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New girl Perry faces sharp learning curve

ESPN Staff
March 11, 2013 « Michael Schumacher rules out TV pundit role | No reliability concerns for Raikkonen »
Suzi Perry: 'There are lots of amazing-looking girls in F1 for people to look at. I don't think that's why I'm there' © Press Association

Suzi Perry has said her appointment as the host of the BBC's Formula One coverage is a "gift from heaven" and she is out to prove doubters wrong.

Perry was named in December as the replacement for Jake Humphrey, who quit to move across to BT, and the decision provoked its share of criticism and comment, much of it concentrating on one of her previous roles as the leather-clad presented of the BBC's Moto GP show.

"In some respects this is a brave decision by the BBC," she said in an exclusive interview with the Mirror. "In other ways it is a good decision because there is someone completely different to Jake, so I probably won't be compared to him that much.

"I don't want people talking about what I wear, I'd rather they said, 'Wasn't that a great interview Suzi did with Lewis Hamilton?' not, 'Where did you get those leathers?'.

"There are lots of amazing-looking girls in F1 for people to look at. I don't think that's why I'm there."

She admits that she faces a sharp learning curve. "I don't know how it works. I haven't been told. It's been a crazy few months since I got a phone call asking if I would like to come back to BBC Sport.

"I went out to the practice sessions in Spain in February because I don't know the drivers, I've only met a few of them in passing at events. In Formula One I have to start again. I wanted as much time as possible to meet people and get a feel for how it works."

In 2010 Perry quit Moto GP saying her "balance of life" was not right with all the travelling, which makes her return to a similar role surprising. I've had a break for three years and I'm ready to have another go. I'm really not looking forward to the travelling, I did it for 13 years with bikes and I do find it difficult. I can concentrate on the job … a life in Formula One for the next few years, and we will see how it goes. You just have to take the travelling race by race."

She confesses she is braced for some criticism. "There will be a lot of people who don't like the fact Jake has left, they might write something horrible even if I do the best job ever. It is just part of social media."