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Ringing the changes for 2011

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Jake Humphrey | 15:15 UK time, Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Well, here we go then, my first blog of a new year - and it will take me a while to type it. I've just returned from a skiing trip to France and used so many muscles that even my fingers ache. Mind you, I've promised my wife Harriet a six-pack as a New Year's resolution for the past few years so maybe it's actually the perfect start to 2011!

It may only be January but another F1 season will be upon us before we know it - and judging by the tweets I've been receiving it can't come soon enough for lots of you! There's a lot going on and you might have read about changes to the BBC team - I'll come onto those in a bit.

But there is no doubt that since taking this job it feels as though my life has has entered a warp-speed stage. I look at the calendar ahead of the season and feel rather daunted by the travel, the hours of live television, the garish Eddie Jordan outfits and the drama that awaits us... but before I know it, we'll be at the final race of the year with the champion crowned.

The winter break is the same. Knowing when the season starts meant that even before we signed off in Abu Dhabi we had already announced how many weeks it was until the 2011 season. So I've spent most of the winter (in between sore throats/colds/flu) ticking off the weeks until we're back in Bahrain.

I can't believe it's time to turn our attention towards Sebastian Vettel's defence of his crown already.

Eddie Jordan, Jake Humphrey and David Coulthard

Coulthard (right) will dove-tail his pundit's role with his new commentating duties. Photo: Getty

I vividly remember coming off air in November, having signed off from the final F1 Forum of 2010, and immediately feeling really down. I mentioned it to Martin Brundle, who told me that it's par for the course. After giving so much both mentally and physically to a gruelling nine-month schedule, it's natural that you experience a dip the moment the adrenalin leaves your body and the slog is over.

Mind you, my dip wasn't quite as big as Ferrari's, was it? I'm sure over the winter you've read the revelations that team principal Stefano Domenicali considered walking away after the Scuderia's strategy calls contributed to Red Bull's double success. Well, to understand what Domenicali must have been feeling, you need to realise how much emotion is involved in a sport more famed for its technical element.

Many of the Red Bull engineers and mechanics have worked for that team throughout all the name changes, back-of-the-field struggles and double retirements they have experienced in less successful years, so you can imagine the outpouring of joy that greeted Vettel's title in Abu Dhabi. And from men who spend their days in the macho world of racing there were plenty of tears as the best partiers in the paddock lived up to their reputation of working hard and playing hard, too.

As I left them to their celebrations, I walked into the pit lane and looked along the garages, where I was met with the clearest example of what suspect calls on the pit wall can lead to.

Right next door to the loud music and joy emanating from the Red Bull garage, there was just one lonely mechanic standing and talking on the phone in a still, silent Ferrari garage.

The money they'd spent, the car they'd devoted thousands of hours to, the flights they'd taken and the dreams they'd had eventually came to nothing. The car was now obsolete, the season over and all because of one split-second decision on the pit wall. That is what makes this such a fascinating sport.

I think we all felt a bit odd at the end of the season. Imagine how it was for our own former Red Bull driver David Coulthard, seeing the team you raced for achieving the ultimate success. He must have had all sorts of emotions.

You'll get the chance to hear for yourself next season just how emotional grand prix racing makes David because, as well as chasing around the paddock with Eddie and me, he is stepping up into the commentary box.

I'm really excited about a 13-time winner sharing his knowledge in the race with you. Remember, David has raced most of the guys on the grid, has first-hand experience of the inner workings of current champions Red Bull and, most importantly, has driven contemporary F1 machinery.

There is no doubt that it is a daunting prospect for him but I think he will fly once he settles in. I always tell him that the pre- and post-race "waffle", as I jokingly refer to it, is important and an interesting way of adding depth to a race weekend. However, we don't directly affect people's enjoyment of the actual racing.

In my mind, the commentary is a somewhat more responsible role for that reason and is also the trickiest job going. I wouldn't swap the pit lane for the commentary box for all the sand in Bahrain!

Although David is moving to the commentary box, the 'three-o' of myself, DC and EJ will remain. We love working together and, when you get an on-screen chemistry that people seem to enjoy, it would be foolish to break it up.

However, David will need to hustle his white jeans to the commentary box a little earlier so immediately pre- and post-race will be a chance for EJ to get on his soap box and share his views at a time when the audience is joining us in their droves for the racing.

The most fascinating part of any race weekend for me has always been settling down to watch the grand prix with Eddie and David as they discuss the race unfolding while regaling me with anecdotes of their first-hand experience. Well, I won't get that anymore but my loss is certainly your gain and I think we've a really strong team in place for 2011.

And who will be alongside David in the box? His long-time friend, one-time business partner and full-time expert on the sport - Martin Brundle.

Martin has had more races behind the microphone than behind the wheel - and what better qualifications can you have than to have taken part in the sport for so long, commentating on almost every race for the past 14 years? I thought in 2010 his instincts, ability to read the race and general enthusiasm for the sport he has dedicated his life to were as prevalent as ever.

