James Allison leaves Lotus – is he now set for Ferrari?

Lotus technical director James Allison is moving on - possibly for Ferrari. Photo: Andrew Ferraro

Lotus technical director James Allison is moving on - possibly for Ferrari. Photo: Andrew Ferraro - Credit: Archant

Lotus technical director James Allison is leaving Hethel-backed Lotus – possibly to join Ferrari.

Allison has helped return Enstone to the front-running pack in Formula One, and while he had been linked with a move to Mercedes it seems Maranello may now be his likely destination.

Lotus engineering stalwart Nick Chester will replace Allison, moving up from his current role as engineering director.

'As a team and individually, we would all like to thank James Allison for his efforts during his three stints at Enstone and wish him all the best in his future endeavours,' said Lotus team principal Eric Boullier.

'Nick is well known to everyone at Enstone having been with the team for over twelve years. He is already directly involved with this and next year's cars, ensuring a smooth transition which has been under way for some time.

'It's an illustration of the strength and breadth of talent at Enstone that we can draw on personnel of the calibre of Nick and it's something of an Enstone tradition for new technical directors to be promoted from within.

'He assumes his new position at a tremendously exciting time for the sport. The 2014 technical regulation changes present many challenges, while our current position of second place in both the constructors' and drivers' world championships mean we cannot lose sight of this year's development battle.

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'Nick really has his work cut out, but we know he is more than capable of handling the tasks ahead.'

Chester added: 'I have worked at Enstone for over 12 years and am delighted to take on the role of technical director. I am grateful to the management at Enstone for the faith they have in promoting me to this position.

'I am very aware of our need to keep pushing development of this year's E21 whilst developing next year's car to a set of very different regulations. There are some exciting times ahead for Enstone and I'm honoured to be part of it.'

Allison's future has been the talk of the paddock during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, and while McLaren have ruled out his appearance there.

However, Allison's arrival at Ferrari has the backing for former Enstone driver Fernando Alonso.

'If Allison is free, it is better to have him with us than strengthening another team,' said the Spaniard. 'I worked very closely with him and was world champion with him two times.

'Then I came back to Renault in 2008 and in 2009 he was already technical director and we were not so successful with that car. But we saw the Lotus car in the last two years and there is no secret that he's one of the top men here and we will see what future he has.'

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