BBC’s 2009 F1 team: Legard, Brundle, Coulthard, Humphrey and McKenzie

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jonathan Legard, Martin Brundle, David Coulthard, Jake Humphrey & Lee McKenzie
Jonathan Legard, Martin Brundle, David Coulthard, Jake Humphrey & Lee McKenzie

Pitpass claims the BBC has named its 2009 F1 coverage presenters as Jonathan Legard, Martin Brundle, David Coulthard, Jake Humphrey and Lee McKenzie.

Legard has previously commentated for the BBC on Formula 1 on Radio Five Live and has an expert knowledge of the sport. Pairing him with Martin Brundle, who’s won awards for his ‘expert commentator’ role in 12 years with ITV, is an excellent decision.

David Coulthard, fresh from his retirement this year, is expected to be based in a studio with Jake Humphrey, to front the show.

Pitpass scoffs, “the budget is expected to be even less than ITV is spending – come on, how do you expect them finances garbage like ‘Bonekickers’?” But I think the BBC are sensible to see there is no value in flying their principle presenters around the world, especially on the licence-payers’ coin. Does having Steve Ryder and Mark Blundell struggling to make themselves heard in the pit lane add anything to the ITV show? No.

Humphrey’s background covers a range of sports including football, American football, cricket and athletics, with a high-profile slot in the BBC’s coverage of the recent Beijing Olympic games. As none of these sports involve four wheels and an engine I have no idea if he’s any good or not so please do tell me. According to this interview done while he worked on Childrens’ BBC if he had a million pounds he’d spend it on crisps.

Lee McKenzie has been fronting Sky Sports’ A1 Grand Prix coverage and is the daughter of Bob McKenzie, the Daily Express journalist. (He who famously promised to run a lap of Silverstone naked if McLaren won a race in 2004.) She is expected to work as a pit lane reporter, a role currently filled by Louise Goodman and Ted Kravitz. McKenzie won Jim Clark Memorial Award for people involved in motor sport.

Of the current ITV team only Martin Brundle will joining the BBC’s coverage, and not James Allen, Steve Ryder, Mark Blundell, Ted Kravitz or Louise Goodman. When ITV took over F1 from the BBC in 1997 it kept only Murray Walker and brought in an otherwise all-new team.

ITV won a BAFTA for its coverage of the Canadian Grand Prix last year, despite the fact so many fans had complained about them cutting the post-race discussion short ITV had to issue an apology.

Jake Humphrey biography (BBC press office)

Lee McKenzie official website
BBC Radio Five Live Presenters – Jonathan Legard

More on BBC’s 2009 F1 coverage

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106 comments on “BBC’s 2009 F1 team: Legard, Brundle, Coulthard, Humphrey and McKenzie”

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  1. Ted Cravitz couldve been kept, he was actually half decent. What would be we’d not be missing (all sic) is Blundles blundellisms. i give you 2 classics

    “The people who worry me is BAR. I don’t think they can withstand what they did last year with getting that great Championship position.”


    “I think you gotta take all the ingredients what went into the move.”

    Trouble is it wasnt funny, we want insight we got Blundell!

    Great new team potentially and shes defo fitter than Mumsy Goodman.

    Having said that itv as a whole raised the bar and james allen isnt that bad, he is an enthusiast its just hes on the geeky side “ggggoooooooooooooooo” as he himself geeked many a time.

  2. schumi the greatest, you don’t sound like an LH fan to me. I look forward to the weekly LH interview – highlight of the weekend! They didn’t do it this weekend (anyone notice?) probably down to the probable hate mail. I learnt that he was contracted to do an exclusive interview with the ITV team before every GP and is thus fulfilling that contract. Little did he or the ITV team know how loathed he is by British TV viewers(until now I suppose) and how his every appearance prompts howls of outrage and anger, so I guess ITV are attempting to ignore the current BRITISH World Champion F1 leader to please the vocal and vociferous Hamilton-haters. Oh well, I forward wind my tape past the droning smug Button and watch the famous and cringe-makingly amusing grid walk and then the race.