I don't envy the work that lies ahead for Martin, though. It might seem like a small change on paper but, in reality, while DC will be sharing his views on drivers, strategy and taking us as close to the cockpit as possible, Martin will need to be aware of every little story, political development and technical development as he calls the action. Racing drivers only exist to be the best, so expect to see him giving it his all to make it a huge success.

Clearly, however, the changes I've talked about mean that Jonathan Legard will no longer be part of our team - I know I'm going to really miss him.

I first met 'Ledgy', as we affectionately call him, at Craven Cottage, where we were both covering football. It was November 2008 and we had both been lined up for the new F1 season. We got talking and were both brimming with excitement and anticipation about the adventure ahead.

I remember before the 2009 season started and we were both incredibly nervous about taking on something as important and prestigious as F1 and I told him how worried I was about the challenge ahead. His instant reply was: "We can both either have an easy life or an exciting life and I know which one I want!"

That is typical Jonathan - always encouraging, incredibly enthusiastic, a good friend to us all, and without doubt the hardest working member of the BBC's F1 team, doing an incredibly difficult job. I know I speak for every member of the production when I say we're all going to miss his entertaining company and his absolute dedication to the job. All the best for the future Jonathan!

One thing you may well also miss is standard-definition coverage. Finally, we are delighted to bring you F1 in high definition, which I think will make the sport even more dramatic and addictive than ever.

So why will you miss SD? Well, mainly because in HD I think Eddie's shirts might be un-viewable. I've warned him, but I'm still expecting something outrageous come March!

So, the clock is ticking for the new season and March will be here in a flash. We have a new Indian driver, a new Indian Grand Prix, the prospect of three British drivers battling it out if Scottish DTM champ Paul di Resta gets the nod at Force India, six world champions on the grid... and once again the whole season will be live and uninterrupted of the BBC.

I can't wait to share the 2011 season with you all. Feel free to leave comments below about the kind of stuff you would like to see in our coverage this year and remember that throughout the season I post plenty of exclusive pictures and other juicy stuff on my Twitter page.

Eight weeks and counting...


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Finally F1 in HD. What took you so long?

  • Comment number 2.

    HD? At last. Can't wait for the season and EJ's shirts.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm very excited for the new season not just for the shifts in F1 rules and perhaps a shift in the relative performance of teams but the new look BBC team. I feel DC will make for a much better commentary team alongside Brundle but I do hope he is not sorely missed from the presenting team! big shoes to fill even with the ever effervescent Jordan. Hate to see someone loose their job and Legard's blogs were always interesting but unfortunately his commentary was poor especially during qualifying. "he's lit up the timing screen purple!" while someone was doing the very first lap of a session, obviously failing to do so would be impossible.

    I do wonder how much HD will add to the proceedings but it certainly is no bad thing! Combined with the changes to wings and Kers close passes and competition between the cars could mean that F1 does indeed manage to surpass last season.

    Heres to hoping for a good season. (and a win for Jenson!)

  • Comment number 4.

    Ps. #1. Murray, HD wasn't made available by Bernie, no fault of the BBC who have been pushing for it!

  • Comment number 5.

    Good to have you back Jake! Really excited about the HD announcement too.

    I think we are all in for one of the best seasons of all time! New commentator, new rules, new cars, new tyres, new drivers, and now HD!

    I cannot wait! See you in Bahrain!

  • Comment number 6.

    Here's a lesson for all young people about to start out in life; guess what being "encouraging, incredibly enthusiastic, a good friend and without doubt the hardest working member of a team, doing an incredibly difficult job" gets you?
    Yep, the boot!

  • Comment number 7.

    HD ... Awesome! Great blog, as usual Jake. I'm glad Martin is now the Lead Commentator ... a distinction that is long overdue

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm surprised Mr Walker knows what HD is!

  • Comment number 9.

    "we are delighted to bring you F1 in high definition"

    Assuming you can get it with the slowness of the DSO, continental drift is quicker than the digital switch over ;)

  • Comment number 10.

    Brundle has proved himself as an excellent broadcaster, but the step up to lead commentator is a big one. It'll be interesting to see how he does, I'm sure he'll be as good as ever.

    The best news is, of course, about HD. Been waiting for this for years!

  • Comment number 11.

    Er....Jake, Narain Karthikayan is hardly new, Had a go earlier and wasn't much kop....Karun Chandock was better in the Skoda....sorry HRT.

    PS who's filling DC's shoes now he's going to play with Martin in the Comm Box? Or have you got to deal with EJ on your own?

  • Comment number 12.

    Guf'hawh, skiing wot wot.

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks Jake, now i'm really excited I cant wait, very happy about the new commentary team, love DC and Martin, and Eddie's honesty always makes me laugh. I hope that this year we have even more excitement with (hopefully) 4 teams in the running for the championship. :)

  • Comment number 14.

    Finally F1 on HD...Thankful to F1 for that.... Will really miss JONATHAN LEDGARD.... We miss u JOHN....

  • Comment number 15.

    Thanks Jake, your enthusiasm continues to make the F1 roadshow a great TV experience, and it's especially important for the thousands and thousands of fans like myself that can't afford to travel to races.

