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BBC 2009 F1 commentary team unveiled.

The BBC has finalised its team of presenters for its coverage of Formula 1 from next year, it has been claimed, with Martin Brundle and David Coulthard on the bill – but no James Allen, Steve Rider or Mark Blundell.

With the Beeb set to reclaim the rights to broadcast the world's most expensive sport from ITV in 2009 – on a five-year contract – it has been revealed by Pitpass that the presenting team will be composed of ITV-F1 favourite Brundle alongside BBC Radio Five Live stalwart Jonathan Legard in the commentary booth, soon-to-retire Red Bull Racing ace Coulthard and Jake Humphrey fronting the programme in the studio and Lee McKenzie reprising the roles of Louise Goodman and Ted Kravitz as pit-lane reporter.

The addition of Brundle – who won a Royal Television Society award for Best Sports Pundit in 1998, 1999, 2005 and 2006 – will undoubtedly be a popular one amongst F1's fans, Michael Schumacher's former Benetton team-mate greatly embellishing the commentary with his dry sense of humour and witty insights.

Legard, for his part, has an excellent knowledge of the sport having commentated on it on Five Live since 1997, whilst Coulthard's name has long been linked to a role at Auntie, and the Scot's fresh, non-PC, outspoken nature will surely go down well with viewers.

Former children's TV presenter Humphrey is more of an unknown quantity within the top flight, though he has commentated throughout his career with the BBC on football – becoming the youngest-ever presenter of Football Focus and Match of the Day – American football, cricket, athletics and most recently the Beijing Olympics.

McKenzie – daughter of Daily Express F1 correspondent Bob McKenzie, who famously ran a lap of Silverstone naked back in 2004 after betting McLaren-Mercedes boss Ron Dennis that his team would not win a grand prix that season, a decision he ultimately came to regret when Kimi Raikkonen triumphed at Spa-Francorchamps – has experience of fronting Sky Sports' A1GP transmissions. McKenzie is a past recipient of the Jim Clark Memorial Award for people involved in motorsport, and along with Brundle is expected to front the majority of build-up features for the pre-race coverage.

Pitpass claims that with the BBC sticking to a significantly lower budget than did ITV, the intention is to keep Coulthard and Humphrey studio-based in London during grand prix weekends, though how this will fit in with the latter's prior commitments as a consultant for RBR remains to be seen.

The news means there is no room at the BBC inn for Allen, Rider, Blundell, Kravitz or Goodman, mirroring ITV's move in taking just a small proportion of BBC's former team – namely legendary commentator Murray Walker and analyst Tony Jardine – when it claimed the broadcasting rights in 1997.

ITV won a BAFTA for its coverage of the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton's maiden victory in the uppermost echelon, and a race in which BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica suffered a terrifying accident – despite complaints from viewers about the post-race coverage being curtailed, eliciting an apology from the private broadcaster.


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Ben - Unregistered

September 29, 2008 10:18 AM

Oh thank god Christmas just came early. I have only three more times to listen to James bloody Allen warble ''GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO'' and Louise Goodman ask the inane question of the driver who has just crashed/broken down whether they are disappointed. Sorry for Ted Kravitz as he was good with team info but good riddance to the rest.



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