Martin Brun­dle

Sir Pa­trick Head gives his in­sight into the ca­reer of Martin Brun­dle, the re­spected For­mula One broad­caster and pun­dit

CONCIERGE – The F1 Inside Track - - CONTENTS -

Martin Brun­dle

Mart­inBrun­dle is one of the best-known faces and voices in For­mula One, in part be­cause of his long driv­ing ca­reer, but also due to his more than 20-year ca­reer pre­sent­ing and com­men­tat­ing on the sport for tele­vi­sion.

His driv­ing ca­reer com­menced with grass track rac­ing, moved to cir­cuit rac­ing in sa­loons and then moved on to sin­gle-seaters and For­mula One.

Martin’s early sin­gle-seater ca­reer is strongly iden­ti­fied by his year-long bat­tle with Ayr­ton Senna in equal cars for the 1983 Bri­tish For­mula Three Cham­pi­onship, which marked him as a driver who could com­pete head-to-head with the Brazil­ian, given equal equip­ment.

Martin’s en­try to For­mula One came in the same year as Senna, but it was at a time when turbo engines com­peted with those that were nor­mally as­pi­rated. A turbo en­gine was the one to have – but there were a small num­ber of turbo-driven drives avail­able.

Martin’s For­mula One ca­reer was re­mark­able in its length and va­ri­ety, cov­er­ing 12 years and eight dif­fer­ent teams; Tyrrell Ford and Re­nault Turbo, Zak­speed, Brab­ham Judd, Benet­ton Ford, Ligier Yamaha, Mclaren Peu­geot, Ligier Mu­gen Honda and Jor­dan Peu­geot.

A one-off drive in 1988 with Wil­liams in place of an ill Nigel Mansell was a re­minder of his skill as he was fastest of all in the sec­ond wet qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion. Un­for­tu­nately in all these years, apart from his sin­gle sea­son with Benet­ton along­side Michael Schumacher, his equip­ment was not win­ning ma­te­rial, some­times with teams in a dip or de­cline, such as Mclaren or Tyrrell, and some­times with teams that never achieved the heights.

In his Benet­ton year, with 11 point-scor­ing fin­ishes and five podi­ums, he of­ten matched Schumacher, in­clud­ing at Monza where he fin­ished sec­ond to Ayr­ton Senna in a Mclaren Honda, with Schumacher third.

Martin’s year-long bat­tle with Ayr­ton Senna in equal cars for the 1983 Bri­tish For­mula Three Cham­pi­onship, marked him as a driver who could com­pete head-to-head with the Brazil­ian, given equal equip­ment.

Martin was a no­table sports car driver, most suc­cess­fully with the Tom Walkin­shaw-run Jaguars, win­ning Le Mans in 1990 in the Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-12, his only fin­ish at the iconic race in his four years with Jaguar. He also set an im­pres­sive Le Mans pole po­si­tion in 1999 with the Toy­ota GT-ONE.

Over his ca­reer in sports cars he won 14 ma­jor in­ter­na­tional sports car events, in­clud­ing the Day­tona 24 hours and 1,000km cham­pi­onship events at Spa, Monza, Fuji, Sil­ver­stone, Brands Hatch, along­side race wins in the IMSA USA cham­pi­onship.

In 1988 Martin won the World Sports Car Cham­pi­onship. It was prob­a­bly stir­ring drives in com­pet­i­tive sports car ma­chin­ery, of­ten against ac­tive F1 drivers, that re­minded For­mula One team man­agers of the tal­ent that jus­ti­fied Martin’s in­clu­sion on the F1 grid.

Martin was born into a busi­ness-minded fam­ily, in sales, and a com­bi­na­tion of busi­ness ac­u­men and pro­mo­tion led him to his post­driv­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. These have in­cluded manag­ing the com­mer­cial af­fairs of his close friend David Coulthard from 1998 to 2008, be­com­ing a board mem­ber of the Bri­tish Rac­ing Drivers Club (own­ers of the Sil­ver­stone cir­cuit) be­tween 1996 and 2003 – he was Chair­man of the Board for the fi­nal three years – and rep­re­sent­ing Sil­ver­stone in its ne­go­ti­a­tions with For­mula One supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone.

In 2012 Martin joined the newly es­tab­lished Skyf1 team as an ex­pert com­men­ta­tor and pre­sen­ter and is very much the leader in its ex­cel­lent pre­sen­ta­tion. Be­cause he so clearly de­lights in mo­tor sport and in pro­ject­ing it in a man­ner that is knowl­edge­able but not ex­ces­sively tech­ni­cal, we can ex­pect him to be pre­sent­ing For­mula One for many years to come.

In 2016 Sir Jackie Ste­wart passed chair­man­ship of the Grand Prix Trust to Martin. This char­ity was es­tab­lished by Jackie in 1987 for the ben­e­fit of Grand Prix me­chan­ics, but has been broad­ened to cover all past and present em­ploy­ees of GP teams, and sup­port­ing com­pa­nies.

Martin has pub­lished two books, Work­ing the Wheel in 2004 and The Martin Brun­dle Scrap­book in 2013, which de­picts his rac­ing and TV ca­reer. In 1997 Martin com­menced his broad­cast ca­reer and joined the leg­endary Mur­ray Walker com­men­tat­ing on For­mula One for ITV, es­tab­lish­ing the pop­u­lar ‘grid walk’ and sur­pris­ing many with un­scripted and some­times awk­ward ques­tions.

Neck-and-neck, Senna and Brun­dle bat­tled through­out in the 1983 For­mula 3 cham­pi­onship

World Sports Car Cham­pion in 1988 with the Jaguar XJR-9

On the podium at Sil­ver­stone in 1992, Martin's strong­est year in F1, in a sea­son dom­i­nated by Wil­liams

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