Monday, 26 March 2012

Malaysia - The Quotes


DCr: One DRS detection zone for the race, but you can open that DRS throughout your qualifying session, Martin Brundle, if you dare. And I daresay on your run up to the box today, you opened the DRS flap quite a lot yourself? That was an impressive time!

MB: I said to Kimi [Raikkonen] after free practice 3, "the car looks okay, yeah?", and I got six words back, which I think means he's incredibly excited about it!
DCr: That's a proper conversation, isn't it?
MB: Let's not forget, of course, that Raikkonen has a five-place grid drop for having to change the cog-box - the gearbox at the back - out of sequence.

MB: Ricciardo's only 16th, Vergne the first one out - I would have lost a lot of money on that.

DCr: Nico Rosberg was talking at the start of the week about the compromise between their qualifying pace, which we think they've got with this 'super-duper' - in inverted commas - DRS, and their race pace, which wasn't what they expectd in Melbourne.

MB: It may be 43 degrees out on the track, but the Iceman set a good benchmark there. That's a properly quick time, a 1:36.7 .

DCr: A bit of work to be done down on Pastor Maldonado's car there. A bit of debris attached itself to the barge-board, there.
MB: Gravel rash, it's known as, inside the teams.

(Introducing Q3)
DCr: McLaren have never been on pole in Malaysia. Will that record be broken today? Will they rediscover their winning streak?
MB: And will Jenson Button be on pole position for the first time in 50 races - his first time for McLaren? Have Red Bull got what it takes? Were Mercedes-Benz hiding...I don't know! Do you? I really don't know!
DCr: Haven't got a clue, to be honest. It's like I'm sat down watching University Challenge. I couldn't answer any of those questions, cos nobody knows!

DCr: It's Hamilton again who has laid down a very impressive marker in this high-speed-stakes and game of poker!


(Ted discusses the Mercedes rear wing)
TK: We explained how air comes in through the DRS, down the rear wing endplates, and then into this rear wing beam. But look! The car was uncovered! And we can see a little bit of piping!
(Perhaps this one is in the delivery; I've gotta love a guy who's so incredibly enthusiastic about his job and the information he's sharing with us. -Ed)

(Then he takes a nosey at the weather radar)
TK: It says that the large shower located to the north-east is moving towards the circuit, a high probability of rain before the beginning of the race. (He turns to point at the large, evil cloud) There it is, Simon! It's a-coming!

(On the grid with Jenson)
JB: Well, it is starting to rain now, we're probably going to have a wet start to the race.
MB: (very brightly) Really? You think rain's that imminent, is it?
JB: Yeah...s'ppose that's quite obvious, really...

(Martin vs Zee Germans, Round 1)
MB: We've got...a fight going on between TV crews, Owen Wilson the actor here...who's, erm, Lightning Queen from the movie 'Cars'...(Kai Ebel sees Martin sniffing around and turns Wilson around so Martin's looking at the back of Wilson's head)...Kai here at RTL, and, er...(Martin pulls a face)...I'll take a step back, then...(he tries to jump in after Kai and gets brushed off quickly) That's always interesting to know. So!

(The rain comes down, the safety car goes out)
MB: So Vergne is still on the intermediates then, and Vettel's gone off on the full wets. How on earth is Vergne getting round the racetrack on those? "Slowly" would be one answer - but he's still there, isn't he?

MB: Remember I said on the grid, the safety car's got about 125 kilometres of fuel - probably a bit more, probably 140 in full wet conditions.
DCr: Have they got a spare?
MB: They have a spare. You weren't listening to my gridwalk, Crofty!
DCr: To be honest, I was listening intently to the gridwalk, but I was still chuckling at your int-er, altercation with Owen Wilson down there, which has to be the shortest Hollywood interview ever.
MB: Hah, when he's treading on my toes!

DCr: The view that Fernando Alonso just hasn't got, even behind the Safety Car! It's just like driving down the M1 without your windscreen wipers on - which you should never, ever try.

(The red flag comes out and it's time for more Ted)
TK: Yes, I'm getting slightly damp down here, guys. The teams have their own ways to avoid getting damp. Particularly enterprising I thought were the Mercedes team, who brought two gazebos - they look like the sort of gazebos that you'll get in your common garden warehouse. There's McLaren, they've got one too, don't wanna be outdone by Mercedes, and they've set these gazebos up over their cars, as you can see. I wonder if that's the lesson they've learned...Everyone's got a gazebo! There we go! Learnt a lesson from Canada, where everybody just got completely wet and it got in the computers and everything like that. So there you go, you never know when your local DIY shop is gonna become useful. Maybe a Malaysian one has done particularly good business this week.

MB: Do you know, I've been racing for 40 years, and that red flag countback situation, I've never got my head round it.

MB: Ferrari...
DCr: They've found a gazebo!
MB: Bit slow with the gazebo. Bit like the car this year, unfortunately.

MB: You're living on your wits when you can't really see out the front of the car, like passing a truck on the motorway when your wipers have failed, and your windscreen's obliterated, and what happens is you start listening for the car in front, your peripheral vision heightens, and you start finding new reference points. (A strange replay comes in.) Er, that was a classic shot, wasn't it? Felipe Massa's dad with a cardboard cutout of Felipe Massa, wasn't it, in the middle? Was it? It wasn't the real thing, was it? I mean, I caught it out of the corner of my eye.
DCr: They do have those cardboard cutouts! There's one of Fernando Alonso, complete with silly beard as well, trust me.

