Stability at Enstone

James Allison does not say much in public, preferring to let results speak for themselves, but he is very passionate about what he does and has brushed off countless offers to join other teams because he wants to see the Lotus F1 Team become successful again. This is hardly surprising given that Allison has been with the team for much of his 22-year career in the sport. He joined the team (then Benetton) after graduating from Cambridge in 1991. He was then lured away to join Robin Herd’s Larrousse UK Ltd for a couple of years before returning to the mother ship and moving up to become head of aerodynamics. He then followed his heart to Ferrari for a five-year contract, during some of the Italian team’s glory years and then went back to Enstone (by then known as Renault) and played a fairly important role in the team’s World Championships in 2005 and 2006, becoming technical director in 2009. He has stuck with the team through the tough times since then and is credited with having played a very significant part in the recent revival. Having been to Ferrari and being rather too much of an old school style racer to fit into the corporate ways down in Woking, Allison’s logical career path has been to stay where he is and lead the team to success, which is apparently what he wants to do. Much depends, of course, on money and thus his fate is not entirely in his own hands, but if Gerard Lopez and Eric Boullier can keep things on an even keel and supply him with a decent budget, he will produce the goods. The fact that he apparently intends to stay where he is suggest that he has sufficient faith in the ownership and management that all is well. This can only be a good sign for the team – and for the sport. After a promising year in 2012 Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean will be back and hope to have an even better car than last year.

13 thoughts on “Stability at Enstone

  1. James Allison seems to be is one of the great enigmas of F1. I saw a good interview with him by Peter Windsor and his on and off track stories were fantastic.

      1. Driver like kubica and kimi both claimed Enstone has good atmosphere to work with least political issues to deal with, at least thats the case since Flavio departure. That might be the reason why he’s staying, team is all about racing. Hope they secure the deal though.

  2. Is this one of the plot from the fellow honeywell sponsorship competitors?? Is Enstone going to secure the deal or not Joe??

  3. I am sure you could have written this about many F1 people Joe but what is the reason for the story, because without the reason it seems rather a non-story. Has James been offered a chance to join the Merc crowd? Or to take part in the musical directors jig now apparently hopping away like River Dance?

      1. Joe, I’m very glad to hear that JA is staying with the team.
        From the comments here, I’m not the only one wondering if the un-inked [yet] Honeywell contract is the catalyst for this internet rumour, and it maybe that the other recent rumour that Kimi hadn’t been paid his wages came from the same people ??

        1. Just to add, just read that a certain Mr Lauda has been calling JA frequently of late. Is Nikki not so persuasive has some will have us think ?

  4. Joe – thanks for this interesting piece. It seems that few journalists are interested in writing stories about the key personnel behind the scenes. Even fewer journalists have any real insights to share.

    Perhaps, in response to an earlier piece on the rise of internet F1 “journalism”, this is the best way to separate the wheat from the chaff?

    Thanks again. Look forward to more of these sorts of stores.

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