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Ferrari name Allison as chassis technical director
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Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2013   |  3:23 pm GMT  |  78 comments

Ferrari have announced former Lotus technical director James Allison will join the team on September 1.

Allison, a highly-rated engineer in F1, left Lotus in May. The deal to join Ferrari, who have struggled for form in recent races, was done back in June, around the time of the Canadian Grand Prix.

In a statement, Ferrari said he will work alongside Pat Fry, who will take on a new position of director of engineering, with both men reporting directly to team boss Stefano Domenicali.

Allison and Fry previously worked together at Benetton in the early 1990s.

This will be Allison’s second stint with Ferrari as he worked for them between 2000-2005 when the team enjoyed considerable success with Michael Schumacher.

He then moved to Renault, which later became Lotus, when Fernando Alonso won the title in 2005 and 2006. He was made technical director in 2009.

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  1. AlexD says:

    Good move, still not enough…

    1. The guy won the WCC 7 times in a row (2000-2006), it might actually be enough!

      1. AlexD says:

        Same way Domenicali won Ferrari titles…he was also part of the organization

      2. Domenicali doesn’t design cars, so there’s a glimmer of hope.

        You never know… The Renault/Lotus has been quite good since 2010, the first year without Pat Symonds in charge there.

  2. Kanman1 says:

    Does anyone share the same opinion as I that pat fry has been demoted??

    director of engineering…….what does that suppose to mean??? ROFL

    1. Tony Riley says:

      Great point. When Fry was appointed by Ferrari as technical director, Adrian Newey’ comment was “Strange.”

      1. Raymond Yu says:

        Hey mate. Do you have a link to that? Would love to see how he said that.

      2. Vernier Caliper says:

        Wherever Pat Fry goes mediocre cars will follow.

      3. Optimaximal says:

        Patrick Head was director of engineering at Williams for a good time.

        He had a pretty big steer on the direction of the cars, but it’s a bit of a dead-end ‘give him something to do’ job.

  3. Anon says:

    Wind tunnel problems, appointing people at the last minute, they could really struggle next year.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      As far as I know and remember, they are still using Toyota’s wind tunnel, but at some point between now and the end of the season they will be able to use their (I really hope) improved one at Maranello.

    2. Kanman1 says:

      thats why they are using toyota’s wind tunnel…..

  4. Scuderia McLaren says:

    Won’t make much difference if the drivers can’t qualify well. Too much is lost on Saturday that’s already there IMHO.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Drivers can’t qualify well because the car can’t qualify well. Alonso said his Q3 lap in Hungary had been perfect, and he was 5th.

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        But then… Alonso is not the best qualifier.

      2. Kanman1 says:

        alonso has habit of bluffing. There were a few quali when he did badly but he claim it was the maximum.

      3. Rockie says:

        What did you expect him to say?

      4. Yak says:

        Just because Alonso says his lap was perfect, doesn’t mean it was. If you haven’t noticed, Alonso doesn’t really take the blame for anything. In Suzuka last year he tried to push Kimi off the circuit, DNF’d, and then blamed Kimi for it.

    2. Michael S says:

      I disagree… they are always around 5 or 6 in qualy and their starts are the best in F1. Alonso was 4th and Massa was 5th after lap one and Kimi beat both in the end. It seems to be in the race they are losing out these days.

  5. Veena says:

    I am wondering why Ferrari needs Allison when Alonso is capable of building and improving the car?. He may take another 4 years but its worth.

    1. Daniel MA says:

      Really? Is Alonso an engineer? haha

      I’m sure you meant: “I am wondering why Ferrari needs Alonso when Allison is capable of building and improving the car?”

      1. Veena says:

        No, I mean Alonso. That was the talk of the town when he joined Ferrari. Also he had some additional 3/100 of a second under him.

      2. clyde says:

        You’ve got it wrong he said that he brings an additional 3/10 to any team he drives for …By that he meant as a DWDC he could help develop the car and gain that additional time

      3. RodgerT says:

        The phrase “tounge in cheek” comes to mind.

  6. Elie says:

    Ferrari need all the help they can get next year. With the resources Mercedes and Red Bull have at their disposal.
    It’s a good move because Allison led alot if developments at Lotus including their clearly successful FRICS on the suspension and mechanical setup will take more work next year- a very good move!