(Ever alert for a cheap way of filling in time, Ted zeroes in on more gazebo chat...)
TK: Hello, yes, and you join me - I should say "Ahoy!" - Jonathan Neal, in the McLaren garage. What's your radar saying?
JN: Everybody's radar shows a large green and blue splodge right in the middle of yer screen there, for the last half an hour.
TK: As we can see there, Vettel's got a gazebo, you've got a gazebo, did you buy this locally or bring it out from Woking?
(He explains how it was discussed with the FIA and FOM and gazebos are now specifically permitted as long as they don't have sides)
TK: Don't you love that? So Formula One! There's even a technical discussion between the teams and the FIA as to whether they're allowed a tent on the grid!
DCr: Yeah, we had one person Tweet us saying "Is this now the most expensive car boot sale in history?"
MB: I think it would be if a few more of them had run into each other, but impressively, there's not much carbon fibre lying around to sell cheaply, is there?

MB: When I came off the grid and it started to rain, it smelled like steam, it smelled like an old kettle.

DCr: Jean-Eric Vergne just oozes cool, doesn't he?
MB: His boots won't be wet, because he obviously walks on water, doesn't he?

(Natalie Pinkhsm grabs Norbert Haug)
NP: I would have thought a man of your stature would have a direct contact to God?
NH: Ha ha, if I had a direct contact to God, Michael wouldn't have been spun round on the first lap.

(Ted once more, as the restart time is announced)
TK: Where Jenson Button was in the McLaren hospitality area having a cup of tea with the Whitmarshes.

(Martin talks about driving the 2010 Ferrari)
MB: It was a Raikkonen seat. I couldn't get in an Alonso seat - his hips were too girly.

MB: DRS is still, "disabled" is the word I was looking for...
DCr: "Not working."

MB: [Button] is a heating engineer right now, and he's not able to keep his front tyres warm.

DCr: This could be Sauber's best ever race. Ted?
TK: Didn't Sauber win a race?
DCr: No. (Crickets) Maybe when they were BMW...

MB: Always be on the right tyres at the right time.

MB: If you're going to let the leader through, let him positively through! Don't loiter on the racing line like that!

MB: We have some new heroes in Formula One. Sergio Perez, I'm adding Bruno Senna to that list.

MB: You put your thumb into the side of these Pirelli tyres, especially this year's spec, and it'll just go right through.

MB: I feel happy for Sauber, but I think it's the race they should have won. I really do think it's the race they should have won.

MB: There's that controversial pull-rod front suspension. Didn't seem to be too bad today, did it?
Suddenly those ugly noses don't look quite so ugly when they're in the winner's circle, do they?

(The cameras show the cars' empty cockpits after the drivers have left)
MB: It looks so peaceful in there after all that activity, doesn't it?

SL: There are some very, very, very happy Italians around me!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Malaysian Grand Prix - The Race!

The Malaysian Grand Prix is nearly here! The lights go out at 8am GMT, with pre-race starting long before.

It will be covered live on TV by Sky Sports F1 (David Croft & Martin Brundle) and BBC Radio 5 Live (James Allen & Jaime Alguersuari). Extended highlights will then be broadcast on BBC One at 2pm GMT (Ben Edwards & David Coulthard), and the red-button F1 Forum show will be pre-recorded for transmission after the highlights.

To submit a quote from the race, you can post a comment below, or send an e-mail to brundleandfriends (at) . It helps if you tell me when it was so I can check for accuracy.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Malaysian Grand Prix - Free Practice 3 & Qualifying

First up is the 60-minute Free Practice 3 session, starting at 5am (GMT); then qualifying follows at 8am (GMT).

Both sessions will be live on Sky Sports F1 (David Croft & Anthony Davidson for FP3; Croft & Martin Brundle for qualifying) and BBC Radio 5 Live (James Allen and Jaime Alguersuari). BBC One will air a highlights programme at 1pm GMT (Ben Edwards & David Coulthard).

Submissions may be made as a comment below, or by e-mail to brundleandfriends (at) . It helps if you include a timestamp from the broadcast so I can check for accuracy.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Malaysian Grand Prix - Free Practice 1 and 2

Free Practice 1 begins at 2am (GMT); Free Practice 2 at 6am (GMT). Both sessions are 90 minutes long.

They will be shown live on Sky Sports F1 (David Croft & Anthony Davidson) and BBC Radio 5 live (possibly 5 Live Sports Extra, not sure which, with James Allen & Ben Edwards). The BBC website will subsequently have a highlights package.

Submissions for anything said during FP1 or FP2 may be posted in a comment or e-mailed to brundleandfriends (at) . It helps if you provide a timestamp so I can go and check that the quote is accurate.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Why Martin Brundle gets top billing here

Sure, he's got great insights, but it's not about having the insights. It's not even about having them and telling us about them at the right time. It's about having them, being able to tell us, and then being able to conjure a memorable turn of phrase out of it. Murray Walker could do it, James Hunt could do it, and so can Martin.

