Martin Brundle will join the F1 commentary team of Sky Sports next year, the analyst and former driver has confirmed.
The move – which, after strong rumours about Brundle’s future, will not come as a surprise to F1 fans – coincides with the new broadcast rights deal for Grand Prix racing. From 2012, Sky’s new, dedicated Sky F1 HD channel will show every race live, along with practice and qualifying. The BBC will show half the races live, along with practice and qualifying, but will only carry highlights for the others.
“In 2012 I will be working with Sky Sports F1 television,” Brundle said today. “The fact that their newly announced and dedicated F1 channel will have no in-race advertising was a key factor, but most importantly I need to commentate on every race live. Recorded and delayed sports television doesn’t give me the adrenalin fix I crave.
“There will also be more airtime for the technical features I so enjoy crafting. It’s been a privilege to be part of the BBC team, but now I have a new motivation and challenge.”
Of his inevitably increased pay packet at the commercial, subscription-funded broadcaster, Brundle said: “Yes, [the] money is better but [it’s] not the deciding factor.”
Many F1 fans were disappointed to learn in July that the BBC would, after three seasons as the exclusive UK broadcaster of F1 in the UK, be sharing coverage with Sky. Of the new arrangement, Brundle said: “I’m convinced two mighty broadcasters in Sky and BBC head-to-head at 10 races will be great for F1 fans overall.”
Of his own role, Brundle – who only became the BBC’s lead commentator this season – said: “Yes, I’ll be doing grid walks in the future, of course, it’s my trademark.”