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Posted By: James Allen  |  08 May 2013   |  4:34 pm GMT  |  127 comments

The Lotus F1 team has today announced that technical director James Allison is to leave the team and that Nick Chester has succeeded him as technical director.

While Chester’s credentials for the role are unquestionably strong, the loss of an innovator like James Allison is a blow to the team, which has made great progress in the last two years on a significantly lower budget than the other front running teams. Allison is much in demand among the top F1 teams in an engineering arms race as F1 heads to a new formula from 2014 onwards.

Under Allison Lotus has grown steadily; they won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year and started this year with a win in Australia. The Lotus has been a front running car this season, with a double podium in Bahrain last time out.

Lotus currently lies second in the Constructors’ Championship on 93 points, 70 ahead of McLaren and 16 ahead of nearest rivals Ferarri.

At this stage last year the team after four races they had just 57 points on the board, indicating their upward progress.

Although some of the innovations he has overseen have not been a success – the front blowing exhausts of 2011 for example – Allison is highly regarded in F1 engineering circles for his stints at the Lotus team, formerly Benetton and Renault.

He is not a lifer with the team, he has moved around teams, including a stint at Ferrari with Michael Schumacher in the glory years between 1999 and 2005, when he returned to Enstone. He had previously been at Enstone from 1991-1992 and 1994-1999.

There is inevitably significant speculation about where Allison is headed and why he has left. The timing is strange as he will not be able to join a new team until the end of the year and will have limited input into the crucial 2014 designs.

Money could well be a motivator in this – not necessarily personal wealth (although that is always welcome!) but the funding seems to be gathered around a handful of teams now in F1.

Lotus operates on a tighter budget than its rivals and Allison told the JA on F1 podcast in April that there are always challenges to developing a car in competition with better funded teams.

McLaren and Ferrari already have technical directors in post, while Mercedes has Paddy Lowe joining the team shortly so is well stocked for senior technical figures.

A Ferrari return is a real possibility, to work alongside figures like Nick Tombaszis with whom he worked closely in the early 2000s, but this would require upheaval for Allison’s large family; his teenage children are at schools in Oxfordshire and they already have Pat Fry, who does not seems to have weathered the recent pressure.

However Pino Allievi of Gazzetta dello Sport suggested today that Ferrari are actively pursuing Allison as they seek to build a super team of engineers.

McLaren have pursued Allison’s signature since they lost Lowe recently, while Red Bull cannot be ruled out.

More is bound to come out on this over the weekend in Barcelona.

There has also been speculation that Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen may leave the team at the end of the 2013 season to join Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull. Given Raikkonen’s competitiveness since comeback, his relationship with Red Bull via rallying and his friendship with Vettel it makes a great deal of sense. It will be interesting to see what effect this latest development in the technical department has on his future.

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127 Comments
  1. McLaren78 says:

    Allison is regarded by many as the best after Newey. Wouldn’t surprise me if he moves to RBR and put in place a succession plan for when Newey retires.

    1. Pete_from_Nepal says:

      +1!

    2. Alex says:

      A reader on another F1blog made the comment that they wondered if there might even be a Red Bull Team after Adrian Newey.

  2. sharjeel says:

    A real blow to Lotus F1, when a long serving employee leaves among doubts of having strong financial backup for team development, really signals not very bright picture

  3. Sleeves says:

    James,
    Usually, you know what happens next!
    Which team will James Allison go to?
    Too bad for Lotus and Kimi, the big teams will dominate even more…..

    1. James Allen says:

      Not always. This has come rather out of the blue to be fair. When I spoke to him about maybe filling Paddy’s shoes at McLaren in March he seemed set on staying at Lotus.

      1. JCA says:

        James, there is romours that Lotus are struggling to close a engine deal for next year, with Renault probably committed to RBR, Williams, Catarham and STR. Do you know if that’s true and if that would be the big issue for Allison?

      2. James Allen says:

        Interesting. Will find out

        I think JA left because of money – in terms of future scope for development

  4. kandy says:

    l hate the BIG teams who always want to keep all the good resouce in them. Whenever they saw some good things, they will try to get them. Thus,the whole sports become the game between only one or two teams. We need some average battles.

