Toto Wolff vows further staff strengthening at Mercedes after James Allison renewal

Thomas Maher
James Allison, Toto Wolff, at Montreal 2022.

Toto Wolff has said more great technical minds are incoming at Mercedes.

Following on from securing the services of James Allison for another contract renewal, Toto Wolff is confident of further bolstering the strength of Mercedes’ personnel.

Last month, Mercedes confirmed the team has re-signed James Allison on a new long-term deal, with the British engineer having returned to the coalface of being the team’s technical director during the course of last season.

With Allison having played a pivotal role in the design and development of some of Mercedes’ most dominant F1 cars in the previous regulation cycle, team boss Toto Wolff has said securing Allison for the immediate future adds stability to the Brackley-based squad.

Toto Wolff: James Allison is a great leader

With Allison assuming control of Mercedes’ technical direction for the change of philosophy taken on the new 2024 W15, Wolff told German publication AutoBild that Allison’s signing is merely the tip of the iceberg and that quite a few top-level managers have committed their futures to Mercedes.

“James is a great leader. He has been in the past and he will continue to be in the future,” he said when asked about Allison’s re-signing.

“By extending his contract for a very long period, we have provided stability at the top of the team.

“But there are many other very valuable managers who have signed up for the medium to long term, and more will come.

“I think we have tried to really understand what kind of organisation we want to have in the future and I am glad that we have been able to do this without compromise.”

As for Wolff himself and his own future, the Austrian told select media – including PlanetF1.com – after the 2023 season that he has no intentions of taking a step back from team leadership on his own side any time soon.

“I still think that I can contribute to the team in my area of expertise,” he said.

“That is, I think, keeping it together, although I’m very emotional sometimes.

“But they know me so well, that I have these difficult moments on Sunday night.

“No, I can contribute. Unfortunately, I haven’t found someone who I would say I think that person has more energy, more drive, more skill – all of these factors that I believe are important to be the team principal and CEO.”

With Wolff holding a 33 per cent ownership stake in the F1 team, he said his own involvement in the organisation remains unchanged as the team goes through its current rebuilding phase.

“As a partner, I will always be a part of this team, but I have the feeling that as team manager and managing director I can make my best contribution,” he said.

“Last year has given me the opportunity to think about the areas I can improve, and that was important to give me a perspective for the years to come. We have clarity at the top levels of the organization, and this stability will give the team confidence.”

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After two years of being unable to fight for the title, Mercedes is hopeful the new direction taken for the W15 – together with Allison’s oversight of the design and development from the beginning of the process – will allow the team to join back in with the title fight.

To that end, Wolff said the last two years may prove a valuable source of motivation and energy for a team on the rebound.

“A phrase says: ‘If it hurts, you don’t forget it.'” he said.

“I believe that the past two years have been important for us to realign, recalibrate, and reinvent us in certain areas.

“No sports team has won every single championship in which it participated. That is a fact. I think we had done very much, but we also knew that there would be a time when things would become more difficult. And that is exactly what happened in 2022 and 2023. However, this also means that you have to change without throwing away all the good that is already in the team. They want to maintain the good parts and work on the things that you have to develop.

“This approach is never easy. But we have made progress and look forward to taking the next step with the W15. It will not be a straightforward way, but if we stumble, we will get up again and continue.”

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