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Raikkonen says Lotus technical director departure “makes no difference”
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Posted By: James Allen  |  09 May 2013   |  4:20 pm GMT  |  46 comments

Lotus F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen said today in Barcelona that the sudden departure of technical director James Allison would not affect the team’s performance.

Allison quit the team yesterday to be replaced by Nick Chester. There are no firm indications of where he is heading, but there is a strong suspicion that it is Ferrari, as they seek to build a brains trust at Maranello to mount a sustained challenge for the championships over the coming years.

Fernando Alonso was cagey in the FIA press conference today when the subject of Allison came up; his body language suggesting that it was a subject he did not want to discuss. Alonso worked closely with Allison at Renault, winning two world titles in 2005 and 2006 and then reconnected with him after his one year career at McLaren.

He expressed the highest regard for his abilities “We just know the news from yesterday and we don’t have any more news. For sure, I worked very closely with him and was World Champion with him two times. Then I came back to Renault in 2008/9; in 2009 he was already technical director and we were not so successful with that car, but we saw the Lotus car in the last two years and no secret that he’s one of the top men here and we will see what future he has.

“I would like to work with all the technical directors. It would be nice to have all of them in our team and see how our competitors create their cars because this is impossible. We are working well and this year things are going much better so we are happy with what we have but it’s always welcome, any extra help.”

Allison is also well known at Ferrari from his time there in the dominant Schumacher era.

However speaking yesterday after the news was announced, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said, “To my knowledge, he’s not coming to us. I speak only when I can give news, so I must deny this. But we’re always looking around to look for quality and if the right opportunity presents itself..”

This ties in with the feeling in the F1 paddock that Allison is likely to move to Ferrari, but that nothing is yet signed.

As for Raikkonen he shrugged off the loss of his technical director, saying that Lotus has strength in depth and said it would not affect his decision making process about where he will race in 2014,

“For me it doesn’t really make a difference,” he said. “It’s not like it suddenly happened one day. People have discussed it and the team will have known it was coming for a while. So it’s not like we woke up it’s different to what it was when we went to sleep.

“I think there are a lot of strong people and we should be fine.”

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46 Comments
  1. Antony Biondi says:

    Hi James,

    As a Ferrari fan, I’m really excited by the prospect of James turning up at Maranello, however, there seems to be so many unconfirmed and rather conflicting rumours flying around the web at the moment.

    Is it a case of nobody really knows, or if pushed do you think you could be confident to say where he is going?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, I don’t think anyone can say that with any real confidence. His stock is very high and he is in demand.

      However McLaren has told me categorically that he isn’t going there. It’s hard to see where he would fit at Mercedes with Paddy Lowe due there at the end of the year but they are actively setting themselves up for an all out assault on F1.

      Horner dodged the question this evening and if I were him Allison is the kind of guy I’d be getting in for the future.

      1. Antony Biondi says:

        Thanks James

      2. dimitris says:

        My guess is that he is headed for Red Bull in case Newey makes a move to Ferrari or plans to retire in the near future.

      3. jeroen says:

        Newey would love to work for Ferrari but not in Italy and I doubt they will create a plant in the UK!

        On the subject of Newey I would love to see him try his luck with a smaller team to see if he could make a difference there. I for one would love to see him end his career by bringing back Williams to be proper title contenders.

      4. Jason says:

        Newey did try his luck with a smaller team, Red Bull wasn’t always a dominant player.

      5. dean cassady says:

        Now Pat Fry, appendicitis?!?
        Maybe Ferrari after all!

  2. Chromatic says:

    Sounds like it’s been sometime in the planning. Might even guess since before the season started! I get the impression that Allison stayed on for the first four races just to steer the team on the right track. Decent chap.
    but would this not suggest he is joining McLaren as Lowe’s replacement?

  3. Accole says:

    kimi gonna make up the deficit…..

    1. Chris Chong says:

      Leave him alone. He knows what he’s doing.

    2. Sebee says:

      Or like James says, he’s not worried because perhaps he’ll follow.

    3. petes says:

      No. Kimi has next years seat sorted most favourably.

    4. Rich C says:

      Ofc, he knows what he’s doing!

  4. Anne says:

    Of course!!! Thank you James. I completely forgot that Allison and Alonso worked together at Renault. How could I forget that??? Now everything makes sense.

    1. James Allen says:

      If that is the way it goes then it shows the clout ALO has to set a direction.

      Like Mercedes they are building a brains trust for the future

      1. Anne says:

        Besides equally important is that Ferrari looks more atractive to Vettel in his future. If in fact Allison returns.