    1. Tim says:

      They tried to address this problem with the introduction of the Resource Restriction Agreement. Unfortunately, the big teams ignored it when it was no longer convenient.
      Have a read of The Art of War by Adam Parr, it explains the problem of team self interest very well.

  5. DK says:

    I know this day will come but it is unfortunately too soon. I hope Allison’s departure will not cost too much in the developement race and Kimi’s chances in keeping up with the rivals.

    As much as I like to see Kimi in the second seat in RBR next season, I honestly do not think he will get along well with Dr. Marko and all the politics there.

  6. Accole says:

    Look at mclaren without Paddy Lowe….

    Why leave now when the team is fighting for both titles …………….

    Is money really define everything??

    Feel sorry for Kimi and the team….

    1. Witan says:

      McLaren’s rather under performing car was developed under Lowe’s leadership and he must have supported, if not proposed, the complete redesign rather than the development of the very useful 2012 car – unlike many of the other teams.

    2. Quade says:

      He might be headed for McLaren. You never know.
      The other top teams all have decent designers, McLaren deserves him most, but the World is not a fair place.

  7. Fareed Ali says:

    Wherever Allison goes, Kimi will soon follow

    1. DB4Tim says:

      Ferrari….hum…..Kimi and Fernando, yea that could work!

      1. Kay says:

        IF Ldm wants Kimi back that is.

      2. Chetan says:

        Hey,

        i d’ont think Raikkonen wants to be with Ferrari again, certainly after what’s happened in 2008 ! Everybody sais it was a lack of motivation regarding Kimi, but if you want to know the real story you can check this :http://f1bias.com/2012/04/05/truth-about-kimi-ferrari-santander-2008/. It is a verry long article but it is worth every phrase !!! I really want people to know this !!!

    2. Peter C says:

      Mercedes? Can’t see Kimi there.

    3. Sebee says:

      And I feel really sorry for the grid if RBR is that wherever!

      1. Angelina says:

        +1
        Smart comment

  8. Michael S says:

    My biggest concern as a Lotus fan is if they have what it takes to keep Kimi competative the rest of this season. I assume the team can provide updates as the year goes on and James has been involved with the updates about to come out this week for the coming races.

    This can’t be good for them holding on to Kimi, but then again look how lost McLaren are right now with a huge budget so who knows.

  9. Joel says:

    Since the rumor started during the season start, I always felt Allison will move on. In one of Eric’s interview when asked about the roumor, he indicated that Allison was not the only one designing the car – I don’t think team bosses respond this way, unless they are aware that Allison is planning a move.
    However, what remains to be seen is whether Kimi is aware of this much earlier – his response (or the lack of) would shed a light or two on whether they both are headed to RB. Would Allison take a lesser role @ RB?
    McL may be a destination, although I feel they would prefer internal promotion, instead of hiring outside. However, their current predicament may have changed their mind.

  10. Dai Dactic says:

    ‘The timing is strange as he will not be able to join a new team until the end of the year and will have limited input into the crucial 2014 designs.’

    So maybe ‘removing’ key personnel from a competitor’s team in the short term is just as competitively effective a strategy as ‘gaining’ their expertise in the long term.

    1. LEM says:

      +1

      Mercedes has been poaching all the technical directors for quite sometime now. Now, two (2) competitors’ Tech Boss out of the equation for 2014. Shrewd tactics but could be very effective nonetheless.

      Big blow for Kimi and Lotus.

    2. j says:

      And who is requiring that he leave for the rest of the year? Would Lotus be smarter to say “we’re happy for you James and wish you the best of luck but how about you put your all into the current car for the rest of the year and leave the team on a high.”?

      1. Kay says:

        Surely that’s a really simple answer, no?

