BBC F1 coverage: your verdict

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mark Webber talks to the BBC in Melbourne
Mark Webber talks to the BBC in Melbourne

A big talking point on the live blogs during the Australian Grand Prix weekend was how BBC did with their F1 coverage.

I thought they did a great job – but reading around some other sites I’ve noticed a few complaints. What did you think of the BBC’s return as an F1 broadcaster?


For the first time ever, all the F1 practice sessions as well as qualifying and the race were broadcast live in Britain. ITV made a big step forwards with this last year, offering all the sessions bar free practice three, but BBC are now bringing us the full complement – on television as well as online. This is a great step forwards.

I didn’t get much of a chance to play around with their onboard coverage, but the rolling highlights feed online was very useful.

We got a decent amount of post-session footage too. I was unimpressed with their decision to cut the post-qualifying press conference to go to an interview with Richard Branson, but on race day we got much more of the interviews. The post-race discussion which continued after the broadcast had finished on BBC1 was very good, and demonstrated BBC’s willingness to use modern television technologies to extend the coverage in a way ITV never bothered with.

Commentators and presenters

I’ve seen a few people on the forum here and on some other sites criticising Jonathan Legard’s performance as lead commentator. I’m at a loss to understand why. He had a few wobbles on Saturday but I thought he did a fine job on Sunday.

Inevitably, the rapport between him and Martin Brundle (who was in fine form) will need a little time to develop. I would, however, like them to be struck with a cricket bat every they use the phrase “KERS system”.

Jake Humphrey did all I expect from an anchorman – he kept things moving and didn’t get on my nerves. David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan brought plenty of useful first-hand knowledge of the sport and offered the kind of constructive disagreement that was lacking on ITV’s team last year.

Ted Kravitz did his usual solid job in the pit lane – but I don’t remember hearing much from Lee McKenzie.


One of the things I appreciated most about BBC’s coverage is how much less patronising it felt than ITV’s effort. Too often ITV seemed preoccupied with chasing celebrities and ignoring the enthusiast audience in favour of the patriotic element.

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the home drivers, but it often felt like ITV did it to the exclusion of all else – particularly when Lewis Hamilton arrived on the scene. BBC struck a much better balance.


On the whole I thought the BBC did a very good job of their first F1 broadcast in 13 years. There was the odd hiccup – one broadcast abruptly disappeared for half a minute or so – and the presenters are obviously still getting used to each other, but that will surely develop with time.

Of course not having adverts instantly made the coverage incomparably better. FOM should take note and ensure that viewers abroad are offered the same luxury, even if on pay-per-0view.

The biggest things missing from the coverage at the moment are all things Formula One Management need to provide – a HD feed and better on-screen information.

Although I had my misgivings about ITV, it was clear from talking to fans from abroad that their coverage was among the best F1 got. But the BBC have raised the bar even higher.

What did you think of the BBC’s F1 coverage? Do you have a new local broadcaster in 2009? Do leave a comment – we know they’re paying attention to what F1 Fanatic readers have to say.

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155 comments on “BBC F1 coverage: your verdict”

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  1. I liked it. If this was the first race it should gel together well over the next couple of races.

    Jake Humphreys did a sound job and took a dig at DC only watching himself on the F1 season review DVDs that made me laugh.
    Eddie Jordan – Not sure yet, but Jake and DC were eager to rub it in when Barrichello didn’t get pole.

    Brundle – Excellent. Ted Kravits – Excellent.
    Legard – Well he’s from radio and I find he has the same style as Murray Walker. Not that he makes gaffs like Murray, but he’s more of a natural commentator. He will tell you exactly what he sees. This is all he needs to do. I find that this style suits F1. Yes, you may think it sounds like a horse race, but then listen to some old Murray commentary and it’s the same. Maybe his tone of voice needs adjusting too.
    Either way, I had no complaints.

    One point from the wife. Martin Brundle looks like a gym instructor in his all black polo shirt. He should wear a different colour shirt to Legard. Strange but maybe true. Also, maybe it was jet lag, but I thought in some places they all sounded a bit drunk. Could be Live commentary nerves. Eddie Jordan called it a confuser rather than diffuser and some others occasionally struggled to get out what they wanted to say.