        Ferrari + Rory Byrne + James Allison

        Looks like a very interesting combo if Vettel wants to leave RB at some point.

      2. Zombie says:

        Like Michael back in 1996..within his first 2 years he took Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and software maestro Zapski with him.

      3. justafan says:

        The problem with ALO’s clout is that by the time Alison will be fully betted in at Ferrari ALO might not be there anymore and VET might be reaping the rewards set by ALO’s clout. Unless ALO wins this year’s title, that is.

  5. Pete_from_Nepal says:

    According to bbc, Niki Lauda has been actively pursuing JA even in Bahrain. Perhaps Mercedes?

    And of course Kimi doesn’t care! Now if the ice-cream vending machine was removed…

    1. Anne says:

      Andrew Benson is talking about Ferrari in his recent articles

    2. unF1nnished business says:

      I think it’s Ferrari with Alonso and Allison’s successful history…But, there is a part of me that thinks Newey wants to retire on a high after(if) they win this year’s championship with Allison taking over in 2014.

    3. Dennis says:

      I didn’t know James Allen was being pursued….

    4. mhilgtx says:

      Surely Kimi’s ice cream is hand dipped for him, or if a ice cream bar held in a special freezer just for him. :)

  6. goferet says:

    So, it appears the only man whose departure can cause a seismic shift in a team’s dynamics is none other >>> Newey (and Ferrari’s Rory Byrne).

    I mean, first we had Lowe leave Mclaren and they said, the ship still sails and now Allison won’t be missed much by the looks of it.

    Gosh, being an engineer in F1 is tantamount to being a goal keeper in football >>> pretty thankless job for you’re blamed for all the wrongs and don’t get enough credit for all the rights.

    But you know what, if Allison ends up at Ferrari, wouldn’t this mean Kimi remains at Lotus for I was under the impression Kimi and Allison were going to hook up in 2014 just like Lewis and Lowe.

    Also pretty telling that Kimi believes the team has a lot of strength in depth, in other words he is going no where.

    Meanwhile, it’s funny to see Kimi is going about winning this championship the only way he knows how >>> Iceman style.

    If you recall in 2007, Kimi lead the championship on just two days i.e. The first and last days of the season.

    Yes, he sure knows what he’s doing.

  7. [MISTER] says:

    How about JA going to RedBull and Adrian Newey announcing he is retiring at the end of the season?

    That would be a bomb! Anyone thinks this is coming?

    1. James Allen says:

      I explained in the original news story that RBR makes a lot of sense for long term. Horner dodged the question yesterday when we spoke to him.

  8. leeschumi says:

    regardless a team like lotus this will only make them stronger Team Enstone have a tendency to pull it out of the bag when required not a major loss at all.

    Kimi dont care so as long as hes not bothered –

    Kimi for the title???

  9. Duffy says:

    Raikkonen and Alonso are good. When they retire from F1 they can run for office… just sayin’

  10. liambo says:

    Ferrari it is then, I’m delighted. Him and Fernando ready to play some serious ball.

  11. Joel Sciamma says:

    Surely a chap with the experience and standing of Allison will have felt fairly confident of making a successful transition to the team of his choice before relinquishing his post at Lotus?

    However, the suggestions that negotiations are continuing indicate that the move was not so certain. Odd.

  12. Y K says:

    James, most people who can see the drivers’ press conference (also thanks to Youtube uploads) agree that most of the questions the drivers get from the room/floor are irrelevant, predictable or embarrassing.

    Is there any kind of quality control or why don’t they all sit down and discuss things together before they all make a fool out of themselves every race weekend?

    Is it really that hard to ask some proper questions? Every race the same nonsense. No wonder the drivers churn out standard memorized lines with those questions.

    These press conferences are totally pointless this way, except pics being taken of the sponsor logos on the outfits of the almost sleeping drivers.

    1. Sebastian says:

      +1

  13. Peter says:

    He is not the kind of guy who would say: It is a disaster, I am out, too. However in the background his managers do the thinking about 2014 options and Kimi will decide. He should go to RB to get regular wins, but he would be too much of a danger for Vettel. It would not be nice for Seb after three or four WCh`s and to possibly get beaten by Kimi.

    1. Nothisagain says:

      I find it comical that some people assume Kimi will just beat Vettel like it’s nothing.

      Vettel has to be the most underrated driver ever, because I think he is one of the best of all time.

      The problem is that he is getting in the titles while most are fans of Alonso and Hamilton. And he is German of course, that never helps, eh?