        1. Contracts – might say if he’s to leave the team, he must be on gardening leave/cannot be hired in another team for X number of months to prevent secrets leaking out

        2. Team management put him on a leave, for the same reason above.

      2. LEM says:

        If you were Lotus, are you still going to let Allison stay, access their resources, gather more data about E21 tyre management, interlinked suspension, DRD project, 2014 design secrets, etc., if you know the he will be going to another team?

      3. Dai Dactic says:

        You miss the tactical logic.
        Lotus was forced to drop him with immediate effect due to the actions of a competitor.

  11. Anne says:

    I must say I´m shocked. And I feel bad for Lotus. I hope the tyres debate was not one the problems. But I´d like to know the reason why Allison had decided this move now in the middle of the season.

    Is Barcelona his last race at Lotus? Can he join other team in a few days or he must wait until the end of the season?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      It sounds as if he’s going immediately to gardening leave like paddy Lowe. There’s a lot of gagging clauses to keep it all quiet. My guess is that Allison was paid well either way. However much like Lowe, there are other motivations than money. Lowe clearly left because he would never be a team principal under whitmarsh but is being groomed to replace brawn at Mercedes. My guess is Allison is being groomed to be his TD. And he’s up for that as he feels he’ll have a career where he wins a lot of trophies much like the old Schumacher days he enjoyed.

      1. KRB says:

        Well, it can only be gardening leave if Lotus keeps paying him. They might rather want to come to an agreement with Allison’s next employer (i.e. compensation). Guess it all depends on how tight the budget is at Enstone.

  12. Lalit says:

    I am surpised. Lotus seem to be in the mix for something big, and leaving them without getting the just reward for his inputs and direction seems very odd.
    Plus given the fact (as you pointed out) that he cannot join any team until the end of the year seems even more of a reason not to.

    I guess he just wanted to take a paid vacation :P
    Of course that is a tongue in cheek suggesstion and a competitive person like James would not do that.. but then nothing else makes sense…..

    1. Lalit says:

      I also think Webber and Kimi will be swapping rides at the end of the season… so maybe thats where James Allison is headed too.

      1. luqa says:

        Can’t see Webber and Kimi swapping rides. Kimi yes, Webber no. Who would want a malcontent such as long in the tooth Webber incapable of accepting the fact some of the young guns- RG are simply quicker than he is.
        The only place for a Webber would be to teach some of the pay drivers in the bottom end of the grid- somewhere where he can still be “the man”..

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Won’t Kimi be nearly as ‘long in the tooth’ as mark in 2014? I think kimi’s fans forget that he’s the next veteran after mark in age sometimes. Yes 33 is young in the ‘real’ world but when he’s 34 next to Seb at 26 surely he’ll be the grumpy old man.

        Or is it just Mark’s particular attitude that marks him out as an angry old man? (Interesting that he’s still 7 years younger than Schumacher…)

      3. Angelina says:

        Auraf1
        Not really. Kimi and Seb r friends. And Kimi is not as grumpy as unsuccessful(0 wdc) Mark.

      4. Tyemz says:

        I see. Mark and proud young Seb were sworn enemies when they first started out at Redbull? there’s a limit to what being friends will do to a professional relationship especially if one party feels the other party should be grateful for just being in the team. if Kimi would accept going to a team where his talent will be wasted at playing second fiddle, then it wasn’t worth coming out of retirement Ice Man!

  13. Chromatic says:

    Seems Lopez does not have the cash to pay both Kimi and Allison.
    Sad because he needs both, and if Kimi also leaves for RB next year, then cinderella’s golden coach will become a mere pumpkin once again.

    1. James Allen says:

      I fear that may be behind this, but time will tell what the story is

      1. JoeP says:

        It’s upsetting sometimes to be a fan of F1 and worry that your favorite team(s) have enough budget to continue, let alone remain competitive.

        Dieter Rencken’s article on how winning might not “pay” for Lotus (in comparison to Ferrari) was really an eye-opener.

      2. unF1nnished business says:

        Exactly, it hardly seems fair and takes some credibility out of the sport.

