Mercedes says Allison not increasing F1 involvement

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Toto Wolff says the responsibilities of Mercedes chief technical officer James Allison remain split between the manufacturer's F1 team and the INEOS Team UK America's Cup sailing team.

Allison played a key role in Mercedes' F1 success from 2017 to 2021 but stepped away from Mercedes' engineering department in July 2021, with Mike Elliott assuming the role of technical director at the Brackley squad.

However, it has been reported that Mercedes' troubles last year, which have extended to a certain degree into this season, encouraged the team to entrust Allison with a leading role in the development of its troubled F1 car.

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After the recent Australian Grand Prix, Allision led the team's post-race Q&A on its YouTube channel, a presence which perhaps signaled that the 55-year-old engineer had indeed returned to active duty with Mercedes.

But Wolff has denied the reports.

"He is not involved," said the Austrian when asked about Allison's current level of involvement.

"He plays an active role when long-term team strategies are discussed, but nowadays he devotes his time to other activities such as the America’s Cup project and other programmes aimed at innovation."

The common link between Mercedes and Allison's America's Cup engineering efforts is billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the founder and majority owner of chemical group and Mercedes sponsor INEOS.

Wolff made clear that solving Mercedes' complex aerodynamic issues would not be as easy as bringing back one individual to its engineering team.

"James is still very important to our organisation," Wolff stated.

"But in terms of the difficulties we have, I don’t think it’s a question of one person, as much as finding more of the right people in the roles we need."


It has also been said that Mercedes is feeling the effects of the departure back in late September 2019 of its former engineering director and technical advisor Aldo Costa, a major pillar of the championship winning team during its dominant years in F1.

"People like Aldo you don’t replace, what we did was to divide the work he did between several replacements," Wolff explained.

"Aldo was very good at structuring his succession, it was not a process that could be solved in the short term.

"We had two and a half years to be able to mould and adapt the technical department to his absence."

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