    I'm eagerly awaiting the new season, both for the changes in BBC line-up and commentary, along with the whole F1 2011 season.

  • Comment number 16.

    Will Martin Brundle still be partaking in the pre-race Grid Walk? It's one of the highlights of the build up!

  • Comment number 17.

    the wait for your blog was almost as long as the wait for HD!

  • Comment number 18.

    Don't worry about Eddie's shirts, we all have 57 days to pester our opticians for protective glasses...

  • Comment number 19.

    I can't wait for this years f1 season

  • Comment number 20.

    Pity after all the money spent on getting F1 too the beeb we have such an awful team before, during and after the races. I'm starting too miss Jim Rosenthal too be honest. Looks like another season with the mute on. :(

  • Comment number 21.

    I assume this won't get posted, but if JL really did have 'absolute dedication' to his job, then why didn't he bother to learn the different helmet colours by at least the 17th race?

  • Comment number 22.

    Will the practice sessions also be shown in HD on the BBC HD channel?

  • Comment number 23.

    re #6. kate, I respect jake being professional and handing out praise to someone he clearly likes on a personal level. However underperformance despite considerable effort means one is vulnerable, especially within the BBC with its annual performance reviews etc. I don't know how many other people would agree with my views re. Legard's commentary but I can see no outcome but improved commentary with DC and Brudle together on the Mics.

  • Comment number 24.

    I hope MB hasn't picked up itv's JA tallent of beenable to spot a coloured ring roung a tyre 3 times before quali has started, twice in the intervals between and four times after it's finished. YES WE KNOW ITS SOFT COMPOUND!!!!!

    nice blog jake

  • Comment number 25.

    I love the BBC team's coverage and think last season was the best it's ever been on tv but I'm less convinced about these changes. While he seems to polarise opinion, I do think JL deserved another season and it seems to me as though MB has perhaps undermined this by calling into question their "chemistry"? With friends like that....

    Ultimately, I see DC and MB as expert analysts rather than commentators - they are VERY different roles.

  • Comment number 26.

    my friends and i are champing at the bit for the f1 season to get started we often have heated discussions about how the races panned out when we meet up on a monday night to play darts. But one thing that we all agree on is that we all love the entertaining coverage/presenting from yourself, D.C., E.J. and M.B. so keep up the excellent work

  • Comment number 27.

    Flipping hell, I can remember when both Martin and DC were on the F1 grid together and now they're a commentary team? Having said that DC did do occasional commentary work during his driving career so there's no reason to say it can't work.

  • Comment number 28.

    Really looking forward to the new season great first blog. I for one will still be listening to the commentary on 5live with the pictures on the TV. The standard is far higher and with Anthony Davidson there as well hopefully next season again I do believe there is a man that reads the races perfectly.

    The three of you guys at the beginning and the end of the race though really have made the whole program worth watching. Good banter and great anchoring.

    Good luck for the new season Jake, happy travelling.

  • Comment number 29.

    My favourite part of F1 is Martin Brundle jumping into different broadcaster’s interviews and taking over, I hope he will still be able to cause havoc on the starting grid with this new role.

  • Comment number 30.

    i think the change in commentary team is a positive thing i just hope the commentary team on the red button stays the same as it is always informative as well as funny keep up the good work

  • Comment number 31.

    Anyway...FORZA WILLIAMS!

  • Comment number 32.

    Great blog Jake and I hope that the coverage continues to be as good as the last two years. Happy new year!

  • Comment number 33.

    Also really looking forward to the new season.

    I have to be honest and say that I also won't miss JL's commentary, he seems much better suited to Radio as he very rarely took a breath or a break from talking! Sometimes its nice to just listen to the cars you know! :)

    Question for Jake, do you think the novelty of the F1 circus will be less now you're into your 3rd season?

  • Comment number 34.

    What about Free Practice and Qualifying?Will these two be broadcasted in HD?And what HD?Full 1080p or 1080i?

  • Comment number 35.

    Roll on the new season. Legard was unpopular with a lot of F1 fans but good luck to him in the future.

  • Comment number 36.

    5 champions on the grid not 6 Jake. Shame Kimi couldn't come back. A great blog.

  • Comment number 37.

    Brilliant 1st blog of 2011 Jake. Can't wait for the season to kick off. Really happy that you DC and EJ will still be in the pits together most of the time!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    Great news for this year. I can now look forward to listening to the TV commentary instead of having the radio on as well. I will be very surprised if Martin starts shouting about an event that is not important and regularly uses phrases such as those I had the misfortune to listen to from JL when I played back the grand prix recordings I had made (I could not quite record the radio commentary in sync with the tv coverage).
    Best news since the great Murray retired

  • Comment number 39.

    I predict that Martin and DC will get slated by the press & fickle public and then when the racing begins all will be forgotten....

  • Comment number 40.

    Jake...Any chance the beeb F1 team will be alot more balanced with their favouritism?

