Martin Brundle

Martin Brundle

Expert Analyst

Biography

Martin was actually being modest when he once reflected that "my motor racing career turns out to have been a fact-finding mission for my TV work". Modest because his F1 career - complete with podiums and duels against such legends as Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna - deserves greater recognition than that wry dismissal. And modest because his TV work requires no introduction. He truly is the voice of F1.

Martin Brundle Links

Martin was actually being modest when he once reflected that "my motor racing career turns out to have been a fact-finding mission for my TV work". Modest because his Formula 1 career - complete with podiums and duels against such legends of the sport as Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna - deserves greater recognition than that wry dismissal. And modest because his TV work requires no introduction. He truly is the voice of F1.

Fans of the legendary Murray Walker may well quibble with that assertion, but it's certainly true that, in his 16 seasons behind the microphone, Martin has attained a Walker-esque pre-eminence in the world of F1 broadcasting.

It's a case of apprentice turned master, with Brundle jumping straight from the cockpit to join forces with Walker in 1997. His enthusiasm, insight and ability to communicate the sport's complexities have done the rest, with Murray hailing Martin as his favourite co-commentator - quite the compliment when one considers that the role was once occupied by James Hunt.

Hailing from King's Lynn, Brundle's motor racing career started with grass-track cars and hot rods before moving to saloons, in which no lesser figure than Stirling Moss was a team-mate. His career really took off, though, in 1983 when he battled with Ayrton Senna for the British Formula 3 title.

Senna won that fight but, with both men subsequently promoted straight to the pinnacle of motor racing, it was Brundle who made the brighter start to his F1 career, finishing fifth on his debut for Tyrrell at the 1984 Brazilian GP before returning home to work at his family's car dealership!

Domestic duties fulfilled, Brundle's rookie season still improved upon its resumption, with a second place recorded in Detroit. But disaster struck at the very next race in Dallas, where he suffered badly broken ankles in a practice crash. Out for the rest of the season, it was to prove a critical blow and, though he returned the following year, momentum had been lost. While Senna's career went stratospheric, his former rival struggled to tread water.

Fed up of making up the numbers, Martin switched to the World Sportscar Championship in 1988 and promptly claimed the title with Jaguar, for whom he also won the Le Mans 24 hour race two years later.

A move to Benetton in 1992 brought about a second wind in F1, with Brundle finishing a career-best sixth in the standings. Yet a breakthrough win was to remain stubbornly elusive. His best chance came in Belgium that year but an opportune tyre stop by team-mate Michael Schumacher instead propelled the German to his first grand prix victory. And the rest, as they say, is history.

It remains the case that, up until Schumacher's recent comeback, no other team-mate has managed to compete against the German as closely as Brundle did - which makes the decision of Benetton to discard him all the more curious in retrospect. Seasons at Ligier and McLaren - struggling with Peugeot engines at the time - followed, with Martin calling it a day in 1996 after a swansong at Jordan.

His 'fact-finding mission' completed, Martin duly embarked on his second career in motor racing, quickly proving a natural behind the microphone and both a hugely popular and respected voice of authority. Although renowned for his turn of phrase and incisive analysis, it is arguable that Martin is best known for his pre-race grid walks - essential viewing and the stuff of legend.

Having proved an accomplished race commentator in his final season at the BBC, Martin's role with Sky Sports F1 during the channel's award-winning season in 2012 and 2013 was as a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-all pundit, commentator and analyst. That only Martin could have been expected to conquer such a demanding and multi-faceted role says everything about the voice he carries in F1.

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