Former Lotus technical guru James Allison returned to Ferrari after almost a decade away from the Maranello outfit and revealed that team has grown in complexity since his departure, but the passion remains to return the sport’s most famous team to the top step of the podium.
“After nine years away, I have a mixture of feelings returning to Maranello,” he revealed. “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. So 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. But most of all I have a feeling of determination to play my part alongside everyone else, in returning to victory with this team.”
“After nine years of separation, I can see there are many changes within the Scuderia,” he says. “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,” declared Allison.
The need to improve is why Allison has been brought in to strengthen the technical side of the Gestione Sportiva, but the full impact of his presence will only be felt beyond 2013. Nevertheless the Englishman is already in the deep end with the Italian squad.
Allison observed of recent races, “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. 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.”
Speaking ahead of the Indian Grand Prix weekend, Allison said, “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. 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. To go well in India, a car needs the same qualities it requires at any type of circuit: it needs to be stable under braking, well balanced in both high and low speed corners, with good traction out of the latter, and good speed down the straights. These are the generic qualities required by every car for every track, but with India having such a wide range of corners, it stretches the car to it limit, similarly to tracks like Suzuka,” explained Allison.
Allison left Lotus to join Ferrari as their Chassis Technical Director on 1 September 2013 and the team’s president Luca di Montezemolo did not mince his words when announcing the appointment.
“I am counting a lot on James Allison. With him came the head of aerodynamics from Lotus and other new faces. Finally, we will have the creativity we were lacking. Allison knows the team and the men and he speaks Italian. Others wanted him, but he preferred us and his arrival will also bring a change in working methods in many areas,” declared Montezemolo. (GP247)
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