James Allen will be the lead commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live, it has been confirmed.

Allen replaces David Croft, who has defected to Sky, along with a number of other key personnel from the BBC, including Martin Brundle and Anthony Davidson [see separate story - click here].

Allen has worked in F1 extensively over the last 20 years and was picked by ITV to replace Murray Walker as the lead commentator alongside Martin Brundle in 2001, a position he held until the sport return to the BBC in 2009.

"I'm delighted to announce that I am joining the BBC Radio 5 Live team as F1 correspondent and lead commentator this season," Allen said on his official website.

"I'm really happy about this; 5 live is the default setting on my radio at home and in the car, it's a great institution and I'm proud to be part of it.

"Anyone who has followed my career knows I love a challenge; whether it's taking over from Murray Walker, setting up this website, or creating the first F1 fans forums. I've never done radio before and I'm really looking forward to adapting to a new medium.

"This is a time of significant change in our industry and I see great opportunity here, thanks to the unique place Radio 5 Live has in this sport."

Most recently, Allen has worked with Ten Sport in Australia and he will continue that association in 2012.