The role James Allison played in Ferrari’s domination of the first part of the 21st century is no secret. His reputation speaks for itself in the success at the Scuderia, but the rapid rise of Lotus speaks even louder. His reputation for expecting, and delivering, excellence is no more apparent in the way the Enstone squad turned itself around after a disappointing 2011 campaign.
Allison’s desirability has only increased in the past two years, and exponentially so, so it was inevitable that the guys from Maranello would be sounding their beckoning call before too long. What does it mean for Ferrari? It could mean the return to something truly special.
What Ferrari acheived in the early 2000s was unprecedented. Never before had the sport seen such utter domination for a sustained period from one group of people. The going was not always easy, and the competition ebbed and flowed throughout the five straight drivers’ titles, but Ferrari always came out on top. James Allison now has the chance to make that happen again.
The move to Ferrari could not come at a more crucial time. While his impact on this season will be largely minimal given how late in the season it will be, he will be able to utilize his talent to its fullest extent with work on 2014’s challenger. Ferrari have not hidden their struggles under a bushel. Drivers and technical heads alike openly admit to issues with simulator and windtunnel data correlation. These two aspects of modern Formula One have been the bane of Ferrari’s existence of late. The Scuderia has long struggled to keep pace with the likes of Red Bull and Mclaren in these departments, even with an equal budget. This does not sit well with the bigwigs of Ferrari, who’s road car sales, in part, rely on the team’s reputation on track. No one is going to want to buy a Ferrari road car if the people designing the racers can’t make it a winner. That is the business thought process, at least.
With Allison’s imminent return to Maranello, and his first order of business dedicated to chassis development for 2014, Ferrari have the chance to begin the new era of Formula One on top. The problems that currently plague the team may not be resolved completely by next season, though progress is being made in the windtunnel department, but the team can take solace in the fact that one of the best minds in Formula One is now dedicated to an integral cause in the 2014 championship. That alone should be enough to give Ferrari hope for the future.