James Allison has spent 30 years in the world of Formula 1, now for the first time in his career, he faces a challenge outside of the world of motorsport.
He has now taken on the additional role of Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at INEOS Britannia’s 37th America’s Cup Challenge, alongside his existing role of CTO of Mercedes F1.
Entering the America’s Cup has been what he describes as a “dizzying challenge”.
“We had a small involvement in the team’s 36th America’s Cup campaign which whetted our appetite. It was immediately clear to us that the America’s Cup is a very exciting, and very difficult, challenge.”
“Now we are one team, INEOS Britannia, with the team’s design base embedded in our Formula 1 HQ, and the clear goal to bring the America’s Cup back to Britain. We feel very lucky to be involved in this opportunity and we can’t wait for the challenge ahead, it’s a mouth-watering prospect.”
Whilst there may be notable differences between Formula 1 and the America’s Cup, there are of course many overlaps and Allison is confident that he and his fellow Mercedes F1 team members who are joining INEOS Britannia’s challenge, including Technical Director Geoffrey Willis, will have a significant amount to bring to the table.
“An America’s Cup team may only be about 10% the size of a major Formula 1 team, but there is a lot of similarity in the difficulty of the challenge. Everything has to be right, or nothing is right. There are a lot of areas where we can contribute strongly from the beginning. We’re not bad at aerodynamics here, and it’s not a huge stretch into hydrodynamics.”
“We’re also pretty good at structural design, structural engineering and we have a wide range of material science backing up our work here to date. There’s so many areas of overlap where we will be able to contribute to this campaign working alongside our experienced America’s Cup colleagues and hopefully at the end, we can produce something we will all be proud of.”
“It would be an enormous deal if we brought the Cup back to Britain. I’m very aware of Britain’s maritime history and I’m certain that if this team can muster what we need to get the competitive boat and get this Cup brought to Britain.”
Allison has played a key role in the creation of 13 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship winning cars, encompassing stints with Ferrari, Renault, and since 2017 the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.
As Technical Director of the Mercedes AMG-Petronas F1 Team since 2017, he has been a key part of the team’s successes and has won a further four Formula One Constructors’ Championships since he joined.
In 2021 Allison transitioned to the role of Chief Technical Officer, helping the team to meet the strategic challenges of the sport’s next era.