James Allison says building a great 2024 car is “doubly important”

© Daimler AG

Mercedes’ Technical Director James Allison says “with 2026 bearing down on us”, it is “highly likely that the 2025 cars can be close cousins of the 2024 cars”.

Lewis Hamilton recently said that Mercedes will have to have “the greatest six months of development” to be able to battle Red Bull in 2024.

The team’s Technical Director James Allison agrees with Lewis, and adds with the 2026 rules change fast approaching, it’s even more important to get 2024 right.

“[The 2024 car] will be a different car for one thing,” Allison said.

“So, I won’t be working with this one. But he’s [Hamilton] correct in two senses. It’s a new season, it’s important that we get off the new season on the front foot.

“But more than averagely so, because with 2026 bearing down on us, a car that will need to be engineered in 2025, it’s highly likely that the 2025 cars can be close cousins of the 2024 cars.

“So doubly important to get the 2024 car good.”

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What Allison is saying is that teams will have to start focusing on their 2026 cars as early as next year, so their 2025 challengers will be very much based on their 2024 predecessors.

Asked whether there had been a fundamental shift regarding the drivers’ involvement in car design in recent months, Allison said:

“Fundamental… would overstate it. At the race weekends you get your greatest access to the drivers because you’re with each other for many hours.

“But it’s also a very fractious environment to interact, because the pressure of doing well at the circuit means that it’s just slightly less objective than if you’re doing it back at home.

“And the drivers have been good enough to put aside time for us in the slightly cooler environment of home.

“And that has proved useful, it’s proved helpful for ranking the problems they have, for seeing the opportunities and just making sure that the things that we are working on are well aligned with what they’re describing,” the Briton concluded.

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