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

  1. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 11th January 2011, 11:46

    Well, the vultures have got their man. I hope they’re happy.

  2. KateM (@katem) said on 11th January 2011, 11:53

    Well I’m not going to lie and say I will miss Legard but I don’t think he was quite as bad as everyone made out. I really do have my doubts about DC though, he’s not even good at his current role. Can anyone name something interesting he said/did in the last year? And it goes without saying that it will be an absolute joke if he doesn’t give up his Red Bull Official Cheerleader gig now.

    I wonder if there will be a new pundit to replace DC?

    • SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 11th January 2011, 12:10

      Lee McKenzie?

    • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 11th January 2011, 12:14

      Can anyone name something interesting he said/did in the last year?

      Wound Eddie Jordan up constantly!!

      (Hopefully he’ll still be doing that before heading to the commentary box…I wonder if he’ll be doing the gridwalks from now on so that Martin’s in the box already)

  3. Chris said on 11th January 2011, 12:15

    I thought commentators were supposed to be neutral. How does that sit with Coulthard being paid large amounts of cash by Red Bull? The bias was very evident throughout 2010.

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 11th January 2011, 13:16

      My thought exactly. Surely DC has had to sever all connections.
      Oh and Martin isn’t still DC’s manager, is he?

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th January 2011, 12:31

    I’m not going to bother reading this thread. I already know what everyone will say. I’m also predicting that everyone will revile whoever replaces Legard, either because a) they’re no better than Legard, or b) they make Brundle look like Legard.

    I will, however, say this – Legard has an excellent voice for radio. Which is probably a good thing, because he makes the Renault drivers appear to be good looking. Maybe the Beeb should get that homeless guy with the baritone voice in for next year …

    • Ding Dong said on 11th January 2011, 12:38

      because he makes the Renault drivers appear to be good looking

      Well you shouldn’t be complaining,I thought you were a Petrov fanboy captain tightpants?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th January 2011, 12:42

        I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • Ding Dong said on 11th January 2011, 12:46

          You know 100% well what I am talking about.All of Atlas & F1F knows that you love Petrov.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th January 2011, 12:51

            Nope. I’m afraid I don’t, actually. You must have me confused with someone else. I don’t deny being a Petrov fan, but Prisoner Monkeys is the only name I go by online. If I had multiple usernames … well, it would just get confusing. As you clearly have no love in you for this “Captain Tightpants” character, I’ll politely ask you to drop the subject.

        • Ned Flanders said on 11th January 2011, 12:55

          Haha, I distinctly remember you telling us that you go by the name of Captain Tightpants on the Autosports Forums. So you were either lying then or you’re lying now

          • Ding Dong said on 11th January 2011, 13:01

            You are correct Ned. I can prove for sure that PM is captain tightpants.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th January 2011, 13:06

            Ned, please. You are ding nobody any favours here. I have taken pains to keep what happens here spearate from what happens over there, and I do so for good reason, even if I haven’t been as vigilant as I might like. The Autosport forums are a toxic cesspit where people can only voice their opinions if they are in line with the prevailing forum opinion. If not, you’re fair game. It’s like Scientology. If you make so much as one mistake over there – like, say, forgetting which race was Jacques Villeneuve’s first victory – people will repeatedly bring it up six months after the fact to impinge upon your credibility. At the Autosport forums, you must hate Mosley and Petrov and worship Villeneuve and Heidfeld. Anything but that will leave you wide open to a collective of people who will do their best to make you feel unwlecome. I will not have things that happen over at those forums rear their ugly and unwanted heads on this blog and ruin it for Keith. Not if I can help it. Ding Dong, I would strongly suggest that you either forget about the connection between me and the Autosport forums, or go back to where you came from, because anything otherwise will risk jeopardising this entire blog, and that is a poor way to repay Keith for all his hard work.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th January 2011, 13:07

            I can prove for sure that PM is captain tightpants.

            Then extend me the same courtesy and tell me who you are. Because if you are who I suspect you are – FIGJAM – this will not end well.

