FIA trying to ban Martin Brundle?

Doctorvee spotted a story about Max Mosley’s right-hand man Alan Donnelly trying to prevent the BBC bringing Martin Brundle on board as one of its F1 commentators for 2009.

Today’s Daily Mail claims:

Alan Donnelly, the official representative at races of FIA chairman Max Mosley, has been trying to dissuade BBC executives from employing Brundle, who has been at odds with the governing body since he questioned their handling of last year?s McLaren Spygate affair.

Last year the FIA announced it was suing the Sunday Times over an article of Brundle’s that described the McLaren-Ferrari espionage scandal as “a witch-hunt”. In a response, Brundle said:

I expect my accreditation pass for next year will be hindered in some way to make my coverage of F1 more difficult and to punish me. Or they will write to ITV again to say that my commentary is not up to standard despite my unprecedented six Royal Television Society Awards for sports broadcasting. So be it.

Which raises the question: did the FIA lean on FOM to replace ITV as Britain’s host broadcaster in an attempt to avoid having Brundle as a commentator?

As Vee writes:

If there was not a witch-hunt against McLaren, there is certainly a witch-hunt against Martin Brundle. It is yet further evidence that the FIA is scared of open debate and is only interested in hiding the truth. Mosley?s father would have been proud.

If the Mail’s report is correct is quite disgusting that the FIA should got to such lengths to avoid legitimate debate and discussion.

Martin Brundle is an excellent commentator and the BBC must not be cowed by such shameful bullying.

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39 comments on FIA trying to ban Martin Brundle?

  1. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd October 2008, 20:51

    I wondered what James Allen might make of this so I posted a comment on his blog. It has been put live (they don’t appear automatically) but no reply yet…

  2. John H said on 23rd October 2008, 1:30

    Alan Donnelly might well be the devil. I cannot rule it out at this stage.

  3. Freeman said on 23rd October 2008, 4:05

    This is outrageous if it’s true! Brundle is an excellent commentator. In Asia, we’re stuck with the really rubbish commentators of Star Sports. I’d download ITV race coverage after every GP just to hear what Brundle has to say and enjoy some “real” F1 coverage.

    I think Brundle is impartial and a real professional. He sided with the FIA over some of Fuji’s penalities, and sometimes it is his insights that liven up the occassional dull races to the naked eye. If Bernie thinks his TV audience is important, he should really push the Beeb to employ Brundle at all cost.

    What’s next? The FIA will put in place “friendly” officials as commentators in global coverage? If someone starts a petition to put Brundle on the BBC, I’d sign in a hearbeat. I think Brundle is the modern “voice of F1″ that spice up the show.

  4. Jonesracing82 said on 23rd October 2008, 7:25

    i like Martin, all he does is call it as it is, which after all, is his job!
    he’s an experianced racer himself, honest in his opinion and detailed! i cant think of a better person to do the job than him!

  5. I don’t dispute Brundle’s ability as a commentator . That coupled with the fact he has actually raced in F1 (for a number of years , I think ?) gives him an added advantage and he obviously knows what he is talking about , but his biggest negative is that he comes across as very biased towards a certain driver and a certain team – I won’t mention who. It will take a lot to eclipse Murray Walker – even when he made huge mistakes , it came across well because he was so balanced , he exuded a class which the modern world unfortunately seems to have forgotten , while still retaining a position of humility . And best of all , his love and passion of F1 flowed out through his excitable commentary whenever an exiting move would occur – no matter from which team it stemmed. I miss Murray Walker.

  6. Journeyer said on 23rd October 2008, 8:08

    Jean, you could either be talking about DC or Lewis, but even so, his bias is nowhere near those many other commentators have around the world. And besides, methinks his bias is more down to ITV’s F1 producers than to his personal taste.

    I’d love to have Murray too, but he’s retired long ago, and since then, Brundle’s been the best.

  7. Chalky said on 23rd October 2008, 9:29

    Maybe the FIA don’t like the way Martin always seems to find Bernie to talk to “Live” when things are going wrong.
    Like this infamous day in F1.

  8. Alex Cooper said on 23rd October 2008, 10:07

    One word: censorship.

  9. Dylan said on 23rd October 2008, 10:22

    It is quite amazing that the FIA even have time to sit there criticising Martin Brundle over the way he commentates on F1. Surely they should their own house in order first – lets face it – the way F1 has been run this year is nothing short of disgraceful! They seem to have forgotten that F1 is about racing and not giving out penalties for every single little misdemeanour (and don’t even start me on the bias towards certain teams… which is the whole reason why Brundle is so unpopular within the FIA). Brundle only says what a lot of the F1 public think (certainly in the UK anyway). One of my favourite parts on race day is watching Brundle do his grid walk – he gets to talk to drivers which other commentators would not be able to do and he is insightful. It would be an absolute disaster if he is not working for the BBC coverage in 2009. Can you imagine if it was Mark Blundell doing his job instead… No, I don’t want to think about it either

  10. Jason said on 23rd October 2008, 11:09

    unless they want to keep him free to be the head Steward…..

  11. beneboy said on 23rd October 2008, 19:18

    Thanks Chalky, that’s a top quality interview.

    If he doesn’t get the BBC job Keith should see if he can get him on here for a live audio feed on the live blogs, I’d happily pay a few quid to hear him, even if he’s only watching the T.V. & live timings like us !

  12. Steven Roy said on 23rd October 2008, 20:26

    It is absolutely outrageous that the FIA are getting involved in things like this. Brundle has won numerous awards for his commentary but frankly even if he was as hopeless as James Allen it is no business of Donnelly’s. Donnelly has turned up out of the blue and is behaving like he owns the sport. The sooner this guy disappears back wherever he came from the better.

  13. michael counsell said on 24th October 2008, 0:30

    Brundle took the step from from innuendo to accusation, which probably wasn’t what he was aiming for as he used a metaphor (witch hunt). However it was obvious enough to get the lawyers involved.

    The FIA have no power in this domain and they will fail.

  14. someone said on 24th October 2008, 12:03

    It will be very very disappointing if the FIA’s attempt to hinder Martin’s move from the ITV to the BBC will be succesful. Brundle is indeed a very very good commentator, and he deserves to get the job (or rather keep it, as apparently he’s signed the deal already, but he’s still silent about it – remember Muzza’s silence all through ’96 before his move to ITV with the F1 coverage?), and politics would be a shameful excuse to get rid of a fantastic F1 commentator and pundit.

  15. Desire said on 24th October 2008, 18:41

    I have been left awestruck by Mosley’s achievements in F1.

    The 2005 US Grand Prix was one of the most exciting races the sport has seen to the extent 14 drivers dived into the pits at the start to watch the action live.

    Mosley also helped Felipe Massa stay in touch with Hamilton throughout the 2008 season (not the Nazi-maso kind of touch if u know what i mean).

    Of coz, his benevolence extends to helping Ferrari out whenever Schumacher and Todt ran into the odd spot of ‘trouble’ which is surely what all F1 fans would agree with anyway.

    Lastly, his dalliances with some women of disrepute and his well-constructed defence also convinced me that it is alright to be a Nazi and act like one so as long as no one knows – oh wait, it was in the tabloids 24/7….

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