Lotus F1 Team has confirmed the departure of their Technical Director James Allison from the team. He will be replaced by current engineering director Nico Chester, who has been with the team since 2000.
Their recent success has led to Allison being in high demand, reportedly turning down an offer from McLaren as well as being linked to Ferrari, Williams and Mercedes.
However the latter looks unlikely due to the Brackley based squad signing former McLaren Technical Director Paddy Lowe.
Team Principal Eric Boullier has been quoted by AUTOSPORT confirming his departure as well as introducing his replacement, former engineering director Nick Chester. ”Nick is well-known to everyone at Enstone having been with the team for over 12 years,”
Boullier revealed that Chester is already deeply involved in the development of their 2014 car, “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.”
He added that he has his “work cut out” and is obviously filling some very big shoes, but the team “know” that he is “more than capable of handling the tasks ahead.”
Allison had been an integral part of the Lotus F1 Team since their days under the Benetton guise. He previously left the Enstone team for stints at Larrousse and Ferrari before returning in 2005.
Boullier payed tribute to the departing Allison, saying “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…”
Chester commented on the announcement, admitting that he is excited about the promotion and is “honoured” to be a part of the team.
“I have worked at Enstone for over twelve years and am delighted to take on the role of Technical Director. I am grateful to the management at Enstone for the faith they have in promoting me to this position. I am very aware of our need to keep pushing development of this year’s E21 whilst developing next year’s car to a set of very different regulations. There are some exciting times ahead for Enstone and I’m honoured to be part of it.”
He worked for Arrows prior to his signing for the Lotus F1 Team, then run under the Benetton guise.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.