Martin Brundle has played down talk of any rivalry between Sky and the BBC this year, although he is adamant he is happy to be reverting to the role of co-commentator.

Brundle took on the lead commentators role last season at the BBC, replacing Jonathan Legard, while David Coulthard joined him in the commentary box. This year the 52-year-old driver-turned-commentator reverts to his usual co-commentators role on the new dedicated Sky Sports F1 HD channel, with former BBC Radio 5 Live man David Croft acting as the lead.

"One thing is absolutely for sure, having done a year as the lead commentator, I will now be a better co-commentator," he told reporters, including Crash.net, during the recent Sky Sports F1 press day. "I now realise some of the challenges there are of being the lead commentator, which I hadn't experienced before. I'd kind of sensed, but hadn't experienced. When Murray [Walker] use to look at me as if to say 'Shut up!'. I now know why.

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"I much prefer being the co-commentator. I realised that halfway through last year when I was the lead, which I enjoyed doing and I think it worked well with DC and myself. We got a lot of nice comments. A lot of people said we couldn't carry the commentary box and we had a 4 hour race in Canada and we carried it just fine. But I prefer to be co-commentator.

"I did a rehearsal with Crofty the other day [in preparation for 2012] and it just absolutely cemented that in my head. I think I had to force being the lead commentator, whereas I don't have to force being co-comm."

Brundle meanwhile is convinced Sky will take the coverage of the sport to a whole new level. He also played down talk of going up against the BBC: "I don't think we need to think about the BBC F1 programme and they don't need to think about us," Brundle continued. "We are all out there trying to make the best F1 show we can. The audiences will decide on what they want to watch and what they can watch.

"What I do know is that we have got a lot of unique features that I have never seen in any other type of F1 broadcast.

"What is fascinating for me is that I was in at the beginning with ITV. They took it over from the BBC [in 1997] and they just moved it on hugely at that time from what it was 15 years ago. ITV won three BAFTAs and six or seven RTS [Royal Television Society] awards for their F1 coverage and had huge audiences.

"Then the BBC came back in [in 2009], with new ideas, a new energy and new resource. It was fascinating to see how many more new ideas there were. At ITV we thought we had all the bases covered. But we didn't because I think the BBC moved it on again from what ITV were doing.

"Now I am joining a new group of people at Sky Sports to do it in a different way [on the new Sky Sports F1 HD channel]. The resource, the energy, the culture of the business, I am finding it extraordinary. I am extremely happy that I have joined them and now I am seeing and hearing more new ideas - and you think: 'Why didn't we think of that before?' It is making me think about new things as well.

"The important thing is whenever the pitlane is open we are going to be live on air and we have got the scope to do all the things, any ideas, I wish I could have done [in the past]. I had a list of 25 or 30 ideas of some technical things I wanted to do [when I came here]. 20 of them I have probably had for the last three years. But we didn't have the air time or resource or budget to do them [at the BBC].

"When I tried to watch F1 when I was a kid it was on at 11.30 on a Sunday night, a 1 hour highlights show with Murray and James [Hunt], if you were lucky. Now we are going to be on air 14 hours a weekend, plus the other shows and plus other interactions. It is just extraordinary. We will get the audience.

"Sky has committed hundreds of millions of pounds to F1 for the next seven years. It isn't going away," Brundle concluded.


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