In the fifth episode of Formula 1’s ‘Beyond The Grid’ podcast, former racer and current commentator Martin Brundle relives his racing days, rivalry with Ayrton Senna and more.
The 59-year-old started his F1 journey in 1984 with Tyrell, but it was not until 1992 when he was able to score consistent results and podiums. Burndle initiates the podcast explaining how he got into commentating.
The British racer felt he was never made for commentary or media side of things, but the feedback from insiders and fans helped him to take up the role more seriously as he now is the lead commentator for Sky Sports F1 alongside David Croft.
On his driving, Brundle admitted that he lacked slightly in single-seater racing than sportscar, but he stressed ‘on his day’ he could have beaten the likes of Senna, Michael Schumacher and even Mika Hakkinen.
He added that the confidence he had in sportscar racing made him felt ‘invisible’ when he was driving the Jaguar for Tom Walkinshaw – in fact, he won the 1990 Le Mans 24 Hours race, partnering with Price Cobb and John Nielsen.
He felt he was better in sportscar since he was good at longer races to be able to build on during the course of the race than the short sprint races like F1. He then recalls his rivalry with Senna, against whom he started racing in Formula 3.
The British driver recalls one particular race at Silverstone where he was impressed by Senna’s racing mindset. Brundle didn’t kart like Senna did and so the Brazilian had more experience under wets to understand where would be the perfect spot to position the car.
Brundle was leading but cautious and Senna used that to his advantage into Stowe as he took an outside line to go past him – a move which Brundle wouldn’t have thought about. They talked about it on the podium and Brundle knew Senna would be for greater things.
Considering how Senna used to be in F3, Brundle also knew that the Brazilian always thought the whole world was against him, like for the instances in F1. Meanwhile, one of the greatest achievements Brundle misses in his career is a F1 race win.
He came close to winning in 1992 Belgian GP while driving the Benetton alongside Schumacher. The Williams ahead driven by Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese were easily the quickest car, but the rain played a spoilsport.
Everyone pitted for the wet tyres including Schumacher but Brundle along with McLaren’s Senna stayed out – that proved to be a handful as the German went on to win the race from Mansell and Patrese, with Brundle in fourth.
It was Schumacher’s first in the 91 wins he earned after that, but the British driver felt, it was the race where he thought he could have won if he had taken the right call. Brundle ended with eight podiums with no race wins.
Aside the races, Brundle regarded Walkinshaw as the person who played a pivotal role in his racing career – whether it was in F1 and or sportscar racing. Brundle also talked about him managing David Coulthard and his managerial skills.
When asked which cars he would like to drive, he was quick to state, it will be the current generation of cars because it is faster which he craves for. But he admits, the cars in earlier days were more riskier to drive than the current times.
[Episode 4: Esteban Ocon]