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

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

  1. I dont’t agree that you can’t win races if you are in an uncompetitive car. I think it depends on how many risks a driver is willing to take.

  2. Scruff said on 25th January 2009, 16:26

    I realise it’s a bit late in the day to be commenting on the whole BBC acquisition of F1, but, like many others, I’ve been happily rejoicing at the end of the wretched adverts ruining the coverage of our sport, whilst praying that the rumours were true and Martin Brundle was indeed retained. Beyond that, I thought anything else was a bonus.

    The new personnel lineup however has caused me to react in horror. I’m sure that DC will be a valuable, knowledgeable and entertaining addition,- but the other three? Jake Humphrey? Fine for kiddies TV as he’s pretty close to that age and mentality himself, but was awful at the olympics, and will surely be out of his depth here. Far more suited to discussing Spongebob Squarepants than the finer points of aerodynamic fine-tuning and airflow stability. Jonathan Legand, seems like a nice bloke and all that, but the man is boredom personified. I’ve never heard of Lee McKenzie, so checked her website: seems a jack-of-all-trades reporter with a liking for Scottish food and is a fan of the unintelligible Robbie Burns,- just what we need. I wonder what the very capable and professional Louise Goodman did to be replaced by such a character? Must have been something serious.

    I realise that everyone will have their own favourites and choices, but it really does seem that this is a “put up” job. The Beeb already have an excellent, knowledgable and entertaing commentator in Charlie Cox, now wasted on the inanity of superbikes. Lou Goodman is a natural, and surely with all the presenters across the spectrum working for them, they could have found someone, anyone, far more worthy to front the programme?

    Ah well, as I said at the beginning, no more adverts, and we still have Brundle. Everything else may not, after all, be a bonus, but that alone is a pretty good start.

  3. richard said on 10th February 2009, 1:44

    i hope bbc dont go on about Lewis Hamilton all the time becuse a 1 time i was thinkin i dont what to see this any more i i dont know what it is but i just dont like lewis hamilton

    • Jacob said on 9th March 2009, 19:03

      i agree with richard, at first i though that lewis hamolton was a good thing but after itv always focused on him and no one else i started to get annoyed and stopped liking him.

  4. English Pete said on 9th March 2009, 21:13

    Having read Richard and Jacobs comments about Lewis Hamilton I would like to know if they are English, or even British and if they are either then they are definitely not patriotic, as Lewis is the greatest f1 driver this country has ever had and seen.
    Lewis deserves all the publicity the BBC can give him and more, still there’s always a very small minority isn’t there!

  5. Sesquatch said on 10th March 2009, 21:12

    Liking the look of the coverage team on the bbc, itv had only one good person and you kept him and canned the rest!! Good call! Now, is THE formula one music going to comeback and complete my season?

    • John said on 17th March 2009, 11:26

      Just what I was thinking and hoping, the Chain seemed to sum up the drama for me, every time I hear it I think of F1.

  6. Richard said on 31st March 2009, 17:03

    I enjoyed 5 Live commentary in the past and comparing Jonathan Legard to James Allen I prefer the former.

    As a commentator Legard is involved in and gripped by the unfolding drama of the sport, and it is a sport. James Allen has come across as an overgrown schoolboy who is excited by the spectacle of sound, colours and noise and at the money and the girls but who distances us from the sport. As such Allen did not describe drivers as sportsmen but rather as heroes with unattainable superhuman greatness.

    Formula one is a sport and I believe it suits a sporting style of commentary which i think is Jonathan Legard’s style. I also like that he is less likely to be condescending.

  7. Alison said on 31st March 2009, 22:41

    How dull and boring was the commentary at the Australian GP.

    I am glad Martin is still there but who is the boring person who is working along side him, he definitely needs a commentary transplant.

    At least with James Allan there was some life in him.

  8. Brian Morris said on 5th April 2009, 3:46

    If you want my opinion having attended and watched F1 for over 20 yrs – this is what I think of the present BBC F1 team of presenters:

    Martin Brundle – top man – great he’s part of the team.

    Jonathan Legard – needs to SHUT UP more often – we are watching moving pictures on the YV not listening to the radio…is he paid by the number of words he can get in a minute and he’s boring.

    David Coulthard – Boring – why TV producers constantly make the mistake of using ex sports people as presenters – is mad – some make it most do not.

    Jake Humphrey – great on the TV durng the China Olympics – but you get bored by his presentation style very quickly

    Lee McKenzie – waste of space

    If anyone at the BBC is reading this – if you want to retain the viewers of F1 – use or bring back the ITV crew – they were 10 times better that the BBC team (ex Martin Brundle)

    I hate listening to the verbal diarrhea from the presenters – Martin knows how to pace the commentry – the others sound amateurish, boring and seem to love the sound of their own voices – I don’t so shut up.

  9. the joker said on 10th April 2009, 22:01

    i think that the f1 line is just awful david is good eddie is ok jake not that good jonathan legard is just terrible i know we shound give him a chance but for god sack bring james allien and mark brundel

  10. tony said on 19th April 2009, 19:44

    does any one agree that Legard should stick to radio today on teh final lap he came out with so much rubbish, he often spoke over brundle (who i think is just right) tell us things we have just seen. he ahs ruined my viewing someone tell him to calm down.