    2. LEM says:

      It’s really a shame that Lotus is turning out to be a top team again, and now this happens. I don’t know what kind of management style Eric B. has but it’s kinda not working out good…

    3. Kay says:

      Nice POV :)

  14. christos pallis says:

    It is interesting this Technical Director musical chairs. They never seemed to get this much attention. I think the Redbull – Newey factor has really highlighted over very recent years that a quality Technical Director can make a huge difference.

    James it sounds like you are leaning towards Ferrari as his most sensible option, is that your suspicion?

    1. James Allen says:

      I can see the long term sense for Red Bull; how long will Newey continue, great relationship with Renault engine people etc. There would be less upheaval of existing staff than with the other top teams. They have the money to do anything they want.

      Ferrari makes sense, but will be tough on his family and he’s a big family man – they also have the money to do anything

      1. Peter says:

        Can also make sense for a first-line engineer to join Newey and learn some more tricks before he (Newey) retires? Apart from money, of course. I also think that Allison had been waiting to see if the team can secure a main sponsorship deal and it has not happened so far. I do not see Kimi staying with Lotus after all, the Robertsons must be talking to RBR already, but Dr. Marko can be a problem as he must prove that RB development program is a success. It will be interesting to see what happens. Sorry for Lotus,

      2. Anne says:

        Ferrari, Red Bull…Well maybe James Allison ends up being Manchester United new manager. Who knows? His secret passion could very well be football.

        :)

        Seriously nothing will be the same without Sir Alex Ferguson in the Premier League. Sorry for the off topics. Two shocking news in one day

      3. Stephen Taylor says:

        +100

      4. Quade says:

        I’m a Manchester United fan as well. Sad. I couldn’t switch to any news channel until tonight.

        I guess we’ll have to wait for James Allison’s announcement of who his new bosses are.

      5. graham says:

        Why do people think Mr.Newey wants to retire? He is loving life and he aint that good at golf! the saying “Dont change something if it aint broken” is the reason JA 2 will not be going to RBR.

  15. Oz Geezza says:

    The odds of probabilities must favour
    Mr James Allison joining his coleague from
    Benetton days Pat Symonds at Marussia.
    Money, Ferrari Engine and do your own thing.
    Your thoughts Allen?.

    1. Christos Pallis says:

      The most obvious reason Allison wouldn’t do that is its a step back down the grid in terms of budget, performance and prob salary too. His credentials would suggest a ‘big team’ deal is on the cards

  16. Val from montreal says:

    Raikkonen + Vettel @ Red Bull =

    Hakkinen + Schumacher @ Ferrari …

    Or in other sports ;

    Lemieux + Gretzky @ Edmonton Oilers

    Michael Jordan + Magic Johnson @ L.A. Lakers

    Maradonna + Pele @ Juventus

    Please Christian Horner and co . , go get Raikkonen at whatever cost it takes … The ultimate rivalry it will be ! 10 x better than Prost + Senna

    1. brendan says:

      kimi at red bull,that would be great,would he let vettel pass? he would of caught him up and took him off the track,.
      we want more drivers like kimi,does his job he don’t moan,gets the best he can from the car.
      (leave me alone I know what am doing)

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Just love to see the Kimi quote when Marko writes of his inability to match seb in the in house RBR magazine, likely to be fairly unprintable…

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        I want Raikkonen to form an ex Sauber driver dream team with Perez at Mclaren should he not stay at Lotus. The pupil will then learn from the master before eventually becoming the master himself.

      3. Sebastian says:

        “I don’t care what he says.”

      4. AuraF1 says:

        Global F1 headline ‘Marko withholds all vodka jellies at red bull party – raikonnen finally shows flicker of emotion.’

      5. Kay says:

        Vettel: Christian, move him out of the way, he’s too slow.

        Kimi: Yes yes yes yes, I know I’m in front and going to stay there till the flag waves, there’s no need to remind me every second.

    2. Miha Bevc says:

      Kimi and Seb at Red Bull… that would be my dream team. Two of my favorites drivers together.

      I just hope they can stay friends whatever happens, and that Red Bull (and Renault engine!) will be competitive next year.
      James, what do you think are chances of that?

