Martin Brundle and David Coulthard are the BBC’s commentary team for the 2011 season and Badger took up an invitation from the BBC to have a chat with the two of them and see how their preparations are going, plans for the coverage and loads more – here’s what we found:
“Working with Murray to teach you about motorsport broadcasting is like having Pele teach you how to play football”
Martin said how thrilled he was to become the new lead commentator and when we asked about good ol’ Murray, he explained how he does indeed talk to the legendary voice of motorsport and that he’s pretty much a grand father figure – talking about the ITV days – “As you get a bit older yourself, you realise you should use the experience of older people more and I do – I would listen to everything he told me very carefully” and reminiscing “We had a great rapport in the commentary box together and I have huge respect for him. I mean, working with Murray to teach you about motorsport broadcasting is like having Pele teach you how to play football.” Fair point!
“I like to get back in an F1 car every year”
We had to ask about the special features Martin has in store – his short films that cover the intricacies of our sport provide an excellent education for new and casual fans and for 2011 they have a load of new stuff – from the rear wings, KERS, Pirelli tyres and the new front exhaust systems on the Renault. “We’ll be covering the basics because you have to remember we get a very broad audience so we like to explain the fundamentals and I think it does work really well.” Being an ex-F1 driver himself, he’s of course keen to get back behind the wheel as part of the job “I always like to drive an F1 car – like to keep myself up to date, but I’m with him [DC] now and he’s more up to date than me” – we’re pretty sure that we’ll see Mr Brundle in the cockpit at some point…
Speaking of which, he also told us about how much he enjoyed his entry into the Daytona 24hrs “I loved it, it made me feel 20 years younger and we should have won it, but the other cars were quicker with younger drivers. I did nine hours in the car, I’m not sure how but I did and it was great.”
Due to the commitments of his new role, Martin will be missing the Le Mans race this year, but he is doing the V8 Radicals racing with is son, Alex (who’s also competing in F2 and is keen to emulate his father’s success).
We also questioned Martin about his international offices – the commentary box… “Spa was awful, we used to have to stand sideways to the race track and at Mangy Cours too. Bernie thinks we don’t even need to see the race track and that we could be at Biggin Hill, underground somewhere. Barcelona and China are very nice – you’re up on the 9th floor at China and you can see the whole track – not that I’m looking out the window much but I always like to see the start.”
On the other side of the commentary box in 2011 will be David Coulthard, who’s doing plenty more racing alongside his new role. So how is DC feeling about his debut season as a Formula One commentator?
“Motor racing has always been a huge part of my life.”
“I’m looking forward to it. I have my own views on racing, accidents and Formula One in general, so I’ll definitely give my opinion, debate with Martin and try to explain things to the viewer. Really, I want to try to explain what the difference is between driving a road car and driving a grand prix car; things like, why did that driver make a decision that resulted in him spinning off the track?”
Explain the difference between an F1 car and a road going machine? Well, that shouldn’t be too big a challenge! But what about his own racing? David made his debut in the highly competitive DTM touring car series in 2010 and he’s hoping to be back for more this year.
“I’m not actually signed up yet,” he warns us, “but that doesn’t mean I won’t be doing it! I fully intend to but if something changes I don’t want people thinking ‘well he said he’d be doing it and now he’s not.’ But presuming everything drops as expected then yeah, I am looking forward to it. It fulfills something in my life – I still enjoy the challenge of working with the team and pushing myself to find the limits of the car. There are some great drivers racing there – Gary Paffett, Jamie Green – so I’m hoping to be there and to enjoy it.”
Another name you’d have seen on last year’s DTM entry list was that of Paul di Resta, the Scottish-born racer who went on to claim the title aboard a Mercedes. But he won’t be back to defend his crown in 2011. Instead he’ll be making his Formula One bow for Force India, becoming the first Scott to contest a grand prix since DC quit the sport two years ago. So how does David feel about his countryman’s graduation to motorsport’s pinnacle?
“Well, Paul has winning credentials, a good CV and he’s been a championship-winning driver in touring cars,” he says enthusiastically. “At 24 he’s got life experience as well. A lot of the drivers nowadays come in at 19 or 20. They haven’t had time to develop racecraft, personalities or their own stability, if you like. I think Paul’s got a really good base to work from and what he’s got to concentrate on now is getting his preparation right.”
And his own son, two-year-old Dayton – could we see him take up motorsport once he’s tall enough to reach the pedals?
“Sure, I’d have no problem with that. If he wants to race I’ll support him and if he wants to get involved with another sport I’d be happy about that too. I think sport can be great for discipline and it can be a great pleasure.”
Finally, we remind David of his very sage prediction back in 2009 – that Force India would cause a shock during the course of the campaign. Does he have anything equally perceptive to offer this year?
“I do but I’m sort of holding them back for my pre-race columns and I don’t want the excitement to go out of them so I wont give you my big predictions but I will predict that Formula One is unpredictable and it will be an exciting season. We’ve got a number of world champions out there, new regulations… I think last year was one of the best seasons we’ve ever had and so then, on paper, the expectation is that this year could be even better.”
Very mysterious, DC.