|President, Motorsport Network
|Position Last Year
James Allen (born 5 November 1966) is a British former TV commentator and journalist, now President of Motorsport Network, who worked as a Formula One commentator for ITV from 2000 to 2008, and subsequently as BBC Radio 5 Live F1 commentator, BBC F1 Correspondent, Financial Times F1 correspondent and presenter for Ten Sport in Australia. He lives in London with his wife, Pip, and their two sons, Enzo and Emerson.
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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 a news editor at Autosport magazine from 1992 to 1994 and, in parallel, worked as an F1 pit lane reporter for the 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 worked with Chrysalis TV CEO Neil Duncanson to win the production contract and joined the ITV Sport team as a pit lane reporter.
With Murray Walker unable to commentate at the 2000 French Grand Prix, Allen took over as one of the leading commentators alongside Martin Brundle. Walker wound down his career the following year, missing five races, all of which Allen covered. ITV had considered trying several 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. He commented on every subsequent Grand Prix while the sport was broadcast on ITV, winning many Royal Television Society and BAFTA Awards. The 2007 Canadian Grand Prix was Allen’s 100th as a commentator, and he did 129 in total in the role. 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. The race was watched by over 11 million people in the U.K.
Between 2012 and 2015, Allen was the BBC Formula 1 Correspondent and lead commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live. He edited his F1 website, providing insight and analysis of the sport and managed a digital media business, working with sponsors and brands in F1, which leveraged the site. James appeared on Celebrity Mastermind, answering questions about Roald Dahl’s 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, published by HarperCollins. He has also written two books on Michael Schumacher: Quest for Redemption (also published in paperback as Driven to Extremes) and The Edge of Greatness.
He has been the F1 correspondent of the Financial Times newspaper since 1999. In this capacity, in April 2011, he wrote the first story revealing the plan to create a new all-electric racing series, Formula E.
Allen was 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 moderated the official FIA press conference sessions with drivers and team principals during F1 race weekends. From 2013 onwards, he has served as the moderator of the annual FIA Sport Conference and has become one of the principal moderators of thought leadership events around motorsport.
In 2017, Allen joined the US-owned Motorsport Network and, in April 2018, moved into an executive role as President of EMEA. Since September 2018, he has been the network’s president, based in London, helping the business to diversify from digital media into e-sports and gaming. Among other activities, Allen led the Global Fan Survey project in 2021 and 2022, conducting major surveys with Formula 1, INDYCAR and MotoGP in multiple languages, reaching over 330,000 respondents. He hosts the Financial Times Business of F1 Forum events at selected F1 Grands Prix.
He created the thought leadership video podcast strand #ThinkingForward, which runs on all editions of Motorsport Network’s websites in 15 languages. Allen speaks to leaders from across motorsport about topics such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion and future technologies, aimed at giving enthusiasts an understanding of the sport’s future direction.
He appeared in the 2019 Formula E film, And We Go, Green, directed by Fisher Stevens. Allen was one of the principal narrative voices in the hit Netflix 2021 documentary Schumacher, directed by Michael Welch. He was billed as Schumacher’s biographer.
In 2019, Allen was Executive Producer on the feature film Motorsport Heroes, written and directed by Manish Pandey, writer of the acclaimed movie Senna.prev View full list next