  17. cometeF1 says:

    I feel somewhat a bit down at the possibility for Lotus losing both Allison and Kimi. It comes to be I hope they stay as competitive as they are now. More of the teams competing at the top, the better for us follower of F1.

    Vettel and Kimi teaming for RB seems an appetizing prospect. I would love to see that pair up and I would have a hard time picking which of the two would come on top over the long run.

    In what capacity would Allison join RB is also most interesting. Marc

  18. unF1nnished business says:

    James, how much will this affect this years development of the E21?

    1. James Allen says:

      It will affect it, but they have people to cover Allison. He would have overseen the process, made decisions on where to deploy resources.

      The people with the ideas work beneath him, he has to judge which ideas are worth pursuing, especially in a team that doesn’t have as much money to spend as others.

      It will have an effect on Kimi’s decision process for next year as well. If he genuinely has a Red Bull opportunity I can’t see him not taking it

      1. unF1nnished business says:

        Interesting, thanks for your answer.

      2. dkfone says:

        Hi James,
        Love this site. I was just wondering could you ever foresee Vettel trying to stop Kimi coming to Red bull? I would have thought the driver decision would lie with Mateschitz but events in Malaysia makes it look like Vettel pretty much does what he pleases in the team.
        I for one think Raikkonen at Red Bull seems like a perfect match. What are your thoughts?

      3. Stephen Taylor says:

        Do yo think he would have a chance to go to RB? I think Ricciardo is more likely to join RB because of Dr Marko.I would rather kimi went back to Mclaren in place of Button . More to the point I think Sir Alex Ferguson would do a far better job at running Mclaren currently.

      4. Stigs says:

        I think it’s the other way around, Kimi is og to RBR, and without a new titlesponsor om place Allison leaves now as 2013 car development is more or less dine with. Ny money is on Merc!

      5. Sebastian says:

        Another question is how important Chester was in the design process now that he has to focus on being boss?

      6. dean cassady says:

        Kim to Red Bull: there are problems with this theory. Going to team mate the three/four time, in the past four seasons, world champion?!? Team Vettel?
        I don’t know.
        A tighter change would be to Mercedes, whose stock is finally on the rise, replacing, if one of the Mercedes drivers were to be dropped, Rosberg. And that a long shot as well, teaming Hamilton?
        Yet better han a Red Bull-team Vettel move.

  19. Gazz says:

    Someone else on here has hit the nail on the head. Its better to deny a team the input of someone like James even if you cant use him for the rest of the season yourself. Merc now have Wolff, Brawn, Lowe, Hamilton and now possibly Alison. If a ship gets too top heavy it will capsize.

  20. Rich B says:

    if kimi goes to red bull he’ll want a 2 year contract which kind of makes their red bull driver program pointless. i can’t see ricciardo being happy to stay at toro rosso for another 2 years, i think he’s worthy of a top drive so if he goes to one red bull would’ve wasted the big chunk of cash that funded his career path to f1.

    1. Kay says:

      The RB Driver Program has always been flawed and pointless from the start. They thought of TR as a graduation step kind of team, which isn’t how F1 works.

  21. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I’m not surprised, better people have to go to the best teams, specially when technical problems for 2014 are already on the table. My feeling is he is going to McLaren, time will tell.

    Now everybody look to Kimi, he is gaining power in Lotus when they have to negotiate the contract for 2014. It’s a jungle there.

  22. Random 79 says:

    Seems to me that these days there is as much focus on the technical director / engineer market as there is on the driver market…maybe even more so.

    Question is, is this a good thing?

    Regardless, hope Lotus can keep up their good form.

    1. James Allen says:

      They make the car go faster. Once you have a top driver, as each of the top teams has, then you have to give them the equipment and that means the right people behind it

      It’s an innovation arms race

  23. Nick D says:

    To me McLaren, although a top team, seem to be on the slide and never fulfilling their true potential due to poor car design, bad starts to the season etc etc. Although they are very good at improving a car once they get their heads around the problems.But its always too late by that time.

