Ex-Ferrari technical chief James Allison will join the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team as its new technical director as Paddy Lowe's replacement.

After Lowe was confirmed to be leaving to Williams, Allison was strongly linked to arrive at the reigning F1 world champions after splitting from Ferrari midway through 2016.

With F1 world titles under his belt with both Ferrari and Renault, Allison is considered the key replacement to Lowe and will start his role as technical director on 1st March 2017. The opening F1 pre-season test begins on 27th February.

Mercedes also confirmed Allison will report directly to team principal Toto Wolff as the German manufacturer targets fourth consecutive drivers' and constructors' world titles.

Allison is relishing the prospect of returning to F1 after stepping away from Ferrari last July and is determined to oversee Mercedes stay at the top of the pecking order with the new technical regulations for 2017.

"I am very excited to be getting back to work after this time away from the sport," Allison said. "It's a massive privilege to be given the trust of a position in a team that has done so spectacularly well in the past three seasons.

"I am really looking forward to playing my part in helping Mercedes go from strength to strength in the coming years."

Wolff has given a warm welcome to Allison and is keen for the British engineer to give his own vision, personality and experience on his new Mercedes technical crew.

"I am delighted to welcome James to Mercedes and very much looking forward to working with him," Wolff said. "Our technical team is extremely skilled at every level and at the top of its game after delivering three world championships in a row.

"It wasn't an easy task to find the right personality who can strengthen our experienced group of engineers, give our talented young team members the space to develop and also bring his own vision to this role.

"James is a sharp engineer, I think we have found the perfect guy and the right fit with our senior leaders."

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Allison rose to prominence as head of aerodynamics at Ferrari during Michael Schumacher's span of F1 dominance between 2000 and 2004, before switching to Renault as deputy technical director, overseeing Fernando Alonso's two titles in 2005 and 2006.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has recently undergone thorough internal restructuring in a bid to reinvigorate the struggling Italian manufacturer. As a result, Allison returned to Ferrari in 2013 and oversaw the Italian manufacturer return to the top step of the rostrum with three wins in 2015.

A difficult start to 2016 coupled with the tragic death of his wife saw Allison and Ferrari come to a mutual split and the British engineer has been away from F1 since July 2016.

Allison is expected to be unveiled at the Mercedes 2017 team launch alongside Lewis Hamilton, new signing Valtteri Bottas and Wolff on the 23rd February.

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Sergio marchionne must go!