It’s now official. Martin Brundle has just announced that he is joining SKY Sports’ F1 broadcast team from next year, making him the first key defection from the BBC as it scales down its broadcasting commitment at the end of the season.
The veteran of over 150 Grands Prix made the announcement in his regular Sunday Times column, as well as via his Twitter feed.
The Grand Prix veteran has been in the commentary booth since 1997 when he first paired up as the ‘colour commentator’ alongside Murray Walker for ITV.
When Walker retired at the end of 2001, he was paired with James Allen until the BBC took over the reigns in 2009, from which point he was partnered with Jonathan Legard.
His partnership with Legard would last just two years before Legard was dumped and Brundle was promoted to the role of lead commentator, with the BBC promoting David Coulthard (whom Brundle used to manage in the latter stage of his F1 career) to the colour commentator role.
Writing in his column, Brundle acknowledges that SKY’s commitment to increase its broadcasting rights (to include all practice sessions, on top of qualifying and the races) was a key factor in him deciding to join the operation.
“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,” he wrote.
“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.”
While it is believed that SKY has already selected and signed its new F1 broadcasting team, no other member of the BBC F1 team has made their 2012 whereabouts public as yet.
Acclaimed 5 Live radio commentator David Croft is widely tipped to be joining the network in some capacity, possibly co-anchoring the commentary role with Brundle.
[Original image via Sutton Images]