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NEWS STORY
25/03/2008

While some genuinely fear that the BBC, having secured the rights for F1 from next season, will dumb down its coverage of the sport, as it continues its obsession with ratings and celebrities, race fans have been pondering the broadcaster's potential line-up, in terms of commentary team and presenters.

Looking at the various forums and message boards, it's fair to say that several members of the current ITV team will not be missed should they be lost in the transfer. However, there is widespread agreement that former F1 driver Martin Brundle (right) should continue to be the 'voice of F1'.

Although not everyone's cup of tea, making no effort to disguise his dislike of some drivers while championing others, Brundle does have his moments. At the weekend, following Massa's exit from the race, the Englishman referred to the Brazilian's spin as "ambition getting the better of adhesion". That alone was worth the price of admission.

However, it should be remembered that the FIA revealed in December last year that it is taking legal action against the Sunday Times, following an article written by Brundle in which he described the sport's governing body's treatment of McLaren in 2007 as a "witch hunt".

Days after the FIA announced its decision, Brundle wrote a follow-up article, revealing, amongst other things, that the FIA had written to ITV complaining that his commentary was "not up to standard". He found this odd, he admitted, in light of the "unprecedented six Royal Television Society Awards for sports broadcasting", his commentary had won.

Although the matter has gone quiet, Pitpass sources confirm that the action is to go ahead, even though some F1 insiders are of the opinion that such a move could blow up in the face of the FIA. Either way, when the case does go to court it will be one of the hottest tickets in town.

While most are murmuring about the case, and indeed, Brundle's possible role with the BBC - could Tamara Ecclestone really be a shoo-in? - one particular journalist has made no secret of how he feels about the case.

In two similar articles, one written in December 2007 entitled 'Brundle On His Own', the other last month under the heading 'Sorry State Of Affairs', the Times Kevin Eason is quite damning of the "Formula One driver turned ITV pundit".

While one understands the need to keep on the good side of the FIA and Max Mosley, particularly when Brundle himself had said; "I expect my accreditation pass for next year will be hindered in some way to make my coverage of F1 more difficult and to punish me", one wonders why Eason feels the need to be so publicly critical, not merely of a fellow-journalist, but one who writes for a sister newspaper.

Then again, as one insider puts it; "the Times and Sunday Times are the same stable, but in every other respect, deadly rivals. The Sunday Times makes the money, The Times uses it.

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