Brundle and Coulthard take over from Legard at BBC

2011 F1 season

Sebastian Vettel, Martin Brundle, Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard, Yas Marina, 2010

Sebastian Vettel interviewed by the BBC's Martin Brundle with Jake Humphrey and David Coulthard

The BBC will pair two ex-Formula 1 drivers in the commentary booth in 2011 after replacing Jonathan Legard as lead commentator.

A BBC source confirmed to F1 Fanatic that Martin Brundle will take over Legard’s role and David Coulthard will join him there.

An official announcement from the BBC is expected soon.

Legard sent the following Tweet:

Life moves on. Ask Nick Heidfeld or Narain Karthikeyan. You never know what’s next. To the critical and the complimentary, thanks for the company.
Jonathan Legard

Brundle and Legard have commentated together since the BBC resumed its F1 broadcasts in 2009.

Update: BBC have officially announced the change. Their head of F1 Ben Gallop said they wanted to use the ‘combined expertise’ of two racing drivers:

We’re always looking for ways to take our Formula 1 coverage to another level ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ and for 2011 we have an exciting new combination in the commentary box.

We’re keen to make the most of Martin Brundle’s wealth of broadcasting experience and his popularity with the audience by giving him the role of lead commentator and putting him alongside David Coulthard ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ one of the biggest names in British motorsport and a skilled race analyst.

We want to tap into their combined on-track expertise ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ together, they will provide our viewers with more immediate discussion, analysis and debate as the action happens. The results of screen tests have been very impressive and we are convinced this combination will deliver a fantastic commentary for our audience for what promises to be a thrilling 2011 season.

The change of direction we are taking unfortunately means there is no place for Jonathan Legard in our commentary set-up. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jonathan for his great work over the last two seasons. He is a first-rate journalist and broadcaster who has been a core member of our team ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ helping to re-establish BBC Sport as the nation’s F1 broadcaster. We wish him all the very best for the future.
Ben Gallop

Coulthard added:

I’m very excited to be joining forces with Martin in this new role of co-commentator.

F1 is all about challenging yourself and this will be a big challenge for me, but one that I am looking forward to. There is a great team on the BBC F1 show and we’re looking forward to the year ahead and to bringing something new to our loyal viewers.
David Coulthard

And Brundle welcomed his new commentary partner:

I’m absolutely delighted and very motivated that BBC Sport has asked me to become the lead Formula 1 commentator, alongside David Coulthard.

We have been friends, rivals and colleagues for 18 years and, combined, we have driven in more than 400 F1 Grands Prix and attended over 700. I’ve never felt more passionate about Formula 1 and I can’t wait to get started.
Martin Brundle

Image ?ι?® Red Bull/Getty images

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238 comments on Brundle and Coulthard take over from Legard at BBC

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  1. SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 11th January 2011, 10:06

    Best news ever.

    • snowman said on 11th January 2011, 10:54

      yep, long over due! good thing for all humanity as there was just too much swearing directed to tv set’s every Sunday afternoon!

      • johnno said on 11th January 2011, 18:40

        Thank god I now don’t have to listen and cringe to Legard’s commentary of the starts where everything happens too fast for him and not one thing he says is correct. Oh, and I will not have to cringe to “Kubica is BUZZING up the inside” what kind of F1 jargon is ‘buzzing’!?

    • Andy W (@andy-w) said on 11th January 2011, 11:44


      I have no idea how DC will do as a commentator, but I am certain that even if he actively tried to be as bad as he could he would struggle to be as dull and uninteresting to listen to as Legard. From watching the Forum its obvious DC knows what he is talking about and can talk, you can also sense the friendship and chemistry between him and Martin which I am sure will carry over to the commentary box.

    • pSynrg said on 11th January 2011, 11:48

      Indeed, brilliant news.

      Now all that remains is to get rid of that sycophantic idiot Eddie Jordan…

    • infy (@infy) said on 11th January 2011, 14:01

      Now all we need to do is get rid of Brundle. THEN it will be the best, unbias news ever.

      • lettucefolk said on 11th January 2011, 14:28

        You must be out of your mind… Martin Brundle by himself would still be better than any other 2 commentators out there, hands down.

