Gooooooooooooo away

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.

10 comments

  1. Yeah… I can’t say many people are going to be much better doing what he does. The mistakes you point don’t appear to be THAT bad, it’s live TV for goodness sake, everyone says ridiculously stupid stuff at some point. The difference is he has millions of people scrutinising what he says!

  2. Yeah, fair enough, we all make mistakes, and we’re not unlucky enough to have millions watching us make them. But my issue is as much with James Allen’s attitude.

    I mean, he was talking about how Montoya had to pit in soon, and then when a McLaren went into the pitlane he mistook him for Räikkönen, even though he had already pitted and was much further back on the circuit. It’s quite a silly mistake to make.

    At least he apologised and corrected himself that time though (not that he had much choice, given that he had to spend the following 20 seconds talking about the pitstop itself), but when he announced that Monteiro had retired he never mentioned anything else about it. Apology? Retraction? Would it hurt?

  3. Yes get rid of Allen. And then Brundle. They both spoil the already now crappy qualification process by telling us two corners into the lap that the driver has made some kind of seemingly dreadful mistake that the rest of us probably didn’t notice, and that they have no chance of getting anywhere… couldn’t they wait until near the end before ruining the suspense? Bah.

  4. Following Murray Walker was never going to be an easy task, remember poor Dr Palmer coming in after James Hunt.I agree he was a competent pit reporter. Here is my out of left field suggestion…..Peter Windsor. Any comments?

  5. Interesting suggestion. I know Peter Windsor has done commentary before, I think for FOM’s service and in America aswell? I’ve never heard him though, so I can’t really say…

  6. […] Remember also the rumours that James Allen is going to be replaced after Japan. Allen gets the goat of a lot of F1 fans, including me. Mind you, I have to admit he doesn’t seem as bad recently as he often has in the past. It seems like he’s taking criticism into account. […]

  7. Yes get rid of James Allen, but don’t blame the howlers/gaffs. Murray Walker said a few strange things over the years but he was still a great commentator – he was able to express the sport in a manner that no-one else has been able to match since his retirement and not likely to in the near future.

    Allen screws up the deal with an almost arrogant style that can be condescending – back to the pits would not be all bad for him. Please goooooooooooooooooooo.

    PS For the record I reckon Brundle is actually very good as a commentator

  8. GET RID OF BRUNDLE??? No, no, no. He’s not the warmest of people at times but at his best he has a razor wit and his knowledge of F1 is admirable. Let’s not forget who spent years correcting Murrary Walker. As for ruining the “supense” of qualifying. If you’ve been watching F1 for any length of time you can recognise when someone’s binned their quali lap.

  9. “I vote for replacing him with Anthony Davidson”!!!

    Oh , hold on, he’s driving this year.
    Um…ok,…I vote for replacing him with Anthony Davidson”!!!,… while he drives!