    1. That ‘confuser’ remark was a wee play on words by EJ that evidently some people didn’t get… :)

  2. I absolutely loved the BBC coverage, and the choices they provided.
    I loved the run up to the GP, which showed highlights from previous Australian GP’s, and hope that there are a few Malaysian GP’s to watch this week, I think they have 10 to choose form.
    I loved the wee news show they did last Thurs/Fri night, which explained alot about the changes.
    Regarding Jonathan Legard, I dont like him, he sounds like he is unexciteable..I think his and Brundles reading of the race was not great.
    I love that you can turn over and watch the same coverage with 5Live commentators, which are by far the best, and in my humble opinion should be used on the main feed.

  3. .oO(Oh, to be in England now that spring is here… And the Beeb has F1 back!) :|

  4. There really was not much difference in the coverage. Both companies took whatever ABC was giving them. The worst part was trying to put up with Eddie Jordan, who seemed to be on a personal ego trip, and his fawning over Branson was cringeworthy. He is superfluous, remove him.

  5. > Cracking opening sequence , and ‘The Chain’ is just classic !
    > Eddie Jordan interview with Branson was good, especially as he has first hand knowledge of running a team.
    > Jake – Great anchorman
    > Brundle – the usual good stuff on the grid :)
    > KERS Telemetry/Onboard footage – Good Stuff – keep it coming …(More !)
    > Pit Radio – Lots of very clear radio, really made it interesting, especially the “Yaaaahaaa” from > Button after Qualifying and winning !
    > Excellent after race coverage, with some great footage of Rubens , Jarno and Jenson swapping experiences before going to the podium.
    >One thing that would be interesting would be a bit more in-depth stuff on the technology (KERS. Wings, Engines etc)

    Oh….and more Lee Mckenzie please !

    Glad to have the BBC back doing F1..Well done to Jake and the team.

  6. Demon_racer74
    30th March 2009, 15:08

    i thought the BBC was so much better than ITV… Night & day. No adverts, Pratice sessions… love it. My only gripe is with Eddie ‘Has been’ Jordon, who after 5 seconds talking, had me shouting at the screen.

    Please tell him to “Do one”

    Other than that can’t wiat until next race…Come on McLaren, find that pace. Lewis for champ.

  7. We’ve all spent years moaning that the ads spoilt our viewing. now at last, uninterupted coverage and all I keep reading is complaints that ” No break meant I couldn’t go to the loo or make a cup of tea” ARE YOU MAD! stop complaining! Great start BBC, needs a bit of tweaking but i’m sure that will come with time, EJ needs to let people finish speaking before he launches into his ten minute rants and the use of KERS needs more coverage. Brilliant red button viewing and Bernie, get the HD feed sorted! can’t wait for next weekend….

  8. I thought te coverage was the best ever. It was great to see Pi,P2 and P3 it was like being back in the 90’s watching Eurosport. Red button coverage spot. Have to agree with some other comments Eddie Jordan needs removing. He ran a team from a couple of garages at the back of Silverstone circuit on a shoestring budget and here he is talking like Stefano and Ron would talk about their teams. His favoritism for anybody that drove around circuits (usually at the back except in wet) in his cars is so biased its annoying. Perhaps John Watson would consider coming back and taking his place.

  9. Perhaps a poll on whether they should keep EJ or not keith? Would be very interesting to see the results!

    1. and not just “get rid of Eddie”, but who to replace him with.

    2. Perhaps they should bring Antony Davidson into the tv coverage. Listening to him in the friday practice was quite a pleasant experience!

  10. Humphreys – 8 – expectations were incredibly low but he was unobtrusive and egoless

    Coulthard – 6 – a bit forced tried a few jokes that didnt work but hes got the background to give some really good insight. i hope he can deliver

    Jordan- 6 – hes ok and can banter but he tended to re ask questions

    Legard – 5 for saturday 7 for sunday -. a marked improvement, a bit verbose and has no chemistry with Brundle but it’ll come or he will go

    Brundle – 10 peerless

    Mckenzie. – 2 – pretty. and pretty anonymous

  11. BBC coverage is great, i think it will improve to. I just cant stand Eddie Jordan, it’s just to much, i cant see him lasting long!!