    • Bernard said on 11th January 2011, 15:13

      So, battle has finally been joined after Legard pushes on, over the hill he goes

    • The Sri Lankan said on 11th January 2011, 18:04

      my prayers had been answered!

    • Just been announced that Sky Germany will be doing this season in HD – that would be a treat that could even make up for DC being poor if it came to the BBC.

      • Surely it is upscaled rather than full HD as Bernie has not got the HD Cameras in yet (otherwise surely all the HD stations would be claiming HD coverage)?

        If it is Upscaled then the BBC also have HD coverage this season!

        • freedo50 (@) said on 11th January 2011, 23:34

          I thought I’d read somewhere that Bernie’s minions had been testing HD cameras and equipment during last season in preparation for this year.

          • And indeed you are correct! I had heard that it was not coming in for another couple of years due to “Very complex technical issues”. However it looks as though we will be getting true HD coverage as Jake Humphrey has spilled the beans on twitter that the BBC will also now be in true HD. Finally the one sport which will probably benefit most from the resolution increase has made the jump! Hoorahhh!!!

      • In fact, thinking about it I have had HD coverage for years as my V+ box upscales to 1080P.

    • John H said on 12th January 2011, 0:16

      Coulthard should be ok.

      He did give the best piece of commentary last year when the red bulls collided.

      “oh no!”

      (in Scottish of course)

    • Jack Holt (@jack-holt) said on 12th January 2011, 12:56

      Best news ever indeed! I think Brundle will be superb! Good luck Martin!

    • miguelF1O (@) said on 12th January 2011, 20:33

      I hated legard so much his bias comments lack of attention and knowledge about f1 were dreadful

  2. Its time to celebrate

  3. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 11th January 2011, 10:08

    will we get the same monumental clangers from DC that mr L dropped on a very regular basis? ;-)
    i’m sure he was watching a different race at times…..

  4. i’ll miss him. always sad to see someone go, no matter whether everyone likes them

    • Macca (@macca) said on 11th January 2011, 10:29

      Here here, I thought he did a very good job.

      I just don’t feel that DC and Martin will have the right chemistry but I hope they prove me wrong.

      • I agree. I think you need a clown alongside the matador, not two matadors. Legard didn’t have the engaging enthusiasm of Murray though, only the clangers. Can’t believe they didn’t give the job to David Wossname from 5 Live (Richard Bacon’s voice double). He’s great.

        • Croft. That’s the fella.

        • Rob Haswell said on 11th January 2011, 10:43

          But then they’d be left without a good pairing on 5Live. You couldn’t put Legard in Crofty’s place because on the radio you actually need someone who’s watching the same race.

          • This is a good point, but they could bring in a new talent. I guess the radio show don’t want to be seen as a feeder for TV but they clearly don’t get the same profile/audience and, I’m sure, salary.

          • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 11th January 2011, 12:02

            As I understood it, Crofty didn’t want to move away from 5Live anyway.

        • Fergal said on 11th January 2011, 12:32

          I don’t know – when you consider Brundle’s grid walks, I reckon he could do the “clown” role quite well – you get hints of it at times in his commentary, but I think he’s constrained as the technical analyst.

          I think we may see Brundle come out of his skin for the first time since he started commentating…

          • kowalsky (@) said on 11th January 2011, 13:10

            i have been watching the grid walk on youtube, and is painfull when brundell can’t do it by himself. With coulthart was better, but with jordan, was crap.
            Jordan i think will not last much longer and could be next down the drain.

        • Jake Archibald said on 11th January 2011, 12:35

          Same, I’d have much preferred Croft & Brundle. DC & Brundle have great technical knowledge, but I think the team’s missing someone who gets vocally excited

      • yeah, i fear DC’s laidback style of commentary won’t really go that well with brundle. i think we’ll have the commentators just drinking and having a chat while the race goes on

        • Henry said on 11th January 2011, 11:58

          But thats not a bad thing, having a little bit of silence from time to time on the commentary would be nice! There is no need to fill every moment with garbled chat, I bet if Legard had not felt the need to constantly talk, he would have made fewer mistakes. The whole point of TV is that the viewers can see the action, having someone constantly describe it at the same time is simply not necessary. Annalysis; yes, predictions; maybe, pitwall info and other info that the viewers cannot access, brilliant; but endless underwhelming chat about what we are already watching is simply not necessary.

