Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff says his “technical twin brother” James Allison has no interest in becoming Formula 1 team principal in the future.

Earlier this month Mercedes announced a major reshuffle to its technical department, with Allison stepping back from day-to-day responsibilities as technical director from 1 July to take on the newly created role of chief technical officer.

Allison will be replaced as technical director by current technology director Mike Elliott. Speaking publicly about his decision for the first time over the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend, Allison revealed he expected to leave Mercedes entirely before Wolff devised a new position for him.

Some have suggested that Allison’s role swap could be a precursor to him eventually taking over as Mercedes team principal, but Wolff insists this is not the case.

“If you look at things, he would be absolutely capable to be the team principal,” Wolff said of Allison. "And also the people here have so much respect for him within the organisation.

“But the thing is very easy. He said he would never ever do this. The team principal requires different skills and he said, ‘No thank you.’

“James and I speak multiple times every day and we are totally coordinated on the direction of Mercedes Motorsport and Mercedes Grand Prix.

“So much earlier than we decided the CTO role - it must have been a year or two ago - we discussed the future of the team principal role and he made it very clear that it was not for him.

"Since then, I am thinking and I am looking and observing what is happening out there and who is doing a good job so that finally I can step back from this madness!”

Wolff believes that Allison’s move, combined with Elliott’s promotion, is the “logical” next step for Mercedes as it looks to its longer-term strategic planning.

“James is a huge asset to the team, not only as a brilliant engineer but also as a leader,” Wolff explained.

“And he has a good understanding and overview of what is happening in Formula 1 beyond the technical space. He is a sparring partner of mine when it comes to strategic discussions, political discussions and he is getting more involved in the other departments and racing programmes that we have.

“That’s why it was almost a logical step to make him my technical twin brother. I am the head of Mercedes motorsport and it makes sense to have a technical director for all motorsport programmes.

“I am the CEO and he is the CTO. He enjoyed the idea, so we have worked on that for a year, and on the other side Mike Elliott just about joined with me, he came from Renault as the head of aero there. And I had such a great relationship with him all these years.

“He is a hugely competent and intelligent engineer and someone who has been fundamental pillar in our success and recognised from the whole organisation.

“That is why I am really happy he has become our technical director. Having said that, we have such a solid group that he is one of a group that will lead the team in the future.”

 

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