Mercedes technical director James Allison has paid tribute to the team who “took a gamble” on him after losing his wife to meningitis in March 2016.
His wife’s sudden passing saw Allison leave his role as Ferrari’s technical director in July 2016, but he was offered the chance to return to the Formula 1 paddock with the Silver Arrows and joined them in February 2017 after Paddy Lowe left for Williams.
Allison said he was still “something of a wreck” at the time of joining Mercedes, but his confidence and mental strength began to grow again.
“I am still grieving today four years on, but then I was crying in the car on my way into work and crying on the way home,” Allison said in an interview on Mercedes’ YouTube channel.
“I didn’t know what the right thing to do was, at the time most of me was just wanting to crawl into a hole and never come out again.
“But Toto gave me this opportunity and I hoped that as time passed that I would start to feel like I would want to re-engage with the world and by the time I was walking in the factory gates at Brackley I was feeling a little stronger and a little more useful.
“I was able to get a sense that despite the pain of losing Becca that there was still some use in me. As the weeks rolled by and turned into months and eventually years that gamble that Toto took on me I hope I have repaid by being useful.”