A great example of the difference in class comes when on lap 2, Vettel absolutely mugs Rosberg for his position and probably steals his wallet on the way past as well. Both Brundle on Sky and David Coulthard on the BBC are stunned by the move and know immediately the point they have to make about it. This is what DC said:

"So many times last year, people said 'Can Vettel race?' Well, that was some really good stuff there."

And this is what Martin said:

"That's the man they said can't race in Formula One! Sebastian Vettel, he can only win from the front, apparently! I don't think so! That was amazing!"

Exactly the same point being made, but Martin just knows how to put that bit extra tweak on it. A good piece of commentary from DC, but a great piece from Martin; and so that's why it's MARTIN BRUNDLE!!!!!! (and his friends).

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Australia - The Quotes


(Martin spent FP1 in the pit lane, doing interviews to fill slow moments.)

MB: You know, obviously, lots of pre-season talk about you having problems at Ferrari, and the cars not working. I mean, what is the real - what's the truth here, Luca. How confident are you in this car?
Luca Colliani: Well, the truth is that we'll know something more for tomorrow afternoon. Um, what we said, is that we are behind what was our target, but what does it mean in terms of er, pecking order with the others, honestly it's difficult to say. For sure there are teams like, er, Red Bull, McLaren, who look very strong. We hope we can be competitive with them, when? Time will tell. In the next [?]
MB: How do you say "pecking order" in Italian?
LC: Well, "rapporti de forza"! (?)

(Martin asks Gary Paffett why he's serving as Force India reserve driver despite having a McLaren contract)
GP: Well, Jules Bianchi is their contracted driver, but he's away testing this week, so they sort of asked if I'd step in if anything were to happen, and I'm here anyway, so why not?
MB: So you're leaving banana skins outside the drivers' changing rooms down there, yeah?
GP: None of them have slipped over yet, but there's still time...

(Felipe Massa ends up in the gravel trap at turn 1, then is on the radio asking if there's a problem with the car)
Anthony Davidson: (watching replay and theorising) he moved out and...there we go, on the grass. The cameras don't lie! Mmm, "something strange with the car". It was on the grass!
David Croft: Turf on the tyres, I think is the strange thing there, Felipe.


(Interviewing someone from Force India, Damon Hill desperately attempts to dance round what the team used to be called without actually saying "Jordan" on Sky, in case we're all reminded how much we're paying for this while EJ's shirts still roam the pit lane on tape delay)
DH: I was just gonna say, we remember the times of yore when, uh, similar sort of, uh, a similar sort of outfit as this, under a different guise, er, won races...

(Glock goes out for qualifying in the Marussia)
MB: I'm still struggling to get used to these ugly Formula One cars of 2012, I have to say - they scare small children, these things. One thing I will say, though, is they sound glorious, as Glock doesn't trouble the apex of 3 at all - Turn 4 looks better. But with the exhaust coming out of the top now, not underneath, and without all that popping and banging of the blown exhaust, and all sorts. I hated it last year - the driver lifting his foot off the throttle and the computer put more throttle in, in some situations. (He then realises he can turn this line round to hawk 5.1 surround for the 2,198th time this weekend and only does it mildly awkwardly.)
DCr: Yes, quite. You wouldn't want to hear the raspberry-sounding cars of old in 5.1 surround.

(Was Senna baulked by Timo Glock?)
MB: Well, perilously close to it, wasn't it? I mean, sort of gormlessly going through the fastest corner on the circuit.

(Vettel comes out and immediately takes the scenic route)
MB: That must be the most-used runoff area in the wirld of Formula One, across there between turns 1 and 2. You can't help but feel that the Red Bull is nowhere near painted to the racetrack as it was last year, and indeed the year before.

(Karthikeyan waddles hopelessly about in front of Alonso, then Hamilton has an adventure of his own)
MB: Narain Karthikeyan, I think his eyes are on stalks trying to get himself round Turn 16, and didn't see Alonso in a hurry behind him. And this is Lewis Hamilton, and he goes off for a bit of gardening on the edge of Turn 1.

(Vettel has more adventures)
MB: Vettel must be in there saying "what's going on??? This is not the Red Bull I'm used to driving!"
DCr: Has the sport changed from Formula One to drifting?

MB: Here's a bit of useless-but-interesting information: Sebastian Vettel is wearing his third different helmet design so far this weekend.
DCr: Has he signed some new sponsorship agreement or something?
MB: He must be looking for a faster helmet!

(Talking about blocking in Q1)
MB: There's only 24 of them, but they all seemed to be out there all the time, didn't they?
(And then, a moment later)
MB: We've lost seven, that should improve the traffic. Especially as two of them were HRTs.

(Alonso spins out)
MB: He dips his wheels onto the grass again! We've seen so much of that this weekend! It's like, this amateur hour mistake. I don't understand why brilliant racing drivers are making that [mistake].
MB: I did 40 laps in the 2010 Ferrari at Fiorano last week, and I thought it was absolutely brilliant, to be honest. It was handling very nicely; but this one looks a little bit evil.
DCr: It's always a sign of driver error when they return to the paddock with the crash helmet still on?
MB: Yeah. It's hard enough to get a word with Fernando Alonso when he's happy, as I know well on the grid; and you're more likely to get a punch there than a word.