    I agree – Director of Engineering must surely be a step back for Fry

    1. Optimaximal says:

      Lotus have FRIC now?

      1. Elie says:

        Apparently they were the first to have it since last year

      2. Richard says:

        I think the merc has it too

  7. Sid says:

    Good news for Ferrari, wish them well… so who’s ranked higher, James or Pat. Director of Engineering vs Chassis Technical Director… James take it away!

  8. Anne says:

    Well now it is official. Is Allison´s job the same he had at Lotus? I don´t think he would join Ferrari only to do the same thing despite that for sure we will be making more money.

    1. Sri says:

      “we”? it would be so nice if it were true :)

      1. Anne says:

        I meant he. I guess my subconcious betrays me sometimes


  9. goferet says:

    Congrats to Allison on getting this promotion with the greatest team in F1′s history. I can only imagine the trappings such a move comes with.

    With Byrne and Allison teaming up, there is potential of a chain reaction happening here but most of the times, it’s never quite the same when we go back to the ex girlfriend (especially if it was us that were dumped) so I await to see how this all shakes up.

    As for Domenicali, am surprised he will still be boss taking into account the fact Italians working at Ferrari usually don’t work out too well.

  10. Basil says:

    He should have stayed with Lotus, Kimi deserves this man.

    1. DK says:

      Probably he didn’t get paid as well …:0)

    2. Josh says:

      Or maybe he went ahead into Ferrari for Kimi to eventually follow suit and have the team built around Kimi this time

  11. Nuno says:


    Can he start working straight away?

    1. Louis says:

      Sep 1st accordng to Autosports

    2. Matt says:

      Not until September.

      Still a little unclear about the Byrne – Allison – Fry relationship and exactly who’s responsible for what.

      What on earth is a Director of Engineering and how does that differ from Chassis Technical Director? I swear these titles are just being invented.

      1. Optimaximal says:

        Of course they are. An incumbent isn’t going to happy with newcomers coming into their job, unless they can do the same/less for the same money and quietly disappear.

    3. Victor says:

      As for September 1st

  12. Jon says:

    Good move, although can’t see him making much of an impact this year, but hopefully he’ll be able to influence next years car.

    Ferrari need to improve the qualifying pace of the car, without sacrificing their race pace. Hopefully they’ll have a good update come spa, and move forward again, should make for an entertaining second half of the season!

  13. Sleeves says:

    The market for the best “technical brains” is as interesting as the driver market.
    Now that a number of teams have lost proven engineers, it can provide space for new talent to blossom! It will be exciting to follow Nick Chester, although he has been around for a while. James, would be interesting to hear your comment on which team that has the best creative designers.

    1. James Allen says:

      Red Bull and Lotus simple!

  14. Michael S says:

    As a Kimi/Lotus fan this one really hurts… I fear James saw the writing on the wall at Lotus financially and made the jump. Maybe Alonso will now go to Red Bull and Kimi can go back to Ferrari.. If Kimi went back to Ferrari and won another title I would lose my mind with excitement…

    1. Optimaximal says:

      But seeing as Ferrari took a *HUGE* financial hit paying Kimi not to race because he didn’t want to, why would they even consider taking him back?

      1. Phil says:

        I thought they paid Kimi not to race because they wanted to put Alonso in the seat?

  15. Oz Geeza says:

    Good,Good one invisages couple other changes
    at Maranello during this four week summer break
    Tombazis and in particular Domenicali must walk a truly non achieves.Mr Luca d M should talk to Ross Brawn to complite a dream team that was of no equal,Rory Byrne is back now
    Allison too,Ross Brawn should replace Domenicali asap,simply put EXPERIENCE has no substitute, in any field.

    1. Optimaximal says:

      Stop living in the past…

      1. Oz Geeza says:

        Never forget ” The World was Discovered in
        the Wooden Boats”.
        US, landed Man on the Moon 44 years ago.
        Without the past you are no body, no direction
        and no future.

  16. Sleeves says:

    F1 captivates a lot due to the rapid technological development, but now it seems that restrictions in the regulations creates even greater needs! It costs even more money and fewer teams have a chance to win.

