Wednesday only means one thing in the Sett: it’s Scrutineeting Bay time! Welcome to the first Bay of the 2011 season, and after Melbourne there were plenty of talking points raised. One thing that got our all of our attention during the race was not only the BBC coverage (which, once again, was top notch), but also the removal of one Jonathon Legard and the addition of in the commentary booth and how it affected our viewing.
This week, Jimmy Von Weeks, Adam Millenueve and myself, Craig Normansell will be disputing:
“Did Martin Brundle and David Coulthard click in Oz?”
The Badger who shall open preceding this week is Jimmy:
I don’t really listen to the commentary all that much during the grand prix. I talk to myself – well, usually to other people, but for the early start of Oz myself – write things down and study the timing screens (when they work) and so don’t really take what the two blokes chatting on the telly are saying in. In fact, I don’t often remember anything they’ve said when I re-watch the highlights.
But naturally I was aware of Mr. Legard’s unique approach to Formula One commentary, taking particular amusement at his description of Mark Webber’s accident in Valencia last as the Aussie going ‘right up there.’ His departure was ultimately for the best and, in their new pairing, it does seem the BBC have traded up.
Coulthard was fine. He’s an intelligent, well-spoken bloke with 246 grand prix starts to his name – more than capable of delivering insight and the odd bit of humour. He and Martin came across as just what they are – friends of over a decade – but never crossed the line in to full on matey-ness. I’m pretty sure I didn’t hear any back slapping in the booth, anyway.
Brundle meanwhile sounded more relaxed with DC alongside him and more than coped with leading the commentary. To many modern day F1 fans he is the voice of the sport, and that he has now stepped up to the main role seems only natural. Though entirely different to Murray Walker he may one day be spoken of in the same breath.
So my verdict is that the new partnership was a success and one I hope the BBC stick with long-term. That said if the duo spent the whole of the next race commentating in French I’m not sure I’d notice until the highlights started to roll.
In Jimmy‘s opinion, even though it seems he doesn’t pay much attention to the race commentary, the removal of Legard is a plus in his eyes.
Up next is Adam:
Brundle and Coulthard worked well – in fact it was better than expected. Brundle sounded completely at home with his leading role and managed to not feel the need to speak about everything on screen as a certain other person used to do, which was refreshing to say the least. As for Coulthard, he took a little while to warm up, but it was a great debut for him. No complaints here…
…except that, in a rather strange way, I missed having Legard there with his ‘unique style’ – it was always a talking point and point of amusement – though that said I don’t want him back. The other flipside of this new line up though is that there may well be less people tuning into 5 Live F1, which would be a massive shame, as Crofty and co produce an amazing show. If you haven’t already – listen to their podcasts!
More support for the team of Brundle and Coulthard from Adam there, but is right to point out that David Croft is doing a great job on the 5 Live show and shouldn’t be forgotten about!
And finally, it’s my turn to weigh in:
As much as I lambasted Legard last year, just like Vitaly Petrov and look what happened with him, there was an odd sense of calm that settled over the race chatter on Sunday morning. I usually struggle to stay awake with the early fly-away races and the silly times I have to get up, but Legard’s ridiculous use of the word “decent” and the raises in voice at even more ridiculous times (“OUT OF TURN ONE, UP THE HILL!” er, it’s the parade lap) kept me awake better than a gulp of that World Champion energy drinks company product.
My issue is just how comfortable MB and DC were. They were chatting like old mates in the early laps (probably to settle Coulthard’s nerves) and missed Alonso moving ahead of Rosberg for eighth or ninth. And then, shock horror, Coulthard spends time lambasting Button for not giving up overtaking Massa and leaving the track but defends Vettel to the hilt when passing the Brit and leaving the track during the first round of stops. Aren’t BBC employees meant to be unbiased?
I used to listen to the 5 Live commentary when Legard was involved and for all of his faults he was very good without pictures. When you can see what’s happening the commentary can be a distraction, as you know what’s happening as it’s right in front of your very eyes. Legard used to go over the top in his role of describing the sport for neutrals, which is what ultimately cost him his job. The new team works, just don’t expect Coulthard to go against the Red Bulls anytime soon.
Badger is sure that just like Jonathon Legard was for the past two seasons, the new commentary team will divide fans, only not as much. Just like the race itself, it promised much, but the jury is still out on whether they have delivered. What do you think?