James Allison will return to the role of Mercedes Formula 1 technical director nearly two years after leaving, switching positions with previous incumbent Mike Elliott.
Mercedes has endured a tough two years under the new technical regulations, finishing third in the constructors’ championship last season and failing to reduce the gap to Red Bull this season despite confidence in its “zero-sidepod” approach. Allison was previously technical director from 2017 until mid-2021 when he took on the role of chief technical officer, handing overall control of the car design to Elliott.
At that point Allison moved into the position of chief technical offer, overseeing a wider array of projects including the America’s Cup collaboration with INEOS Britannia, but Elliott will now take on that position with Allison returning to the technical director role.
While there was no official public announcement from Mercedes, a team spokesperson confirmed to RACER that the switch was communicated internally in recent weeks and will see Allison attending more races as a result, starting with the upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.
Team principal Toto Wolff recently confirmed there will be a number of upgrades brought to the 2023 car on a constant basis as the team looks to change approach as much as possible, having admitted it was “wrong” with its direction ahead of this year. Wolff added that the opening three races has seen the team identify “the right trajectory” for its development plan.
Mercedes is currently third in the constructors’ championship — nine points behind Aston Martin in second and 67 adrift of Red Bull — with just one podium, to its name so far this season, courtesy of Lewis Hamilton’s second place in the Australian Grand Prix.