  17. Louis says:

    Does anyone think the next announcement from Ferrari in a few months time will be Pat Fry leaving the team?

  18. Harvey says:

    Good move, and Alonso should stay put. Once Ross Brawn is given the boot by Herr Lauda, probably in December, perhaps he’ll be on a plane to Maranello.

    1. Optimaximal says:

      More than likely he’ll be on a plane to the West Indies to bank his hundreds of millions in a tax haven…

  19. Rob Newman says:

    I don’t think this will make much difference. Ferrari needs to understand its fundamental problems. If bringing in new personnel is the solution, then I suggest they replace both their drivers.

  20. SteveS says:

    Too late to have any real impact this season, but perhaps he can help them for 2014.

  21. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Great news, F1 needs a competitive Ferrari!

  22. Sniper says:

    Well it is more like Kimi that saves his tires than Lotus car. Just look at Grosjean always doing one more pit stop

  23. Franco says:

    James, perhaps u can call in a few favours and get him on your next podcast :)

  24. PB says:

    To be honest, to me it looks like Ferrari employs more skillful copy writers than engineering personnel judging by how their cars have been performing over the last few years and the scripts their leaders have been reading out to us in their ‘conferences’, ‘journalist gatherings’, etc.

    So much proud talk but nothing to show for it.

  25. yassin says:

    If lotus was willing to match Ferrari’s offer then I would struggle to understand why he would leave such a good team.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Given their respective budgets I doubt Lotus could match any offer made by Ferrari, which of course would have been a big factor in his decision to switch and could well be the only reason.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      The rumour is that Allison left even without a confirmed contract elsewhere as he was so unhappy with several people put in place by the new Lotus management.

      It must have been bad though as Allison has said many times he’d struggle to move back to Italy with his young family now. So probably he found enstone intolerable to make such a bold dash for the exit…

      1. Anne says:

        I read about those rumors too. However Lotus in twitter said yesterday it was a good fit for Ferrari because both are legendary. So I don´t think things betweem them are so bad.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        The media team at Lotus are not the same as the parachuted management figures. It’s not one happy family for sure.

      3. Optimaximal says:

        Exactly. ‘Lotus’ are just an trading company of Genii Capital, who are basically a bunch of hedge-fund managers.

  26. Bruce says:

    Hello James, off topic.
    In the Australian newspapers today was a story about Australia’s first F1 Driver Tony Gaze who past at the age of 93.
    He was also a ww2 fighter pilot.

    Do you have anything you can tell us about him?

    1. Phil says:

      Check out Joe Saward’s blog. There’s a nice article on there. Sorry James!

  27. MT says:

    Had to be done. Ferrari already on the limit with the driver personnel in Alonso. Need infrastructure support to match. Good move but may be too late if Alonso entertaining Red Bull. Even if a rumor, sends message to Ferrari to get their act together.If they cannot get engineering to match, Alonso is saying he will go find it himself. Ouch.

  28. Simon Hargreaves Wani says:

    hi all glad to be on the forum

  29. Simon Hargreaves Wani says:

    Ferrari is number one in formula 1.Everyone want to drive for the team but it is only for the chosen few.There is s major problem and has always been for years with the qualifying.Can you imagine that redbull never really has a bad day.So much for wind tunnel issues they need another story to sell to the tifosi.The car is definately a dog and Alonso is doing his utmost to produce the best.Massa is smoking some else though.They can not rebuke Alonso for saying what all of us who have watched our favourite Ferrari move from all conquering to an also run.A drinks company beating a company that makes racing cars now looks like its going to be 4 years in a row.Not acceptable,sorry.

    1. Phil says:

      The Red Bull F1 team are not a drinks company. They are a racing team owned/sponsored by a drinks company. As they have proved, they are every bit as capable as any other F1 outfit.

  30. Fareed Ali says:

    Why didn’t he have to go on a longer “gardening leave”. Didn’t he have a contract with Lotus?

    1. Phil says:

      Wouldn’t be surprised if some money didn’t change hands over it.

  31. Sensei.GT says:

    Alonso would be a fool to leave now. Any news on the growing rumor that Kimi agreed to terms with Ferrari last Thursday James?


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