I had another couple of interesting searches ending up here today about things like “James Allen ITV future”.
The only thing I can find is this post on Digital Spy that says:
well some internet chatter is that James Allen commentary career with ITV may end in Japan
Who knows whether that’s true. I’d be surprised if Allen gets punted. Japan isn’t the last race of the season this year either.
Look up Google and you’ll find dozens of petitions begging ITV to replace him with somebody, you know, good. I was suprised when ITV replaced Murray Walker with James Allen in the first place. I would have preferred Ben Edwards.
For a start, James Allen was actually a very good pit reporter. Now in the pits we have Ted Kravitz who is a good presenter but too often what he says is simply banal. “And here comes Button in the pits… and yes, they are putting fuel in… Good stop,” is a typical example. Allen, on the other hand, seemed to add something else in the pits.
In the commentary box, though, he is hopeless. There have been some howlers over the years, and they just seem to get more and more frequent.
- At the Hungarian Grand Prix neither commentator noticed Alonso’s front wing askew, even though it was clearly visible on television (they didn’t realise for about half a lap)
- Also at Hungary, “Montoya’s due for a pit stop any minute. And in comes Räikkönen. [after about ten seconds] In comes Montoya, sorry.”
- Declaring that Monteiro had retired during the British Grand Prix even though it was obviously Karthikeyan. He never retracted this, never apologised, and it was even left in the highlights programme — people will have thought that Monteiro had retired when he hadn’t.
- There have been at least two references to scheduled tyre changes this year, even though thay’ve been banned. “Liuzzi really doesn’t like those new tyres,” Allen said at one point.
- “Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.” Bugger off, more like.
- British qualifying this year, when he spent the entire bloody session ignoring what was going on on-track, instead asking Martin Brundle what he thought of the drivers’ performances so far in the year as a sort of half-term report, even though the halfway point of the season had already passed.
- General smugness. Example: “A lot of viewers are less technical than me… [after realising what he’s said] Although I’m not very technical.”
- “So, Martin, who’s your driver of the day?”
- Update: How could I forget the European Grand Prix, and Allen’s truly unbearable crowing, “He’s gone off! I told ya! I told you he should have pitted!” etc…
I am actually one of the few people who thinks that ITV’s Formula 1 coverage is good (it is much better than the BBC’s ever was, and I usually spend my whole time finding any excuse to take the piss out of ITV). But (along with the adverts of course) commentary is its major weakness at the moment. Martin Brundle is great. Perhaps he could be the main commentator and somebody else (not Blundell or Warwick) could be the second commentator. Anthony Davidson has been quite good on Five Live…
As I said, I think Allen was a good pitlane reporter, and I also think he’s a good writer. But as far as commentary goes, it’s simply the wrong man for the job.