      The car argument is moot, because Fangio, Senna, Prost, Stewart, Lauda, Schumi, Alonso, Hamilton, etc all won their titles having the best car that season.

      Also, if we have to believe the reports, Alonso blocks Vettel coming to Ferrari or he would have been in 2014. What is he afraid of? He keeps downtalking him, so he should easily beat Vettel right?

      1. Peter says:

        I rate Vettel, but I have been following Kimi for a long time and I just rate him as one of the best of all time in terms of natural talent. He could easily give hard time for Alonso or Hamilton, too. It is that simple.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        But when Kimi isn’t firing on all cylinders he’s been out driven by both Massa and Grosjean – so when he seems to go into hibernation his natural talent doesn’t always stack up against any teammate. Vettel, love or loathe him, is clearly hungry every race. Perhaps it’s just an age thing – but saying that even Hamilton had days when he just seemed bored and not at full spec at a similar age.

        Kimi has bags of talent but he is the very model of a hit and miss personality.

        The only real question is whether he suits the 2014 red bull design. The car philosophy is utterly adapted for and by seb – even mark who is no slouch can’t get his head around the way the red bull works fully – but Kimi doesn’t like to spend time learning, he just likes to show up and drive. I expect that’s why his first year with lotus was a bit rusty and has improved this year. If he moved to red bull I could see him falling behind seb in 2014 quite badly and making a comeback in 2015.

      3. justafan says:

        Please don’t forget that Kimi was thrown out of F1 to make room for Alonso not so long ago.

      4. Elie says:

        I agree with Nothinsagain. Im a huge Kimi fan and doubt there is a better driver since he entered the sport. Sebastian though has been in Red Bull racing for 5 years and has proven himself many times – he is in his prime at 26.Whilst Kimi would be starting again at Red bull at 35. I can see them exchanging wins but I before I see that ,Kimi needs to be assured he will not suffer the BS and team dynamics that Mark is currently experiencing.

  14. Val from montreal says:

    Mr. James Allen , why do people including yourself keep refering Luca as ” Di ” Montezemelo ?

    I have a 1999 F1 article right here interviewing Montezemelo and he clearly states that his last name does not include any “Di” in it … Montezemelo says in said article that it’s the PRESS who started inserting the “Di” in it …. There is no such thing !!

    People can Wiki Montezemelo all they want , does’nt mean wiki is right !! I hope this gets sorted out …

    There is NO ” Di ” in Montezemelo , unless of course the interview was one big lie on his part !!

    1. Rich C says:

      It doesn’t matter. His *real name is “3-Car Monte”.

    2. Tim says:

      I am not saying you are wrong, but has it occurred to you that you might be?
      There is a significant amount of evidence to suggest the “di” is correct, including the official Ferrari website. You would imagine the official website for a company would spell the name of their own Chairman correctly :-)

  15. graham says:

    mercedes,mclaren or even sauber, who knows but it must have been a very hard decision to make quiting Lotus!! Kimi is right Lotus have a lot of clever people there, Its a big player move though and must be a sinking feeling through-out the team. This cant be about money so a move up the ranks in another team must be the reason, Team principle in the making?(mclaren,mercedes)cant see a position in ferrari under pat fry,replacing Matt Morris but under a new role in sauber is what sticks out for me, Sauber really need to step up a gear after droping back this year. The money is there, the performance is not! This is a big time for sauber and allthough its not make or break it really is time to stop the downward shift. Alonso will be screaming down Stefano Domenicali`s ear to make a offer though, At the end of the day I wish him well, he really is a nice guy and has respect all through the paddock. most be nice to be in demand.

  16. JoeP says:

    “It’s not like it suddenly happened one day. People have discussed it and the team will have known it was coming for a while. So it’s not like we woke up it’s different to what it was when we went to sleep.” – KR

    Oh Kimi, you do so make me laugh and smile (when you’re not simply being rude! lol)!

  17. LEM says:

    Kimi’s comments is what Lotus/Enstone needs in times like these. Allison’s departure undeniably made them feel a bit unsettled. It may look like he does not care or he’s a bit rude, but Kimi is making them feel that they can still do it and they still have what it takes to win, no matter what. He is being a leader.

  18. Zinobia says:

    Kimi is displaying the right approach and attitude. Most of the Lotus fans are already dismayed with the news, what’s done is done there is no need for Lotus to reflect to much on the situation, Kimi is just looking forward.

  19. Paul D says:

    I doubt Kimi cares…

    It won’t affect performace in the short term and he won’t be there next year.

    He’s nailed on for Red Bull in 2014.

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