Martin Brundle

Full Name:
Martin John Brundle
Born:
1st June 1959 (Age 60)
King's Lynn, Norfolk
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

The son of a Norfolk motor trader who had competed in rallies and rallycross, Martin Brundle’s own racing career path proved unorthodox. He started in grass track racing with a Ford Anglia during 1971 and he switched to short-track hot rods four years later – Brundle is a rare modern Formula 1 driver who did not graduate through karting.

Saloon cars and single-seaters

For his circuit racing debut, Brundle chose the British Touring Car Championship and an old Toyota Celica. The teenager caught the eye and he made his first steps into single-seaters in Formula Ford 2000 during 1979. Not that he abandoned saloons – winning the 1980 BMW County Championship for Norfolk and then Audi team-mate to returning veteran Stirling Moss in the 1981 BTCC.

His career really caught fire in 1983 when Ayrton Senna’s chief adversary in Formula 3. True, the mercurial Brazilian won the opening nine rounds but Brundle stood resolute and took the title fight to the final round. In all, Brundle won seven races in Eddie Jordan’s Ralt RT3-Toyota and enhanced his reputation immeasurably.

Formula 1 with Tyrrell

Both drivers jumped straight into F1 in 1984 with the Englishman driving a Tyrrell 012-Ford. Pitted against the might of the turbo teams, he finished a fine fifth on his debut in Brazil before crashing spectacularly during practice at Monaco. An impressive second at Detroit, Brundle crashed again while qualifying at Dallas and broke both his ankles. That ended his promising campaign and his efforts would eventually count for nothing. A fuel sample taken from his Tyrrell in Detroit was found to be illegal and the team was excluded from the 1984 championship with all results to date stricken from official records.

He remained with Tyrrell for the next two seasons but did not repeat his exuberant rookie displays – a lapped fourth in the 1986 Australian Grand Prix was his best finish for the team. 1987 with Zakspeed was a disaster (fifth position at Imola his only points score) and Brundle was forced to sports cars and Jaguar in search for a competitive car.

Sports car success and the return to F1

He won both the World Sportscar Championship and Daytona 24 Hours for Tom Walkinshaw’s squad during 1988 and he was seventh in the Belgian GP in a one-off replacing the ill Nigel Mansell at Williams. Brundle spent 1989 back in F1 with Brabham and would have finished third in Monaco but a pitstop to change a faulty battery dropped him to sixth. The season was hampered by the team’s financial uncertainty and so he returned to Jaguar for the following season. The highlight of 1990 was victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours when Brundle made a late switch to the winning Jaguar XJR-12 after his own car had retired.

With new owners and a works Yamaha engine deal, Brabham persuaded Brundle to rejoin for 1991 but fifth in Japan was his only top-six finish. 1992 was the year when Brundle finally had an F1 car in which he could win but unfortunately his team-mate that year was Michael Schumacher.

Walkinshaw was now managing Benetton’s F1 operation and it was Brundle’s most successful season in the category – finishing sixth in the world championship and almost winning in Canada. But comparison to the brilliant young German was inevitable and unfavourable.

Further seasons with Ligier (1993 and 1995), McLaren (1994 during its fallow Peugeot-powered campaign) and Jordan (1996) were those of a driver on the way down. There were moments when Brundle was centre stage – finishing second for McLaren in the 1994 Monaco GP, crashing into a Japanese marshal later that year and barrel-rolling on the opening lap of the 1996 Australian GP – but Brundle had a decision to make.

Television career

He retired from F1 to accept an offer from ITV Television to join its new commentary team. It was immediately obvious that he was a natural behind the microphone and his pre-race grid walks became a signature element of his burgeoning broadcasting reputation. Brundle transferred, first to the BBC when it won the broadcast rights, and then to Sky in 2012.

Aside from television, Brundle ran 2MB Sports Management with Mark Blundell before selling his stake to his former Brabham team-mate in 2009. He also negotiated David Coulthard’s driver contracts during the latter years of the Scot’s career and he served as Chairman of the British Racing Drivers' Club from 1999 to 2003.

Brundle has never quite retired from racing, making occasional returns alongside his broadcast career. He returned to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2012 when 15th overall with Greaves Motorsport's Zytek Z11SN-Nissan, his son Alex and Lucas Ordóñez. Most recently, Brundle finished second in the GT3/LMP3 race that supported the 2016 event with United Autosport's Ligier JSP3-Nissan.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2012 World Endurance Championship
Greaves Motorsport
2 0 0 0 74th 1.5
1996 F1 World Championship
Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
11th 8
1995 F1 World Championship
Ligier Gitanes Blondes
11 0 1 0
0% win rate
13th 7
1994 F1 World Championship
Marlboro McLaren Peugeot
16 0 2 0
0% win rate
7th 16
1993 F1 World Championship
Ligier Gitanes Blondes
16 0 1 0
0% win rate
7th 13
1992 F1 World Championship
Camel Benetton Ford
16 0 5 0
0% win rate
6th 38
1991 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
14 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 2
1991 World Sportscar Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
3 1 3 1 24th 12
1990 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
9 1 3 1 8th 19
1989 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
14 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 4
1988 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Tom Walkinshaw Racing
2 1 2 2 0
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
11 0 9 5 1st 240 (267)
1988 F1 World Championship
Canon Williams Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1987 F1 World Championship
West Zakspeed Racing
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 2
1987 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
3 0 1 1 25th 20
1986 F1 World Championship
Data General Team Tyrrell
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
11th 8
1986 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
1 0 0 0 0
1985 F1 World Championship
Tyrrell Racing Organisation
15 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1985 World Endurance Championship
Tom Walkinshaw Racing
2 0 1 0 42nd 8
1984 F1 World Championship
Tyrrell Racing Organisation
7 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1983 European F3 Championship
Eddie Jordan Racing
2 2 2 2
100% win rate
7th 18
1982 European F3 Championship
Dave Price Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0