(Massa rides the kerb)
MB: As we watch Massa straddling the kerb - that'll bring tears to your eyes, I can tell you!


(Observation: Hands up everyone who noticed that Sky used an instrumental of Cars, the 80s synthpop hit, the first time they ran down the starting grid? I thought that was quite funny.)

(Martin goes to Fiorano to drive a Ferrari)
MB: Stefano Domenicali, team principal, Ferrari. How does that sound??? You must pinch yourself every day!
MB: You wrote to Ferrari when you were a student. I wrote to them when I was a Formula Three driver; I got a letter back from Marco Piccinini saying "we'll keep an eye on you". Thirty years later...
MB: That was a very emotional piece for me to watch. I think I'd be extra-emotional know that sick feeling, Damon, when you had your first Brabham?
DH: No!
MB: You did know that feeling! When you had your first Brabham, head up on race morning - I had some dodgy cars in my Formula One career, and you get 'em on a Sunday morning and you really know that unless there's loads of crashes and unreliability, you don't have a prayer of even a World Championship point.

(On the grid)
MB: Jean-Eric [Vergne], it seems five minutes since I was watching you in Formula Three at Thruxton winning the British F3 championship, and here you are on the grid.
MB: Sebastian Vettel, now. We don't often find him down here on the grid, do we? Let's see if we can, if he's actually still on the grid, or if he's taking a comfort break, as they say.
MB: Mark Webber, over on the side - we might just have found that little zone, I think, when...(spotting Christian Horner) Where's Mark? Any idea?
CH: Not here. I know where he is, but you can't go there!
MB: Ah, well, you'd be surprised. One day I'm going to do that. (later, to Ciaron Pilbeam) You didn't walk to the front of the grid and go "Oh, we're not there any more?" (Back to Horner) So, both your drivers have gone, yeah?
CH: Sebastian said he was going for a Jimmy.
MB: A Jimmy! Yeah, he likes the English language, that one.
(It's rhyming slang, the full phrase being "Jimmy Riddle", meaning "comfort break" - Ed)
MB: Let's wander in here and see if we can at least look at a Schumacher.
(He finds Jenson Button)
MB: You're looking dead cool and comfortable, chap!
JB: Hah, it's only on the outside.
MB: Why, how's it feel on the inside?
JB: Great!
(They talk about Hamilton and the first corner)
JB: No, I just haven't seen him today. It's always busy, as you know - I know it was a long time ago - but you know it's always busy before a Grand Prix.
(Martin goes for the nipple)

(Vettel mugs Rosberg for position)
MB: That's the man they said can't race in Formula One! Sebastian Vettel, he can only win from the front, apparently! I don't think so! That was amazing!

(And then goes rallycross)
MB: I think he's going to lob it into the corner, and the back end says "You're kidding me, I can't do that."

MB: This is slightly reminiscent to me of 1998, when McLaren came here with Coulthard and Hakkinen, and basically they were so far ahead they just had to make sure that they didn't break down or run into each other.

MB: Big queue behind [Massa] because his rear tyres are going off, as he's just helpfully told us - thank you for that - and that's why he's becoming a bit of a traffic jam.

MB: [Webber'a] tyres are getting a bit second-hand as well, judging by the oversteer he had through Turn 14. And he's ready to hand them back in. Don't think he'll get much for them, because they look like they've had enough.

(Vergne hops out of the way of Mark Webber)
MB: Me probably thought there's no point in fighting that one; the last person who wouldn't yield to a Red Bull in a Toro Rosso is no longer driving a Toro Rosso.
(And then, on the same theme)
MB: Perez, he's in the Sauber-Ferrari, and he's holding up the Ferrari-Ferrari, and he doesn't care one little bit. So, great driving from him, and I'm sure he's frustrating a few World Champions as they coast up behind him and can't find a way past.
(And then, as Perez gets passed by Rosberg)
MB: You could see [Rosberg] thinking - I've done it a million times - gingerly turning in, thinking please don't miss your breaking point, and you sorta turn the wheel and think "Oh, he hasn't hit me!"

(Natalie Pinkham collars John Button)
NP: We're at the less salubrious spot of the bins at the back of McLaren. What are you doing out here?
JB Sr: Toilets are round here!
NP: I spotted you having a fag! How are the nerves?
JB Sr: Oh, er. Okay. Bit nervous. Long, long way to go yet.

DCr: Hamilton's managing that gap, though, isn't he, Martin? Should they really be too concerned?
MB: I think he just wants to get to the end of the race and see Nicole again, doesn't he? She does look absolutely glorious today. (Crickets chirp), where were we? We were in a race, weren't we?

(Vettel pits and thumps the front jack)
MB: Here he comes into the garage of 22 of his favourite men in the world - except 21 of them only like him, the man on the front jack won't appreciate that.

(Button's team radio)
MB: Ooooh, juicy information! Fuel 4! We've got some motor, then.

MB: It's so easy to have a crash behind the Safety Car. It sounds so silly, doesn't it, but it is! You've got to keep tyre and brake temperature, and yet all of a sudden you've got a faceful of the crocodile of the pack behind the Safety Car.

MB: I don't like this rule. So what? It's the luck of the draw. If they have to get through some back markers on the restart, so what? They're the best drivers in the world. Let's see them negotiate it. I think we should get rid of blue flags. You'll hear me say that once every three races! Passing back markers is a core skill of being a racing driver!

