Formula 1

Is the Mercedes W14 in Trouble? James Allison Speaks Out

James Allison, the renowned technical director of Mercedes, has made a return to the team after time away from the F1 scene. In a recent interview, Allison opened up about his role in the team and the current state of their W14, which has been struggling to keep up with the pace of its rivals, Aston Martin and Red Bull.

The Return of James Allison

After weeks of speculation, it was finally confirmed that Allison would be returning to work on the Brackley-built car. Speaking on the F1 Nation Podcast, Allison explained his role change, stating that he was now “back up to his neck” in the technical details of the car.

“I was much less involved than I had been as a technical director. I was more manoeuvring around in the sort of 2026 space than in the here and now of the current car.

“It certainly is a fair old chunk of effort to get up to speed with everything. Not merely the regulations, but the full engine of the factory and the race team and all the things that are currently in play in the championship fight.

“But it’s exciting and fun and interesting and a pleasure to be back up to my neck in it.”

The State of the W14

One of the key topics of discussion in the interview was the current state of the Mercedes W14. Allison was able to provide valuable feedback on the car, given his experience in creating some of the most successful F1 cars in history.

According to Allison, the W14 has a few strengths, including reliability and two quick drivers in Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

“It’s reliable, touch wood. That’s a definite strength.

“It’s got a very quick pair of punters pedalling it around. It’s better than most of the grid out there.

“But until it’s the quickest one it will always feel like a weak car to all of us. It’s adequately kind to its tyres but not as good as some of the cars that we’ve made in the past.

“It’s got more downforce than most of the cars on the grid but not sufficient.

“Its handling characteristics leave a little to be desired, and need to be worked on for sure.

“But none of this stuff is revelatory. We’ve been talking about it most weekends and it’s part of what this team needs to address to get winning material back in our hands.”

Looking Ahead

Despite the challenges ahead, Allison is optimistic about Mercedes’ chances of success. He acknowledges the impressive performance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen but remains focused on identifying areas of opportunity on the W14 and finding ways to improve its performance.

As Allison stated, “The sooner we can do that, and on the steepest slope possible, the better our chances will be in any given weekend and up against any given team and in the championship.”

Alex Harrington

Alex started racing at a young age so certainly knows his way around a car and a track. He can just about put a sentence together too, which helps. He has a great interest in the latest models, but would throw all of his money at a rusty old French classic and a 300ZX. Contact: [email protected]

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