Martin John Brundle (born 1
June 1959 in King's
Lynn, Norfolk) is a British former racing driver
from England, known as a
Formula One driver and as an F1
commentator for ITV Sport and the BBC from 2009.
Brundle contested the British Formula Three
with Ayrton Senna
1983, finishing a close second, and the two progressed to Formula
One the next year. Bad luck prevented Brundle from achieving a
victory at the top level of single seaters, but he has been hugely
successful in other disciplines. He was the 1988 World Sportscar Champion, with
a record points haul, and won the 1990 Le Mans 24
hour Race for Jaguar in an
Early Racing Career
Brundle had an unorthodox route to Formula 1. He began his racing
career at the age of 12, competing in grass track racing, in the
Norfolk village of Pott Row.
1975, he moved to Hot Rod
and received 'Star grade' status. In 1979, he started
single seaters with Formula Ford
this time, he also raced Tom
Walkinshaw's BMW race cars, achieving second against a field of
international drivers at Snetterton.
He won the BMW championship in 1980 and
partnered Sir Stirling Moss
BP/Audi team of 1981. In 1982, he moved up to Formula 3
achieving five poles and two wins in his
debut season. He won the Grovewood Award as the most promising
Commonwealth driver. The next year, he battled Ayrton Senna
, for the F3 championship, which
Brundle eventually lost on the final laps of the last race. In
1984, he was promoted to Formula One.
Formula One (1984 - 1987)
His Formula One career began with Tyrrell
in 1984. He put in a number of
aggressive and fast drives, finishing fifth in his first race at
and then second at
. At the Dallas Grand Prix
, Brundle broke his
ankles and both feet in a crash during a practice session. Then
Tyrrell were disqualified from the world championship in 1984 due
to a technical infringement, wiping his achievements for that
season from the record books.
For the next two seasons he remained with Tyrrell, but without a
works engine supply the team struggled against the works engine
teams. In 1987 he switched to Zakspeed
managed only two points, the car unable to compete with the
frontrunners. These two points were the only ones in the team's
Brundle at the 1990 IMSA Del Mar Grand
Sportscars and Brabham (1988 - 1991)
Brundle started his famous link with Jaguar in 1982, driving
touring cars. Four years of F1 racing for underfunded teams led him
to seek a new challenge, and thus he took a year out and competed
in the 1988 World Sportscar Championship
He won his world sports car title, with a record points haul. He
also full time tested for Williams
also guested at the Belgian Grand Prix, after Nigel Mansell
was struck down with chickenpox
In 1989 he returned to F1 full-time with the returning Brabham
squad, but the former champions were unable
to recapture their early 1980s success and Brundle opted to move
back into the sports car arena for 1990. The Le
Mans victory came that year and rejuvenated his career,
but still a top-line race seat in Formula One eluded him.
well as contesting races in sports prototypes, Brundle also
contested the American IROC
series in 1990, taking
a victory at the temporary circuit at Burke Lakefront Airport (the
only IROC victory for a British driver) and coming 3rd in the
overall standings. In 1991 he rejoined Brabham, but the squad had
fallen even further down the grid and results were sparse.
Formula One (1992 - 1996)
Seasoned observers noticed Brundle's drives into the points in the
uncompetitive Brabham Yamaha in 1991, which was the last points
finish for the Brabham
team. This helped
Brundle get a 1992 switch to Benetton
, with whom he would finally claim
a recognised podium finish and consistent points finishes with some
In 1992 he had a productive season, with a strong finish to the
year. He came close to a win at Canada
, where having overtaken
Schumacher and closing on leader Gerhard Berger, the transmission
failed. He never outqualified team-mate Michael Schumacher
, but made up places
with excellent starts (sixth to third at Silverstone), outraced the
German at Imola, Montreal, Magny-Cours and Silverstone, and scored
a notable second place at Monza. At Spa
, Brundle went by when Schumacher
went off the track. Schumacher noticed blisters on his team-mate's
tyres on his return to the circuit and came in for slicks, a move
that won him the race. Had Brundle not been distracted he would
have pitted as planned at the end of that lap, with victory the
most likely result. 1992 was his best F1 season, and is regarded in
F1 as the closest any team mate has come to match Schumacher.
To the shock of the F1 paddock, Brundle found himself dropped from
Benetton for 1993, Italian Riccardo
taking his place. He came very close to a seat with
world champions Williams, but in the end Damon Hill
got the drive instead. Still in demand
within F1, Brundle raced for Ligier
1993. More points finishes and a fine third at Imola were achieved
in a car without active suspension.
