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James Allison Joins Mercedes as Technical Director

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James Allison & Pat Fry

James Allison (left), and Pat Fry, former chassis technical director for Scuderia Ferrari
Photo: chdphd

Mercedes has finally filled the holes in its staff by taking on James Allison as its new technical director ahead of the 2017 Formula 1 season. Allison will become part of the team from the start of March during pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Allison will take over the role of Paddy Lowe, who left Mercedes last month after disagreements with the team, reportedly of a financial nature, despite a very successful partnership that saw Mercedes win three back-to-back world championships in dominant fashion.

Unlike Lowe, Allison will report directly to Mercedes F1 director Toto Wolff. Lowe’s relationship with Wolff was on a more even playing field in terms of team leadership, though Wolff always had the upper hand as the head of not just the Mercedes F1 team but also the overall Mercedes-Benz Motorsport division.

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Allison is a British engineer who has won world championships with both Ferrari and Renault and has held senior leadership roles in both teams, most recently at the former in 2016. He left Ferrari last summer after an extended break following the loss of his wife became a permanent one; the word is that Sergio Marchionne, displeased with Ferrari’s stagnant development, chose to fire him and bring in more Italian brainpower.

“I am very excited to be getting back to work after this time away from the sport,” Allison said. “It’s a massive privilege to be given the trust of a position in a team that has done so spectacularly well in the past three seasons. I am really looking forward to playing my part in helping Mercedes go from strength to strength in the coming years.”

All that remains to be seen is whether Paddy Lowe will indeed join Williams as he has been widely tipped to do since his departure from Mercedes. It seems very likely, especially given that Williams’ own technical director, Pat Symonds, has already retired.