          • frood19 (@frood19) said on 11th January 2011, 12:31

            yes! this is the difference between radio commentary and tv commentary. there have been studies done on this (for football matches, but the principle is the same). the findings are really quite obvious – the radio commentator must create an image by describing the surroundings, which direction the play is going etc.

            the tv commentator’s role should be to add to what we can already see and intensify certain key moments (like a pole lap time) but only up to a point. like Henry says, the tv commentator should not be describing what we can already see.

            and as for leggard he nailed his own coffin by shouting out like an ADHD child being punched in the balls over a fecking replay. it says ‘replay’ on the screen FFS!

          • i agree with both of your points, and i’m not trying to argue :) but for new fans of the sport, theres something about a loud, commentator hyping up the action. It makes you sit down and go “whoa, F1 is exciting”. rather than if the commentators are leisurely having a chat (which is alright during lap 10 – the end) where they are more likely to slip into the old “motorracing is just cars going in circles.. why would i want to watch that?”

            we will find out at Bahrain on the run to turn 1 if DC and brundle can make it sound exciting enough (for the uneducated)

  5. Bless him.

  6. I wasn’t too critical of Legard, he improved a lot in 2010, however I do find DC’s voice a bit boring to listen to. Time will tell.

    I hope that he still does the pre-race stuff with Jake and EJ – the fighting between them was hilarious.

    • JamoduF1 said on 11th January 2011, 10:27

      Yeah, I agree. As informed as the commentary will be by having two ex drivers talking, I do think it will be pretty dry to listen to.

      I’ll give it a go, but can see me hitting the red button to change commentary to Crofty on 5Live.

      • Scribe (@scribe) said on 11th January 2011, 17:35

        Yeah I reckon i’m still gonna stick with Croft. He genuinley increases my enjoyment of an F1 weekend. An if a commentator doesn’t do that, whats the point of him?

        Give this new combo a go though, an i’ll be stuck with em’ when I miss races so, looks like I’ll get a mix.

  7. Good riddance of a very bad commentator ……. I hope DC talks less and restricts himself only on technicalities .

    Nice move BBC! But it took too long!! Act faster next time!!!

  8. Shaun Field said on 11th January 2011, 10:11

    As I believe coulthard has not made a good comment on air all year, this sucks :( I’m personally hoping australian TV switches to Speed’s commentary

    • F1WithMySon said on 11th January 2011, 13:56

      Speed’s (US television) commentary team is EXCELLENT. Bob Varsha, David Hobbs and Steve Matchet make a great team, very fun to listen to, and they really know what they’re talking about.

      • zibit said on 11th January 2011, 16:18

        I’m in the USA and I listen to the BBC commentators. Mostly because I like Brundle!! But now that Coulthard’s going to be commentating I might switch to the Speed guys.

        DC’s Redbull bias is disgusting, and I’m a Vettel fan. Not to mention he’s as dry as a bone.

        One bonehead out a new one in. I’ll give it a listen for a few races but I’m not expecting miracles.

        • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 11th January 2011, 16:34

          I’m the same about being in the states and preferring the BBC. HOWEVER, my main motivation is that SPEED has commercials which after having spent a season following the broadcast from across the pond, I’ve been spoiled. I would love to be able to watch the race live, but the non-stop version is MUCH better than an interrupted one. That said, I do like the SPEED commentating team, but British wit usually has better zingers so BBC it is…

          • zibit said on 11th January 2011, 20:18

            Forgot about commercials… I don’t think i’ll be watching the SPEED version, even if DC is as bad as Legard.

          • Toby Bushby (@toby-bushby) said on 11th January 2011, 21:46

            2 of the Speed commentators are British. ;)

            I’d much prefer BBC over Speed. Same as Zibit though, I hope DC’s Red Bull bias disappears. Not that hopeful, but at least these two should be better than Legard.

