James’ motorsport career started in 1990, when he joined the Benetton Formula One Team as a Junior Aerodynamic Designer immediately after graduating from the University of Cambridge. Just two years later, he was appointed Head of Aerodynamics for the small Larrouse F1 squad but returned soon after to Benetton as an Aerodynamic Designer. Success soon followed, as James celebrated Michael Schumacher’s FIA Formula One World Drivers’ Championship success in 1994, with Schumacher and Benetton claiming the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles the following year.
James was promoted to Head of Aerodynamics in 1997 and, just two years later, swapped Enstone for Maranello and the new role of Trackside Aerodynamicist with Scuderia Ferrari, playing an important role in a period of unprecedented spell of success, as the team won six FIA Formula One World Constructors’ Championships between 1999 and 2004.
After six years in Italy, James returned to the United Kingdom to work with the Renault Sport Formula One Team, taking on the role of Deputy Technical Director - taking top honors in the Constructors’ Championship in 2005 and 2006.
James was promoted to Technical Director in 2009 and remained with the team as it transitioned to new ownership and the new name of Lotus F1 Team.
2013 saw James head back to Ferrari, this time as Technical Director. After a fruitless year for the team in 2014, James’ influence was crucial as Sebastian Vettel claimed three wins the following year, when the Scuderia emerged as the closest challenger to the title-winning Silver Arrows.
James departed Ferrari midway through the 2016 season and returned to the Formula 1 grid in 2017, joining Mercedes AMG-Petronas Motorsport as Technical Director.