    Allison would vastly improve their chances of creating a great car from the get go, thereby vastly increasing their chances of more titles.

    I’m sure a constructors title would be a holy grail for them, and they should grab both Allison and Kimi in order to help achieve this!

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      And which driver do you remove?

      1. Nick D says:

        Perez. He was a rush choice for them anyway.

      2. Kay says:

        Post-Bahrain I’d say Button. Perez is a damn lot faster.

      3. Stephen Taylor says:

        So Mclaren would have two 34 year olds in the same team? Surely in time Perez is Mclarens future . Kimi and Jenson is not a long term partnership . Your criticism of Perez is harsh and think a partnership between him and Kimi would make more sense.

      4. f1future says:

        That would mean bye bye to Slim’s Money, so it won’t happen.

    2. JCA says:

      I can’t see Kimi going back to the domineering corporate culture at Mclaren.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Never say never.

  24. AuraF1 says:

    Right Allison to Mercedes, cue the civil war exploding with Lauda, Wolff, brawn, costa, Lowe, et all in a major brawl over who’s really in charge.

    Someone wants Allison and Lowe running the technical side of that team and wants brawn retired is my guess.

    1. toleman fan says:

      The name you’ve overlooked is Bob Bell, who was Allison’s -boss- until Bell went to Brackley.

      “And here comes Allison, into the pits, he’s gone a lot longer on this stint than his teammate, but it looks like he could be about to switch to the same strategy. Will he able to get back on track -ahead- of Bell? Or will Bob Bell keep track position and retain seniority over his former Number Two?” ;)

  25. j says:

    Ooops. If there was any chance that Lotus could keep up in the development race long enough to compete for one of the championships it’s gone now. And 2014 isn’t looking that great either.

  26. Zombie says:

    Kimi and RBR rumours have been around since 2010, and it sounds like a marriage made in heaven. Unfortunately that would also mean that all the best drivers on the grid will now be concentrated among 4 wealthiest teams.

    For RBR, hiring Kimi makes perfect sense as Vettel may well leave the team after 2014. Kimi will be 35 by then, but can easily continue racing for another 3 years.

    1. Sebee says:

      Gives RBR negotiating leverage with 5xWDC….by then. :-)

    2. Quade says:

      You are missing Hulkenburg and Ricciardo as among the best drivers. Those two will still be driving for lower rated teams (at least, till seasons end).

      1. Quade says:

        How could I have forgotten Bianchi as well?!

      2. Anne says:

        Of coursse there is The Hulk, Bianchi and others. The question is, do they have the sponsors/money?

  27. Sven says:

    Sad news for Lotus.

    Is Kimi next? I would love to see Vet&Kimi at RBR. Such a great lineup–a lineup that might actually work. I know that every man is for himself and all, but personal relationships play a huge role as well. It’s obvious that Vet and Kimi respect and like each other a lot. Good friends and great drivers=great combination.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Not sure how long the friendship would last if Kimi encountered the same Vettel actions as Mark Webber did. Driver friendships always seem more stable when its not direct teammate competition.

      1. Sven says:

        I’m pretty sure Vettel would treat Kimi completely differently from Mark. Vettel just doesn’t seem to regard Mark as equal to him( which is, in a way, completely justified, as Mark is not the triple WDC of the team). Vettel doesn’t seem to respect Mark much, but Kimi is another matter entirely. If I’m not mistaken, they’ve been friends since 2007, and Kimi seems to be the only person Vet doesn’t mind losing to. It’s obvious when they’re on podium together.
        Besides, unlike Mark, Kimi isn’t one to whine, complain to public and create scandals, and Vettel generally isn’t either, so I believe they would work much better as a team than Webber and Vettel.

      2. Sam says:

        +100

  28. m.uSMAN GHANI says:

    kimi x-engineer is already at RBR working with mark webber …so kimi departure to RBR will not be a surprise…speculation increased about kimi departure to RBR at this year end and now allison gone….so its quite probable tht allison have left For RBR with kimim to join at year end …so by the time kimi arrive he will have his own race engineer along with technical director (james allsion) who knows what kimi like and how he is comfortable in car….it will also make things easy for redbull to negotiate kimi…2ndly allison is a good replacement for newey in unforseen future….make a bit sense james?

