James Allison returns to technical director role in Mercedes

James Allison has returned to the role of technical director at the Mercedes Formula One team after switching jobs with Mike Elliott.

Team boss Toto Wolff confirmed the news in an interview with Autosport, saying the decision came from Elliott, who took on the role of technical director when Allison became chief technical officer (CTO) in 2021.

"This was very much driven by Mike Elliott owning the process," Wolff told Autosport. "So, we have reversed the roles.

"Mike has moved up to CTO, as he has a brilliant switched-on scientific mind. And James Allison has returned to his technical director position, reporting in to Mike."

The news follows a disappointing start to the 2023 season for Mercedes in which the former champions have lost further ground to Red Bull.

After the first qualifying session of the season in Bahrain last month, in which George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were 0.6s off the pace, Wolff conceded his team had pursued the wrong car concept under F1's current regulations and would need to change path over the coming year.

A period of reflection followed the opening round of the season, and despite some improvements in Saudi Arabia and Australia, Elliott recognised the need for a change in technical leadership.

"What Mike's assessment was, and the introspection is really admirable, is that with James we have a gladiator on the field and the troops are going to go through the fire for him and with him," Wolff added.

"Mike came to the conclusion that the way he approaches things, his skill set, is best utilised in developing the organisation going forward: from technical capabilities to human capabilities and putting together the structure that can be successful for many years to come."

Allison, who joined Mercedes from Ferrari in 2017, moved to the role of CTO in 2021 following a long period of dominance for the team. As part of that move he switched to a three-day week, stepping away from work on the car and focusing on longer-term projects as well as Mercedes' America's Cup involvement with team shareholder Ineos. Elliott, who had held the role of head of aerodynamics, took over from Allison as technical director ahead of F1's major regulation change in 2022.

Further changes will be made to Mercedes' technical team with chief designer John Owen being allowed to focus more on the creative part of his role and less on the financial elements that come with designing a car under F1's new cost cap. Some of Owen's responsibilities will be split with his deputy Giacomo Tortora, who will take on the position of engineering director at Mercedes.

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