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Monday, September 25, 2023

Mercedes Shake Up Technical Structure with James Allison’s Return as Technical Director

Allison will attend next week's Azerbaijan Grand Prix in his new role

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED KINGDOM: Mercedes have announced a major reshuffle of their technical structure following a poor start to the 2023 Formula One season.

James Allison, who stepped aside from day-to-day involvement in the race team in 2021, has been re-appointed as the Mercedes F1 team’s technical director. 

He will replace Mike Elliott, who will take over Allison’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO) role.

The changes have come about due to an internal review of the team’s technical organisation led by Elliott himself. 

A Mercedes spokesperson confirmed that the team is focusing on building a better car and a good team to develop that car. Mercedes wants everybody will play to their greatest strengths in the team.

Mercedes have struggled with their car ever since the new technical regulations took over, coinciding with the changes to its technical structure that saw Allison step down from his role as technical director. 

Allison’s day-to-day involvement in designing the team’s F1 cars ceased. The British engineer moved to a more strategic role and other projects, such as America’s Cup, which collaborates with Mercedes’ shareholder and sponsor INEOS.

However, the significant changes to the F1 regulations for 2022, introducing ground-effect-based downforce, have seen Mercedes fall behind Red Bull, who have taken over at the top of the sport. 

Mercedes’ different aerodynamic philosophy, with the most notable element being the ‘no-sidepods’ design, has yet to be capable of challenging Red Bull and, usually, Ferrari.

After sticking with the philosophy for 2023, team boss Toto Wolff recently admitted that the philosophy was the wrong choice and that his team had “got it wrong” by continuing with the “zeropod” concept. 

Lewis Hamilton also expressed his dissatisfaction, saying that the team’s engineers did not listen to his opinion about what he wanted with the car for 2023.

As part of the internal review, Mercedes refocused chief designer John Owen’s roles in car design after being distracted by budget cap compliance, with his deputy, Giacomo Tortora, being assigned the role of engineering director.

Mercedes are the second team to have significantly restructured their technical personnel after a poor start to 2023. 

McLaren dropped technical director James Key to replace him with a technical triumvirate focusing on three different areas of engineering.

The return of James Allison as technical director will undoubtedly be a critical coup for Mercedes, given his wealth of experience and success in the sport. 

Whether it will be enough to turn their fortunes around and challenge Red Bull for the title remains to be seen.

Also Read: Mercedes-AMG to Launch Its Most Powerful Hybrid Production Car in India


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