Brundle was in the frame for the vacant McLaren seat
alongside Mika Häkkinen.
McLaren were hopeful of re-signing Alain
, who had retired at the end of 1993 after winning his
fourth championship title, but decided not to renege on his
retirement in March, and Brundle got the drive, beating out McLaren
test driver Philippe Alliot
. He was
confirmed less than two weeks before the season-opening 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix
Joining the team was a case of bad timing in many ways. McLaren
were on a downturn and throughout 1994 were unable to win. The
engines were unreliable, as
was to be expected from a debuting engine supplier. At Silverstone
appeared to explode just as the starting lights turned green. In
reality the culprit was a clutch that cracked spilling its
lubricants on top of hot engine causing a spectacular fire.
Nevertheless, when the car was reliable, Brundle put in strong
performances that season, most notably at Monaco
where he finished second to
Having had poor luck and with Nigel
signed to McLaren for 1995, Brundle once more raced for
Ligier that year, although not for the full season. To appease
he had to share the second
seat with Aguri Suzuki
, a move
denounced by many commentators and fans. He impressed however, a
strong fourth at Magny-Cours
and what would be his last F1 podium at Spa
, the highlights. In 1996 he
teamed up with Rubens Barrichello
and enjoyed a good
season, despite a slow start and a spectacular crash at Melbourne's
inaugural GP, with
regular points, fourth his best result. He finished fifth in the
1996 Japanese Grand Prix
which was his last Grand Prix in Formula
Brundle achieved 9 podiums, and scored a total of 98 championship
points, with a best championship finish of 6th in 1992.
especially strong on street circuits and similarly slow-speed,
twisty courses — Monaco, Adelaide and the Hungaroring each produced 4 points finishes for him.
holds the dubious distinction of having the longest Formula One
career (158 Grand Prix starts) without a race victory, a pole
position or a fastest lap.
Post Formula One
Brundle had hoped to stay in F1 beyond 1996, but could not find a
seat. He was offered a seat at Sauber
following the dropping of Nicola
, but decided against it. Brundle did however return to
Le Mans. Drives for Nissan
impressed, but a second
victory failed to materialise. Brundle's last Le Mans outing came
in 2001, after which he focused on his role with the British Racing Drivers' Club
Having largely retired from motor racing, Brundle became a highly
regarded commentator on British television network ITV
, who he joined when they began Formula One coverage
in 1997, initially alongside Murray
, and from 2002 James Allen
joined the BBC's commentary team alongside Jonathan Legard when
they won the rights to show F1 from 2009. Brundle has won the
Television Sports Award
for best Sports Pundit in 1998, 1999, 2005 and 2006. In 2005 the
judges described him as:
"...an outstanding operator at the very peak of his
game – with an extraordinary ability to simplify and entertain in
an often complex sport.
He also exhibited a fearless authority on some of the
most sensitive issues – not least his gimlet-eyed pursuit of
Formula one boss Bernie Ecclestone
on the grid at Indianapolis".
The production company responsible for ITV's F1 coverage, North One Television
, also won the
Sports Innovation Award for its Insight features, presented by
Brundle. Discussing the return of Formula One to the BBC in 2009,
described Brundle "as the greatest TV analyst in
this or any other sport."
Brundle first commentated on F1 during the 1989 Belgian Grand Prix
on the BBC.
Having retired from the race, Brundle was asked by the BBC to enter
the commentary box alongside Murray
as regular BBC commentator James
failed to show up. Brundle was also part of the 1995 BBC
commentary team whenever Aguri Suzuki
was driving the Ligier
such as the 1995 San Marino Grand Prix
Steve Rider busy covering the England versus Kazakhstan 2010 FIFA World
Cup Group 6 qualification match, Brundle co-commentated and
presented coverage of the 2008
Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway.
Brundle has also been involved in driver management. At present, he
is David Coulthard
's manager. He
also co-owned a management company, 2MB Sports Management
until January 2009, when
he announced his intention to step down in order to focus on his
television responsibilities and his son's career. Their clients include
McLaren test driver
Gary Paffett and British Formula Three
champion Mike Conway.
took the wheel of a Jaguar F1 car for
the Formula One demonstration in London prior to the
2004 British Grand Prix and
drove a BMW Sauber during a demonstration in 2006.
