The technical director of Mercedes, James Allison, is confident that his team and their new car are capable of overcoming the challenge of catching Red Bull in the Formula One championship this year. As a sign of commitment, the 55-year-old signed a long-term contract extension on Thursday.
Allison’s contract announcement is significant for the team’s goal of regaining their position at the forefront of the grid. It also marks his role in leading Mercedes through the upcoming technical regulations set to take effect in 2026.
In 2017, Allison accepted the position and led Mercedes to maintain their impressive winning streak, overseeing the achievement of four drivers’ titles and five constructors’ championships.
The car has been significantly slower than Red Bull for the last two years, and the team has decided to completely change their design approach for this year. Allison acknowledged that the challenge ahead would be tough, but he and the team are confident in their ability to compete against their rivals by 2024.
“Scaling Mount Everest is a fitting analogy,” he remarked. “It’s an extremely difficult task, but it is still achievable and that’s how we are approaching it. We see ourselves as underdogs rather than favorites, but we are confident that we have done well in creating the new car and addressing the weaknesses that were highlighted so prominently last year.”
Allison mentioned that he thought the current batch of cars had a limited potential lap time. Although Red Bull dominated last year, their improvements may be less significant this season and other teams will likely close the gap. He stated that if Mercedes could join the competition, they would be prepared to rise to the challenge.
“Furthermore, with our successful work on the new car, I predict that there will be more competition at the top of the grid this time around,” he stated. “If we are able to compete in that group, then factors such as operations, driver performance, and the team’s skill will make a difference.”
Additionally, he noted that there was a strong belief among the Mercedes team that seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton was fully prepared to compete for the championship, as long as he had the necessary resources and support.
It is clear that Lewis is determined to return to his winning streak,” he stated. However, his success is heavily reliant on the equipment he is provided with rather than just his own skills. He has always possessed that talent.
Toto Wolff was pleased to hear that James Allison had signed a new deal, securing the stability of the team. This comes after Wolff’s own contract extension as team principal for three years was announced on Monday.
“I have had a valuable ally and sparring partner in him since 2017,” stated Wolff. “We are able to openly and honestly push each other, representing the ‘tough love’ culture within the team that is essential for us to achieve our highest level of performance.”
On February 15, Mercedes will reveal their latest vehicle, the W15, at Silverstone. The first race of the season will take place in Bahrain on March 2.