Hamilton jibe at Mercedes’ design officer James Allison

Fernando Alonso commented today that in F1 everything said is under the microscope and Lewis Hamilton who is candid to say the least then proved the point. Given the poor showing this season of the 2022 Mercedes W13 car which at the launch was lauded as ‘revolutionary’ it has indeed proven to have revolutionised Mercedes F1 performances, but not for the better.

During the drivers’ press conference the British driver was asked by Sky’s Ted Kravitz what made the Red Bull car this season so strong. His reply shocked a number of F1 pundits as he effused at length over the Adrian Newey designed car.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to Red Bull they’ve done a phenomenal job. 

“They had a great car last year as well. If you look at Adrian Newey he doesn’t generally build bad cars. He’s built amazing cars over the years. 

My championship winning car [McLaren 2008] was an evolution of his car. 

“He did his thesis on ground-effect floors, I mean it’s no surprise to be honest.”



Hamilton went on to explain like Gordon Murray before him Newey is one of the last to draw his designs by hand.

“So his understanding there has definitely been an advantage to them and they have done a good job.” 

Sky Sports’ presenter Karen Chandhook was visibly stunned by Hamilton’s comments

“That was quite an extraordinary answer. It’s very rare you hear a drover from a top team heap as much praise as he did on a technical director or a technical leader from another team.” 

Rachel Brooks quipped: “Is that a ‘Toto go and get Adrian’?



At a recent Goodwood members evening this writer asked Gordon Murray what he thought of this years new F1 car design regulations. Murray laughed, joking “I think it’s partly my fault they seem pretty close to ideas I suggested to Motorsport Magazine back in 2014.”

Murrays article: F1 brief; simpler, cheaper better

In 2015 TJ13 penned an article on the return to F1 of ground effect cars having discovered the FIA were establishing a working party to look at ways of improving F1.

TJ13: Significant ground effect about to make an F1 comeback

The current regulations have taken years to agree and it seems nobody told Mercedes what a genius Newey is a designing ground effect F1 cars.



Of course the effusive praise Hamilton heaped on Newey today serves another purpose of sending a message back to Mercedes base at Brackley, chiding the job done by the team’s Chief Technical Officer James Allison and 

Mike Elliot the team’s Technical Director

Following his graduation from Cambridge in 1991, Allison joined Benetton in the aerodynamics department, moved to Larrouse after a couple of years before returning to Benetton as head of Aero in the mid 1990’s

The British designer accepted a role at Ferrari in 2000 for 5 years before returning to his old team now named Renault as deputy technical director. The team of course won two championships in 2005/6 with Alonso though much of the design for their R25 car was complete and given it was the last year of the V10 engines a new car was developed for the V8 power unit in 2006.



Renault evolved into Lotus Renault in 2011 but two years later Allison got the call from Ferrari and left for life in Maranello.

The Scuderia were distant third in the constructors’ title that year and the remaining 3 years of Allison’s tenure hardly brought about the success expected from the Tifosi.

Ferrari slipped to being the 4th best team in 2014 and although they recovered to P2 the following year, the team, car and drivers scored just over half the points of the all mighty Mercedes W06 hybrid.

In his final year with Ferrari Alison’s design saw the Scuderia return to P3, but they rarely challenged the all conquering Mercedes W07 title winning car.



After the tragic death of his wife Allison left Italy and returned to England and joined the Brackley based team where he has remained since. 

Ferrari fans do not think fondly of Allison’s tenure with their team and Mercedes were already successful when he joined the team in 2017. Allison has hardly set the world on fire with his car designs and despite this season overseeing the INEOS America’s cup challenge along with his F1 Mercedes duties, the W13 car is woeful by Brackley’s recent standards.

Whether Allison and Elliot can turn around the current malaise within the Mercedes team is yet to be seen. 



However, the praise Lewis’ heaped on Adrian Newey today is entirely justified. Whether we use the analogy of microscope, telescope or megaphone his words will surely be ringing around Brackley for months.

It’s interesting Lewis is now eating his words from 2011 when he was driving for McLaren and Red Bull had just won their first double title.

“Red Bull are not a manufacturer, they are a drinks company,” he said back then. “It’s a drinks company versus McLaren, Ferrari history.

“I don’t know what their plan is. Our team is building to become a bigger manufacturer, like Ferrari, and I can only see our team being there for a ridiculous amount of time. It is a pure-bred racing team.”

Given Ferrari’s current delusional approach to accepting their mistakes and improving together with McLaren losing the fight for ‘best of the rest’ with Alpine, to coin a phrase of a certain Aussie F1 driver they’re ‘Not bad – for a drinks company’.

Further, given Newey’s complete grasp of ground effect it would be surprising if Red Bull aren’t dominant for the next 3 seasons until the F1 power unit regulation changes expected for 2026.

By then Max Verstappen may be a 5 time world champion and still advertising the products of a mere drinks company.

READ MORE: Binotto sacking imminent over poor Ferrari performance delusion

9 responses to “Hamilton jibe at Mercedes’ design officer James Allison

  1. Why shouldn’t a competitor make obvious complimentary comments about the competitors design and its designer?. It shows he is in touch and integrity. He was not slating Mercedes just admitting their car was not as good. He is staying faithful and doing as much as is possible to improve the car

  2. The engine rules and sanctions are the the clues, not aero, important though it is. If Honda was running its own branded team it would not stand for engine sanctions damaging it’s reputation for reliability.

  3. Dominant for 3 more seasons….?
    He will only be winning then, because he has the best car.. now WHERE have I heard that before

  4. I enjoyed the history bit.. good to remember Mercedes dominance built on the back of Ross Brawn.. and we all know what he’s doing these days.
    Mercedes not too dissimilar to Aston Martin in it’s approach, just got a lot luckier

  5. Hamilton is just pissed off because he isn’t winning. No one complements another team or team member as far as I’m aware. It says nothing about his integrity either.
    Adrian Newey has been engineering the best F1 cars since 1989, his first was for Leyton House March. He worked for Williams, Mclaren and Now Red Bull.
    He designed an active suspension car in 1993, for the ‘94 season. Other teams seemed to me to be unable to master the art so it was banned. I might be wrong, check for yourselves.
    All cars built by Adrian Newey are brilliant.
    I hope he does not go to Mercedes. I

    • Bit of a correction on these Strve0

      – It 100% says a lot about his sporting and personal integrity. If you don’t recognise this in a sportsman, then there is just something obstructing your perspective
      – The March was good, had revolutionary aspects but wasn’t “great”
      – He didn’t design the active system for Williams, that was Paddy Lowe. Yes Newey was the “designer”, but that encompasses the whole car. Paddy Lowe was the Head of Electronics and he and his team developed the system
      – Not all cars designed (not built) by Newey are brilliant. It took several years from him joining RB till they had a winning car
      – He will never go to Mercedes, as he has shares in the RB team

      • In addition, other than 1998 and 1999, I don’t remember ‘brilliant McLaren. And as for the MP4/18, that was truly appalling.

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