Toto Wolff has moved to clear up the role of James Allison at Mercedes after talk that he had returned to the F1 side of the business.
Allison is certainly a well-known figure in the Formula 1 realm, his career having started with Benetton in the early 1990s and having passed through teams like Ferrari and Renault before he made his way to Mercedes in 2017.
Allison was promoted to the role of chief technical officer of Mercedes AMG in 2021, a role which Wolff confirmed to Motorsport.com the Brit still holds today, though a recent project for Allison has seen him take on that same title with the INEOS Britannia Americas Cup team, INEOS being one-third owner of the Mercedes F1 squad.
However, rumours had bubbled up recently which suggested Allison was to return to Mercedes’ F1 scene after another tricky start to a campaign in F1 2023.
Wolff though made it clear that Allison’s duties within the team do not stretch any further than being involved in key discussions.
Asked how involved Allison is with the F1 business, Wolff replied: “He is not involved.
“He plays an active role when long-term team strategies are discussed, but nowadays he devotes his time to other activities such as the America’s Cup project and other programmes aimed at innovation.”
But, considering the fact that Mercedes have not started F1 2023 as they would have hoped, is there any temptation to get Allison back fully involved?
The Brackley squad had hoped that their improvement in the latter stages of 2022 was a solid base to return to title contention in F1 2023 but, with P2 their best result across the opening three rounds and Red Bull looking a class above the rest, Mercedes’ ambitions have taken quite the knock.
Wolff though feels that rather than looking at simply plugging Allison back into place and expecting the lights to all come on, for Mercedes it is more a case of finding multiple people who could come in and lift the standard of the team.
“James is still very important to our organisation,” Wolff stated. “But in terms of the difficulties we have, I don’t think it’s a question of one person, as much as finding more of the right people in the roles we need.”
And another individual who some have claimed Mercedes are missing is Aldo Costa, statistically the most successful F1 engineer/designer in F1 history with 14 Constructors’ titles and 12 Drivers’ titles won during his stints at Ferrari and Mercedes.
Wolff though played down suggestions that the team are still feeling the effects of Costa’s exit at the end of 2018.
“People like Aldo you don’t replace, what we did was to divide the work he did between several replacements,” Wolff explained.
“Aldo was very good at structuring his succession, it was not a process that could be solved in the short term. We had two and a half years to be able to mould and adapt the technical department to his absence.”