        • KateM (@katem) said on 11th January 2011, 13:06

          I distinctly remember you and Captain Tightpants used to have the same avatar picture on both here and Atlas so if it isn’t you, then thats a massive coincidence. Especially seeing as you normally have practically the same views on everything…

    • Ding Dong said on 11th January 2011, 13:16

      Cool down bro! No offence meant and what has this got to do with me jeopardizing anything?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th January 2011, 0:17

        Because I don’t get along with 90% of the Autosport forums. And given the way some members dig up things you said a year ago to attack you in a post you make on a regulat basis, I can’t see anything being brought from the Autosport forums ending well for the blog.

  5. graham228221 said on 11th January 2011, 12:44

    “OH NO!”

    He lost it with his opening line back in 2009 for me:

    “Hello, and welcome to Formula Lon…One.”

    He was an absolute atrocity in the commentary box, I swear he used to just start talking on autopilot for 10 or 15 minutes sometimes, murmuring about nothing in particular.

    “Battle has been joined!”

  6. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 11th January 2011, 13:24

    Not exactly news but interesting nonetheless! I think their coverage has been outstanding and glad to see they’re taking a potential gamble..i think their charming enough amongst themselves to pull it off ;) I hope DC is still there to join Jake in making fun of EJ!

  7. It’s always sad to see someone lose their job, even if they were fairly bad at it. For whatever reason, Legard didn’t work out in the broadcast commentary box, and from the sounds of it, he didn’t enjoy the best relationship with Brundle – he certainly didn’t help himself by often yelling over the top of Brundle’s understated, insightful analysis.

    But I really don’t agree with the decision to promote Brundle to the main commentator with DC as the pundit. Brundle is a pundit, and hasn’t demonstrated the level of excitement or the ability to inject the action with a sense of occasion in the same way as the likes of David Croft or Ben Edwards. Maybe I’ll be wrong and we’ll see another side to him that he hasn’t been able to bring to the commentary box so far.

    This decision though, reeks of politics and big egoes. Namely the ego of Martin Brundle, and his relentless quest for self promotion. Word has it that Brundle effectively demanded that he work alongside DC, even though the fans don’t particularly like him, and it’s worth considering that Brundle was DC’s manager.

    Don’t get me wrong, Brundle definitely has a place in commentary, but it’s as a pundit and not as a main commentator. This move seems fairly disastrous to me, and I have a feeling I’ll be listening to the 5Live commentary from now on.

  8. paolo (@paolo) said on 11th January 2011, 13:31

    In my opinion the transition from radio to TV is a difficult one because radio demands a constant commentary to paint a picture of what is happening, where as that is not necessary on TV.

    I think that ultimately was where Legard went wrong and there is no guarantee that it wouldn’t be the same for Croft.

  9. for me wrong choice. Not dc’s biggest fan and often he is red bull bias. Remember the turkey race when the red bulls crashed in to each other, at that time coultard was speaking. You could here him say oh noooo, he is supposed to be a non bias pundit.

    I think crofty would have been the best choice for lead commentator and brundle stay as pundit. Will just have to see how it goes

    • adamf184 (@adamf184) said on 11th January 2011, 19:40

      What did you say when they crashed? I think I have said oh no when cars have come together in the past. If Legard or Brundle said it then you wouldnt have thought anything of it. You are the one linking ‘No’ comment to Redbull bias. I have to say I have never really noticed it.

      Also on Crofty, why does nobody give him a say!? He is happy with a team of mates doing a great job, why would he want to leave.

  10. I tried to ignore Legard most of the time so that he never really annoyed like he seemed to with some other viewers so I wasn’t bothered if the BBC replaced him or not.

    I am not sure of Coulthard teaming up with Brundle in the commentary box and how it will affect the TV coverage as a whole, for example Coulthard will have to leave early to get to the commentary box leaving us with Humphrey and Jordan. But we will have to wait a few races to see how the changes pan out.

  11. Pete Walker said on 11th January 2011, 13:50

    There he goes, in the sunshine, on a charge, towards the job centre…

  12. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 11th January 2011, 13:56

    He will pick up a column in some tabloid/newspaper somewhere easy enough. To be honest i’m not really bothered by how exciting the commentators get, I always find that patronising. I can see myself whats worth getting excited about.