DCr: There's Heikki Kovalainen! Looks to me like he's out of the race in the Caterham.
MB: He's looking trolleyed there, ha ha ha.

DCr: Johnny Herbert the driver steward here, part of the Gang of Four presiding over the race this weekend.

(Massa's retired car has a large mark on it)
MB: I don't know if it was when Massa kicked it as he got out...

MB: About five seconds into this race, when the front of Webber's Red Bull got attacked from both sides, I doubt he imagined he'd be in fourth place on lap 52.

DCr: I wonder, has the Renault got enough pace - the Lotus, I should say! - have enough pace to--
MB: I've done that all weekend.

MB: I think the Mercedes is so geared up to getting on the front row of the grid witht the various devices and the seventh gear that they must have to run to take advantage of those high straight-line speeds, and I guess that they were hoping that they could control the race from the front, but they never got there.

MB: Alonso, as ever, pulls a rabbit out of the hat for fifth in a car that Felipe Massa couldn't drive, basically.

DCr: Is that the finger from Jenson Button for this year,the Vettel finger, that's transferred?
MB: Two of them, anyway.

(The champagne is sprayed and the commentators throw back to Simon Lazenby, under the podium)
SL: They missed us! First Grand Prix, we didn't get any champagne because there was a stiff wind blowing.


(Massa makes his first stop for new boots)
DCo: He came in so slowly there! It's like he's given up!

(Alonso puts some fast laps in)
DCo: Ferrari have overnight recovered their mojo!

(Raikkonen sneaks past Kobayashi, who was distracted by Massa)
BE: That's exactly why so many fans around the world are so delighted that Kimi Raikkonen is back. He might be monosyllabic out of the car, but boy, he can race when he's in it!

DCo: Difficult times here for Mark Webber, having to be patient with the tyres. You know, you're wanting to push on, and try and create an opportunity, but the way these Pirelli tyres are, you've got about two and a half millimetres of gauge of rubber available before suddenly you lose your little sighter of how much rubber's on top of them, the belt, and that's the point at which they fall off the cliff, and the performance dropoff is huge.

Australian Grand Prix - The Race!

The Australian Grand Prix is nearly upon us! The lights go out at 6am GMT, with pre-race starting long before.

It will be covered live on TV by Sky Sports F1 (David Croft & Martin Brundle) and BBC Radio 5 Live (James Allen & Jaime Alguersuari). Extended highlights will then be broadcast on BBC One at 2pm GMT (Ben Edwards & David Coulthard), and the red-button F1 Forum show will be pre-recorded for transmission after the highlights.

To submit a quote from the race, you can post a comment below, or send an e-mail to brundleandfriends (at) . It helps if you tell me when it was so I can check for accuracy.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Australian Grand Prix - Free Practice 3 & Qualifying

First qualifying of the year! It's preceded by the 60-minute Free Practice 3 session, starting at 2:55am (GMT); then qualifying follows at 5:55am (GMT).

Both sessions will be live on Sky Sports F1 (David Croft & Anthony Davidson for FP3; Croft & Martin Brundle for qualifying) and BBC Radio 5 Live (James Allen and Jaime Alguersuari, believe it or not). BBC One will air a highlights programme at 1pm GMT (Ben Edwards & David Coulthard).

Submissions may be made as a comment below, or by e-mail to brundleandfriends (at) . It helps if you include a timestamp from the broadcast so I can check for accuracy.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Australian Grand Prix - Free Practice 1 & 2

Very soon, there will be engines fired up in Melbourne. It's nearly time!

Free Practice 1 begins at 1:25am (GMT); Free Practice 2 at 5:25 (GMT). Both sessions are 90 minutes long.

They will be shown live on Sky Sports F1 (David Croft & Anthony Davidson) and BBC Radio 5 live (possibly 5 Live Sports Extra, not sure which, with James Allen & Ben Edwards). The BBC website will subsequently have a highlights package.

Submissions for anything said during FP1 or FP2 may be posted in a comment or e-mailed to brundleandfriends (at) . It helps if you provide a timestamp so I can go and check that the quote is accurate.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Martin Brundle's Friends - Lee McKenzie

Lee McKenzie is arguably in the hardest position of anyone after the Sky deal. With the BBC she was used very much in a secondary role: grid interviews with the midfield that Brundle didn't have time to get round to, then during the race Ted Kravitz floated about the garages hob-nobbing with engineers and principals picking up interesting information, while McKenzie was stuck with the never-ending question "So, you must be bitterly disappointed, just tell us what went wrong" for retirees.

McKenzie has always been interested in journalism and got attention aged only 15, when she got a freelance article published about being driven round Knockhill by John "I'm going for first" Cleland. After university she got a job with FOM, before moving to Border TV and gaining the opportunity to present ITV's Speed Sunday programme, which established her credentials in motorsport. She's also worked on a number of other sports and in mainstream news, covering (among other things) a general election and the Lockerbie trial.

Her early experience with Cleland perhaps presaged some of the items she would later do; for the BBC F1 coverage her longstanding interest in horses gave her the opportunity to go riding with Michael Schumacher, and most famously in 2004 she obtained the necessary licences to compete in the Rally of Great Britain (a WRC event) as co-driver with Tony Jardine at the wheel.

