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James Allison at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix

Mercedes brings back James Allison after a lacklustre start to the year

Can the former Chief Technical Director swoop in and save the day?

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Mercedes’ 2023 started less with a bang, but more with a fizzle — however big changes might be underway at the Brackley-based team. 

Mercedes pit crew at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix
Mercedes are third in the constructors’ standings, behind Aston Martin. (Image credit: @MercedesAMGF1 on Twitter)

Before the Bahrain Grand Prix even began, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confessed that he didn’t think Mercedes’ unique car concept was going to work

Wolff was proven right. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell came across the finish line in P5 and P7 respectively. It was a result made that bit more painful by Fernando Alonso bringing home a podium position in his Aston Martin — dutifully kitted out with a Mercedes powertrain. 

But Mercedes seem set for an overhaul of their 2023 challenger. Speaking ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Wolff said: 

“We gave it our best go over the winter and now we all just need to regroup, sit down with the engineers, be totally non-dogmatic and ask what is the development direction we want to pursue in order to be able to win races.”

George Russell echoed Wolff’s comments. “The fact is we didn’t have enough performance on the car,” Russell said after Sunday’s race. “Today’s probably back to the reality and we just need to get back to the drawing board and keep on working.” 

Allison returns, but can changes be made? 

Motorsport Italy has reported that James Allison will return to the Brackley team. Allison departed Mercedes in 2021, moving to sailing team INEOS Team UK. Mike Elliott succeeded Allison, taking on the role of technical director.

News of Allison’s return will likely be received warmly by fans. The former technical director guided Mercedes to four constructors championships. But Allison’s excellent track record extends beyond Mercedes. Allison played an instrumental role in both Ferrari and Renault during their championship-winning years.

It’s been reported that Allison has had an input on the developments Mercedes will bring to Imola in May. Red Bull are looking ominously dominant, and the Aston Martin is surprisingly impressive. The pressure is on for Mercedes to make improvements. 

In the meantime, Mercedes will look to improve their setup ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “I’m looking at what we can find next week,” said Toto Wolff. “What is the change of direction that we can implement and how quickly can we do that?” He added:

“Maybe we can turn the ship around this year but it needs a lot to change the pecking order.”

For now, it’s back to the drawing board for the German team.

Featured Image Credit: PlanetF1

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