Brundle swaps BBC for Sky
Martin Brundle has finally confirmed his expected move from the BBC to cover F1 on Sky Sports.
Driver-turned-commentator Martin Brundle has confirmed that he will not be a part of the BBC team in 2012, having been lured to F1 newcomer Sky Sports.
Rumours have been rife since the satellite channel was controversially announced as an F1 broadcaster during the summer, but it has taken until the last race of the 2011 season for Brundle, who enjoyed a lengthy career behind the wheel with Tyrrell, Brabham, Benetton and McLaren amongst others, to confirm that he would be swapping sides behind the mic.
The Briton, who has won more awards for his television work than he achieved in F1, announced the switch via his Twitter feed, insisting that Sky Sports' intent to tackle the sport full-on - and not a bigger pay cheque - played a big part in his decision.
"Can confirm I'll be commentating on Sky Sports F1 in 2012," Brundle wrote, "All races live on dedicated F1 channel + more tech features is what motivates me. Yes, money is better but, with deals I could have put around lower key BBC role + 50% of my income going to UK taxman, not the deciding factor."
The former British F3 runner-up confirmed that he would be taking some of his BBC innovations with him to the rival channel, but could not divulge too many details on whether any of his colleagues would be joining him on 'the other side'. Current BBC frontman Jake Humphrey is staying put with the 2012 Olympic Games set to play a major role on the channel, but the commitment of colleagues such as David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan and Lee McKenzie has yet to be tested.
"It's not for me announce who else is working where from next season," Brundle insisted, "I'm convinced two mighty broadcasters in Sky and BBC head-to-head at 10 races will be great for F1 fans overall. Be patient, lots happening. I'll be doing grid walks in the future of course, it's my trademark. That's all the news from me today. I'm here to commentate on F1 with the creative hard working BBC crew I've had the privilege to be part of."
The news, while no longer a surprise, comes in contrast to Brundle initial 'tweet' when the announcement that Sky Sports would be sharing F1 coverage with the BBC was first made back in July.
"BBC/Sky/F1 2012+. Found out last night, no idea how it will work yet I'm out of contract, will calmly work through options Not impressed," he wrote at the time.
The Briton, who recently announced that he would return to competition by joining son Alex in an assault on the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2012, has had to fend to off reports that he would be teaming up with another BBC convert at Sky Sports next season, after Britain's Daily Telegraph suggested that 5Live radio commentator David Croft would lead the commentary team with Brundle reverting to the analyst role he made his own at the BBC
"Telegraph was wrong," the Le Mans winner said at the time, "I didn't sign £1m Sky contract today. Calmly working through it, will end up doing what satisfies me most professionally."
Croft has also so far denied that any kind of deal was in place for him to make the switch to Sky, although Twitter feeds from Interlagos suggest that the move is already in stone.
"David Croft last radio commentary for 5live coming up at 4pm. We have developed Crofty over 6 years. So who's next. Watch this space," was one comment, while F1 scribe Kevin Eason also suggested as much.
"A day of finals - last time for Martin Brundle's BBC gridwalk as he goes to Sky next year and last 5Live commentary for David Croft," he wrote, "They will be partners in the Sky Sports F1 commentary booth next season as the channel screens all 20 races live.