      • Kris H. said on 11th January 2011, 22:09

        The SPEED TV team is downright hilarious at times which makes them worth watching most of the time. But Brundle’s ability to read a race and pick out the important developments as they happen is second to no one I’ve ever heard commentating.

      • Wow — really?? It’s shocking me to read these comments, I have to admit. I’m in the US, and watching races on SpeedTV drives me *crazy*. (This is coming from someone who has never watched them any other way!) I don’t hate the guys or anything, but…well, for example, there’s no way I should be better at identifying who’s being shown on screen than Bob Varsha is. I do enjoy Steve Matchett’s total geekery, though. :-)

        Also: commercial breaks are infuriating (this literally has happened: “Well, a McLaren is on fire…” *cut to commercial*), and qualifying is shown at about a 7-minute delay, which makes Live Timing a spoiler! OH, the humanity. ;-)

      • miguelF1O (@) said on 12th January 2011, 20:53

        i like brundle but i also like the way the speed commetators joke with each other

  9. foocode (@foocode) said on 11th January 2011, 10:11

    I honestly don’t think the BBC thought about the international services it provides when making this decision.

    For example, here in Aus (and other English speaking countries) we have our own pre-race programming & hosts but all the racing and qualifying is from the BBC feed.

    Let’s hope his accent* and generally… lethargic delivery don’t come across too strongly – let alone any biases. :)

    * coming from an British family, I don’t mind about this one bit. :)

    • James said on 11th January 2011, 10:43

      But that isnt the BBC’s problem =P The BBC only has to care about the British audience. Other TV networks ask permission/pay for the use of the BBC feed.

  10. Andrew said on 11th January 2011, 10:12

    *pops open the champagne*

  11. SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 11th January 2011, 10:13

    “He’s on a charge!”

    Out the door, thank God.

  12. Dougie (@f1droid) said on 11th January 2011, 10:14

    Good news (but not for Legard), however I’m not sure about the Brundle/Coulthard combination. Always felt a commentator & ex-driver was a better combination, not sure that 2 ex-drivers will work.

    Like Legard/Brundle before, I’ll wait and see how it works out and gels over the 2011 season.

    Will be interesting to see how it works now with Jake… is it only Eddie (I hope not) or are both DC & MB going to be running back to the commentary box from the pre-race chat/gridwalk.

    • SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 11th January 2011, 10:19

      Brundle is good enough to be the “commentator” and DC will obviously offer the ex-driver input. Really, they only need Brundle.

      • Dougie (@f1droid) said on 11th January 2011, 10:39

        Yeah, that I understood, but it’s still 2 ex-drivers, and not a “somebody on the ‘outside’ fan” style individual to keep the balance.

        Any of David Croft, Ben Edwards or James Allen to partner Brundle would have been a better choice.

        • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 11th January 2011, 13:27

          I definitely agree with this. Brundle is going to have to alter his style to accommodate letting the viewers know what is going on. To an extent though, he has had to do this already because of Legards inadequacies.

          Further, Coulthard has always shown a certain loyalty to Red Bull, be it contractually or emotionally, and I really hope this isn’t a part of his commentary. Impartial words would be best!

          • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 11th January 2011, 16:37

            I think people forget that after so many years experience in the box, Brundle is probably capable of adapting his style to sounding a bit more excited.

  13. Legard will always be remembered for his crazy excited outbursts about an overtake……… and then Brundle pointing out it’s a replay of the last overtake, during which he was going mental about the ‘Trulli Train’

    • Mr Anderson said on 11th January 2011, 10:53

      I know what you mean about the “Trulli Train”, he did use that one on several occasions….ha ha! I don’t think him and Brundle ever really hit it off either, I always got the feeling they didn’t get on. I think his talent lies in written journalism, some of his articles have been top notch, so good luck to him!

    • Charlie said on 11th January 2011, 12:56

      Funnily enough James Allen and Murray Walker would do exactly the same thing.

      • Mr Anderson said on 11th January 2011, 14:34

        I think this really highlights what a tough job the “Lead Commentator” is. Murray made lots of mistakes but we let him off because we love him. It’ll be interesting to see how Martin Brundle gets on in this role. I think as the “No 2″, you can make observations about the race, but be free from the responsibility of providing the “excitement and passion” that the viewers want. I’m a James Allen fan, and I also think Ted Kravitz would do a good job. That said, I actually think Brundle will be brilliant.