    The beeb f1 coverage is great but the only thing that ruins it and makes it come across as unprofessional is the biased views you all openly have. i.e. Its no secret that there is a big love affair with jenson, which then results in a few digs at Lewis as you as yourself aluded to on a few occassions i.e. when you had an unfair dig at Lewis' english; or when Nicole is being interviewed is normally followed with a little dig there.

    Just remember Lewis too is British.

  • Comment number 41.

    Sorry if this has been explained elsewhere before, but is there any reason why Free Practice 3 is never available on BBC iPlayer?

  • Comment number 42.

    Other than bad shirts, what does EJ actually add to the coverage? His jokes are not particularly funny, his predictions are almost always wrong and for someone who has been involved in the sport for so many years, his knowledge is terrible. See recent appearance on A Question of Sport.

    I hope DC doesn't leave Jake with EJ on his own too long.

    Great decision to move MB to the lead role though.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Jake and happy new year to you and all the F1 fans!

    Here we go again!

    I hear about the changes taking place at the BBC and the commentary team. Have to say that Jonathan Legard came across well and I wish him well for the future.

    Nice to see Martin Brundle take the helm and I hope he will still have time to do his grid walks before each race.

    Looking forward to the start 2011 season in March and its only 57 days until start of first race.

    Bring it on!

  • Comment number 44.

    Oh, forgot to add, great to see F1 in HD at long last!

  • Comment number 45.

    Sorry BBC,you have made a big mistake.JL is as good as the great Murray Walker.My other half is deaf,so I am glad for subtitles when DC is on tv.You can just about understand him,so look out when the races get fast and furious.JL did a great job on radio 5 before the move to tv.So well done BBC.I for 1 will be watching the coverage,but listening to Crofty and
    Anthony Davidson on 5 live.Best of luck for the new season.but even better luck to JL.

  • Comment number 46.

    Great news about HD..I hope that means that the races will all be in HD as I understand it relies on the host country to be able to broadcast in HD.
    I love the idea of David (DC) and Martin (Brundle) being the commentary team; they are both well liked, former F1 drivers and they have a fund of knowledge and experience to help.
    Can't wait for the first race.

  • Comment number 47.

    I feel Brundle has always been the superior commentator, and able to provide better coverage. No offence to Legard, but often he has been behind on the action, or missed important events out altogether. Whereas Brundle always seems alert and following the action very closely. I think he'll make an excellent main commentator, and it's a well deserved promotion.
    It's just a shame he's been partnered with DC.
    Don't get me wrong, I like him, and I think the presenting team of Jake, EJ and DC is very good, but I sometimes feel he is a bit of a weak link. He clearly knows what he's talking about, but doesn't always present with the apparant charisma as his partners.
    Anyway, we shall just have to wait and see, and hope I am proved wrong. He's an intelligent guy, who knows the sport inside out, so hopefully he will be a valuable addition to the commentary team.

    Great blog Jake, looking forward to the start of the season!

  • Comment number 48.

    Starting to get excited many changes both on & off the track keeps us riveted!Its going to be fabulous!
    I tip McLaren to excel with KERS, Lewis will confirm he is the best driver (once again) & EJ will encourage an economic recovery with people buying shades to protect their eyes from his shirts etc....
    Good luck to JL, my choice would have been James Allen to replace him & keep MB as a summariser...cheers for the update Jake!
    Thank God it is on the BBC in HD & not on ITV....remember the adverts????????

  • Comment number 49.

    Brundle is the Alan Partridge of F1 - and I don't mean that as a compliment. Bring back Legard!

  • Comment number 50.

    Jake, why do the BBC F1 tweets post all your rubbish about home life, NCFC, personal hygiene etc etc - fed up with that, can it stop ?

    Secondly, now Red Bull paid Coulthard gets shifted to commentary, oh dear ! I hoped that at least sticking him out of harms way in a box would stop him being so creepy around the women but now you say he'll still be doing pre and post race stuff. so all we get is even more of him. Not good.

    Brundle has got his work cut out, I wonder if we will be so harsh on him if he starts making gaffs. Maybe by the end of the season he'll be out of a job like Legard. Why change his role ? I thought we had just the right amount of him last season.

    Well, thats producers at the BBC for you, if it works, change it !

  • Comment number 51.

    I had that empty feeling too Jake... :(

  • Comment number 52.

    All together now -


    ...I need to lie down.

  • Comment number 53.

    HD being 100% confirmed is excellent news, Sky Germany's F1 contract renewal recently was a little hint towards this, as they had expressed their intent not to extend the deal unless it went HD. Bernie said it was pretty likely but you can never be sure until it's official.

    I'm really excited to hear how Martin & DC fair in 2011!!
    I've been a fan of Brundle for many years and it's great to see him pushing his talent to a different avenue. Maurice Hamilton did find it too much for him though and fell back to his analyst role. If Martin finds it too much of a task or it doesn't seem to be working out I would recommend hiring Ben Edwards to join the pair to make a 3 way commentary team. Ben is seen by many as the best motorsport commentator out there which is why he gets so much work. It would be a shame if he never commentated on an F1 race again.

