Mercedes F1 technical director Allison signs a long-term contract extension
BRACKLEY, England (AP) — Mercedes technical director James Allison has signed a long-term contract extension with a view to helping the team back to the top of Formula One.
Mercedes announced the deal on Thursday, without saying how long the new contract is for. Earlier this week, team principal Toto Wolff — who is also friends with Allison — signed a new three-year deal.
The 55-year-old Allison joined Mercedes in 2017 during a period of prolonged success for the Silver Arrows team. Allison's technical expertise helped star driver Lewis Hamilton win consecutive F1 titles from 2017-2020, taking his record-equaling tally to seven.
“It is a great privilege to continue this adventure, working alongside brilliant colleagues and fighting together for championship success,” Allison said.
Mercedes also won the constructors' championship from 2017-2021 before Red Bull took over as F1's leading team, with Max Verstappen completely dominating the past two seasons.
Mercedes failed to win a race last year and won only one in 2022 through George Russell, while the last of Hamilton's record 103 wins came in Saudi Arabia at the penultimate race of the 2021 campaign.
Mercedes admitted getting its car design completely wrong in 2022 — when it suffered more than most other cars from the effect of bouncing, known as porpoising — while 2023 proved to be equally frustrating for Hamilton and Russell.
But Wolff is confident that Allison can help the team compete for victories again.
“Put simply, he is the most impressive technical leader in our sport. His gladiator spirit, along with his knowledge, experience, and determination, make him second-to-none," Wolff said. "His influence and impact, however, goes so much further than that. Since joining in 2017, he has been a key ally and sparring partner for me personally. We can challenge each other openly and honestly.”
While Mercedes has made positive comments about the 2024 season — the W15 will be launched digitally from Silverstone on Feb. 14 — the team will know how much needs to be done when pre-season testing begins in Bahrain on Feb. 21.
Bahrain hosts the first of a record 24 races on March 2, with Verstappen bidding for a fourth straight F1 title.
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