    Brundle- as good as ever
    Coulthard- a good addition and interesting insight
    Humpreys- good overall
    Legard- i enjoyed his commentary, definitely needs brundle with him though
    Mckenzie- smoking hot!

    1. Anthony Davidson – definitely the next Brundle :-)

    2. I’m with you on EJ – He talks out his ar**e.
      Surely you’d rather have Louise back? In addition to actually being able to talk sense during interviews, she’s far better looking than that butch scottish woman.

  12. theonlygayinthevillage
    30th March 2009, 16:41

    Everything great brill gp UNTIL the cheshire cat that is branson turned teeth on legs,gives me the creeps!!

    1. God, I hate beardy-Branson. Plus, the BBC team seemed to think, from the comments they were making, that he’d had some part in orchestrating Brawn GP’s success, when in actual fact he passed up buying the team, realised his mistake, and stuck some of his stickers on the side of their car the day before ( he handily forgot his comments about F1 not being green enough. HYPOCRITE).
      It makes me so angry!

  13. “the odd hiccup” you mean the sound, that quite freezed and made the engine sound quite strage??

    i thought it was the satelite reception Argentina has! :O

    that odd hiccup is horrid…

  14. To true i should stick to your broadband and mobiles mate!!(not very good at that either)apart from swearing branson exellent perfect weekend-especially hamilton not winning!!

  15. I really liked it, i liked the JH, Ej and Dc combination, alot better than listening to Steve rider and Mark blundell having a Lewis-fest outside the Mclaren garage. EJ’s ego did get annoying at some points but i liked seeing him and Coulthard disagree on some points, good hearing the team owners view and also the drivers view.

    The forum at the end was fanatstic, it would be good to see something like that after qualifying as there really wasnt enough time after qualifying to discuss, have interviews and see the FULL press conference.

    Legard was quite good i thought, he was enthusiastic and he reminded me of Murray how excited he got at some points and it was better than hearing James allen screaming down the mic. He did talk abit much though, wouldve liked to hear more from Brundle.

    Apart from that i loved it, having no breaks was fanatastic and looking forward to next week :D

  16. I’m a dutch viewer so I can’t compare to ITV, but compared to Dutch coverage, the BBC is miles ahead.

    I really like Brundle. His experience just adds so much better insight into what’s really going on. The Dutch presenter talks like he knows everything, but he gets just about every call wrong. Just because he really does NOT know what he’s talking about.

    I wasn’t too keen on the paddock interviews with Jordan and Coulthard, but at least Coulthard offered some nice insights too.

  17. how can anyone complain about anything to do with the coverage when there are no advert breaks?

  18. Coverage was great, Eddie Jordan really got on my tits though! He got way too carried away and full of himself

  19. leggard done my head in, not because of the radio commentary, but because he made it hard for brundle to commentate. I think that with time, the radio commentary will fade away, but I’m not sure if he will stop butting in before martin or cutting him short.
    It really annoys me when the radio transmissions are talked over or when I can’t make out what the driver is saying over the radio and the commentators don’t clarify what was said.
    Jake H did a quality job, well impressed. At first, I thought he would be hopeless but he was pretty well clued up and had a lot of energy which I thought was good.
    EJ was quality, arguing with DC about JB not being as good as MS was funny “but he’s just not” lol

  20. Legard – I thought he was OK. Needs to speak less and say more… I can see the pictures!

    Brundel – brilliant as ever but becuase legard whouldn’t shut up didn’t get to hear enough of him

    Coultard and Jordan – gave two very different views on the sport, good combination.

    Mckenzie – who

    Humphreys – not bad at all, but then everyone is who is not rosenthal is perfect as far as I’m concerned

    Loved not having adverts but it meant I had to decide when to go to the toilet, so if I miss anything it is my fault not ITV’s, I liked being able to blame them.

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