  • Comment number 54.

    Hey Jake, Great post as always, I do have a few reservations about the new coverage this season after the changes as you're one man down...

    Will Martin Brundle still do the grid walk now he's the lead Commentator? (Hope so - a crucial part of the show and best done by Brundle)

    Will DC not be completely knackered by commentating, pre + post race pit lane waffle and taking part in the post race forum?

    But the key question is does Brundle have what it takes to be lead commentator?

    I personally think Brundles key value is in the shape of an informed pundit not a lead commentator (like Murry/Croft/Legard). So now the BBC has two very well informed pundits not a lead commentator and a pundit and may have altered the Ying and Yang between commentators and consequently this may spoil the dynamic between the (JH,DC,EJ) trio due to DC's extra responsibilities but that still remains to be seen. Maybe the BBC have realised that DC doesn't really have a great on screen persona (too wooden).

    I do feel the new coverage will be run like Faulty Towers if it does continue with one man down. You will have DC running back and forth between the box and the pit lane. MB running to the box after the grid walk but it may well prove to be fun to watch.

    I do wish Brundle all the best but I for one will miss Legard. I would also like to see more of Ant Davidson, Chandock, Mark Blundle or even Nigel Mansell this season.

    Here is to 2011, I unfortunately think that Alonso will win the title but lets hope JB and LH give him a good run for his money...

    Good Luck,

  • Comment number 55.

    Like everyone i think, I am glad to see f1 in HD.

    But like you jake I'm really sad to see legard go he had wonderful enthusiasm for his job. I think it's upsetting that a good man can be ousted by a bunch of 12 year old keyboard jockeys who in his place wouldn't even be able to manage a nervous squeak. So please for the love of god don't loose anyone else, the bbcs f1 team is the best it has ever been since f1 started. We already lost Holly and now Jonathan no more please!

    I'd even say it's the best coverage of any sport on the bbc. From every practice session to the qualifying, race show's and the forums. Then there's the website including such gems as the gossip column, classic grands prix, Driver/team reviews, simulator circuit guides, live car tracking and masses of updates from all the team on every topic we could wish for. Not even the football get's such brilliant attention on the bbc and they obviously have more hands to work with. It really is a credit to all of you guys that we're in such a golden age not only for the quality of the on track action but for the quality and detail of the coverage we get that then makes the on track action all the more sweeter.

    Basicly lovin ya work happy 2011 bring on the hd!!! and please never leave us!

  • Comment number 56.

    Cant wait for the new season.

    Shame to see Ledgard go he wasnt the best commentator ever but he was far from the worst and some of the stuff written about him on here was way OTT, however it should hopefully be much better now with DC up there instead.

    I think for one of the races this year the whole team should have a competition to see who can find the loudest shirt and see if anyone can possibly beat EJ.

    Roll on 2011

  • Comment number 57.

    Hi Jake, great to have the blog back- the first sign that the season is approaching!!

    I'm really looking forward to it and to the new commentary line-up. I think DC and Brundle will make a great team. But will Martin still be doing the grid walk? That's always been one of the highlights of the race warm-up for me, although I guess EJ could take over and create his own brand of chaos instead! The only problem might be that a driver goes into shock at the sight of one of his shirts and has to be taken off to the medical centre......

  • Comment number 58.

    Can't wait for the new season :)

  • Comment number 59.

    Nice first blog of the year. I can't wait for the new season to start. I'm also looking forward to seeing how Brundle and DC get on as a commentary team - will we still get Brundle's gridwalks as well? I certainly hope so.

  • Comment number 60.

    great blog as usual jake,enjoy following you on twitter too,nice to have hd,hope martin keeps doing the grid walks i can't see anyone else doing as good,not sure about dc commentating,the one thing the likes of ledgy & walker have is the ability to pump you up with their exuberance,the exitement in their voices even when making mistakes,,,both dc and mb are DRIVERS and as such may be way to COOL to project the exitement of the race,,we shall see,i hope i'm wrong otherwise i'll be listening to the channel 5 commentators...

  • Comment number 61.

    Cannot wait to see F1 in HD but sorry that you didn't take the chance to get David Croft into the commentary box so I guess I shall have to switch the audio to the Radio 5 stream for another season.

    Also welcome back with your blog Jake you have been missed.

  • Comment number 62.

    great news JL is gone, im sorry but his role in the commentary box was to call events as they happen, no technical info, no inner workings of the car, no info on how the mind of the driver works, no info on the hierarchy of teams, nothing, all he had to do was race positions, and whos going fast on the track and he consistently made mistakes. how hard is it!? he has a screen in front of him telling him everything! its like auto cue....... getting excited a drivers turning the screen purple on the first quali lap??? telling all the viewers Massa was out and clear of the car moments after Massa's accident when he was clearly still sat their in the car. constantly getting drivers mixed up in their cars. he has the easiest job of all BBC crew on race days and made mistakes every week.

  • Comment number 63.

    What's your problem Jake?

