The Lotus F1 Team has suffered a major loss in its technical line-up, with highly-rated technical director James Allison leaving the team with immediate effect.
According to the story, broken on the AUTOSPORT website, sources from within the Enstone-based team have confirmed that the Englishman has tendered his resignation following an offer to join a rival – and as yet unnamed – outfit.
The most likely destinations for Allison are Ferrari, Mercedes or McLaren. It is understood, however, that McLaren has already ruled out speculation that it has hired him, leaving only Mercedes (which has a wealth of technical directors and designers already) and Ferrari as the more likely destinations.
As is the usual practice in Formula 1, Allison will serve a period of ‘gardening leave’ before taking up his post at his new employer.
It is also understood that a gag order is currently in place, preventing Allison from publically revealing the identity of his new employer until the team officially announces it first.
Allison has served no less than three separate stints with the Lotus F1 Team (including a stint each when the team ran in its Benetton and Renault guises), as well as periods with the Larrousse and Ferrari outfits.
Widely credited with the early-season success of the E21 design, his departure could be a major blow for the team as it seeks to challenge Red Bull Racing for top honours in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship standings.