  13. Pigeon said on 11th January 2011, 14:00

    Bad move. I can understand moving DC away from view, since he had the on-screen presence of a toothpick. Perhaps the idea is that if we can’t see him, we might find him interesting?
    I don’t think this will appeal to F1 non-fanatics, a) because he’s just not very exciting, and b) he’s shown very little understanding in the past of what it is that appeals to the majority of people who watch F1. Read his Telegraph coverage of Hockenheim, for example – his views have always been heavily biased towards the business and money-making side of the sport, and not towards what excites the fans, who are the people who should matter most in F1.
    And his links to Red Bull make his views pretty much invalid to anyone who know the sport well.

    Shame on the BBC for this decision.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 11th January 2011, 14:56

      That pretty much sums up my fear’s about DC too.

    • adamf184 (@adamf184) said on 11th January 2011, 19:46

      Sorry but utter rubbish. a) Your telling me Legard was very exciting? DC cracks a few jokes at least, never heard Legard say 1 funny thing!

      Also Quote DC on his Red Bull bias that makes his views invalid to anyone who knows the sport well?! I have never noticed anything that obvious.

      Oh and unlucky for you we will still see him on screen as he is still a pundit, a very good one with perfectly good on screen presence IMO

  14. Kershan said on 11th January 2011, 14:15

    Legard did annoy me but I always found some of the personal attacks on him rather uncomfortable. He had this weird habit of going “Humph” after some of Brundle’s comments, as if he was dismissing him, and there were times when you could tell that Brundle was pretty peeved with him. I think we can forgive a commentator a few blunders during a career commentating on a complex sport, but I do think he made rather too many (often without correction) to convince anyone that he wasn’t a little out of his depth. Overall, I think he lacked humour (his attempts at jokes usually turned to tumbleweed) and couldn’t really articulate the exciting bits of a race, but also failed to give you a reason tune in during the boring bits.

    One weird thing is that people used to say that he used to commentate as though he were on the radio, i.e. say what you see, and this used to wind them up so much that they would press the red button and listen to … the radio commentary! People are strange.

    I think MB and DC will be good. A more relaxed and informative experience, like having an extremely knowledgeable mate sitting next to you who. I’m sure they’ll be suitably excited at the right times, and will actually know when the right times are.

    Adieu, Legard. Best wishes.

    • Icemangrins said on 11th January 2011, 15:02

      Agree with you…. but, there was one race weekend when I tried really hard to tune his voice out…. he kept talking talking talking and never let Martin speak…

      …..vettel, webber, Alonso, Lewis, Nico
      …..red bull against red bull
      …..vettel, webber, Lewis, Jenson
      …..Alonso in pits….Ted, what can you tell?
      …..vettel, webber, Lewis, Jenson
      …..McLaren vs McLaren

      • adamf184 (@adamf184) said on 11th January 2011, 19:49

        rhetorical questions constantly too.
        …and what about Alonso
        …is he catching Hamilton
        …thats a shot in the arm for Ferrari
        …what must Mclaren be thinking
        …Vettel coming round the last corner, pushing on
        …is getting a bit sweaty

        Never to be heard again, Well done BBC!!!!!!!!

  15. Ral (@ral) said on 11th January 2011, 14:38

    Some of the comments about how Coulthard and Brundle remind me of an interview I read with an executive at Bioware, a games developer. About an hour after they had [i]registered the domain name[/i] Dragonage.com, there were raging debates on Bioware’s forums about how the game would suck. Enough time and thought had been put into it to come up with a name, that’s it. Nothing else existed, but “fans” and “fans” were raging nonetheless about non-existent content.

    For my piece of mind, I’m glad BBC decided to try someone else over Leggard, as much as that must suck for him. But let’s give them a chance before starting the chants to replace someone again, eh?

    • SirCoolbeans (@sircoolbeans) said on 11th January 2011, 16:18

      Indeed. It’s always quite funny to read that stuff.

      We always pass the good and crazy comments around the studio when the previews/reviews hit the internet. Fun times. :D

      Bioware have a proven track record and even they get irrational hate. :D

  16. Icemangrins said on 11th January 2011, 14:43

    Matrin provides excellent insight during the entire race weekend… not just from a technical perspective. He also has the ability to articulate clearly the race situations. Shame, I live in Canada (atleast grateful TSN shows the live coverage of the qualifying and race..both the coverage starts 5 minutes prior to the sessions) and I don’t get to watch the entire show.

