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Ferrari's "top-down leadership style" a burden - Allison

Ferrari's "top-down leadership style" a burden - Allison

F1 News

Ferrari's "top-down leadership style" a burden - Allison

Ferrari's "top-down leadership style" a burden - Allison

Mercedes technical director James Allison believes Ferrari's hierarchy is a burden on the Scuderia which has resulted in the once-powerful team making wayward short-term decisions.

Allison is ideally suited to offering an opinion on Ferrari bearing in mind he worked for the team in two spells, initially from 2000 to 2005, and again from 2013 to 2016 before then moving on to his current position with Mercedes.

While Allison remembers his time with Ferrari fondly, he is acutely aware of the pressures that are brought to bear, both externally and internally, and that are magnified when the team is going through a difficult period, as is currently the case.

"Well, clearly, I wouldn’t have gone back to Ferrari a second time if working there was a miserable experience," said Allison.

"I had two very important parts of my career at Ferrari and have massive affection for the brand, for the people there and I hope they wouldn’t mind me saying, I’ve got many friends in that team.

"So working at Ferrari is in many ways an unalloyed joy, but the country is so pro the team, the brand is so strong, the history and heritage of Ferrari are so important that you do feel that you are part of something that is itself important and that is a real strength for that group."

On the flipside, Allison added: "But it’s also probably their biggest burden that they carry, too, because along with that affection and joy that the nation shares in Ferrari’s successes comes a great deal of pressure when things are going poorly.

"That pressure is externally applied from the press in a much more intense way than any other Formula One team. It is internally applied from just everyone who feels the duty to be living up to the great performances that the team has shown in the past.

"And it is, I think, most powerfully internally expressed by a top-down leadership style that at Ferrari is probably more exaggerated than in other teams, and that tends to make the team make short-term decisions and can lead it astray instead of building fundamental strengths that will carry it from year to year.

"So it is a real mixture of these heady highs and base lows which have, at their root, the same origin which is the huge desire within the team and without, for the Ferrari brand to be fighting at the front of the field."

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