22 October 2013
Indian Grand Prix: Mixed feelings for Allison at Ferrari return
New Ferrari chassis technical director James Allison says that his return to Ferrari has resulted in a flood of mixed emotions for him, from nostalgia to a new determination for the future
This weekend will be the first Indian Grand Prix for new Ferrari chassis technical director James Allison since he rejoined the team at the start of September.
Allison's first stint at Maranello was from 2000 working under Ross Brawn, but he left in 2004 to join the Renault F1 team and eventually rose up through the ranks to become Lotus F1's technical director before he resigned earlier this year to accept his new post back at Ferrari.
"After nine years away, I have a mixture of feelings returning to Maranello,” he admitted. “There's excitement but also a lot of nostalgia as this is a team with whom I share many happy memories of all the victories from 2000 to 2004.
"Nostalgia, excitement and pleasure at seeing so many faces I remember from before, who were junior members in the team when I was here the last time, but have now grown up with the team and hold senior positions.
"After nine years of separation, I can see there are many changes within the Scuderia,” he continued. "The team is bigger and more complex, but its character, its emotion is very similar and recognisable the moment you walk through the door. You can also feel the hunger to win again.
"But most of all I have a feeling of determination to play my part alongside everyone else, in returning to victory with this team," he added.
Allison agreed there was plenty to do in order to get the team back to full competitiveness, after a cooling-off in the team's form through the 2013 season has left Fernando Alonso well behind in the drivers championship and Ferrari having to work hard to maintain even second place in the constructors' standings.
"The Korean and Japanese Grands Prix were both disappointing for us as our car was not right at the front or winning, which is not the level we should be at,” agreed Allison. "However, the team performed very well at the track with a group that is strategically very astute and we have drivers who can bring the car home in good positions - but those results are not what we are aiming for, so we need to improve for the remaining races."
The first of those races is this weekend in India, with Allison keen to see what the team can learn from an unusual circuit.
“The Buddh International Circuit is an interesting track which offers the full range of challenges, with a reasonable number of straights, some fast corners and slow ones,” he explained. "A bit like Korea, the track has a slightly schizophrenic nature, because you want the car to be good down the straights, but there are also some very demanding slow speed sections. It therefore requires a lot from the car.
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