The BBC has confirmed the much-hyped speculation that David Coulthard is to replace Jonathan Legard in its F1 commentary box for the 2011 world championship campaign - with Martin Brundle being elevated to the leading role for the first time as the corporation vows to take its coverage 'to another level'.

Last month, we exclusively revealed here on that Legard had been eased out by Brundle after the pair failed to establish any notable chemistry [see separate story - click here], and the latter's influence at Broadcasting House enabled him to propose 13-time grand prix-winner Coulthard as a successor. Both admit they are extremely enthusiastic about the dynamic new alliance.

"I'm absolutely delighted and very motivated that BBC Sport has asked me to become the lead F1 commentator alongside David Coulthard," acknowledged Brundle, who began 158 grands prix for Tyrrell, Zakspeed, Williams, Brabham, Benetton, Ligier, McLaren and Jordan between 1984 and 1996, and has commentated on 231 more for ITV and the BBC since hanging up his helmet a decade-and-a-half ago.

"We have been friends, rivals and colleagues for 18 years, and combined we have driven more than 400 F1 grands prix and attended more than 700. I've never felt more passionate about F1, and I can't wait to get started!"

"I'm very excited to be joining forces with Martin in this new role of co-commentator," enthused 'DC', who joined the line-up in 2009 as an expert pundit alongside colourful former team owner Eddie Jordan and anchorman Jake Humphrey, a role he will henceforth retain where possible. "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."

Brundle's promotion to the 'Voice of F1' - in addition to continuing his popular pre-race 'grid walks' - and Coulthard's arrival in the commentary box means there is no longer any room at the BBC inn for former Five Live man Legard. Whilst praising and thanking the 49-year-old for his vital contribution over the past two years, the Beeb's head of F1 Ben Gallop is convinced that the new pairing is exactly the right one to really rev things up a gear.

"We're always looking for ways to take our F1 coverage to another level, and for 2011 we have an exciting new combination in the commentary box," he stated. "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.

"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."

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