James Allison looks set to leave his role at technical director at Lotus after reports emerged that an announcement of his departure from the Enstone-based outfit could be imminent.

Allison has played a key role in the team becoming a contender at the front of the field in recent seasons and has been linked with rival teams in the past - leading to him stating that he intended to honour his 'pretty long contract' with the former Renault squad.

According to respected F1 journalist Joe Saward, Allison is set to be replaced by engineering director Nick Chester, who has been part of the team since 2000.

Allison was previously linked with McLaren when it became apparent that Paddy Lowe would be leaving Woking for pastures new, while Mercedes and Ferrari - both of whom have been strengthening their technical teams over the past twelve to 18 months - could also be possible destinations.

Allison first joined the Lotus team when it was still running as Benetton back in the early 1990s and then spent time at Larrousse and Ferrari - with a second spell at Benetton in between.

Returning to Enstone in 2005 as deputy technical director, Allison was promoted into his current role in 2009.