Speculation had ended on Monday September 23, 1996 when it was revealed that Murray Walker would be ITV’s main Formula 1 commentator. The announcement was made by MACH1, a trading name devised from a coalition of the Meridian and Anglia ITV channels, plus Chrysalis, Neil Duncanson’s production company that, a few days before, had won the five-year contract. Having secured their key player, MACH1 would continue to put together the rest of the broadcasting team, with particular focus on the commentator to accompany Murray.
Martin Brundle was mentioned in various speculative media reports. But the man himself was not so sure – primarily because he was, first and foremost, a racing driver. Martin had just completed his 11th full season of F1, Jordan having been one of several different teams the Englishman had raced for across 158 grands prix. Still chasing that elusive and much deserved first win, the 37-year-old continued to have his eye on racing F1 cars rather than talking about them.
Brundle did, however, have a brief experience of broadcasting – thanks to the extracurricular activities of James Hunt. Much to the alarm of the BBC team, James had failed to turn up on race day for the 1989 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.