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Job swap makes Mercedes “better fighting machine” in F1



After a rocky start to the 2023 season in W14, Allison has swapped his previous CTO role with former technical director Mike Elliott.

Essentially, this means that Allison will now have a more hands-on approach to the car and the current racing program, while Elliott will take a longer-term strategic view.

Allison served as technical director before stepping down for personal reasons in 2021.

“We’ve just done some checks on our own navel at Brackley and the conclusion between Mike and I is that we both can cover the ground pretty well,” Allison explained on the F1 Nation podcast.

“But maybe I’m better suited for short-term battles with cars for championships, and he’s the better chess player of the two of us, and he’s better suited for the job I’m doing as CTO.

“So we wobbled and came up with what we thought was a better fighting machine overall.”

Asked why the change came after Australia’s stellar performance, Allison stressed it was a bigger picture.

“I don’t think the decision is particularly dependent on the fate of the car on a given race weekend,” he said.

“It’s based on a sober assessment of what the two of us are best suited to do. We feel that the overall combat effectiveness of this team is maximized through this role reversal.

“Let’s hope Melbourne is just the first step in a general upswing and recovery to get us more competitive ahead of the weekend.

“But Mike and I believe that with the work we’re doing, we’ll have the greatest impact on the future recovery.”

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photography: Glenn Dunbar/ motorsport pictures

Allison admits it will take time for him to fully understand the day-to-day details of the racing program.

“I’m much less involved than when I was technical director,” he says. “I’m more mobile in the space of 2026 than I am in the here and now of the current car.

“It’s definitely been quite an effort to keep up with the pace of everything. Not just the rules, but the complete engines from the factory and the teams and all the things that play a role in the title race at the moment.

“But it’s exciting and fun and entertaining, and it’s nice to be back on my neck.”

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Regarding his decision to return to a job that required a lot of travel to compete, Allison emphasized that he took a step back in 2021 because he was in the early stages of a new relationship.

However, time creates more opportunities to be away from home on weekends.

“A lot of it goes back to the very, very long tragic shadow cast by my wife’s death,” he explained.

“A few years later, I was lucky enough to meet another person who was living in France, working in France, having spent her whole life in France, and has been living in France for about 20 years.

“She gave up a lot when she kindly—some would say stupidly—agreed to come and throw herself into her destiny with me so we could live life together.

“It’s a little unfair, or it seems a little unfair, from my point of view to let her go with the flow and say thank you for coming to England, I see five minutes a week!

“Stepping back from the front-line role of technical director has given our relationship some space to flourish in a way that would otherwise be difficult.

“But that was over two years ago and now Chloe has moved over and she has some roots in the country and is doing her own thing now and not depending on my face.

“So it’s more credible and more likely to do so now than it was more than two years ago.”


McLaren repurposes old F1 factory as new composites facility




The new composites department will be based at the same factory McLaren used before it moved its huge MTC facility two miles away from Woking center in 2003, and will start production later this summer.

The team believes the investment in its new manufacturing process is comparable to other major infrastructure upgrades that are also nearing completion, including its new MTC wind tunnel and F1 driving simulator.

It is equipping the new composites facility with the latest machines needed for this type of work, compared to the tools it already uses.

By moving the composites department to a dedicated stand-alone facility away from the MTC, it is understood McLaren will save significant time in the production of parts for its F1 machines, as well as the initial build process for new cars.

Speaking about the department relocation for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella explained: “I am delighted to say that the old factory has been converted into the new McLaren racing complex.

“This is really the final sprint and it will be done in a few months. It’s an amazing project.

“We’ve created some space at the MTC that we’ll use for traditional cars.”

McLaren old Formula 1 factory

McLaren old Formula 1 factory

Photography: McLaren

McLaren also owns another building near the old site, which is about to open as a new composites factory, and which currently houses most of its historic F1 car collection – although the MTC still has a large collection.

The warehouse for extra legacy machinery (pictured above) is also used to store spare kits – such as F1 weekend garage and pit wall components – for use by the McLaren team.

Once the legacy car is moved and permanently displayed on MTC’s famous Front Boulevard area, it will continue to be used to house such equipment.

Autosport was part of a select group of media who toured the building that currently houses the heritage collection outside the MTC, with team chief operating officer Piers Thynne outlining why historic cars and other elements – including parts Original drawings and the laptops needed to start and maintain old cars – an important development for McLaren.

McLaren old Formula 1 factory

McLaren old Formula 1 factory

Photography: McLaren

“The legacy teams are definitely part of the Formula 1 organization and it’s an interesting story as to why they’re there (away from the MTC in the current building),” Thynne said.

“We have invested heavily in various infrastructure projects in Formula 1, which has allowed us to have a longer ‘holiday’ in the warehouse than we originally wanted.

“But it’s related to our long-term infrastructure projects — wind tunnels, simulators, new complex facilities and other work that’s going on at the MTC.

“So, they’re on vacation there, they’re going to be back at the MTC at the end of the year, and rightly in front of the house on the boulevard.

“It’s important to have these show cars around us to remind everyone of our rich history.

“Apart from our day-to-day work, any inspiration (McLaren employees) might need, you can see it on the way to lunch or for a drink.”

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Explained: Ferrari's ambitious upgrades for the SF-23 in Barcelona




At the Spanish Grand Prix, F1 entered a dedicated permanent track for the first time since the season opener in Bahrain. Due to the nature of the Circuit de Catalunya, teams usually implement a lot of upgrade packages on their cars, as it is well known that if a team performs well in Barcelona, ​​they stand a good chance of doing well for most of the remainder of the calendar. repertoire.

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F1 drivers fear unintended consequences of Barcelona track changes




For the first time since 2006, the championship will do away with the oft-maligned slow 14-15 left-right corner and will revert to two high-speed open right-hand corners to complete a lap.

This has increased the top speed of the final corner to 170mph and is intended to allow drivers to follow the main straight more closely into the slipstream and overtake.

While single-car racing got rave reviews from drivers for the changes to improve lap speed during Friday’s practice session, they don’t think the tweaks will help the pass as envisioned.

With the Pirelli tires’ lack of overtaking so far in 2023 due in part to overheating rather than degradation, AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries believes that will again be a major factor this weekend.

He said: “Let’s not jump to conclusions, but obviously the main reason for the change was for a better game.

“I’m not sure if it’s going to give us a better game…the left forward has suffered a lot.

Insight: What we learned from Friday’s practice for the F1 2023 Spanish GP

“It’s a tough job at the front. You can feel it now, on long distances, when you’re behind other cars it’s hard to keep up.

“Now there’s a lot of focus on the front axle, whereas before, there was a little bit of both…they did (change) for the right purpose, let’s put it that way.”

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo Racing

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo Racing

Photography: Alfa Romeo

De Vries reckons it’s possible to advance two laps before “you end up paying the price” because of so much tire wear.

Drivers also mentioned the 2023 car, fueling concerns that the revised Barcelona lap would not lead to an increase in overtaking.

While the switch to ground effect is intended to help the car follow more closely, winter developments increase levels of dirty air. Drivers commented that this season was significantly harder to keep up with than the previous one.

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas told Autosport: “The faster the more fun. (But the level of overtaking) will be the same. The last corner is hard to follow.

“It’s just faster, but I don’t think it will improve overtaking. It’s a bit bumpy over there.

“So, there’s a little bit of movement, which makes it more challenging, but it’s a cool corner. It’s superfast. Definitely more challenging, but also for the tyres.

“It felt like the tires were traveling a lot in those two corners.”

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