Allison returns as Mercedes technical director


Mercedes has reorganised its technical leadership, with James Allison returning as technical director, while Mike Elliot reverts to the role of chief technical office.

The move sees the two men both revert to the roles they occupied in 2021, before Allison opted to take a more backroom role that would allow him to focus on other projects such as the America’s Cup.

The move is part of the German team's drive to turns things around after admitting that its interpretation of the 2022 rules overhaul, and particularly its zero-sidepods approach, was wrong.

As Allison and Elliot swap roles, John Owen, who was moved from his role of car designer to focus on the budget cap, returns to his old role, while his former deputy, Giacomo Tortora is appointed engineering director.

"Mike has led a review of our technical organisation to ensure we have the right structure to deliver sustainable success in the future," said a Mercedes spokesperson.

"We are focused on building the best racing car, and building the best team to develop that car, with everybody playing to their strengths in the organisation."

"This was very much driven by Mike Elliott owning the process," Toto Wolff told "So, we have reversed the roles. Mike has moved up to CTO, as he has a brilliant switched-on scientific mind, and James Allison has returned to his technical director position, reporting to Mike.

"What Mike's assessment was, and the introspection is really admirable, is that with James we have a gladiator on the field and the troops are going to go through the fire for him and with him," he continued. "Mike came to the conclusion that the way he approaches things, his skill set, is best utilised in developing the organisation going forward: from technical capabilities to human capabilities and putting together the structure that can be successful for many years to come.

"It's about creating a structure that can be sustainably successful going into the next generation," he added. "We're seeing huge changes in the technical developments, artificial intelligence and machine learning. And at the same time, looking at how is a modern Formula 1 team going to be organised and structured: what kind of innovation can be brought in.

"Mike sees himself very much in his sweet spot there and obviously he's a super capable engineer, very credible and respected in the organisation. He is going to be a coach and sparring partner for the most senior people.

"I'm actually very happy that Mike took this decision by himself to put himself in this role, with both him and James coming to this conclusion, as we are having both of them in their genius."

Referring to the other changes, the Austrian said: "John (Owen) as the chief designer had a very different job profile under the cost cap because, in addition to the creative part of designing a car, you have a tonne of extra work that comes with it. What happened is that the chief designer became a cost cap administrator. So, we've split the role. John stays as the chief designer, but we have mandated Giacomo Tortora to become the engineering director.

"It means John can concentrate on the specifics of the car design, and Giacomo looks after the design office, and the organisational development.

"We have a path now that we believe is the right one," he concluded. "It's just different personalities and a different management structure."

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Published: 25/04/2023
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