How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison
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How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

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He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Command of the air was a concept which infused James Allison’s life from the very beginning – his father, Sir John Allison, was a fighter pilot and later commander-in-chief of RAF Strike Command, as well as a passionate restorer and driver of vintage cars. Perhaps then it's hardly surprising that an early life surrounded by both aeronautics and the works of automotive pioneers should set Allison on the road to a career in Formula 1, initially as an aerodynamicist. But you’ll see another thread woven through this story: the sense of duty which abides those who have grown up in and around the armed services.

Allison’s career has encompassed soaring highs and shattering lows – and, as he embarks on the next phase of it in a new role as Mercedes’ chief technical officer, he’s ready to tell GP Racing all about it…

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