    You can get a six-pack at Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, etc

  • Comment number 64.

    I am very pleased to see the BBC will be broadcasting F1 in HD this year, for a sport that prides it self of being the technologically most advanced i think this was a long over due move by FOM.

    I am also pleased that the commentary team has changed, im sure what Jake says about JL being hard working and a nice person are true. However just as with James Allen a good journalist and person does not always make a good commentator. For this reason im not sure how good DC will prove to be in the commentary box, I think David Croft who commentates for Radio 5live would have been a better bet. That said i hope DC proves me wrong on this point.

    One final point "six world champions on the grid..." i count only five, Seb Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Schumacher am i missing something?

  • Comment number 65.

    Really looking forward to the new season. Eddi's shirts of course and the gold and black flashing round the track (is it 2 or 4 times a lap?).

    I am worried about tinkering at the BEEB. The Eddi - Coultard combo cannot be beaten.

    Shame about Legard. Hardest working and least glamerous member of the team. Best sack him.

    I assume grid walks will stay the same?

    Lets hope the new 'format' works out. I can't wait.

  • Comment number 66.

    the very first hd tv set used f1 footage in it's advertisement and yet it took f1 so long to use hd. i can remember my moment of excitement watching the grooved tyres on the red ferrari. i nearly bought the tele until i was told hd wasnt yet beamed out by broadcasters.

    i hope brundle arpa being so negative on hamilton.

  • Comment number 67.

    Hi Jake, looking forward to new season. The coverage last year was great but was on several occaisions spoiled for me with the sniping at Lewis and excuse making for Jenson.

    For example I was disappointed when you focussed on the quali battle score between Jenson and Lewis at the start of last season when Jenson was beating Lewis and dropped the feature immediately when Lewis started beating Jenson.

    Also I remember the famous "Lewis Hamilton where are you now" dig which did not seem fitting for an unbiased presenter to say.

    I'm hoping to see much more balanced treatment this year.

  • Comment number 68.

    I have to second Barry Jones he has managed to encapsulate what I was trying to say earlier.. ledgy & walker have an ability to pump you up with their exuberance, the excitement in their voices put you on the edge of your seat even when making mistakes..

    I don't believe you can say Brundle or Coulthard have that same quality however informed and correct they may be.

  • Comment number 69.

    whoa whoa whoa!

    What's this? A man promising his wife a six pack as a New Years resolution? Surely that breaks some kind of unwritten rule!

  • Comment number 70.

    Sorry cant help thinking the new commentary lineup is wrong wrong wrong , Why 2( ex) drivers ? ,One is enough , There must be somebody else in BBC team who could do this instead ?. But i guess we are stuck with it , BOOO..
    I also very much agree with no more pointless tweets , F1 or nothing .
    Anyway , Welcome back . .x. .

  • Comment number 71.

    Mr Kravitz still criminally under-used! Looking forward to it with incredible hunger though :)

  • Comment number 72.

    Oh god is F1 coming back already?? It has to be the most boring sport in the world. Ok so there has to be a good degree of skill involved in the driving but it is no coincidence that the driver who has the best car is the one who wins.
    Now the BBC has one of the few "popular" sports, it insits on showing us the practice rounds, the qualifying rounds and the race which takes up the whole weekend. Maybe before the next Spurs game, the BBC will show the boys training session leading up to it, the pre match lunch and the dressing room talk before the match !!!

  • Comment number 73.

    You arent half grump maroonfever: it's Jakes twitter he can post whatever he likes :P

    Good blog Jake. Looking forward to seeing how DC + Brundle (i will soon be calling him Sir Brundle, the man's a legend) get on in the comm box. Cant wit to see F1 in proper H for the first time either! :)

  • Comment number 74.

    Looking forward to another season, it's just a shame that Qualifying is more exciting than the race.

  • Comment number 75.

    Andy (#72) if that's your opinion, why are you even reading this blog, or commenting? How very silly and bizarre. You seemingly don't like F1 (and you seemingly don't even understand it judging by your comments), so maybe rather than moaning, you ought to read something that has relevance to something you like? Strange person. Very strange person. Don't know why someone would read and comment on a blog about a topic on which they have no interest, and clearly don't understand. Your exaggeration about coverage showing practice, qualifying and the race taking up the whole weekend is even more bizarre, given it's not like it's on 24/7. Strange fellow.

  • Comment number 76.

    HD - I can't wait! Really looking forward to the new season, adjustable aero should be interesting, I hope it works well.

    I won't miss JL but wish him well, you could see that he was prepared but I miss James Allen but I am sure that Martin will do a good job leading the commentary. Shame Crofty didn't get the nod.

    Also I hope to hear more from Ted, more blogs, tweets and airtime. He is a top man.


  • Comment number 77.

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

  • Comment number 78.

    Hear hear LiLu and Ginger, Ted Kravitz should be considered for the main commentary team and DC in the pits - I think DC would thrive there because with his analytical brain he'd probably communicate very well with the pit crews. And great that Martin Brundle is staying on: I already think that, objectively, he's the finest motorsport commentator we've ever had.