Now she finds herself the BBC's primary source of information from the pit lane, and it will be extremely interesting to see whether she can get the kind of information that Ted gets, with the man himself still there and working for a rival channel.



1, 2, 3, 4: I Declare Twitter War

Martin Brundle, 10:34am, from his iPad:
"Staying up? Only place to watch Oz F1 live in UK is Sky Sports F1 channel from 1am Friday. All 3 practices, magazine show, qualy + race live"

David Coulthard, 11:11am, from his iPhone:
"Top Tip, go for quality rather than quantity"

Burn! This could get mighty interesting. Can't wait for the first time they cross paths on the grid. Interestingly, DC didn't do it as a reply directly to Martin. A little passive-aggressive, or did he just not realise you can do that?

Martin's Twitter is @MBrundleF1; Crazy Dave is @therealdcf1.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Martin Brundle's Friends - Ben Edwards

It's perhaps stretching the definition of "Martin Brundle's friends" slightly to include the man who will replace him behind the BBC microphone, but that's what I'm going to do to introduce this potted history of the versatile and experienced Ben Edwards, who becomes the BBC's third voice of F1 in four years.

I've heard it said that Ben Edwards is a poor man's Murray Walker; I would say that that's both unfair and inaccurate. He got his start in motor racing as a mechanic in 1982 in Formula Ford, but then moved behind the wheel himself, enjoying modest success in Formula First and Caterham racing. He also competed in the Euro Vauxhall Lotus series, where he shared grids with David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen. He then took a job as a racing instructor, then began doing track commentary at the circuits he was instructing at, and then managed to get himself a minor commentating job with the BBC.

In the early 90s, Eurosport gained rights to show live Formula One and hired Edwards, where he struck up a long-running and genial relationship with five-time race winner John Watson. They commentated on F1 until 1996. After the expiry of that contract, Edwards began commentating on the American CART series with some success, and with that experience was a strong candidate to replace Murray Walker at ITV before they decided to promote James Allen from within. He's subsequently commentated on almost every other major racing series at some time or another, and had another bite at F1 in 2002 when he was the lead commentator for BernieVision. He and his wife currently run a motorsports company that specialises in running championships, including British GT for a couple of years.

This time last year, it appeared as though Martin Brundle had completed the process of replacing Murray Walker as the voice of Formula One. Now he's back in the analyst's chair (yes, yes, I know he stands up to commentate like Murray did) and on a channel with an exponentially smaller British audience. This is Edwards's chance to prove his ability to a mass audience at last. Is he up to it? Only time will tell.



Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Martin Brundle's Friends - Ted Kravitz

The first thing that you need to know about Tango Echo Delta is that his name is not, in fact, Ted Kravitz. A while ago, a two-line Daily Mail column claims that he took a stage name rather than using his birth name, "Theodore Slotover", because "Ted Kravitz" was more Formula One-y. Or something. I have to say, he's not wrong there. "Slotover" just makes me think about Scalectrix (even though I had the Aurora set).

After an early career in general sport with radio stations, he joined Chrysalis in 1996 and then joined the new ITV team in 1997, initially as a producer. When James Allen left the pit lane a replacement was required, and somehow Ted managed to wangle the job - and a good thing too. I'm a big fan of his; he's an expert at being funny and informative with very limited airtime, and the information he's able to wheedle out of the garages is almost always extremely good and useful to know. Last year he began spreading his wings a little with a series of ten-minute post-race videos on the BBC website rounding up some of the stories (o9ften the more peripheral ones) of the day and tying up loose ends; the move to Sky will afford him the chance to do more of the same.

Ted should not be affected by the move to Sky; his job isn't to editorialise, it is to inform.



Monday, 12 March 2012

Martin Brundle's Friends - David Croft

David Croft (not to be confused with the other David Croft) is the man who will be the voice of Formula One on Sky, and will likely be responsible for releasing carefully-planned doses of Martin Brundle into our living rooms. Here is a potted summary of his career.

When he's not taking part in ill-advised photoshoots that make him look a Top Gear reject, Croft is from a similar career background to Jonathan Legard, a BBC journalist who had plenty of experience covering a wide range of sports before landing the F1 gig. He's covered the Olympics, darts, cricket, golf and football for the BBC, as well as freelance jobs in boxing and (allegedly) parkour. He also has a mildly amusing page on his agent's website:

As a commentator? I've not had cause to listen to F1 on the radio too of; but on the occasions that I have, I've been able to follow how the race is going and he's not made me want to throw the radio out of the car. Someone on Youtube made a rather uncharitable (but still valid) comparison between Legard and Croft at Turkey in 2010:

So on the face of it, there's no reason why he can't be a success for Sky - except there's the issue of the medium. Inasmuch as commentary of any kind can be easy (it's not), radio commentary is relatively easy because if you're stuck for anything to say, you just pretend you're on Catchphrase and say what you see, and you're giving out useful information. Telly you can't necessarily do that; there's a lot more interpretation than description - and while Martin will be doing the lion's share of interpretation, there's still plenty of room for the main man to editorialise.

