James Allen (journalist)
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5 November 1966 |
Liverpool, United Kingdom
|Alma mater||Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
|Known for||Formula 1 commentator and journalist|
James Allen (born 5 November 1966), is a British radio/TV commentator and journalist, who worked as Formula One (F1) commentator for ITV from 2000 to 2008, and subsequently as BBC Radio 5 Live F1 commentator, BBC News F1 Correspondent and reporter for Ten Sport in Australia.
Family background and education
Allen was a pupil at Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby, and student of English and Modern Languages at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. His father Bill raced for Lotus at Le Mans in the early 1960s and was in the sport's administration, on the RAC motor sports council.
Allen started his F1 career with the Brabham team in 1990, and in 1991 worked with future TV colleagues Mark Blundell and Martin Brundle. He was news editor at Autosport magazine from 1992 to 1994 and in parallel worked as F1 pit lane reporter for American network ESPN from 1993 to 1996.
With Nigel Mansell's move to IndyCar in 1993, Allen was hired by ITV in 1994 to help present coverage of the season. When ITV gained the rights to broadcast the Formula One championship in 1997, he joined the team as pit lane reporter.
With Murray Walker unable to commentate at the 2000 French Grand Prix, Allen took over as one of the main commentators alongside Martin Brundle. Walker wound down his career the next year, missing five races, all of which Allen covered. ITV had considered trying a number of guest commentators to decide who would be best suited to replace Walker, but instead opted to keep Allen on board full-time. He took over permanently after the 2001 United States Grand Prix and commentated on every subsequent Grand Prix while the sport was broadcast on ITV. The 2007 Canadian Grand Prix was Allen's 100th as a commentator. Allen also wrote "James Allen's Analysis" for the ITV website. His last commentary for ITV was the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix when ITV's F1 broadcast contract ended.
Between 2012 and 2015 Allen was the BBC Formula 1 Correspondent and lead commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live. He edits his own F1 web site He made an appearance on Celebrity Mastermind, answering questions on Roald Dahl books. He won the competition, with a score of 23 points.
Allen has written three books, the first of which was his ghost-written autobiography of Nigel Mansell. He has also written two books on Michael Schumacher: Quest for Redemption (also published as Driven to Extremes) and The Edge of Greatness.
He has been the F1 correspondent of the Financial Times newspaper since 1999.
Formula One Management
Allen is one of the official Formula One Management World Feed interviewers for post-qualifying and post-race, beginning this role at the 2009 British Grand Prix. He also moderates the official FIA press conference sessions with drivers and team principals during F1 race weekends.
Along with former co-commentator Martin Brundle, Allen picked up the Autosport award for best moment of the year which recognised the pair's commentary in the closing moments of the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix. The Brazil coverage also won a third consecutive BAFTA award for ITV.
Allen's website James Allen on F1.com was voted "Best F1 Blog" by fans in the annual Silverstone Media Awards in 2012 and 2013.
Allen is married to Pip and lives in London. He has two sons, Enzo and Emerson. Enzo is not named after Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and Ferrari car manufacturers. Rather he is named after Enzo Maiorca, a character in the Luc Besson film The Big Blue; Emerson is named after double Formula One world champion and Indycar champion Emerson Fittipaldi, with whom Allen worked when in America in 1994.
Allen is a lifelong supporter of Liverpool Football Club and is a season ticket holder.
- "LMH, Oxford – Prominent Alumni". Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- "James Allen's 100th Grand Prix". F1Fanatic.co.uk. 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
- "James Allen's Analysis". www.itv-f1.com. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- "James Allen gets BBC Radio 5 Live gig". Crash.net. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- "James Allen on F1". Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Episode 3, 2013/2014, Celebrity Mastermind - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- "Michael Schumacher: The edge of greatness (James Allen, 2007)". F1Fanatic.co.uk. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-20.