Toto Wolff Reveals James Allison Turned Down Mercedes F1 Team Principal Chance

Published 04/19/2021, 12:42 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff looks on in the Team Principals Press Conference during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Last weekend, the Mercedes F1 team announced that James Allison will assume the role of chief technical officer (CTO) of team. So, from July 1, Allison will vacate his technical director role and take over his new position. Admittedly, many suspected that it is a step towards eventually succeeding Toto Wolff as team boss in the future.

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For the moment, Wolff is still the team principal, though he has kept his options open. Although he admitted that he won’t be around forever, he declared that Allison will not be his successor. Wolff said, “I would say if you look at things, he would absolutely be capable to be the team principal. And also the people here, there’s so much respect [for him] within the organisation.

“But the thing is very easy. He said, ‘Never, ever I would do this. Team principal requires different skills.’ And so he said, ‘No, thank you.'”

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Wolff revealed that he and Allison spoke to each other a lot and have coordinated the Mercedes team’s strategic direction. According to the Austrian, before they discussed the CTO role, they talked about the team principal role in Mercedes.

“James and I speak multiple times every single day. And we’re totally coordinated on the strategic direction of Mercedes Motorsport, and Mercedes Grand Prix.

“So much earlier than before we decided the CTO role – it must have been a year or two ago – we discussed the future of the team principal role in Mercedes.”

What else did Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff say?

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The Mercedes F1 boss insisted that Allison was adamant about not assuming the team leader role. As a result, Wolff had to stop and really think about who can succeed him at the helm of the team. He acknowledged that Allison is perfect for the CTO position, while Mike Elliott is a great fit for technical director. Hopefully, for Mercedes’ sake, Elliott is able to slip into his role well.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

For the moment, Toto Wolff and company are focusing on the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton started the race from pole position. However, Valtteri Bottas endured a horrible qualifying and started down in eighth place. Despite all the hiccups, the Mercedes team are still one of the favorites to win the 2021 season.

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Dhruv George

11422 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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