Mercedes "a better fighting machine overall" after reshuffle - Allison

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Mercedes "a better fighting machine overall" after reshuffle - Allison

Formula 1

Mercedes "a better fighting machine overall" after reshuffle - Allison


James Allison says he and Mike Elliott felt they were each better suited to the other’s roles at Mercedes after swapping jobs, with Allison’s return facilitated by stability in his personal life.

Mercedes had promoted Allison to the new role of chief technical officer in 2021, with Elliott replacing him as technical director ahead of the new regulations coming into effect last year. However, after a tough 2022 and difficult start to this season, the pair have swapped positions with Allison heading to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as technical director once again.

“We just had a bit of an examining of our own navels here in Brackley, and between Mike and I concluded that the pair of us can cover the ground reasonably well, but that perhaps I was better suited to the short-term fighting of a championship with a car, and that he was the much better chess player of the pair of us, and that he would be better suited to doing the job I was doing as a CTO previously,” Allison told the F1 Nation podcast.

“So we jiggled it about and came up with something that we think is a better fighting machine overall.

“I don’t think that this decision is particularly dependent on the fortune of the car at a given race weekend. It was based on a sober assessment of what the pair of us are best suited to. And we think that the overall fighting strength of this team is maximised by this role swap.

“Let’s hope that Melbourne is just the first step in a general pick-up and recovery that allows us to get more competitive by the weekend. But Mike and I are convinced that with the jobs that we’re setting out to do, that we’ll be playing our best part in that recovery in the time ahead of us.”

Allison says he’s willing to return to a more demanding and travelling role having originally stepped back after entering into a new relationship in 2021, but now with that firmly established he is motivated to take on the full responsibilities of being a technical director again.

“A lot of that goes back to the very, very long tragic shadow cast by my wife dying. And being lucky enough, a few years later, to meet somebody else, who at the time was living in France, and working in France, and had all her life in France, and had done for 20 years or so.

“And when she kindly – and some would say foolishly – agreed to come and cast her lot in with me, so that we could live together, she was giving up an awful lot. It was a little unfair, or it seemed a little unfair, from my point of view to cast her adrift and say thanks for coming over to England, I’ll see you five minutes a week!

“The stepping back from the frontline role of technical director allowed some space for our relationship to flourish in a way that would have been tough otherwise. But that was over two years ago now that Chloe moved over and, and she has some roots in this country now doing her own thing that doesn’t depend on my face.

“And so it’s much more believable, much more possible now to do this than it would have been two and a bit years ago.”