Jake Humphrey has offered a fascinating insight into life working alongside the irrepressible Eddie Jordan as part of the BBC F1
punditry team, joking that 'most people have a little bit of discipline when they're on live, national television – Eddie has absolutely none...'
Humphrey is the anchorman for the Beeb's coverage of the sport, and as such he is to some extent the glue that holds everything together in what is – at the height of tension during a grand prix weekend – a real pressure-cooker situation.
For the past two seasons, he, colourful former team owner Jordan and 13-time grand prix-winner David Coulthard have provided the pre and post-race analysis of events live from the circuit, and that trio will remain in-place in 2011, albeit with the Irishman taking on more of a central role following DC's promotion to the commentary box alongside Martin Brundle [see separate story – click here
The Scot has revealed that the new arrangement will give Jordan 'a platform to really put forward his in-depth views on F1', adding tongue-in-cheek that 'I'm not sure it's such a good thing for Jake, though, because he'll have a lot more of Eddie on his own...' Now, speaking during a special pre-season BBC F1
'Meet the Team' session at Television Centre, Humphrey has offered his own personal and amusing insight into life with 'EJ'.
“One of the difficult things in this job for me is people management,” he confesses. “There are times when I'm hearing down my ear, 'Stefano Domenicali is being brought to you, so keep talking for a few seconds', and then two seconds later they say 'oh, it's not Stefano, it's Martin Whitmarsh' – and Eddie suddenly runs off and David is talking about something and I have to be listening to what he's saying and react to that.
“It's a real brain strain, and I think in some ways we'll be helped by the fact that David is making his way back down from the commentary box at that point, because it basically gives Eddie the chance to go off and get the people he wants if he wants to – and also, it gives us the opportunity to get more guests on the programme without it feeling a bit cluttered and like there are too many people.
“I had a 'phone call from Eddie this morning, [puts on Irish accent] 'listen, I'm on my boat in the Caribbean, I've got some bloody dynamite, oh it's going to be brilliant, don't tell anybody and we'll share it on the first day of the first race' – and those are the sort of 'phone calls I'm getting on a daily basis at the moment.
“I absolutely love it when Eddie goes off and finds people. It's ridiculous; most people have a little bit of discipline when they're on live, national television – Eddie has absolutely none. You're standing there about to ask him a question, you look at the camera, you say one line, you turn back and you think, 'Oh my God, where's Eddie gone? Sh*t!' You're looking around and thinking, where is he?
“You're on live television in front of seven or eight million people, and one of your pundits has run off! Imagine if Alan Shearer ran off the set of Match of the Day
in-between a conversation with Gary [Lineker] – it doesn't happen anywhere else, but I love that about Eddie, and nine-times-out-of-ten he will return with a team principal or Bernie [Ecclestone] in a headlock and get them on the television.
“I have to point out that when [Michael] Schumacher returned, he wasn't going to speak to anyone, and Eddie went in, grabbed him and we got Schumacher live; when Ferrari swapped [in the infamous 2010 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim] they weren't going to talk, and Eddie went and got Domenicali live – and it's those big moments, actually, where Eddie can deliver and we don't want to stop him doing that. I think it'll be okay – I hope it'll be okay! We'll find out, won't we, in Bahrain...”
The F1 2011 World Championship campaign is scheduled to rev into life in the desert kingdom of Bahrain on 13 March, dependent upon the political situation there. The BBC
will broadcast all of the action both on and off-track season-long via comprehensive coverage across TV, HD, radio, online, red button and mobile.