The other factor that might come into play is the danger of catching Sky-itis. Anyone who watches Sky regularly knows that they have a simple rule - you can say that individuals, or teams, aren't doing so well and have made mistakes; but the quality of the event as a whole must be talked up at all costs. Every SKY SUPER SUNDAY football match is a FANTASTIC AFFAIR or a GREAT BATTLE or even a COM ARM-WRESTLE (because otherwise, according to the Sky mindset, the viewer might be tempted to think "why am I paying large amounts of subscription fees to watch this dross?"). By comparison, the BBC feels free to say "actually, that race was a bit dull", because we're not paying for it (yes, O pedants, technically we are, but not in the same way). Brundle I'm sure will not succumb to Sky-itis; he knows that he's achieved the position he has due in some part to saying when things are wrong and poor, and it'll fatally compromise him to start toeing a party line now. Without such a public profile, Croft may feel the pressure to conform. I hope not.



Sunday, 11 March 2012

Who's Who in 2012

So, here are the runners and riders in the 2012 British Television F1 Commentary Handicap Stakes. It seems reasonably obvious that the BBC hold an advantage in pre- and post-race, but during the race itself the calibre on Sky will be very hard to beat - and IIRC it's the Sky commentary that will be taken by most English-language channels who've historically taken UK commentary.


For me the BBC's pre and post-race shows have been extraordinarily consistent and good since 2009. Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard established a quick and easy chemistry that's very easy to watch and listen to, even when EJ goes on one of his patented minute-long questions that turn in circles about eight times and it's impossible to work out how he's expecting the interviewee to answer. To this established group (and they'd be crazy to break it up when they need stability, although perhaps DC will do less work on that front and focus on the commentary box) they're adding a mildly left-field choice in the ex-Jordan designer Gary Anderson. Although more casual fans might not know what to expect from him, he has written an Autosport column for some time and worked for Irish television, so he's not without experience as a pundit. Lee McKenzie remains and will now be the BBC's primary pit lane reporter - it will be interesting to see whether she can get useful information down there while Ted Kravitz is still on the scene working for a different channel.

So to the commentary box. Ben Edwards was the obvious choice with no experienced BBC man to promote. I very much like the work I've heard from him on touring cars and A1GP; just because you go loud and talk fast when exciting things happen, that doesn't mean you're a witless Murray Walker clone, as I've heard some people suggest. I didn't think Brundle was a huge success in the main seat last year - he actively killed exciting moments for me by being very quiet and reserved and ooohing and aaahing carefully when exciting things happened. Maybe I'm just unimaginative, but I like to hear commentators get excited by what they're seeing, as long as it doesn't cause them to start talking bollocks. Coulthard had a good start in the other seat; this is his chance to spread his wings a little and show us what he can do in the box without the training wheels of being able to fall back on matey banter with Martin if he runs out of things to say.

While the BBC only has 10 live races, they do also have all 20 on the radio. An apparent talent vacuum has led to the job apparently trickling downwards to James Allen by default, as the only remaining candidate with any significant experience. Anyone even remotely familiar with F1 prior to 2009 will remember James; and a significant percentage will not do so fondly. Let's get something clear about him - the guy knows what he's talking about, else he wouldn't have held down his job with the Financial Times, and the blog that he has run since 2009 has been extremely well-recieved. For me he was a good pit-lane reporter; but in the commentary box, he never quite learned the knack of being able to show that he knew what he was talking about. He presumably will also commentate on free practice. Of all the losses to Sky, perhaps Anthony Davidson hurts the most here - there's no announcement that I know of on who will replace him, or even if anyone will replace him. Jennie Gow joins that team as the radio pit reporter.

The other question mark for them is how they deal with the issue of gridwalks. The BBC did experiment with two-man gridwalks and Brundle-less gridwalks last year - will they just push DC and EJ alternately onto the grid and see how many times they can trip over Kai Ebel? Where Martin really excelled was spatial awareness; not just bouncing from car to car, but picking up interesting people to talk to along the way like Hamashima-san of Bridgestone then Paul Hembrey of Pirelli, being a face that Bernie was usually willing to talk to, and grabbing anyone else that happened to wander across his path.


Well, let's start with their strengths. They have Martin Brundle. They also have David Croft, the former BBC radio commentator who was frequently rated far better than Jonathan Legard and must have been annoyed when he was passed over for the BBC box in 2011. Rumours have hung around for the past few years that somehow the two don't like each other and that it's prevented them working together. However, this would appear to be the dream pairing (barring a new miraculous medical procedure that could re-age most of Murray Walker's brain to about 50 years old while leaving his memories intact); and at the risk of being hyperbolic, let's remember that Murray and James "Enjoying The Sponsor's Product Plentifully" Hunt didn't get on for quite a while at first after they were thrown together.

Brundle has a roving brief to "divide his time between paddock, pit lane and commentary box", whatever that means. Most practically it opens a space for Anthony Davidson to join Croft for free practice (the BBC are using James Allen and Ben Edwards), in a move that perhaps smacks a little of "because we can". Ted Kravitz returns in the pit lane and will get a chance at more airtime doing presenting work on shows to fill up the F1 channel - he's joined on raceday by Natalie Pinkham (me neither) who presumably will spend her time getting scowled at by retiring drivers while Ted flits between the prat perches finding out interesting things.

