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.



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