Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

F1 encyclopedia

James Allison

Formula 1 employee

James Allison
Credit: Lotus F1
Vital statistics for James Allison
NationalityGBR
PositionTechnical director
TeamMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport

James Allison ranks amongst one of the more prominent technical experts in the current Formula One field, having worked at Renault (through their various guises) and Ferrari on several occasions. Departing Lotus F1 towards the end of 2013, Allison returned to the Scuderia as technical director, hoping to turn the team’s title fortunes around. He left partway through 2016, and rejoined F1 with Mercedes ahead of the 2017 season.

Biography

James Allison studied at Cambridge University in the early nineties, specialising in mechanical engineering and aerodynamics. He was snapped up by the Benetton F1 team as soon as he graduated, before moving to the ill-fated Larrousse team in 1994. He returned to Benetton where he concentrated on getting their brand new Enstone wind tunnel functional.

A brief trip to Ferrari saw Allison part of the championship-winning squad that saw success with Michael Schumacher, but he left in 2004 to return to his old team with a new name – Renault F1. Working his way up through Deputy Technical Director to the full post, Allison stuck with the team through the Lotus takeover, and has helped them become competitive once more.

With itchy feet in 2013, Allison agreed to move back to his old stomping ground, switching from Lotus to Ferrari yet again. As one half of the technical director team, he was initially focused on chassis development, aiming to bring the Scuderia back to their previous strength. With more and more responsibilities piled on his shoulder, he oversaw the entire technical director operations, and crucially survived the huge Ferrari winter reshuffle of 2014.

Midway through the 2016 season, Allison left Ferrari with immediate effect to spend more time at home with his family. Ahead of the 2017 season, Allison was confirmed as a replacement for Paddy Lowe at Mercedes, taking over the technical director role with the defending champions.