    1. Angelina says:

      mushman
      RBR has more interest in providing Vettel with a car he likes than providing Kimi his choice of car.
      If Allison moves to rbr, he will move for Vettel not Kimi, & money ofcourse from his point of view.

  29. Sven says:

    Maybe it is Williams.

  30. Well says:

    I can’t understand why people overrate the input of a single engineer/designer this much.

    There is a whole team designing/engineering the car that work together as a unit. Just 1 guy does not make it all good.

    Same with Pat Frye, nothing changed there because he didn’t take with him the group of people that made it work together.

    Look at RBR. Everyone says Newey, Newey, Newey, but take away the dozen engineers/designers below him and his cars wont’t win the constructor’s title… see 1999-2009.

    1. Kay says:

      “I can’t understand why people overrate the input of a single engineer/designer this much.”

      Newey alone made huge changes to the whole RBR team and structure. And those dozon engineers / designers weren’t from McLaren or Williams days he worked with. So yes he alone did make those changes.

      The same with other good TDs / designers / engineers. Their jobs isn’t simply just about designing / making things, but also motivating people in getting them work to the best, and putting the right people in the right places for the whole team to perform.

      Just look at Sam Michael vs Mike Coughlan. Yes MC this year so far hasn’t made much of an impression due to the exhaust problem, but last year’s Williams went up several steps because Coughlan came in.

    2. Ben says:

      I can tell you from my experience working in big engineering companies, the difference between and a good project manager and a bad project manager makes a huge difference to how a project plays out. Even with the same group of engineers having a good PM focusing the right resources in the right place, making sure they get on your case to get the work done but don’t over interfere and do what they say they are going to do really improves your motivation and enjoyment of your work. Where I work is very different to what these guys do but the same rules will apply. The work being managed well cannot be over estimated as to the contribution towards the success of the project!

    3. Angelina says:

      +1
      Might be true that non-technical guys don’t have much of a clue.

    4. JCA says:

      The technical director decide the design direction that the team takes, which upgrade to pursue, etc. They may not design the whole car, but they are critical to the car’s performance.

  31. mhilgtx says:

    I will take a stab at this.

    As mentioned above it sounds like one of the big budget teams came a courting (I don’t really speak like that) and Mr. Allison has been offered a deal too juicy for Lotus to be able to match.

    However which of those teams could it be? I think Ferrari needs help, but Mclaren needs the most help with Lowe leaving. I would love to find out that Allison was going to Mclaren and I think that makes the most sense.

    I also wonder what happens with Brawn. I think someone told me Mclaren and Brawn was a nonstarter but I like that combination should Brawn leave.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Mclaren have said they approached Allison as soon as Lowe went on gardening leave but they were turned down. So, officially, they are denying its them. As mclaren have openly stated they tried to get him it would be odd for them to say its not happening. There’s also no feathers to ruffle at mclaren – which the secrecy and confidentiality clauses in all this suggests its either Mercedes or Ferrari – though given the obvious power struggle at Mercedes I’d put my money on that being the source of the upheaval.

    2. Hendo says:

      Yeah, I agree with your thoughts on JA (the other one) going to Macca.
      Not so sure about your ideas for Brawn though.

  32. Zinobia says:

    This is such a big shame for Lotus, they have really hit their stride of late. James Allison is a big key figure and highly respected, this could potentially have a big effect on Lotus.
    Although some of team’s improving results might also be down to Kimi, the E21 doesn’t really look like a title contender when Grosjean is driving it. I just hope it is not to much of blow for the team’s competitiveness this season.

