Don’t blame Allison for Ferrari improvements

While we’re all taking about Ferrari’s win in Malaysia—well, Ferrari fans are talking about it anyway—I found AUTOSPORT’s article with James Allison very interesting and here’s why…

This year would be the first car completely under Allison’s purview. I assumed, and I am not alone, that this car would have his heavy hand in its creation and was fully prepared to give him credit for the gains clearly made so far this season.

Come to find out, either he is the world’s most magnanimous guy or he had very little to do with the actual design itself. James said:

“I haven’t designed a single piece on this car, there’s a lot of very talented people who do that,”


“If I’ve had any feat, it’s trying to say which bits are worth putting lots of effort into.

“[I’m here] to make sure pressure has been taken off people to deliver things for next week but to work with a slightly long timescale in mind – which frees up your hand to do a good job.

“It’s hard to do anything in a two to three month timescale. You need to build a programme over months and years rather than weeks.”

Now color me reactionary but I am amazed at that tidbit of well-vetted news from our friends at AUTOSPORT. Credit to Messrs. Barretto and Beer for the story.

It’s an intriguing issue for me but James did weave magic while at Lotus so I naturally felt he was the next Rory Byrne at Ferrari. In reflection, maybe the pixie dust James wields is really being able to manage the team and divine which elements get the most resources while allowing the actual designers to do their jobs and not sticking his toe in everyone’s business.

If this is truly the case, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t, then hats off to Ferrari’s design team and engine department for making such sweeping and much-needed changes. With all of the bloodletting at Ferrari in 2014, you’d have thought the place would be shell-shocked but James says that he’s playing the long game here and I think that could be potentially lethal for the competition with a driver like Sebastian Vettel in tow.

“Any changes like that are not done lightly and not easy to do,” he said.

“But they are done looking to the long term to make sure we have a team of people in place that we know can build for the future and just make us stronger month by month.”

James says it is the year-on-year performance increase they are focused on and rebuilding an empire of domination. That’s good news for Ferrari fans but let’s be honest, Mercedes is currently enjoying that kind of domination and McLaren are dead set on recreating it themselves so Ferrari will have stiff competition—dethroning one juggernaut and preventing another from ever emerging.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Paul R Jaworski

The important sentence is the 2nd one in my opinion. He keeps ’em pointed in the right direction or so it seems. If someone is better than myself at searching the web, I’d like to know what was the structure when he was at Lotus. Was he designing the Lotus car or directing the designers? Either way, this Ferrari car, so far, is eerily similar to his best Lotus cars. With the possibility of a budget that doesn’t limit development through out the year.

jiji the cat

Huxley tweeted that it is all Bernie’s fault. He is a visoinary,… apparently.


Its probably all in the semantics. If you direct a team of a few 100 engineers its probably down to personality and management style as to whether the resulting car is a James Alison car, or the great work of all of the team.
Slightly off topic, but wouldn’t it be great if the post race ceremonies and interviews were with the team managers and technical directors, who could tell us about what the team had done to achieve success, rather than getting the narrow ‘its all about me’ view we hear from most of the drivers


“I think that could be potentially lethal for the competition with a driver like Sebastian Vettel in tow.”

I think after 2014 we can finally put to bed any notion Vettel is anything above average.