    And Jake, I'm pleased to see you've been busy, sports review of the year, New Year's Eve... good for you that you're becoming a more major part of the BBC family.

  • Comment number 79.

    I can't wait!

    I can only count 5 world champions though: VET, HAM, BUT, SCH, ALO? Is RAIKKONEN coming back?

  • Comment number 80.

    What's the story with practise coverage? Is it still gonna be Ant & Crofty? Because to end that partnership would be a travesty, they make practise a must see. With the HD switch, that's great news, but will broadcasters still receive a SD feed so that practise can still be shown on the Red Button and the website?

  • Comment number 81.

    What a shame the BBC in their wisdom have decided to ruin their award winning coverage by sacking Jonathan Legard and moving David Coulthard to the commentary box.

  • Comment number 82.

    Sorry to see Jonathan Legard go, hope we'll still see him around the paddock.

    Glad to hear about HD and will be interested to see how the new commentary duo work out.

    However, just wondering how is HD going to work with the in-car red button options during a race? Will HD be compatible with red button services or will they remain in SD?

  • Comment number 83.

    Hi Jake & all @ BBC F1. I know you sometimes use John Watson as a pundit on the red button preview shows. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can we have more of John. He was always brilliant when he was F1 commentator on Eurosport and I believe would be a great addition to your live team, especially him being from NI, alongside Jake & EJ. Food for thought eh? It would make you the ultimate dream team for my money. ATB to you all. Andy J.

  • Comment number 84.


    Great to read your first blog of the year, i am looking forward to this season even more than i was for the last one and with HD is gonna be super great.

    Wife got me a pair of platinum 3 day tickets for Silverstone in July. Any Chance of the Beeb showing any of the testing as a round up of each of the testing phases this year, as well as each of the teams launch ceremonies?

    F1 forever ...


  • Comment number 85.

    Good man Jake, 2nd time I've read through you blog and always seems to be an interesting read. Can't wait for next Season to start and for McLaren to run rings round all the rest!!! :D

    Suggestion for the new season broadcasting, more of you crashing in Lotus races!!! ha! Would be immense! Seriously though, that's some of the best TV time you guys had last season apart from the forums, which always seem un-organised and hilarious! Also more of the driver participation stuff like the pub quiz with Moyles, Dave and Al Murray! That was amazing.

    Keep it up!

  • Comment number 86.

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

  • Comment number 87.

    Although I wish David Croft every advancement in his career, I'm glad he's staying on the radio with Ant. My only dilemma will be how to listen to two commentaries at once. I used to forgo Martin's excellent analysis because I found Jonathan's mistakes so embarrassing. I wish him well but I'm glad there's been a change. I can't comment on how the new TV pairing will be until I hear it but I certainly think Martin has the experience now to be the lead and whether he was a racing driver in the past or not, shouldn't really preclude him from becoming a 'commentator' now.

    Excuse my ignorance since I can't afford some fancy home cinema set up, will HD broadcasting improve the look of SD as well? Will it improve the look of the online broadcast? I saw a tweet that said the commentary boxes will have HD which sounds like a very sensible idea since I know that the radio guys used to despair at the quality of their monitors when they were trying to check something controversial that happened at high speed!

    I actually don't envy the whole circus's schlep round and round the world for 9 months. Maybe you could do some filming on what it's like for everyone to do this week after week. And just to counter that, maybe you could cover some of the more high glamour events that happen around said same circus. I know it's not racing but it's what makes the sport what it is.

    While I've never thought the Beeb was particularly biased in their coverage, I do think you slip into safe ground with your features sometimes. I know some drivers are hard to get and other people are practically waiting to give a regular interview (smart if you're trying to please your sponsors!) but there were certainly drivers and teams that didn't get much of a look in last year - Sauber? Force India? Toro Rosso? Even Williams, which is still a big favourite with UK viewers. I really hope Paul di Resta gets a ride. That will give you a whole new way of covering the midfield teams.

    Finally please just call Renault, Renault and don't start attaching their sponsor name to everything they do!!!!!! It's not like you call McLaren by Vodafone or Mercedes by Petronas or Ferarri by Sandander?

    Good luck with the show. Looking forward to seeing some coverage of the testing. I wonder who will have come up with the goods this year....

  • Comment number 88.

    I wish you all the best of luck. I'm worried that moving Martin up to full-time commentator might backfire, but hey, he's Martin Brundle - the lad could score points in a Zakspeed.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 70 355simon That is the reason I shall be listening to the Radio 5 stream with David Croft he is brilliant at F1

  • Comment number 90.

    @ 40. SupaSix-1

    Sometimes i wonder why I read the comments underneath these blogs, I would try and argue and tell you how ridiculous your comment is but i really cant be bothered anymore. im just going to have a drink instead....

    on the plus side cant wait for the season ahead, im hoping the fact the DC and MB have known each other for years will add some much needed chemistry to the commentary box! I also wonder whether red bull will now start a fairly dominant period over the next few years like mclaren in the 80's, williams in the 90's and ferrari in the 00's. or this season will be very even between all the teams

  • Comment number 91.