Rather like ITV, the further you get away from the race, the dodgier things look for Sky. The anchor is dull Sky man Simon Lazenby, who IIRC has done live studio work for rugby and other "minor major" Sky things. The only-slightly-less-dull Steve Rider is hanging around the place like a bad smell; the press release indicates only that he will be "conducting a series of interviews with big names". Sky appear to have thought that they could go with the cricketing approach of tapping up famous big-name British drivers to fill out time (I watched a very interesting programme where Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell and Murray Walker spent an hour reminiscing, and doubtless there will be 40,000 more opportunities to see it on the new F1 channel) - except that they're the only two who aren't ancient, dead, or still driving. Are Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss going to start appearing? I doubt Eddie Irvine is interested (or coherent) and I doubt they'd pop for DI Mark Blundell. Will we see the lesser-spotted Jonathan Palmer again? What are they going to do for a pre-race show, anyway? Are they going to be in the paddock or a studio in Isleworth?

Oh, and apparently Georgie Thompson is coming over from Sky Sports News to work on the stuff they have to make up to fill time between races. Which is a thing that is happening.

A lot of unanswered questions there, clearly. Only way to find out how this all shakes down is in Melbourne.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Martin Brundle Quotes - A History

Since joining the ITV commentary team for 1997 (a truly inspired move by whoever found out that he was lacking a seat for that season), Martin Brundle has established himself as one of the most respected and interesting sporting pundits in the media.

"As a former Formula One driver, I have earnt the right to have an opinion about the sport, and probably know as much about it as anybody else. I have attended approaching 400 grands prix, 158 as a driver. I have spilt blood, broken bones, shed tears, generated tanker loads of sweat, tasted the champagne glories and plumbed the depths of misery."

(MB, Sunday Times, 9/9/07)

But it's not just that the man has wisdom; he has wit in great quantities as well, and it's this that inspired the creation of the first Martin Brundle Quotes Page, maintained with distinction by David Crick.

The site covers his early years alongside Murray Walker.

"He lost the back end of the car, then the engine and now he has to walk back to the pits and tell Eddie Jordan all about it."
(MB, Hungary, 1997)

"You can't say that, Murray! Remember that Porsche race we watched this-morning: you said 'watch car 45', and the next lap his rear wheel fell off."
(MB, Luxembourg Nurburgring, 1997)

"That didn't work! That didn't work, Michael! You hit the wrong part of him, my friend! I don't think that will cause Villeneuve a problem."
(MB, Jerez, 1997)

"If you can drive, you can drive. It doesn't matter what it is. You can drive a wheelie bin fast if you've got a feel for grip and balance, and an understanding of where the limit is."
(MB, Italy, 1998)

"I've got a good tabloid story to tell about Damon Hill: he's admitted to trying on Frentzen's underwear. I'm not going to tell you the rest of the story because it spoils it and makes it all seem too obvious."
(MB, Belgium, 1999)

David was joined in 2000 by Callie Sullivan, who created the successor site, Martin Brundle's Racing Lines ( ) in 2002, as Brundle matured into a legend alongside James Allen, slogged away at the BBC next to Jonathan Legard, and then had that strange year in 2011 trying to do lead commentary with David Coulthard as his sidekick.

“However hot you imagine it is, I think it’s a little bit hotter than that. It’s like putting on an overcoat, climbing into your airing cupboard with the heating on and then doing press-ups for an hour and a half if you’ve got enough space. If you do, tell your wife or girlfriend beforehand so there’s no misunderstanding when you come out what you’ve been up to.”
(MB, Malaysia, 2004)

“This Parc Fermé situation where they’re not allowed to touch the cars: it’s now clear that for decades, pulling the cars apart after every session created reliability issues.”
(MB, Italy, 2005)

[Rob Smedley radios to Fisichella that P14 is “good for tomorrow”]
“I’m not quite sure which bit of tomorrow that’s good for, but I admire Rob for keeping pumping up his merry-go-round of drivers that keep passing through his cockpit.”
(MB, Italy, 2009)

And now Callie has been priced out by Sky, there's a gap in the market to be filled; and here we are now. At its core, this a continuation of the two sites; but hopefully I can do a little more with it. The title should be a clue; I'm a particular fan of Ted Kravitz's dry humour with limited airtime from the pit lane, as anyone who heard his incredible ad-libbed zinger on Eddie Irvine at Monza would be:

(Eddie spends a minute ranting and swearing about how crap DRS and KERS is.)
"The life of Eddie Irvine these days. And who knows, if he'd have had DRS and KERS and all these buttons he was talking about, he might have won a championship for Ferrari. Instead of not. I'll see you in Singapore."
(TK, From The Pit Lane, Italy, 2011)

I also enjoy Eddie Jordan, his incredible shirts, and his uncanny ability to ask questions where the words on their own are completely incomprehensible, and yet whoever he's talking to still can understand more or less what Eddie's trying to ask him and give a reasonable answer. Also, many of the F1 voices we enjoy have blogs, or newspaper columns, or pass comment on things in some form or another; I'll be keeping an eye out for anything interesting in those as well.

So that's the goal; everything the old site was doing, and perhaps just a little bit more as well. I conclude by thanking David and Callie for all their efforts over the years in maintaining the pages.