Our colleagues over at BBC Sport have announced a new line-up for their Formula One coverage for 2011. After two successful years, Jonathan Legard is moving aside as lead commentator, with Martin Brundle taking over.
Brundle will be joined by David Coulthard as co-commentator, who moves on from his previous role: providing the snappily dressed pre-race banter and analysis with Eddie Jordan and Jake Humphrey in the pit lane. BBC Sport says that Coulthard will continue to provide “key elements of this analyst role” in the coming months.
“I’m very excited to be joining forces with Martin in this new role of co-commentator,” said Coulthard. “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.”
Ben Gallop, BBC’s Head of F1, added: “We’re always looking for ways to take our Formula One coverage to another level – 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, one of the biggest names in British motorsport and a skilled race analyst. We want to tap into their combined on-track expertise – 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, helping to re-establish BBC Sport as the nation’s F1 broadcaster. We wish him all the very best for the future.”
The orangiest F1 blog on the internet, Sniff Petrol, posted its reaction here. Warning: contains some strong language and adult humour.
In other F1 news, the BBC also confirmed that this year’s coverage will be broadcast in HD for the first time.
“Along with many, many HD viewers, I’m delighted that we’ll have a chance next season to see Formula 1 in all its glory on television,” said Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD and 3D. “Its fantastic news that Formula One Management has decided to green light HD broadcasts, and we’re looking forward to sharing with the fans all the races in all their detail on BBC One HD and BBC HD.”
Speculation that Eddie Jordan will have to tone down his shirts in response to the higher-definition broadcast remain unconfirmed at this stage.