The BBC is preparing to try and secure Martin Brundle's services to lead its F1 coverage once the sport returns to the corporation next year.

The man who began 158 grands prix in the top flight - over the course of a twelve-year career that took in stints with Tyrrell, Zakspeed, Williams, Brabham, Benetton, Ligier, McLaren and Jordan - has since gone on to become one of the most respected and admired TV commentators on any sport, forming an integral part of ITV's team since the channel gained the F1 commercial rights back in 1997.

Brundle is much loved for his dry wit and keen ability to accurately read a race, and provided the perfect foil to Murray Walker until the man affectionately nicknamed 'Trousers on Fire' for his energetic commentary style retired in 2001.

It is understood that the Beeb want to have their commentary team firmed up by August, in order to be in the best possible position to prepare sufficiently for the stat of the 2009 F1 season in March.

According to the Daily Mail, the position Brundle is allegedly being considered for, however, is the anchoring role currently held by former Grandstand presenter Steve Rider on ITV - meaning his expert and extremely popular punditry skills would be lost.

The paper also points out that 'the BBC will have to pay more than seven figures a year to attract Brundle, who is not only well aware of his own worth but also of the ?1 million-plus annual salaries paid to soccer studio men Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker."

The Daily Mail adds that favourites to reprise the roles currently held by Brundle and James Allen in the commentary box are soon-to-retire Red Bull Racing star David Coulthard and former Radio Five Live F1 commentator Jonathan Legard.

 

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