Mark Webber will join BBC’s F1 team for a few races this year and participate in some films with them, it has been confirmed. Given Webber’s high praise of the BBC, most notably on the track parade before last year’s British Grand Prix, this shouldn’t be too surprising. Great news nevertheless, in my view.
Also joining the BBC team is Jack Nicholls, who will commentate on four race weekends for Radio 5 Live. Nicholls announcement is significant: at the age of 24, he becomes the youngest lead commentator to commentate on Formula 1 in this country! Ages based on their birth year, so may be slightly out.
– Jack Nicholls (age 23 – at time of 2014 Chinese Grand Prix)
– Ben Edwards (age 28 at time of 1994 debut)
– Allard Kalff (age 26 to 30 at time of late 1980s debut)
– Murray Walker (~age 30’s – exact age unclear)
– James Allen (age 35 at time of 2001 debut)
– David Croft (age 36 at time of 2006 debut)
– Martin Brundle (age 50 at time of 2011 debut as lead commentator)
I’ve got to say that is an impressive statistic, at a time when the age of commentators is getting older, so kudos to the BBC for putting faith in someone significantly younger than the rest. Apart from those two pieces of news, the rest of the line-up is as expected, having already been announced in January. In terms of coverage details, I cannot see any differences with how things are covered: practice is again live on BBC Two for their live weekends with the F1 Forum back after the race. One minor difference spotted by Ashley is that the length of the US Grand Prix highlights programme has been shortened to 90 minutes, but I think it is best to wait until the preview magazine before reading too much into that, the same applies for Bahrain and Brazil.
Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, no replacement for Gary Anderson has been announced, I maintain that is a huge loss for the team which I believe they will feel greatly as the season progresses. Ben Gallop, BBC’s Head of F1, said: “We are all excited about the new F1 season on the BBC. 2014 sees new faces to complete our first-rate team and a stronger digital offering to our output than ever before, which really puts users in control of the action. This season has already got everyone talking, with intriguing technical changes and team line-ups, and we’re looking forward to bringing that in all its glory to our audiences.”