2006, Brundle drove a 2005 Red Bull
car around Silverstone as part of ITV's 'F1 Insight'
feature. This was followed up in 2007 with Brundle and colleague
Blundell both driving Williams F1
to demonstrate overtaking.
In 2004 he released his first book 'Working the Wheel'. The title
is a reference to his 1996 crash in Melbourne.
sports car prowess led to an invitation to the 1990 International Race of
Champions, a three-race series in 1990 because of the switch to
Dodge cars, where he won the second round at
Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport during the Champ Car
In 2008 he came out of retirement to drive in the Formula Palmer Audi
alongside his son Alex
, who was a
series regular. He scored three top-eight finishes from the three
races in which he took part. Alex will compete in the FIA Formula Two Championship
Brundle also presented a documentary
show on British television
in 1998 called Great Escapes
which showed generally live recordings, and occasionally
reconstructions, of stories where human beings managed to somehow
survive in face of various dangers or perils. It ran for one series
Brundle, along with former team owner Eddie
and former F1 driver David
will form the 'pundit' team for commentary on the BBC
broadcasts of Formula One races from 2009 onwards.
On Friday 13 February 2009, Brundle presented BBC Look East'
s 6.30pm bulletin, with
, reproducing his
Criticism of Max Mosley and the FIA
In September 2007 he suggested that the treatment of McLaren "had
the feel of a witch hunt" in his Sunday Times
column. As a result of
these comments Brundle and the Sunday
received a French writ from Max Mosley and the FIA for
libel. In the same column on 9 December
2007 he accused the FIA of double standards and of issuing the writ
at the same time as clearing Renault of spying as a warning to
The timing of the writ is significant, in my view,
given the FIA’s decision to find Renault guilty of having
significant McLaren designs and information within their systems,
but not administering any penalty.
It is a warning sign to other journalists and
publications to choose their words carefully over that
I’m tired of what I perceive as the "spin" and tactics
of the FIA press office, as are many other
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.
Or they will write to ITV again to say that my
commentary is not up to standard despite my unprecedented six
Royal Television Society
Awards for sports broadcasting.
So be it.
Brundle also asserted his right to voice his opinion about Formula
As a former Formula One driver, I have earnt the right
to have an opinion about the sport, and probably know as much about
it as anybody else.
I have attended approaching 400 grands prix, 158 as a
I have spilt blood, broken bones, shed tears, generated
tanker loads of sweat, tasted the champagne glories and plumbed the
depths of misery.
I have never been more passionate about F1 and will
always share my opinions in an honest and open way, knowing readers
will make up their own minds.
In March 2008 Brundle voiced his opinion regarding the position of
Max Mosley following the News of The World's
that Mosley had engaged in sexual acts with five prostitutes in a
scenario that involved Nazi
saying "It's not appropriate behaviour for the head of any global
body such as the FIA." In April Brundle argued:
"The specific detail of the scandal surrounding him is
largely irrelevant, in my view.
The sporting regulation he has used over the years to
keep teams in check relates to bringing the sport into
If you live by the sword, you die by the
Sitting on the fence on this issue for any of us inside
the sport is not an option.
We must condone or condemn the situation he finds
Mosley's position as president is
was the subject of 14 complaints to Ofcom and 22 to
ITV, for using the term "Pikeys" during ITV's
coverage of the 2008 Canadian
In a pre-race live interview with Bernie Ecclestone
, Brundle referred to
'pikeys' making repairs to the surface at turn 10 of the track by
laying down fresh tarmac. ITV later apologised for the
The word is considered insulting by the traveller community.
Oxford English Dictionary
traced its use to 1837 by The Times,
referring to "strangers harvesting in the Isle of Sheppey".
Later that century it meant a "turnpike
traveller" or vagabond
. Laterly, it has
become a derogatory term for Irish travellers and Gypsies
Brundle and ITV were later cleared by Ofcom, as Brundle was not
aware of the racial or cultural implications of the word, and ITV
did apologise and explain the situation to him.
Complete Formula One results
- - Tyrrell were disqualified from the entire world championship
for 1984 due to a technical infringement.
- Brundle is married to Liz and they have a daughter, Charlie,
and a son, Alex. Alex competed in 2006
in the Formula Palmer Audi
Autumn Trophy . Martin's older brother, Robin, is a racing driver who still competes
in historic racing events.
- Brundle has always lived within a 5 mile radius of King's
- Brundle confirms new BBC role
- news.bbc.co.uk, How offensive is the word
- mirror.co.uk, Formula 1 commentator in 'pikey'
- Another son in the hunt for motor sport