James Allison, the technical director of Mercedes, has extended his contract for a long time and predicts that the team will be a “challenger” by 2024.
As technical director, Allison, 55, joined Mercedes in 2017 and guided the team to five straight constructors’ titles.
Toto Wolff, the team principal for Mercedes, inked a three-year contract earlier this week.
“We are absolutely a challenger rather than a favourite,” Allison said.
“Nevertheless, we hope we have done a good job with the new car,” he said.
Allison said that it is “instinctive” for him to continue in his job and that he has a “desire” to stay in Formula 1.
For the first time since 2011, Mercedes did not win a grand race in 2023.
“It’s far from unenjoyable to be in that position, as long as the team is collectively confident that it’s making the right moves to try to re-establish itself as a force to be reckoned with,” Allison said when questioned about Mercedes’ bid to reclaim the top spot.
“I hope the ascent is robust, safe, and steep, but it will be exciting to attempt driving it as quickly as we can to give our opponents a real battle.
Toto made a comparison between the task we face and climbing Mount Everest, and I believe the analogy is very accurate.
“Everest is the sternest of challenges, but it is nevertheless something that is possible to do.”
According to Allison, the squad received “stability and commitment” when it was announced that he and Wolff would be extending their contracts.
According to Allison, the grid is “gradually compressing” in the future since there are fewer gaps between drivers, and he predicted that this trend would probably continue in the next season.
“It’s impossible, at this time of year, to be anything other than apprehensive, coupled with excited and frightened—those are always the emotions you feel,” Allison said.
Regarding Allison personally, Wolff called him a “key ally and sparring partner” and commended his dedication to Mercedes.
“Put simply, he is the most impressive technical leader in our sport,” said Wolff.
“His gladiator spirit, along with his knowledge, experience, and determination, make him second to none.”
Mercedes was the winner of the constructors’ and drivers’ championships in 2020, but since the new technical regulations were implemented two years ago in an effort to equalise the playing field, they have not been as successful.
When Mercedes entered a transition phase in 2021, Allison switched positions with Mike Elliot, who assumed the position of technical director. Then, in April 2023, they switched jobs once again.
Due to the distinct vehicle design concept for 2022, which set them apart from other elite teams, Mercedes struggled to remain competitive throughout the season.
Since seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton won the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Mercedes has had just one win in 45 races.
They were 451 points behind winners Red Bull, who have dominated in recent years, even though they finished second in the constructors’ standings the previous season.