        • steve said on 11th January 2011, 16:04

          A James Allen fan…..surely you mean THE james Allen fan.

          • Well, when put up against legard in a vote? I think JA would do very well…

            That, and JA actually understands the sport he is talking about, He does reports for the Australian broadcast (not sure if you get that) And he really is one of the highlights.
            He also gets he feel of the sport right. That’s something Legard didn’t get, he just didn’t fit in with the surroundings.

        • freedo50 (@) said on 11th January 2011, 23:45

          I’m not entirely sure that Ted would be a good choice, but he is a very very good journo, and I think he deserves a promotion of some sort.

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 11th January 2011, 17:39

      Funniest thing being, for all of Legards time in F1, barley even one Truli train.

  14. Doesnt matter to me. I saw F1 on star sports and I ll again have to listen to Steve Slater whi cant even differentiate between Red Bull and Torro Rosso.

    • yeah, he definitely has a job at Star Sports.

      • wasiF1 said on 11th January 2011, 11:25

        I know Steve Slater makes mistakes but sometimes in the heat of the race even the best have trouble. He is there for a very long time (since 1999 I guess) it will be a hollow commentary booth if I don’t see him.His pairing with Chris Goodwin was the best I can remember.

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 11th January 2011, 11:28

        I’d take Legard over Slater at Star Sports, quite honestly.

        But yeah, letting Legard go was the right move. The BBC have access to better people than Star Sports has…

        • wasiF1 said on 11th January 2011, 11:34

          I thought Slater was better then Legard,well by the way many F1F have described him in the forum.

          • Burnout said on 11th January 2011, 19:11

            Have you watched any of the BBC feeds that show up on the internet? You should, if you get a chance. Legard is WAY better than Slater. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. People who watch the BBC feed are spoilt and don’t know it.

            Chris Goodwin was an excellent foil for Slater. They should have kept Goodwin and brought in Gary Anderson. We don’t need an overly excited man to improve the show. That’s what the engines are for!

          • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 12th January 2011, 2:15

            @ Burnout

            Gary Anderson is too slow, sometimes he keeps of talking about too much technical feed then on track racing. Goodwin is now doing a job in HRT I guess as their drivers managers.

  15. “He’s in the wars”!

  16. Bryan said on 11th January 2011, 10:19

    He did not improve in 2010. If anything he got worse. Korea 2010 being his nadir, painful to listen to at times. Someone really has to work hard to make me want James Allen back.

    • SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 11th January 2011, 10:21

      I watched a recording of Silverstone 2008 the other day and James really wasn’t a bad commentator. Perhaps he offered his own opinion of things too often, but overall I’d have him back in a flash.

      • I think James got he raw deal coming after Murrey left, I mean, No one was going to popular in that role.

      • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 11th January 2011, 15:04

        I agree about James Allen I thought he a very good commentator, if it wasn’t for the painful jingo-ism which I rekon was more ITV’s editorial policy than he would have been very good.

        • Scribe (@scribe) said on 11th January 2011, 17:47

          I reckon Allen was a top commentator, an the ITV point is particularly relavant considering how balanced his blog usually is.

  17. driftin said on 11th January 2011, 10:24

    YES!!!! I wonder how Coulthard will fare but he’s bound to be better than Legard. He actually knows what it’s like to be on the track for one thing.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th January 2011, 10:29

      Brundle will be OK, but I am curious to find out how DC will fare as well.

      Certainly he must cut out the Red Bull PR stuff now, it was painfull to hear all year how he defended them and hailed all things they did as great.

  18. vjanik said on 11th January 2011, 10:24

    “thats extraordinary!”

  19. Great news, I can’t remember how many times I’ve shouted in my head during 2010 season, “Shut up Legard, just let people who know what they are talking about talk!”

  20. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 11th January 2011, 10:27

    Urgh. Definatly not looking forward to hearing DC in the commentry booth why couldnt htey have promoted Crofty

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