Allison dismisses Mercedes revamp after job swap

James Allison has been involved in a recent Mercedes job swap and has ruled out making wholesale changes to the car

James Allison has been involved in a recent Mercedes job swap and has ruled out making wholesale changes to the car

Returning Mercedes technical director James Allison is adamant he will not be tearing up the work done by predecessor Mike Elliott following their recent job swap.

Mercedes announced during the spring break that Allison would revert to his former TD role, replacing Elliott who would take up his fellow Briton’s chief technical officer position.

The move was made at the behest of Elliott, believing he and Allison would be of better service to Mercedes in their new posts, a decision fully endorsed by team principal Toto Wolff.

Since replacing Allison as TD, and following the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations at the start of last year, Mercedes has lost its position as F1’s champions under Elliott’s technical leadership.

Much has been made of the concept of the car with its zero-sidepod design, and in particular, Mercedes’ fervent belief over the winter it had adopted the right route.

After considerable pessimism from Wolff after the first qualifying session of the season in Bahrain, Mercedes has ultimately found a developmental direction, with a major upgrade due from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in May.

Allison is to continue to plough the furrow started by Elliott, dismissing even the consideration of a wholesale revamp or a clean sheet as “a good or prosperous approach”.

He added: “If the rules change, then of course, you have to change with them.

“But engineering is about iteration, and in all likelihood, if you tear things up – and I’m going to mix metaphors horrifically here – you are going to just throw away an awful lot of baby along with a small amount of bathwater.

“Because all of these cars, from the top to the bottom of the grid, are unbelievably good cars. It’s merely a question of how competitive you are. Are you the best in the whole world?

“And necessarily, you are going to use the platform you have and you’re going to choose the paths forward that allow it to get better in the fastest possible way.

“Almost never – in fact, never – would you ever tear things up and say ‘No, enough with that, let’s change and do something completely different’.”

Allison firmly believes that as a pairing, he and Elliott are stronger for Mercedes’ benefit.

“It means that we’re able to put our respective shoulders to the wheel slightly more effectively and help it turn just a little bit faster,” said Allison.

“I hope the shoulder that I’m placing on that wheel will help from this point forward.”

Allison coy on identifying upgrade plans

Allison opted to keep his cards close to his chest with regard to what he feels is specifically required to thrust Mercedes back into the championship race alongside runaway leaders Red Bull.

Asked as to what we will see on the car going forward, Allison simply stated: “We’ll just be trying to add downforce to the car, trying not to add too much drag for the downforce we’re adding to the car.

“We’ll be trying to improve the balance of the car. There probably isn’t a car out there with a perfect balance, and ours is very much less than perfect.

“So we’ll be trying to work on that, aerodynamically, and in terms of platform control with the suspension.

“But there are no great revelations there. All the things that will make our car faster would make every car on the grid faster.

“The trick is to try to make sure we’re bringing them quickly enough that we make a relative improvement on our competitors.

“But there’s no magic to that? It’s not particularly mysterious.”

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