James Allison is Technical Director of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.
In retrospect, it seems inevitable that James ended up in motorsport. After all, his answer to the question of why he wanted to work in Formula One is: “It was a great alternative to growing up and getting a proper job.”
James’ motorsport career started in 1990, when he joined the Benetton F1 Team as a Junior Aerodynamic Designer immediately after graduating from the University of Cambridge.
Just two years later, James was appointed Head of Aerodynamics for the small Larrouse F1 squad. Sadly, the cash-strapped team struggled for results and it wasn’t long before James was back at Benetton as an Aerodynamic Designer.
Success soon followed, as James celebrated Michael Schumacher’s World Drivers’ Championship success in 1994, with Schumacher and Benetton claiming the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles the following year.
James was promoted to Head of Aerodynamics in 1997 and, just two years later, swapped Enstone for Maranello and the new role of Trackside Aerodynamicist with Scuderia Ferrari, playing an important role in a period of unprecedented spell of success, as the team won six World Constructors’ Championships between 1999 and 2004.
After six years in Italy, James returned to the United Kingdom and a familiar home at Enstone, now under the Renault name, taking on the role of Deputy Technical Director. With young Spaniard Fernando Alonso at the wheel, Renault were the team to beat – taking top honours in the Constructors’ Championship in 2005 and 2006.
James was promoted to Technical Director in 2009 and remained with the team as it transitioned to new ownership and the new name of Lotus F1 Team, fighting back to the top step of the podium in 2012 with Kimi Räikkonen scoring the team’s first win in four years in Abu Dhabi.
2013 saw James head back to Ferrari, this time as Technical Director. After a fruitless year for the team in 2014, James’ influence was crucial as Sebastian Vettel claimed three wins the following year, when the Scuderia emerged as the closest challenger to the title-winning Mercedes team.
James departed Ferrari midway through the 2016 season and returned to the Formula One grid in 2017 as Technical Director of Mercedes AMG-Petronas Motorsport.
When asked what he loves about Formula One, here’s James’ full, non-abridged answer: “I love the fight. I love that it is grindingly, desperately difficult because that is what makes any success so meaningful. I love that nothing about it is vanilla; technology, skill, cunning, personality, humour – everything is extreme. But above all, I love the sense of shared purpose and belonging that comes from being in an F1 Team. It is not a mere job, it is a brilliant, exciting, challenging and deeply fulfilling way of life. All of us who have experienced it are deeply fortunate.”
|Date of Birth:||21 February 1968|
|Place of Birth:||Louth, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom|
|2017||Technical Director, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport|
|2013||Technical Director, Scuderia Ferrari|
|2009||Technical Director, Renault F1 Team|
|2005||Deputy Technical Director, Renault F1 Team|
|1999||Trackside Aerodynamicist, Scuderia Ferrari|
|1997||Head of Aerodynamics, Benetton F1|
|1996||Head of Aerodynamic Design, Benetton F1|
|1994||Aerodynamic Designer, Benetton F1|
|1992||Head of Aerodynamics, Larrousse UK|
|1990||Junior Aerodynamic Engineer, Benetton F1|