

    One question I do have though. Your on screen friendship with people like Lewis and Jenson always seems really nice and very chummy. Are you like this in real life off the camera with them? For example, if you collar one at a bad time for an interview, would you apologise after or is that just seen as 'part of the job'?

  • Comment number 84.

    What I love about your blog Jake is that it isn't a press release - we get enogh boring press releases - it is very personal and welcome - thanks.

    Also would like to say how good the team is coming together this season race by race.

    And finally how brave you were to take on that sweetie Bernie Ecclestone - great job even if he won't let you back next season.

  • Comment number 85.

    Welcome to Singapore!

    We are sanitized and controlled, but I won't say we have no soul. You gotta live there to know us.

    Anyway, Jake, Newton circle is overhyped. You can try Old Airport Road or Geylang. Ask the locals when you're there what is good to eat. Not all travel books are accurate!

    Have fun!

  • Comment number 86.

    #48 I disagree on both points.

    Jonathan Legard is getting better race by race and Jake Humphrey is a brilliant anchor man.

  • Comment number 87.

    1st class coverage as usual Jake. I think you and the team do a fanastic job and by far the best ever. I sometime just wish that Murray Walker was part of that tea, as i do miss him. I follow you on Twitter (safcrule) and just thought i would take this chance to say thanks for the hard work you put in to bringing UK F1 fans all the gossip, pics and superb presenting.

    Keep it up!

  • Comment number 88.

    Jake

    Now you're off to Suzuka, which is my favourite all time circuit, can you make any predictions about the outcome of the race? My money is on a surprise winner.........

  • Comment number 89.

    I love it! I absolutely love the blogs and the coverage! Well done, Lewis! See you all next week!

  • Comment number 90.

    Interesting blog. Probably more interesting than the race, especially until the safety car appeared. Then it was a tale of three pit stops, Rosberg and Vettel messing theirs up and Webber being allowed out again despite his brake problems.

    I'm surprised it wasn't brought up on the forum how surprised Jenson Button was when he was told be Lee McKenzie that there had been two safety cars. Ted Kravitz asked another driver a similar question about how the two safety cars had affected his race. But the fact is there was only one safety car, and Button profited from this because lots of other teams gambled that there would be a second one when Webber crashed.

    Apart from that minor blip, the BBC coverage has been pretty good, and it only needs a peek at the Mexico 1990 coverage to realise how different it is these days.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ignore the detractors, Jake, I think you're doing an awesome job, and I love all of your blogs. People need to realise that the whole point of your blog was not to dissect the race with us, but to tell us what goes on behind the scenes. For that, I thank you, as I am riveted each time you post.

    Really looking forward to Suzuka although, as a very long-time Jenson fan, my nerves are currently shot to bits. Hope BrawnGP can wrap up the WCC next weekend and perhaps JB can take the title in Brazil. Would be nice for them to have two parties!

    Keep up the good work. The BBC coverage is truly excellent and I for one am missing it dreadfully here in NY. If the people here who say they are dissatisfied with the beeb would like to come to NY to watch SpeedTV's efforts, they are more than welcome. I can guarantee they would be on the first flight home!

  • Comment number 92.

    Just been reading peoples comments and the man who is always on the money and often 1st to spot any changes in stragegy seems to be TED KRAVTIZ in the pit lane. Boy he must feel the heat more than EJ,DC and yourself Jake in those overalls sprinting around the garages. This year with the help of the red button F1 fans have never had so good well done to all involved...!!!!

  • Comment number 93.

    The only thing which spoils an otherwise flawless Grand Prix coverage by the BBC is the clear dislike/disrespect that Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard have for each other.

    Not only is the body language between them poor, the antipathy has rubbed off to their commentary and demeanour and it's almost like watching two boring bankers at a boardroom meeting discussing the latest customer survey results.

    Allied to the fact that Humphrey clearly sides with Coulthard and likes taking opportune swipes at poor Eddie Jordan reminds me of school yard bullies - but then, Humphrey isn't that far removed from that in terms of years is he?

  • Comment number 94.

    Jake, really interesting blog!

    The one question I did have is how you came to be doing this event with Lewis in the first place?

    Suppose my concern emanates from a suspicion that the whole BBC does F1 seems to be little more than a jolly at the licence payers expense! While I appreciate that you had to be there on Sunday morning between your Quali and Race broadcasts I guessing that in reality you could have been using this time for prepration and thus minimising the amount of time you spend in situ before the weekend begins.

    Great Blog.
    Jrb

  • Comment number 95.

    Got to agree with everyone, excellent blog and excellent coverage this year, soooo much better than ITV's

  • Comment number 96.

    Loved Martin Brundles moaning this week on the grid, very good.

  • Comment number 97.

    @94 - I would assume that part of the thing about doing 'jollies' like this is that it helps to build contacts, earn favours, make friends and all the rest. A huge part of what has given us in this country such great F1 coverage over the years is the access our commentators, pundits, reports and the like have... In order to get that access they have to play the game and get involved in the world of F1.

  • Comment number 98.

    #94 - have you tried increasing your Vitamin D? Spend a few minutes in the sunlight, it may quench your pessimism! I can't see what else Jake could have done to present better this weekend, it was simply amazing.

    The banter between you, EJ and DC is great!

    P.S: Nice photos - now I see why they call Sarah, "BBC Sport's Online Princess" :)

  • Comment number 99.

    Jeez, some people need to get a life! Stop moaning about "spending the tax payers money on jollies". How are they supposed to interview the drivers and teams if they're not there?!?

    I think the team of Jake, DC and EJ is really good. A great mix of knowledge and enthusiasm. If you had nothing but "experts" on the show it'd be really boring for people like me who don't understand all the technicalities and rules. I watch F1 for the racing, and to see people presenting it who have a real enthusiasm for the sport is refreshing.

    And Jake's blogs are brilliant. Just an honest report of what happened at the weekend. No spin, no jargon, just a few words from someone who loves his job.

    Keep up the good work Jake and the BBC, and keep grinding ITV into the dirt!

  • Comment number 100.

    # 97:

    Take your point re building contacts.

    # 98:

    Wasn't criticising the presenting just questioning the BBC expenditure. Find it amusing that because I posted on the internet you assume I have a vitamin D deficiency - this despite the fact that its you not me who's the regular here.

 

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