F1: James Allison To Return As Technical Director Of Mercedes F1

Mercedes has reverted to their previous arrangement with James Allison back as technical director.

By car&bike Team


2 mins read


Published on April 23, 2023

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  • James Allison will replace Mike Elliot as Technical Director
  • Elliot had previously defended Mercedes' minimalist sidepod design
  • The team also has a new engineering director, Giacomo Tortora

James Allison, who previously held the position of Mercedes' technical director and later moved to the newly formed role of chief technical officer in 2021, has recently exchanged job titles with Mike Elliott, who took on Allison's former post. Autosport was the first to report this news.


During the past 18 months, Allison's responsibilities encompassed F1 while the CTO role involved wider technical obligations for the entire Mercedes organisation as well, including non-F1 projects such as the Americas Cup. Elliott, who previously worked with Allison at Lotus, was the ideal candidate to succeed him and had climbed the ranks to become Mercedes' technology director after joining as the head of aerodynamics in 2012.

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Despite being highly esteemed within the company, Mercedes' two weakest cars of the V6 turbo-hybrid era were developed under Elliott's technical leadership. In 2022, the team struggled initially with the new ground effect technical rules, but persisted with their idea, demonstrated by a distinctive, minimalist sidepod design that Elliott fervently defended.


At the start of 2023, after Mercedes stuck with their original concept but were left with a significant gap to Red Bull, team principal Toto Wolff immediately declared after qualifying at the Bahrain season opener that they had made a wrong decision. However, at the time he did not imply that Elliott would be moved to accommodate that.


During the final week of F1's extended April calendar gap, Autosport reported that Allison would have a more hands-on role again, replacing Elliott as technical director. While Mercedes has yet to confirm this shift, Wolff has confirmed the job swap and stated that it was initiated by Elliott himself.


According to Wolff, Elliott felt that his abilities were more suited to the wider responsibilities of the CTO role, while Allison was a better choice for a single car project. A Mercedes spokesperson informed the BBC that Elliott led a review of their technical organisation to ensure they had the proper structure to achieve sustainable success in the future.

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In addition, there is a change in Mercedes' design responsibilities, with the "engineering director" position being reinstated, held by Giacomo Tortora. This move aims to relieve chief designer John Owen of some administrative tasks, which were assumed in the budget cap era.


These changes will not lead to any modifications to the development direction that Mercedes had recently undertaken, which will inform upgrades expected to arrive on the car in the next month or two.


Wolff stated in a team Q&A published this week that they had established a clear direction and believed they were on the right path. He stressed the importance of remaining rational and having faith in the team's ability to progress, despite obstacles.


Also Read: Ricciardo To Drive Red Bull F1 Car On The Nordschleife Layout Of The Nurburgring


Last Updated on April 23, 2023

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