  33. dean cassady says:

    Yes, yes… it is aweful for me and all of the other Kimi fans, who want him to be driving a car that is capable of winning, since we all expect that if he is driving a car capable of winning…
    Terrible.
    I’m a bit surprised about the doubt in the article about where he is going; safe to say, as every other observer who has been paying attention, he can probably commute to his new work, and not have to uproot his family.
    Money is money, but Allison just doesn’t seem the Ferrari type, to me.
    Neither is it the quorum at Mercedes.
    Unless Adrian Newey is leaving Red Bull, there is only one place that Allison could be going.
    Duh!
    Come on…

      1. dean cassady says:

        Not one to be stubborn about admitting my own error: I am somewhat affected by the wave of James Allison to Maranello rumours; also, if I was the best team on the grid, I would want to back my design supremo, if I could…
        Who’s to say anything, though I still think that Mercedes is a definitely ‘no’.

      2. dean cassady says:

        Now Pat Fry away from the race with… …appendicitis?!? It could be just a co-incidence…

  34. dean cassady says:

    And for all of the hordes discussing Kimi, and what he’s going to do; rest assured, Kimi and/or his people will deal with, I’d betcha.
    Before the jump overboard by Allison, I really have believed Lotus to be the flower for Kimi, but, any reasonable person paying attention knows, Allison is the next in line for the throne of best designer; and ho ever got him, with large budget, will win in 2015-2016.

  35. Feral says:

    This is a surprise…
    why step down now when it’s all coming together…I suspect a deal is already been done…now we just have to wait and see where to next

  36. Yak says:

    A big shame for Lotus, given the fairly steady upward trend in performance since he joined. Hopefully they can continue in the same direction without him. For them to come this far and then start dropping back again would be a shame for the competitiveness at the pointy end of the sport too.

  37. Chris G says:

    It’s Mclaren surely…isn’t it?
    British based, big budget and big shoes to fill with Lowes departure.
    It also doesn’t already contain Adrian Newey or a vast array of managers, technical directors and overseers a la Mercedes.

    I’ll probably be proved wrong but….

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      I’ve heard it’s Maranello.

      1. Sebee says:

        You know…warmer weather, more sunlight, mountains.

        It’s not a bad place really. :-)

  38. Steve L says:

    McLaren was my first thought too, but I see that BBC sport ‘understand’ that Allison has already rejected a McLaren offer. Any thoughts on that James?

  39. Grant says:

    If Kimi goes to Redbull next season, then Vettel will definitely be found out….

    1. sid says:

      Kimi might be found out as well, don’t forget

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Or he might retire.

    2. dean cassady says:

      Not a single driver could go the Red Bull and result in Vettel being ‘found out’.
      Vettel is likely the most intelligent and natural strategic thinker of all of the competitive drivers. He is also very, very adept in enlisting those around him.
      Anybody going to Red Bull will have to contend with these tilted odds.
      Only Ferrari could be worse.
      With the certainty of a massive shakeup coming for next year, Mercedes is in striking distance of the front, and with a stacked line up of development talent.

  40. shak says:

    Wouldn’t it be smartest to leave now? I mean look at paddy lowe having to sit out an entire year due to gardening leave. This way he only needs to sit out about 7 months or so. Remember gardening leave is usually enforced by the company you are leaving… Its in lotus’s best interest that allison exits stage left asap. I’m sure the cost of him not being able to work on developing the ’13 car is far less than allison taking the knowledge of the new car to their competitors. You can’t simply ask him to leave the room everytime the 2014 chassis is discussed.

    As for kimi going to RBR, frankly I see it going bad for all parties concerned. I believe what malaysia showed is that vettel holds winning as no1 and doesn’t care who he has to upset to win. He will never yield to kimi just because they are mates. Vettel will always be helmut’s pet and kimi will not simply accept being a number 2 at Redbull. I only see one of two things happening… He will stay at Lotus or he will leave F1 again. He has proven he can come back and win, he knows he can come back later, I think he’s the only one in the paddock that doesn’t really care if he isn’t in F1 next season

  41. abashrawi says:

    On a side note, I heard that Sir Alex Ferguson has resigned from Manchester United, and is heading to Mercedes.

    Can you confirm that James?

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Thats funny I thought Sir Alex was going to Mclaren to replace the out his depth Whitmarsh?

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