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BBC ditches Legard, goes with Brundle and Coulthard

ESPNF1 Staff
January 11, 2011
The new line-up in the commentary box for 2011 © Press Association

The BBC has officially announced that David Coulthard will partner Martin Brundle in the commentary box for its coverage of Formula One races in 2011.

Coulthard has worked on the BBC's coverage for the last two years as a pundit, but will now join his old manager in the commentary box to analyse the action as it happens. Brundle will be the lead commentator meaning Jonathan Legard, who had held the role for two years but received public criticism, has been ditched.

Legard revealed the news via Twitter before the BBC's official announcement by writing: "Life moves on. Ask Nick Heidfeld or Narain Karthikeyan. You never know what's next. To the critical and the complimentary, thanks for the company."

The BBC's head of F1, Ben Gallop explained the broadcaster's decision: "We're always looking for ways to take our Formula One coverage to another level - and for 2011 we have an exciting new combination in the commentary box. We're keen to make the most of Martin Brundle's wealth of broadcasting experience and his popularity with the audience by giving him the role of lead commentator and putting him alongside David Coulthard, one of the biggest names in British motorsport and a skilled race analyst. We want to tap into their combined on-track expertise - together they will provide our viewers with more immediate discussion, analysis and debate as the action happens. The results of screen tests have been very impressive and we are convinced this combination will deliver a fantastic commentary for our audience for what promises to be a thrilling 2011 season.

"The change of direction we are taking unfortunately means there is no place for Jonathan Legard in our commentary set-up. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Jonathan for his great work over the last two seasons. He is a first-rate journalist and broadcaster who has been a core member of our team, helping to re-establish BBC Sport as the nation's F1 broadcaster. We wish him all the very best for the future."

Coulthard will continue in his role as an analyst alongside Jake Humphrey and Eddie Jordan in the paddock and said he is happy to be adding to his workload.

"I'm very excited to be joining forces with Martin in this new role of co-commentator. F1 is all about challenging yourself and this will be a big challenge for me, but one that I am looking forward to. There is a great team on the BBC F1 show and we're looking forward to the year ahead and to bringing something new to our loyal viewers."

Brundle, who is widely considered to be the viewers' favourite and reportedly holds sway in the direction of the BBC's coverage, also welcomed the change.

"I'm absolutely delighted and very motivated that BBC Sport has asked me to become the lead Formula 1 commentator alongside David Coulthard. We have been friends, rivals and colleagues for 18 years and combined we have driven in more than 400 F1 Grands Prix and attended over 700. I've never felt more passionate about Formula 1 and I can't wait to get started."

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