    My opinion on the change of commentary is mixed. I will give Martin a chance as lead commentator, but I do have my worries.

    I think back to the French GP of 2000 when Murray Walker was ill, so Martin and James Allen took the commentary for the first time together. Martin took the position of lead commentator because he called the start - and didn't do a great job of it. Once Murray retired, James Allen took over as lead commentator and did a good job.

    James Allen was much criticised for saying some outlandish things when he was lead commentator, but fundamentally he did what he did very well - he had to call the events of the race, say what was happening, and then Martin would add to that as colour commentator. Together they performed that duty very well and sadly when JL took over this didn't work as well; no disrespect to Legard as he is a top motor sport correspondent - Some things just don't work out. However now we are facing a different situation, two colour commentators will be in the commentary box. This is a bad situation.

    You need a lead commentator to call the race, and the colour commentator to give insight. I have no doubt that the potential for insight now is much greater with two ex-drivers commentating, but there is no lead commentator to encourage this insight to come out of their mouths. As ex-drivers I believe that they will both be too similar to each other, as the viewers will lose depth of commentary as a result.

    I hope I am proved wrong. But until the first race I will have my reservations and worries.

  • Comment number 92.

    I think DC's going to be great alongside Martin. I dont think there's any prospect of it turning into silly season or DC not taking it seriously if last season was anything to go by. Last season I specifically noted that DC at times would take even the "waffle" sections of the show seriously (thats not to say he was po-faced, just professional in his outlook, you could tell he was making an effort to be professional) and it was clear from his body language that he was taking his television work seriously and that he was proud to be working for the Beeb. He's going to be great, and I'm particularly happy that Martin got the top commentary job. His work is always exemplary.

    Well deserved for both. Cant wait.

    P.S A big thankyou to the beeb for listenting to the fans. I did'nt expect that you would shuffle the pack anytime soon, but you have found the bravery to change up the accepted order of things in the commentary box and for that you should be applauded. It feels like an old unfashionable broadcasting mould has been broken with regards to the roles in the commentary box (i.e, anorak commentator alongside knowledgeable techy person). It needed changing as it was stale, and you changed it. Well done.

  • Comment number 93.

    Personally I'd have preferred Crofty and Davidson to take over the TV commentary, but I shall reserve judgment on Brundle and Coulthard until the end of 2011.

  • Comment number 94.

    I'm worried,

    Whilst Martin is the finest pundit broadcasting for F1 anywhere, I'm not sure he has the right 'voice' to be able to get across the excitement of the sport. Having two ex-Drivers in the comms box is a bad idea. With a non-driver there you get a different dynamic, and a foil for the pundit to explain things to - thus giving the viewers more of an insight into the intricacies. As many others have said, David Croft would be the perfect replacement for JL. I can only assume that he didn't want the job (surely the BBC can't be that dim not to offer it to him?)

    As for HD, meh, don't have an HD TV yet. As far as I've seen it will be 1080i (not as good for high speed action as 1080p) and the onboard cameras will be upscaled from SD (nasty blurry pictures for those of you watching in HD). I'll keep my clear and bright tube telly until they sort out proper HD.

  • Comment number 95.

    Good article, i can't wait for the season to the way there are only 5 World champions not 6 unless kimi will be around.

  • Comment number 96.

    Oh my only 57 days to go & I can't wait! Must make sure my gardening is up to date by then!

  • Comment number 97.

    Hi Jake,

    great job, honestly!

    I'm a German F1 fan and I am really sad that I can't follow your F1 TV coverage (or at least I haven't found a way to do so yet). Your blog though is great and the videos I've watched on youtube of you and your colleagues are absolute fun. When I've first seen you playing the Codemasters F1 game with Lewis and Nick I really laughed my head off (especially about your "see you later, gentlemen"). So thanks a lot and keep up your good work!

  • Comment number 98.

    F1 in HD will be excellent!

  • Comment number 99.

    57 days to buy a new TV and upgrade my generic satellite TV subscription to HD. The missus is going to love this...

  • Comment number 100.

    Ermmm not sure if this will work? MB the class act always has been but lead voice in the commentry box with DC no can't see it work, an excitable lead person as Legard was it only highlighted MB masterful understanding of how to call/read a race, between MB and DC I'm just not sure if this will really work as they are to similar/close in styles. I feel two ex F1 drivers in the box losses some of this buzz created by the likes of Walker/Allen/Legard. Who remembers Jonathan Palmer? Top bloke as is DC but not in the box! Yes agree with some that Ted Kravitz is under used he knows his stuff and always seem to get the pitlane observations spot on.
    Despite all this F1 on the BBC is fantastic and all the red button coverage and pre race build up is very high quality without doubt the right main is the anchor Jake!! Just keep EJ under control! he is the perfect man to really push the issue when others hope it goes away.
    Role on 2011!
    Shumi will be on the podium at least 3 times but not a win Rosberg is to good as are Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, let alone the seniors of Webber and Button.!


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