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The 'Newey of Mercedes' is back: Red Bull has been warned

The 'Newey of Mercedes' is back: Red Bull has been warned

21-04-2023 14:00 Last update: 13:43

James Allison is returning to his role as technical director of the Mercedes F1 team. With that, the competition has been warned, because with the Briton's CV, it is clear what kind of qualities he has and Adrian Newey may be challenged once again.

Red Bull seizes power

Since 2022, Red Bull Racing has seized power in Formula 1. No one understood the new regulations as well as Adrian Newey and his team, making Max Verstappen and Red Bull world champions in 2022 and well on their way to a title in 2023. Indeed, the competition is well behind.

Between 2014 and 2021, Mercedes was that superpower in Formula 1, but the German team hit the mark with the new regulations. Under the leadership of new technical director Mike Elliott, they opted for a remarkable design, which to this day fails to produce any major successes. With Brazil 2022 being the only race they've won since.

Red Bull disappeared on the horizon in 2023 with the RB19, and at Mercedes, they have seen enough. Elliott himself would have been the one to recognise that he might not be quite right for the role. As a chief technical officer, he has been offered an umbrella role at Mercedes, with Allison returning as technical director.

Allison's impressive CV

Allison was never really gone, Mercedes previously revealed to GPblog, that Allison was expanding his horizons. The Briton became Mercedes' CTO in late 2021 and also took on a project as the technical man of Mercedes sponsor INEOS' sailing team. Similar to Adrian Newey, Allison was also seemingly bored of F1 for a while.

And that is not surprising, as the 55-year-old designer has been on the F1 paddock since 1991. He started as an aerodynamics specialist at Benetton, where he was involved in Michael Schumacher's championship cars. Only to follow Michael and consorts to Ferrari in 2000, where he was active from 2000 to 2005 in the most successful period in the Italian team's history.

In 2005, Allison returned to his old team Benetton, and at that time renamed Renault's factory team. As deputy technical director, alongside technical director Bob Bell and frontman Pat Symonds. Allison also worked on the 2006 championship car, further adding to Allison's prize list.

In 2009, after Crashgate, Allison was promoted to technical director of Renault, which would come to be known as Lotus in 2011. The team's financial problems meant that Allison would no longer lay claim to titles, but with Kimi Raikkonen still winning races.

In 2013, Allison left for Ferrari, where he started mid-year. 2014 was a disappointing season, but in 2015 and 2016 Allison seemed capable of returning to the top with Ferrari. However, Allison's wife passed away, so Allison decided to retire from F1 in mid-2016. In 2017, Ferrari achieved great success on the road Allison had previously taken.

In 2017, Allison did return to F1 at Mercedes, where he succeeded Paddy Lowe as technical director. Under Allison's leadership, world drivers' and constructors' titles were won in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. In 2021, he also won the constructors' title but narrowly missed out on the drivers' world title. By early 2021, however, Allison had already announced that he would step down as CTO, leaving day-to-day management in Elliott's hands.

A challenger to Newey and Red Bull

Allison had achieved everything with Mercedes though and opted for INEOS' sailing project. Similar to what Newey once did with Aston Martin's Valkyrie car. Newey saw no point in working with Renault for a while and wanted to change his ways. He was given that space by Red Bull, to later build another great car in collaboration with Honda.

Whether Allison can return similarly to Newey remains to be seen. With his CV, Allison is just about the only one who comes close to Newey's CV. Allison has been involved in many successful projects and now has a clear goal again: winning Lewis Hamilton's eighth world title and returning to the top with Mercedes.