Lewis Hamilton and George Russell reveal thoughts on James Allison’s return

Thomas Maher
James Allison, Mercedes, in the F1 paddock. Montreal, June 2022.

James Allison, Mercedes, arrives for the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, June 2022.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have offered their opinion on James Allison’s return to the technical director role at Brackley.

In the lead-up to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Mercedes confirmed a shake-up of their technical departments after the first three races of the season.

Former technical director James Allison, who left the role in 2021 to become chief technical officer, will revert to his prior role – Allison having overseen the designs of the 2017 to 2021 title-winning Mercedes cars.

Mike Elliott, who had succeeded Allison as technical director to helm the designs of the W13 and W14, has moved to replace Allison as chief technical officer.

The Mercedes drivers react to return of James Allison

With Allison’s return to the role of technical director largely being seen as a move to steady the ship after the admission from Toto Wolff that their ‘zeropod’ concept had taken the team in the wrong direction, both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell gave their thoughts to the media in Azerbaijan.

“James has always been a part of the team,” Hamilton said during Thursday’s drivers’ press conference.

“Obviously, he was focused a little bit on another area before. I think having him step back in a little bit to support and work alongside Mike, I think it’s only going to strengthen the team moving forwards and he’s obviously got an amazing amount of experience.

“So I think, moving forwards, it’s just going to be great for the team, particularly with all the things we want to achieve not only on track but off track. I think it’s gonna be good.”

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George Russell was similarly upbeat, saying that the new dynamic has put Allison and Elliott into positions where both can be stronger.

“I think it’s really good news, to be honest, because, obviously, Mike was the technical director and James was overseeing a few different projects. And now, effectively, we’ve got both of them full-time,” he told Sky F1.

“Mike is one of, if not the most, intelligent blokes I’ve ever come across in my life. But I think placing him in this new role will really put him in his element.

“When it comes to a team sport, not just drivers, but managing 2000 people or talking about a football team, you need to get your best players in the right positions to get the overall team result.

“Effectively, that’s what this change has been so I think, in both regards, we’ve probably put both where they belong.”

George Russell: One person not accountable for success or failure

With Mercedes making it clear that the technical reshuffle has come about as a result of an internal review carried out by Elliott himself, with the finger of blame for the troublesome W13 and W14 clearly not being pointed at the former technical director, Russell stressed that the changes aren’t being carried out as a way of holding anyone accountable for the issues they’ve had.

“It is absolutely teamwork,” he said.

“There are a number of people who contribute towards the overall decisions and feed back into the rest of the factory on the direction that we take, and James was involved in some of those conversations and decisions in the past.

“But it’s how the game goes, this was a team decision. Obviously, Lewis was saying you win and lose together and that’s truly how it is. There’s never one person accountable for any success or any failure – it is always the team.”