Spring was well and truly in the London air as the journalistic set descended upon the Institute of Contemporary Art – a curious location for the wider press to meet BBC F1’s 2013 broadcasting team.
“Up The Badgers!”
– Suzi Perry
Our objective for the day was to interrogate Suzi Perry, the woman tasked with filling the void left by F1 favourite, Jake Humphrey, and leading the BBC’s merry rabble on their 2013 Formula 1 tour. Looking very relaxed and seemingly at home in her new role, here’s what she had to say.
Badger GP (BGP): It’s Lovely to meet you Suzi, the new face of BBC F1. You’re stepping into Jake Humphrey’s rather large Norwich City supporting shoes. What do you think you’re going to be able to bring to the coverage?
Suzi Perry (SP): Yes, and now it’s going to be filled with high-heeled Wolves supporting boots. That is a really difficult question. I wish Jake had been a little bit rubbish, as it would have made my job a bit easier, however he wasn’t – he was a consummate professional and did a terrific job of covering the sport. I think by the nature of the fact I am a woman, I will bring a completely different dynamic to the broadcasting line-up with DC (David Coulthard) and EJ (Eddie Jordan). I am not sure how EJ is going to behave, or if he is going to behave.
Im going to bring the same thing I did to MotoGP, World Super Bikes, Speedway, The Gadget Show, or any of the other programs I have done – which is to bring the people at home a pit-lane pass, to be right there with me and experience what we are experiencing. Obviously along the way we will be conveying as much information and behind the scenes action as we can, combined with a *lot* of banter, and some fun. After all it’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon entertainment. We’re there to take people on a journey.
BGP: You mention banter with Eddie and David, have you had much chance to work together, or is Australia the first opportunity to connect with them?
SP: I’ve met David quite a few times, and we’ve driven together in the Race of Champions some years ago in Paris, although we weren’t very successful. He’s also a big biker and he’s been to a lot of bike races. Eddie I know less well, although I have met him a number of times. He’s going to be joining us from China onwards for the first of the live races. I feel as though I have great support with DC, but I’m not sure what I have with Eddie – I know I’ve got big opinion big shirts, big goatee beards…
BGP: This is your first season covering F1 specifically, what are you expecting from this season?
SP: I have had my head in a Formula 1 blender since they offered me the job. I don’t know (what to expect), and I am glad that I don’t know. When you do, it means the sport can be slightly dull and it takes away a reason for watching it.
What is exciting is Lewis (Hamilton) changing teams and going to Mercedes. Whilst they have understated the performance of the car, suddenly in testing we see that it has come on an awful lot since the end of last season. Hopefully they can be in the mix at the front this year.
We have Jenson (Button) and Checo at McLaren, and if they can get the tyres and package working he (Jenson) can be right there on his day. We know what Red Bull can do, they’ve done it the last three seasons – they’re the guys to target.
There is Alonso who can create magic out of a car that isn’t magical. We’ve got a new Brit in the field with Max Chilton experiencing his rookie season, which will be interesting for us to cover – watching him as he tries to establish himself in the pinnacle of motorsport…
And then we have the midfield! Any of those guys can win races. There are crazy guys like Grosjean and Maldonado that need to just chill. I’m excited about Bottas too. I secretly would like Williams to do well – there is a Britishness about them, and a family feel with Claire (Williams) there with Frank. They’ve had a hard time recently, and I’d like to see them return to the glory days – they have an interesting driver pairing now.
BGP: MotoGP was your forté before, but which is better; Moto GP or F1?
SP: (Laughs) I don’t like that question. It depends what year. Last year, Formula 1 was way more exciting than MotoGP, but I could go back and say the reverse. They’re two different sports, but Formula 1 is obviously the pinnacle of motor-racing without question – when there is a good race going on, there is nothing like it. I love bike-racing, I love the entertainment, I love the danger, I love the gladiatorial aspect. I can’t pick between the two.
BGP: You’re now working very much with cars and the BBC, but that’s not always been the case – so which do you prefer; The Gadget Show or Top Gear?
SP: Oh god! (laughs) Top Gear. No contest.
BGP: Finally, as the Badger GP staple question; what is your favorite cheese?
SP: Really? Ok… Well, I’m married to a Dutchman and I have a house in France, so our house stinks of cheese – as you can imagine. My favourite is a cheese called Old Amsterdam. It’s a really aged Gouda that comes from Holland and it’s wonderful.
BGP: Thank you so much for your time today, have a great season, we wish you all the best.
SP: Thank you very much, It’s been a pleasure – Up the badgers!