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Martin Brundle

Brundle reveals where the idea for his iconic grid walk came from

Martin Brundle's pre-race grid walk has become a staple of Formula 1 TV, not least due to it showing off the madness before the start of a race.

Brundle Russell
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Since 1997 Martin Brundle has been a regular commentator on UK TV for Formula 1, and part of the coverage has been his iconic grid walk.

Over the years it has seen some crazy moments, whether it's being blanked by celebrities or nearly ran over by F1 cars taking to their grid slots.

In an interview with GQ, Brundle reveals where the idea came from for the impromptu unscripted bit of TV before the start of a race.

"It happened in 1997. My guys said, “We've had an idea, why don't you walk down the grid and just say what you see?” And I was the only one on the grid," he said.

"Obviously we go live, and that is unscripted, unrehearsed car crash television. Whatever happens, happens. And I got to wing it. And I can't throw it back to a studio or have the studio throw it to me.

"When I happen to find somebody, it flows. It's got to go. And that puts a lovely sense of urgency into it."

Brundle says that the unscripted nature of the TV piece is what makes the feature work, having tried to plan it before.

"I once tried to plan it, and it just didn't work. You've got to take it as it comes. So yes, we started it in '97 and you see it now in all forms of motor support actually, two-wheel and four-wheel."

Brundle: Drivers 'very compliant' when speaking to him on the grid

Brundle says that he is surprised that any of the drivers speak to him on the grid, but finds them very compliant.

This is largely due to the extra exposure that their sponsors could get through the frantic pre-race interview.

"I find the drivers very compliant. I find them very eloquent. Bear in mind, they're covered, and so if I stand and talk to a driver for a couple of minutes, all their sponsors are beamed around the world, because we’ve got a lot of English-speaking countries around the world.

"So there is a willingness, certainly, on the part of the teams. The drivers know me. I'm surprised if any of them speak to me ever, frankly, when they're in the zone.

"But if I think back to when I was on the grid: You've done all the work, the car’s set up, you've got the strategy sorted out.

"I used to get quite nervous just before we drove onto the grid. But on the grid itself, I felt serene, because that was what I was best at. So whatever it is, they don't tend to turn me away too often, which is lucky, unlike some of the celebrities."

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