Could Allison be the new Brawn at Ferrari

As we mentioned back on April 13th, Sergio Marchionne is at the helm of Ferrari as CEO. Not sure how he juggles his roles at Fiat Chrysler and Ferrari but apparently he does. A reader sent me a link to a story Joe Saward posted on his blog in which he says there are rumors that current Ferrari F1 boss Maurizio Arrivabene could be sacked and replaced by none other than James Allison.

Now, I have no word from anyone on this but admittedly Joe is a F1 reporter and much closer to such rumors and whispers than I am for sure. Regardless, you can read his commentary here but I thought it an interesting piece that could spur some conversation about Ferrari’s current plight.

The team wasn’t winning with Fernando Alonso so they got Sebastian Vettel and he gave them three wins in 2015 in a car that was not really on pace with the Mercedes—no one was for that matter.

Fast forward to 2016 and the team have not won one race in which they most likely had expected to by now. Marchionne’s presence in the garage in China didn’t help matters either when he was very candid about not winning. As a Ferrari fan, I certainly appreciate his words but I also have followed the team for years and the sport and while Sergio may simply say in 2015 that a Ferrari not winning is unacceptable and again in 2016, the sport isn’t that easy.

The regulations have the team’s hands tied on just what they can do to increase performance throughout the season and where they can develop. The tension in the garage and on the face of Arrivabene is tangible and understandably so. Regardless, simply starting to beat Mercedes is a heck of a lot easier said than done within the regulatory framework of the current F1 rules.

This is also a point I’ve pondered as to why Ferrari were in the Mercedes camp about not changing the 2017 regulations and Marchionne’s ties and wooing of Mercedes road car division has me wondering if there isn’t a bigger picture here for Fiat and more specifically Chrysler here. Maybe not, just wondering. If they aren’t winning with these regulations and can’t change much, the Ferrari of old under Luca di Montezemolo would have been very much in the Red Bull and McLaren camp to change things up.

James Allison is a good guy and I am a fan of his. His recent tragedy with the loss of his wife seems to be a situation that would be really hard for him to take the helm immediately. However, it does start to remind you of the era in which the team hired another Englishman named Ross Brawn. Perhaps that old magic of a German driver and an English team boss could present titles again?

Maybe Sergio has been reading Helmut Marko’s, “how to manage and demote team members” best-selling novel.

Hat Tip: Joe Saward

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There have been all of 4 races played out, first Red Bull makes a big move and now this, F1 is now running at a much faster speed than is necessary. Ross Brawn was given several years to start winning, if this story is true then I guess Ferrari wants miracles to happen in just months. Who does Ferrari turn to next if Allison does not win a race in 4 races? Is this really the way to get a good result further down the line? Ferrari is back to being the Ferrari of old.


If I may add, Ross — and I like the guy — was pretty good in what he was doing on the pitwall, but the team was actually run by Todt, a quiet genius in the background. They also had Byrne, etc. Allison has degree from the Cambridge in aero, but to run as TP a team like Ferrari needs more than a degree in aero.


I understand your point but… it was well understood at the time that Todt acted as the layer between Ferrari management and the F1 team, he did not run the team in any way that might infer having the final word on anything. Brawn asked for more money and Todts job was to get it. When Brawn went to Honda and won it all as BrawnGP, there was no Todt, Brawn was doing what he did at Ferrari. Further, in 2010 Brawn switched the design teams to focus on the 2014 regs, and the rest is history, as in, Brawn… Read more »


Mine is not inteded as a cheap shot, but if SM continues as he demonstrated already, I would not be surprised, if we learn that not too many good men actually want to work under him. He is certainly not getting Baldisserri, Brawn, or Costa. New name thrown into hat is J.Key.

jiji the cat

Sounds like the Roman senate

Johnpierre Rivera


sunny stivala

So far so good as far as the F1 media rumours specialists goes, now as Joe said, let’s wait and see what happens, if any.

Johnpierre Rivera

WOW!!! is all i can say, but then again Serg seems very much “if you can’t produce then your are out” kind of guy. he reminds me of the Alec Guinness character in the Mamet play, Glengarry Glen Ross. if this actually happens it will make Kvyats demotion look like a gift… i don’t want to stir the pot too much (well i kinda do) but if everyone thought firing the Ferrari brain trust and letting Alonso go (Allison was in favor of the spaniard staying for what it is worth) was going to solve their inherent problems then they… Read more »


We can theorize about benefits of cleaning the house as much as we want, but may I suggest as contrasting hypothesis, there are some benefits in the team cohesiveness and stability as well. After first race this season I was joking with friends that Arri is a toast, but headlines I read today, if reality, are shocking in any dimension of imagination.


Ferrari’s culture has always been “don’t blame the team in public”.
They even joked about that in Rush with Lauda’s chief mechanic saying “You can’t say that, it’s a Ferrari!”
Alonso had every right to complain about the teams performance but he did it in a way that ruffled too many feathers.

Allison seems to have done a great job so far, maybe he is ready to take the big chair at Ferrari, who knows?

charlie white

Sergio Marchionne is quoted as he “expects” Ferrari to win the Spanish GP this weekend. Whether or not James Allison could take over the team, there’s little doubt that Mauricio Arrivabene is on the hot seat. Has anyone told Sergio how good the factory Mercedes-Benz/AMG team really is?

Johnpierre Rivera

very good point…

Paul KieferJr

Ferrari as the new Empire? Marchionne as Darth Vader?