    DC pairing with Martin is going to be great and I can’t wait to hear them. The only issue about their pairing….they are going to run their mouth endlessly about MSC and attack his personality as they did in 2010.

  17. Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 11th January 2011, 14:53

    It’s good that Legard is gone, but i’m not too sure about Coulthard.

    Jordan, Coulthard and Jake where more of a comical trio like the Three Stooges rather than that they actually provided any real insight in F1 debates.

    Especially Coulthard’s commentaries were usually pretty much nonsensical. It didn’t help that he seemed to be a Red Bull spokesperson.

  18. Apart from the odd gaffe (such as at Monza when the Ferrari’s were wheel to wheel with Button in the lead and Jonathon declaring “that’s exactly what Ferrari want”) I didn’t find Legard that bad although his repetitive phrases were annoying. Walker made plenty of gaffes afterall. Legard is apparently a workaholic and will chat to the guys in the pit all night to keep up to date and I appreciated that. What I really didn’t like was the complete lack of chemistry between him and Brundle and that can only be 50% his fault in theory.

    I’m sad for Legard and hope he does well in the future probably in radio as he seems to suit that.

    Brundle and DC? Two former drivers? Hmmm…I’ll reserve judgement but it isn’t the ideal pairing I’d have gone for. Croft and Brundle would have been great but it would have meant breaking up the 5live dream team.

    • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 11th January 2011, 15:20

      Yer the gaffes were irritating but understandable since every commentator makes them. But at least with Walker or Allen they were easy to listen to for the other 95% of the coverage. My problem with Legard was that I found him irritating consistently throughout the race in a way that isn’t the case with the likes of Allen, Croft or Edwards

      • adamf184 (@adamf184) said on 11th January 2011, 19:54

        He made them pretty much every race start.
        I think even Abu Dhabi he said button then hamilton when clearly there was no way they could swap position after the pretty nothing start. It might have been singapore.

        The Korean one was the worst mixing the Mclarens up even with a fair few places between them…for 2 laps. Even my dad noticed and he makes more mistakes than Murray!

    • graham228221 said on 11th January 2011, 15:25

      If he stayed up all night chatting to the teams, how come that never once came across in the commentary?

      I always think that the best commentary adds to the broadcast, with information that I wouldn’t know already. Legard never once told us anything that I didn’t already know and would be obvious to anyone.

  19. The Limit said on 11th January 2011, 15:17

    I think the word to use here is ‘chemistry’. I only got to listen to Legard over taped races via the internet and what struck me was the lack of chemistry between Brundle and Legard. It all seemed forced and unnatural.
    The other night I got to see a re-run of the 2006 Italian Gp when James Allen was with Brundle at ITV, and the difference was noticeable. Now I know there is alot of you guys in England who could not stand Allen nor his liking of Lewis Hamilton, but I found he gave more as a commentator than Legard.
    We all know that Coulthard and Brundle have been friends for many years. Infact, Brundle was Coulthard’s manager during the Scot’s years as a driver. So it makes perfect sense. It also highlights just how important the BBC find Martin Brundle is to their F1 broadcasts and who could really argue there.
    I wish Legard all the best but I am afraid this was always likely to happen wasn’t it?

    • Pigeon said on 11th January 2011, 15:37

      So is that how DC got the BBC job – through cronyism? And did Brundle benefit in any way from the deal?

      I can see no excuse whatsoever for having DC as a BBC commentator. He’s added absolutely nothing to the viewing experience to date.

      We, as licence-payers, are paying for Brundle to have his best mate and (ex?) managee sitting in the commentary box beside him, despite his lack of skills.

      It’s a scandal.

      • SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 11th January 2011, 16:30

        Better he work with someone he gets on with and someone who he can help to improve.

        • Pigeon said on 11th January 2011, 16:45

          Would you say the same about every taxpayer-funded position in the UK, or just the BBC F1 coverage?
          Cronyism is cronyism, wherever it happens, and when we’re footing the bill we shouldn’t have to pander to the whims of an ex-driver’s ex-manager.
          If Brundle had chosen anyone that he hadn’t had business dealings with in the past, there would be some respect for, and credibility, about the appointment. As it is, the fans are being made fools of and are being saddled with someone who made no impression whatsoever on the BBC last year.

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