  11. Robert Stanton said on 25th April 2009, 14:00

    Brilliant coverage from the BBC. Articulate commentators,in-depth knowledge, no interuptions from commercials,one small impovement please,remove Eddie Jordan. The guy is so irritating, David Coultard the true professional is itching to give him a Glasgow Kiss!! Many thanks BBC for a supurb effort.

  12. Jason said on 26th April 2009, 16:03

    Legard is a total moron and has absolutely ruined F1 for me this year.

    @ Robert Stanton: “Articulate commentators,in-depth knowledge” – I’m assuming you are NOT referring to Legard? He has ZERO knowledge and is about as articulate as a rocking horse.

  13. The ones that need to go in order:
    E. Jordan
    J. Leggard
    L. McKenzie (Louise was sooo much better)

    • Dave Croft would be better than Leggard for sure.

      The Chinese GP was great (and a relief) without Jordan

  14. Woz said on 24th May 2009, 20:51

    For goodness sake GET RID OF LEGARD. If it was not for brundle I would not be listening to his commentary. I don’t care if he invented formula 1 he bores me to tears.

    BBC — Get rid of him, Get James Allen back or to make my life complete Good ol Murray Walker.

    Is it me or does Legard just not shut up???

  15. Bernie said on 19th June 2009, 16:34

    I agree that Leggard should go, he may be ideally suited to football or horse racing but that constant chat spoils the whole race for me.
    Martin has it just right, he tells you what you need to know with authority and shuts up when there is nothing to add.
    I do need need to told the obvious while I am watching it happen!

  16. hadan earful said on 20th June 2009, 20:35

    No, I’ve really tried but Legard leaves me cold. He sounds like he’s commentating on a horse race and makes so many gaffs it’s started to get really annoying.

    In today’s quali at one point he shouted “Button’s Out” just because Vettel had put in a faster lap! I had to wait to see Jensen was still on the track to know it was another stupid comment.

    I also get the feeling that Brundle’s not too happy with him either.

  17. Pete Lacey said on 27th July 2009, 22:51

    The answer to “What makes a good commentator” is tone of voice, clarity and delivery. Blundell knew a thing or two but his diction completely messed up his comments. Goodman was OK except for the accentuated strutting. Her head movements were nearly as bad as old Murray. Kravitz is presentable and speaks well enough. Mckenzie is unnecessary but if we have to have a pretty face around the paddock then she is certainly passable. Humphrey just about makes the grade. He interviews quite well and has a pleasing tone of voice. Coulthard is a driver who knows what he’s talking about and is fluent. Someone should tell Eddy to stop reminding everyone he was a team boss. We know what you were Eddy so please change the record a little. Brundle is the mainstay of the team and has been since he came into the commentary box. Martin, if you must do your grid walk then interview racing folk and not stupid so called Celebrities. The perfect commentary team would be Brundle and Davidson. Certainly the latter would rather be behind an F1 steering wheel but he is great to listen to. Martin and Anthony know every litle move that is happening at any one time. In my humble opinion the fly in the ointment at present is Legard. His voice is not easy to listen to and he delivers comments in short overly dramatic bursts. I have noticed on several occasions this season Martin has cut in with a contradictory comment to correct a clanger by Legard. Murray made them all the time but then he was Murray and we had to laugh off his sometimes crazy comments. I’m not a fan of the BBC but I should compliment them on F1 production at present. It is good. To conclude, all I can say is “COME ON JENSON”, you can do it.

  18. I am now really frustrated by the quality of Jonathan Legard’s commentary.

    From the first race of the season Legard appeared to know almost nothing about F1. His only style has been to use lots of really bad repeating phrases such as:

    “And it’s Button in the front for Brawn, then team mate Barichello, from Webber, from Vettel, from…”
    “Button from Barrichello from Vettel from Heidfeld. Brawn from Brawn from Red Bull from BMW”
    “Knows the time to beat”
    “Pushing On”
    “He’s on a charge”
    “Round the final corner”
    “He’s battling on”
    “Now what can this man do?”
    “Down the hill”
    “Can he make it?”
    “Up the hill”
    “Round turn 9/10/11 etc.”

    I cannot think of one intelligent comment Legard has made so far in the 2009 season. I just get so frustrated trying to watch a GP with his constant nonsense background noise. Whenever anything does happen he is so busy ‘making noise’ that he misses it. Occasionally Legard stops to catch breath and Brundel is able to make an interesting observation before Legards excitedly butts in and starts making noise again.

    I literally resorted to muting the sound on my TV for the last race (Valencia). This was an unbelievably boring race with one genuine overtaking moment, yet somehow all the way through Legard was stuck in a sort of frenzy of noise.

    Surely the BBC will replace Legard… please… please

  19. Pete Lacey said on 26th August 2009, 11:18

    I’ve just read OM’s contribution-25/08/09 and must pass on my compliments on it. He/she, has summed up Legard beautifully. Reading what others have written, I am pleased to see that so many agree with my earlier comments (27/07/09)regarding Legard. Take note BBC, Legard has to go if not this season then for 2010.

  20. antonyob said on 26th August 2009, 11:31

    Yes and hes actually getting worse. I remember everyone fussed about James Allen but he got better despite never really having a great voice for it. He was intelligent and upped his game, Legard needs to do the same. Personally id have James Allen back right now. He just needs to hid the fags and jack daniels

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