    I swear the only thing that will make F1 fans happy is if LH is TOTALLY ignored, like he’s not there at all. Pah!

    I do find it amazing that British commentators are allowed, nay encouraged, to drone on endlessly about Andy Murray, or the English football team, or the British Olympians in an extremely biased way, but when it comes to Lewis, that patriotic bias is just not tolerated. I do wonder why…

  3. hughes. hes a marmite man is why. black with a yellow top just for starters.

    btw- i am a huge Lewis fan, and Alonso… and the above comment is meant as a light heartedly

  4. We all discussed this when it was first announced by the BBC. At the time we said Brundle and DC would make a good pairing. And the ‘chain gang’ brought back. I reckon the BBC have a spy watching Keith’s site!!

  5. Just a follow on from S Hughes, I’m a big fan of both young sportsmen, Lewis Hamilton and Andy Murray. I just don’t understand why so many British people want to slag them both off all the time. They are both British, one a Scot the other an Englishman and they are taking the sports world apart at the moment. I’m looking forward to see how well they’ll do next year. Lewis, I hope will win the DWC this year, but being an Olympic year he won’t win the BBC’s personality of the year award. Then when Murray wins Wimbledon next year he can go into a head for head with Lewis who will lift his second title.
    Ah, we can dream.

  6. Keith, I can see where your coming from about Goodman, I’m sure she’s not too offensive for most people.

    I just think she’s a waste, her comments are normally blindingly obvious & for someone with such a high level of press access she doesn’t seem to use it to much effect.

    Don’t want to suck up just because it’s your site but I’ve read more insightful, interesting & detailed information in the last few weeks since finding this site than in the years she’s been on the team & I’m sure if you (or many of the other contributors to this site) were given the access she has you’d be able to come up with a damn sight more than she does.

    I know the TV companies have to give a show that is accessible to the non-expert fan but ITV have gone way too far and, other than Brundle, they have all forgotten that some of us actually know what’s going on.

    LG’s first few years fawning over Jenson put me off her big time & she’s never recovered in my estimation of her.

    Oh, and how good will it be not missing all of the action during the ad-breaks ?

    The BBC I-Player will be a great way to re-watch the race & if they manage to bring in the camera options with the red button then that will be awesome !

    Sorry guys, this turned into a bit of a long rant again :~)

  7. @ Beneboy:

    Oh, and how good will it be not missing all of the action during the ad-breaks ?

    Ah, but who remembers the days when the BBC cut away from the on-track action to show some snooker, bowls, darts or a ball plopping in a hole on some remote windswept Scottish golf course for some inconsequential point in a dull-as-ditchwater golf tournament? If that sort of malarkey goes on next year the sound of F1 engines will be drowned out by the sound of thousands of TV Licences being ripped up the length of the country ;-)

  8. @ade

    I think (and hope) that the beeb have learnt their lesson on that one, with the advent of BBC3 & BB4, plus the interactive services we should be able to see the whole race as any other sport will be on via the red button.

    I’m guessing the races will be on BBC2 like in the old days.

  9. DC is an inspired choice and Brundle was a no-brainer but for the love of god why have they signed up the 6 feet of vacuity that is Jake Humphrey.

    BBC viewers might remember his reports from the “fanzones” in Euro 2008:

    “Yes the atmosphere’s absolutely bouncing here” (repeat for every game of tournament)

    He’s a sad indictment of the dumbing down of the BBC in general. The BBC used to have David Coleman, Cliff Morgan, Desmond Lynam. Now it’s Jake sodding Humphrey.

    Shame they couldn’t find room for Ted Kravitz.

  10. Like most, if Brundle is kept then it’s all I care about, in terms of the team. I welcome the change in everything else, although I do hope they do proper build ups and post-race discussions – maybe even during free practice, which I hope they will show on one of the freeview channels, at least.

