Date:Friday May 10 2013
The Lotus Formula One team have been struck a heavy blow with James Allison stepping down as Lotus technical director.
Allison has been Lotus's Technical Director since 2009 but has been heavily linked with the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams in the past.
As yet Allison has not stated where he will be making his move to, although rumours around the paddock seem to be suggesting Ferrari through process of elimination.
Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff confirmed that Allison had been approached by Niki Lauda back in December, but has suggested that this failed to progress any further. With the appointment of McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe at Mercedes that avenue now appears to be closed.
Red Bull have flat out denied the speculation to the BBC, while the British broadcaster also believes that Allison has turned down an offer from McLaren, with Tim Goss stepping in to replace Paddy Lowe.
When Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was asked about Allison possibly joining Ferrari on Wednesday he said 'It's just a rumour,'.
If he was to make the switch back to Ferrari [where he worked between 2000-2005] it would see Allison working alongside technical director Pat Fry, who worked together in the 1990's at the former Benetton team.
Meanwhile Lotus have announced that Allison will be replaced by Nick Chester who makes the step up from Head of Vehicle Performance.
However Chester has already been heavily involved in the teams development of the new 2014 car, which of course is subject to the multiple regulation changes which are set to come in for next season.
The current 2.4-litre V8's are set to be a thing of the past, replaced by 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines with extensive energy recovery systems.
Lotus Team boss Eric Boullier believes that Lotus's decision to promote from within will be of benefit to the team.
'Nick is already directly involved with this and next year's cars, ensuring a smooth transition which has been under way for some time.' he told the BBC.
'He assumes his new position at a tremendously exciting time for the sport. The 2014 technical regulation changes present many challenges, while our current position of second place in both the constructors' and drivers' world championships mean we cannot lose sight of this year's development battle.
'Nick really has his work cut out, but we know he is more than capable of handling the tasks ahead.'
Chester told Sky Sports: 'I am grateful to the management at Enstone for the faith they have in promoting me to this position, 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.'
Date:Friday May 10 2013
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