Technical Director James Allison is to leave Lotus with Nick Chester taking over
But in-demand Allison's next destination still an unknown
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 10/05/13 4:27pm
Lotus have confirmed that James Allison is to leave the team with Nick Chester appointed their new Technical Director.
Allison, who has served in the post since 2009, has been strongly linked with a host of teams, including McLaren, Williams and Ferrari.
"James Allison leaves Lotus F1, Kimi won't be pleased," tweeted Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle on Wednesday morning, referring to the team's star driver.
Kimi Raikkonen has yet to sign a contract for the 2014 season and with Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz having recently mentioned the Finn as a target for his team, the suggestion is that Raikkonen's future at Enstone might be swayed by Allison's departure.
Allison's future was first called into question at the start of the year. However, speaking to Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz at the launch of Lotus's E21, he stated his commitment to the cause.
"I have a pretty long contract with this team. I take contracts very seriously and I intend to honour that in every aspect," Allison said back in January.
"It is true that there is talk and chat and happily people do pay me some attention. But I have a contract with this team and that's that."
At the time, the rumour was that McLaren were favourites to land Allison in place of their own technical boss Paddy Lowe, who was being lined up to replace Ross Brawn as Team Principal at Mercedes.
McLaren then announced in February that Lowe would leave the team, with Tim Goss subsequently installed as Technical Director at Woking.
Ferrari are another candidate to secure Allison's services. Having started his career at Benetton, who later morphed into the current Lotus outfit, he spent five years at Maranello between 2000 and 2005.
Allison then returned to Enstone, where he was promoted to Technical Director in 2009.
Chester is another long-term employee at Enstone, having worked at the team since 2000 in various roles including Head of Performance Systems, Head of Vehicle Performance Group, race engineer and, most recently, Engineering Director.
"I am grateful to the management at Enstone for the faith they have in promoting me to this position," he said. "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."