    Kravitz was alright, but I won’t miss him. Goodman I think had the worst job come race day – find the driver who’s guts have just been wrenched and try getting a candid word out of him…for that, you would need a woman I guess! But despite her efforts, I won’t miss her either.

    DC, if confirmed, would be great at this, he’s perfectly candid with many an issue and can be pretty funny at times.

  11. michael counsell
    29th September 2008, 20:34

    Best news ever.

  12. I would like to see BBC’s Andrew Benson doing Ted Kravitz.. Get paddock insights. I have seen its written here about Ted, that all he does is publish team’s press releases. Well that is partial truth, While Ted uses his influence and paddock buddies to write the notebook, many times depending upon situation his paddock buddies may have an off day and all he will get is press release. But thats part of the game I think

    Also another name missing is their current radio5 commentator,David Croft. I have followed Croft on those occassions when I don’t get access to live telecast, and he does good job.
    Of course having a Brit driver and Brit team as leading contender of championship for two years, will obviously compromise neutrality to certain extent. I am interested to see how BBC TV will fare on this front :D

  13. schumi the greatest
    30th September 2008, 9:16

    @ s hughes:

    i am a huge fan of LH hes the main reason i regained my high intrest in f1. I just like to hear about the other drivers aswell. All itv’s coverage is geared towards him, obviously you’d expect them to be slightly biased towards the brits being a brit tv channel but there’s 19 drivers who are not british and i wouldnt mind learning more about them. The problem is they very rarley critisice LH. No one can say he is the finished article yet but itv already make out hes a multiple champion (apart from brundle)

    You may think if i was a fan of LH id want to hear about him all the time but i dont, i want him to win every race yes but that doesnt mean i dont want to hear about the other drivers.

  14. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh Keith?? ;)

  15. Although Steve Rider is too ‘formal’, at least he has motorsport experience, and is a genuine fan. Jake Humphrey is fine at football, so just keep him there. Also, losing Kravitz is a loss, having been involved in F1 since being sat next to Murray and Martin at the beginning of ITV’s coverage. Legard is fine, so I would keep Rider and Kravitz, remove Humphrey and McKenzie, and that would a be a very decent line-up for next year.

  16. Im suprised no-ones mentioned it yet but i dont care if Bernard Cribbins fronts it as long as they play The Chain.

  17. @antonyob

    I personally tend to have Fleetwood Mac’s “The Dance” in the CD player on race days and just play it to myself, albeit very loudly, just before the race starts.

    I don’t think there’s ever been a more appropriate piece of music for anything else on TV and I would love it if BBC had it for their shows as it really gets you in the mood.

    John McVie’s base line & Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar riffs for that song are just genius !

    Moby just doesn’t compare.

  18. Too bad about Ted I didn’t think he was too bad.

    Shame David Croft didn’t make the spot next to Brundle either.

    So what happens to the GP2 coverage? Is that off to the BBC? I hope that doesn’t fade away after ’08.

  19. great move getting brundle, only just found out that bbc got coverage back, lol, and as soon as i heard i immediatley wanted them to get him,

    and i do think having steve ryder and mark blundell in the pits helps, and i dont know what the writer watches but i never have a problem hearing them or can remember them struggling to be heard. i think the studio coverage wont be as good as pit lane coverage

  20. soooperpigdog – As I put in the very first line, this is what Pitpass are claiming. I’m keen to ensure what I’ve put is as accurate as possible, which is why I linked to their story and then added a link the Brundle story. This is still all claim and counter-claim and when new facts come to light I will probably make reference to them either here or in a new post. I don’t think banal cliches about letting facts get in the way of stories apply here at all.

    Antonyob – I put “The Chain” in a list of things I’d like to see in the BBC’s F1 coverage in 2009. But although it would be nice I think it’s more important they get other stuff right, like hiring Brundle, which should be top priority, and broadcasting in HD.

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