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Ferrari faces F1 more upheaval as James Allison leaves the team with immediate effect

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Ferrari faces F1 more upheaval as James Allison leaves the team with immediate effect
Jul 27, 2016, 10:26 AM

Ferrari’s Formula 1 technical director James Allison has left the team with immediate effect, it was announced today.

Ferrari’s Formula 1 technical director James Allison has left the team with immediate effect, it was announced today.

Allison, who began his second stint with the Scuderia in the middle of the 2013 season after previously working for the team under Ross Brawn between 2000 and 2005, helped Ferrari recover from a winless 2014 season to score three victories last year.

But 2016 has proved difficult for the Italian team, as it is so far yet to win a race and is in danger of losing its second place position in the constructors’ championship to Red Bull.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne is a man in a hurry for success and has moved to replace Allison with Mattia Binotto, who is very much a 'Marchionne philosophy' player.

Max Verstappen Kimi Raikkonen

Speaking about the news, Allison said: "During the years I spent at Ferrari, at two different stages and covering different roles, I could get to know and appreciate the value of the team and of the people, women and men, which are part of it."

"I want to thank them all for the great professional and human experience we shared. I wish everybody a happy future with lots of success."

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene added: "The team would like to thank James for his commitment and sacrifice during the time spent together, and wishes him success and serenity for his future endeavours."

Maurizio Arrivabene

Allison had been linked with a return to the Enstone-based Renault team, the former Lotus squad where he worked after his previous spell at Ferrari, following the death of his wife earlier this year.

Ferrari will replace Allison with Mattia Binotto, Michael Schumacher’s former engine engineer, who takes up the post of chief technical officer.

James Allen analysis:

This is a very unfortunate situation for all concerned. But clearly from James’ point of view, his personal situation after his wife’s death in March had become intolerable and at the same time Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has been conducting a review into all areas of the team and change is clearly on the horizon.

Sebastian Vettel

But perhaps the person who will be most concerned is Sebastian Vettel, who now sees another member of the team that he signed for at the end of 2014 moving on after Marco Mattiacci and Luca di Montezemolo both left at the end of that season.

Ferrari is unstoppable when it is at its best, as we saw in the early 2000s with the Schumacher, Ross Brawn, Rory Bryne, Jean Todt and Paolo Martinelli dream team. But we also saw that when you move your assets around, they don’t always convert to different roles. It's all about that intangible alchemy of talented human beings who need to be organised properly by an orchestrator and allowed to be creative whilst being encouraged to be ruthless.

Aldo Costa was the designer of the world beating Ferraris, and is again now the designer of the world beating Mercedes. But after Ross Brawn’s left at the end of 2006, he was not the right man to become technical director and was brusquely moved on by Ferrari. They could do with him now.

Mattia Binotto

So is Mattia Binotto the right man? He has certainly done a good job taking over the engine department; sources suggest that is the department at Ferrari that is working the best. He is a very good organiser and that appears to be the direction of thinking now at Maranello, rather than casting around to find another chassis engineer who can become a Director.

Binotto is conscientious, bright, a hard worker and he was Schumacher’s engine engineer during the dominant years. But despite his undoubted skills, to take an overall view on the car as an engine man is a big ask.

And so Ferrari enters another period of change, of potential turmoil. At worst they will be trying to fit square pegs into round holes at best it's another restructure whilst the opposition – most notable Mercedes and Red Bull – moves forward with pure continuity and a clear, in Red Bull’s case, upward trajectory. Mercedes meanwhile shows no signs of losing its grip or its dominant form.

What do you make of the news James Allison has left Ferrari? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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