Recent rumours indicating that James Allison could be on his way back to the Renault Sport F1 team, have been quashed by sources at Scuderia Ferrari, who have stipulated that the current Ferrari Technical Director is committed to a future with the Maranello-based squad.
Speculation regarding Allison’s return to Enstone had increased heading into the Canadian Grand Prix, after it was believed Renault had approached the 48-year-old as part of a recruitment drive to boost its chances of fighting for wins and titles in the next few seasons. The French team see Allison as the perfect man to lead that challenge, knowing what he has already achieved with the team in the past.
Allison returned to Ferrari’s doors back in 2013, after the continued stress of the financial situation at the Lotus F1 Team (now Renault Sport F1) had started to take its toll, and with the future of the Enstone-based team unclear, the 48-year-old decided to move on while he still could. Whether he would consider moving back there following the recent restructure, is unknown, and nothing has been confirmed directly by Allison himself so far. One factor that could influence his decision is the closer proximity he would be to his children if he was located at the Renault base, something he is keen on doing, after sadly losing his wife to Meningitis in March 2016.
The 48-year-old Lincolnshire man is considered to be one of the most highly talented designers in F1, and rightly so, having helped Benetton to their two titles with Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995 when he was Head of Aerodynamics, as well as being instrumental in the 2005 and 2006 successes when he returned to the squad after five years with Ferrari. During his first stint at Maranello, he was a key asset in bringing about Ferrari’s dominant spell of the early 2000’s, again with Schumacher at the wheel. He has a strong pedigree therefore that makes him a highly desirable proposition for any team.
As well as his early successes, Allison also transformed the Lotus F1 team into a competitive force, with the squad at one point looking like they were the only competition that could rival the then dominant Red Bull Racing team, until their monetary woes stalled any further development. Now back at Ferrari, Allison has once again turned the prancing horse into a possible winning machine, so they would be extremely loathed to let their prized possession go and are adamant their man is solely focused on development of their 2017 car.
The Maranello-based squad have also made it clear that should Renault or any other team be interested in securing the skills of Mr. Allison, then there would be a lengthy period of gardening leave to be served on his departure.