After being invited to Red Bull’s swanky unveiling of the RB9 in Milton Keynes, Badger managed to catch an exclusive cheeky five minutes with host for the day (and Sky Sports F1 presenter) Martin Brundle; getting his thoughts on the season past, the season ahead, the stresses of the season and preferences for dairy products.
Badger GP (BGP): One year down with Sky, how did it go for you?
Martin Brundle (MB): I really enjoyed it. This time last year it was manic as we were ramping up, with everyone getting to know each other – clearly we were going to be doing an awful lot of Formula 1 TV over a weekend. That means a lot of material and a lot of time on air, which is a double edged sword, because whilst you’re on air, you’re not getting the material ready or rehearsing or around the paddock. I think we were on air 14 hours over a race weekend? I have to say, it was a mountain to climb. There is a great team (at Sky) and we have a great rapport and spirit. I like the quality of what we put out, and my experience at ITV and the BBC was that in years 1 and 2 you build that rapport and everybody finds out what they’re up to, and then you start to grow.
BGP: You mention ITV and the BBC, you’ve been doing this job for a long time now. Are you still learning new things every year and growing as a broadcaster?
MB: Yes, you have to. Media is changing so much – how people take their media, what they expect, the information that they have access to – long before the Grand Prix weekend. If you’re into Formula 1 now; you follow websites like Badger GP, you’re on Twitter, you can watch hours on end on Sky, BBC coverage, BBC five live coverage. People are incredibly well informed. When I started commentating with Murray (Walker) back in 1997, people weren’t that well informed. They might have to wait a week or a month for a magazine. It’s all blossomed so much. The game changes and you have to stay in touch with it.
BGP: Can we expect any major changes from Sky Sports Formula 1 in 2013, or is it mostly the same?
MB: I think we’ll ramp up a few things. I have a very exciting proposal for my technical features, although obviously it will be a job to beat driving a Ferrari last year, we have got something pretty solid lined up. We have a few surprises, but mostly more of the same. I hope the season is just as strong as last year, although I am happy to have 19 races instead of 20. Last year was difficult for everyone, we were all pretty weary by the end of it.
BGP: Can we assume then that you don’t believe the 20th race slot will be filled for this year?
MB: I don’t know, but you wonder where it will come from at this stage. If there is 20, we’ll be at 20. I’d be happy if there was only 19, as it’s (the season) just relentless. I spent over 200 nights in hotels last year, and caught about 75 flights. That being said, everyone reading this will be saying “Don’t complain you idiot! We’d all love to do your job”.
It consumes your life, but I love it. I’ve been around the world of Formula 1 for 30 years now, and every time I hear the engines fire up and they’re singing at max revs out the back (of the circuit) somewhere, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I love it. I’ll walk into the paddock in Melbourne and I’ll feel at home and incredibly happy. There are times when you’re taking your shoes and belt off at a security conveyor belt, and somebody is feeling you up before you get on an flight and you think “I don’t know if I need this”, but you do need it because it’s absolutely brilliant. I think last year was pretty tough, but that’s the way it is, so we do it.
BGP: With that in mind, are you attending testing this year?
MB: I’ll do the last test, as that’s when they start doing the long runs and all the goodies will be on the cars. I’d rather watch the coverage on Sky before that.
BGP: Final question, what is your favorite cheese?
MB: (Laughs). I saw something about this on Twitter?!… Stilton. A nice gooey Stilton.
If you want to see Martin in action in Melbourne at the first race of the season, and don’t have Sky Sports Formula 1 (or even if you do), why not join us at our Badger Breakfast Bash on March 17th at the Roxy Bar and Grill, London to watch the race live?