James Allison on Mercedes shakeup after calls for Mike Elliott to be sacked

Mike Elliott replaced James Allison as Mercedes technical officer two years ago, after Allison moved on to become chief technical officer.

Mercedes technical officer James Allison believes Mercedes’ “overall fighting strength” is much better now having swapped jobs with chief technical officer Mike Elliott, who informed team principal Toto Wolff that Allison was better suited to the role.

Allison has made a shock return to his technical officer role after having moved on to become Mercedes’ chief technical officer two years ago, with the Silver Arrows having arguably struggled ever since.

Mercedes have claimed just one win since the start of the new ground effects era in 2022, with the team’s car having also underperformed.

By Allison and Elliott swapping jobs, the belief is that the two gentlemen are now in roles “best suited” to their strengths, something the technical officer believes will improve the team in general.

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Allison told Formula1.com that himself and Elliot switching positions was not “particularly dependent on the fortune of the car at a given race weekend – it was based on a sober assessment of what the pair of us are best suited to. We think that the overall fighting strength of this team is maximised by this role swap.”

The switch comes after the Germans’ best round of the season so far in Australia, where the Silver Arrows appeared to be second in the pecking order, especially after George Russell and Lewis Hamilton qualified second and third.

Whilst Russell retired from the race with a power unit failure, Hamilton secured the team’s first podium of the year after finishing second.

“Let’s hope Melbourne is just the first step in a general pick-up and recovery that helps us to get more competitive by the weekend,” Allison added.

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“Mike and I are convinced that with the jobs we’re setting out to do we’ll be playing our best part in that recovery in the time ahead of us.”

Allison and Elliott switching jobs isn’t the only positive action taking place at Brackley, with the team set to introduce a new concept of the W14 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

This should dramatically improve Mercedes’ performance; however, Allison believes the W14 already has several strengths that work in its favour.

“It’s reliable – touch wood – that’s a definite strength,” Allison said. “It’s got a very quick pair of punters pedalling it around.

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“It’s better than most of the grid out there but until it’s the quickest one it will always feel like a weak car to all of us.

“It’s adequately kind to its tyres but not as good as some other cars we’ve made in the past. It’s got more downforce than most of the cars on the grid but not sufficient. Its handling characteristics leave a little to be desired and need to be worked on, for sure.

“But none of this stuff is revelatory. We’ve been talking about it most weekends and it’s part of what this team needs to address to get winning material back in our hands.”