Back in 2009 (it seems so long ago now!) i wrote about the coverage of F1 on the BBC and gave my opinion on the various parts of the ensemble. That was back in July so i thought that, as everyone else i come across is doing a review of the year or the decade (or both), it was worth having a look back now that the season’s ended.
I think it’s fair to say that it was a super successful year for Formula 1 and the team at the Beeb. The coverage got better and better as the year progressed and the crowning glory of Jake Humphrey getting a kiss on the neck from the new world champion seemed to sum up how the crew are viewed by the F1 paddock.
Of all the team Jake was the standout success story of the year for me, we all know how good Martin Brundle is so that came as no surprise, but who would have thought that the boy from CBBC would take such a pressurised role by the scruff of the neck and perform so well. He dealt brilliantly with everything thrown at him, whether it was DC and EJ squabbling through his links or horrendous drama like Felipe Massa’s crash at Budapest. His blogs and Twitter updates gave a level of insight that fans have yet to see in F1 and is hopefully something that others in the F1 world will be encouraged to take up. The only thing he didn’t manage to do well was hide how happy and excited he was nearly every second on screen!
What I found even more surprising was Eddie Jordan’s rise in quality. I still had my reservations early in the season but he seemed to settle into the role more and more and by season’s end had taken on the guise of Mystic Meg, predicting Michael Schumacher’s return before anyone else. Maybe that’s just because EJ’s got a bigger mouth than anyone else in the F1 paddock but even still it’s great for the onlooking Formula 1 fan who doesn’t have access to that level of information. The longer the season went on the more I was impressed, as Eddie used his stature in the pitlane to get interviews with people previous pundits (think Jardine) wouldn’t have got near at such
short notice (Schumi/Bernie). He might be slightly off the wall at times but he’s managed to tame this enough to make him informative as well as entertaining. His partnership with Coulthard (who also got better and better) makes really entertaining viewing but also gives the audience fantastic insight from people who have the inside track due to their history in the sport.
Unfortunately one member of the team still hasn’t convinced me. Jonathan Legard continues to disappoint in the lead commentary role in my opinion, though i did warm slightly more to him towards the end of the season. His commentary lacks authenticity, and i struggle to believe his excitement when he’s screaming ‘Go Go Go!’ or shouting about who’s about to get pole but is actually 2 seconds off the pace. I don’t know if it’s because i’m looking too hard for a Murray Walker replacement or he’s trying too hard to be one. Whatever it is, i think he would be better off if he just found his own style, as James Allen did when he supped from the poisened chalice for that short time on ITV. It will be interesting to see how he develops if the BBC stick with him, though i think he’ll continue to sound too calculated and scripted.
Despite this i’m very excited about the 2010 season and the BBC’s coverage of it. Having done such a good job in 2009 it’ll be interesting to see if they try anything new or they stick with a proven formula. I’d certainly like to hear a bit more from Lee McKenzie and David Croft, but as long as DC and EJ keep bickering and Jake keeps blogging i’ll be happy. Bring it on!