Formula 1 - Lotus appoints Chester as Allison exits

Lotus has announced that Nick Chester will become its new technical director, as it confirmed James Allison's departure.

AutoSport
Formula 1 - Lotus appoints Chester as Allison exits
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James Allison of Lotus (Imago)

AUTOSPORT revealed earlier on Wednesday morning that Allison had decided to leave the squad, and that Chester would be promoted to fill the vacancy.

Team boss Eric Boullier said promoting Chester from his current role as engineering director would minimise the ripples caused by Allison's exit.

"Nick is well known to everyone at Enstone having been with the team for over 12 years," said Boullier.

"He is already directly involved with this and next year's cars, ensuring a smooth transition which has been underway 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.

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

Boullier also paid tribute to Allison's contribution to the team.

"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," he said.

Allison has been with British-based Lotus, previously Renault, since 2005 after previous stints in the 1990s when they raced as Benetton.

No details were given about his likely destination, although early speculation focused heavily on Ferrari given his past employment there.

Allison worked for the Italian team for five years - during Michael Schumacher's dominant years - overseeing trackside aerodynamic operations prior to joining Renault.

"It's just a rumour," Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo told a corporate presentation at Maranello when asked about the speculation surrounding Allison.

Chester was previously Lotus's engineering director. He worked for now-defunct Arrows before moving to the Enstone factory in 2000.

"He is already directly involved with this and next year's cars, ensuring a smooth transition which has been underway for some time," said team principal Eric Boullier.

"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," he added.

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

Formula One faces major rule changes at the end of the season, with a switch from the current 2.5 litre V8 engines to a new 1.6 litre turbocharged hybrid V6 unit.

Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said last month that they expected to have more than half their workforce devoted to the 2014 car by some time in May.

"There is no doubt that at a point in the summer everybody will switch their main resources to the 2014 car, as this is a very complex and complicated machine," he said.

"Of course, it all depends where you are in the standings. Those who are fighting for the title will of course concentrate longer on this year's car."

Timeline

1995: Joins the Arrows team as a race engineer

2000: Switches to Benetton as a race engineer

2005: Promoted to head of vehicle performance group.

2010: Becomes head of performance systems.

2012: Appointed engineering director of Lotus.

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