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Brundle: I won't ask DC 'gormless questions'

17 January 2011

In what might be interpreted as a veiled criticism of his former BBC F1 commentating partner Jonathan Legard, Martin Brundle has offered some insight into what he expects from his relationship with David Coulthard in 2011 – insisting he won't constantly plague the Scot for explanations or 'give him gormless questions'.

Having been exclusively predicted by Crash.net before Christmas [see separate story – click here], the BBC finally confirmed last week that Legard had been dropped by the corporation's F1 team to be replaced by 13-time grand prix-winner turned expert pundit Coulthard [see separate story – click here] – with the common perception being that the popular and as such highly influential Brundle had played no small part in the shuffle.

It is widely-believed that the lack of chemistry established between Brundle and Legard over the past two seasons was the key catalyst behind the former's push to successfully drive the latter out – and the erstwhile McLaren, Ligier, Benetton and Jordan star seemed to corroborate that when speaking about both the ex-Radio 5 Live man and Coulthard at the annual Autosport International pre-season show at the weekend.

“'DC' has got such a knowledge of F1 and such banter to go with it, that I am confident he will have plenty to say about a race,” the Englishman assured. “I can do the shouty bits when I have to, and yes it is a different job so I will do it differently – but I won't pretend I won't know what I am talking about.

“I won't give him gormless questions like, 'oh that right rear tyre looks a bit odd, doesn't it David?' We'll discuss it among ourselves. We will agree, disagree, we will throw to the pit-lane and we will tell the story of F1.”

There is, however, some consternation that with Brundle not being a trained journalist as his predecessors Legard, James Allen and Murray Walker all have been, and Coulthard possessing no prior commentating experience, the new line-up is a risk for all concerned – and whilst between them, the pair might have tremendous F1 knowledge, in order to broaden the BBC's appeal, they will need to reach out to the casual Sunday afternoon television viewer rather than catering more specifically to the sport's die-hard aficionados.

One theory that has been mooted by our colleagues at Planet-F1 is that given that he is now the wrong side of 50 and consequently increasingly out-of-touch with modern-day technology in the top flight – something with which, for example, Radio 5 Live's Anthony Davidson is conversely perfectly au fait – Brundle orchestrated the commentary box changes to protect his own career, given that his new role is now to speak about the sport in very general terms for all to understand, leaving the technical talk to Coulthard.

One thing that will be maintained, happily, is the much-loved pre-race 'grid walk' feature – although not quite everywhere.

“I am happy to give up a few grids,” Brundle revealed. “At ITV I used to do two out of three, which is about right, frankly. I have done it for 14 years and there are only so many ways that you can run up-and-down 24 cars and a safety car and keep coming up with fresh material.”


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