Motor racing-Allison has no desire to be Mercedes team boss, says Wolff

FILE PHOTO: Nov 3, 2019; Austin, TX, USA; Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport designer James Allison is lifted up by Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Lewis Hamilton (left) of Great Britain and Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Valtteri Bottas (right) of Finland during the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

(Reuters) - Mercedes Formula One boss Toto Wolff says the team's current technical director James Allison would make a good replacement for him but the Briton does not want the job.

Austrian Wolff is principal and one third co-owner of the dominant world champions and agreed in December to stay on for three more years while also working on a succession plan.

Allison is switching in July to a new job as chief technical officer, encompassing all Mercedes' motorsport programmes, a position some have seen as a move lining up the Briton as Wolff's eventual replacement.

"I would say, if you look at things, he would absolutely be capable to be the team principal," Wolff told reporters ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Italy's Imola circuit.

"But the thing is very easy. He said, 'Never, ever I would do this. Team principal requires different skills.' And so he said, 'No, thank you. No'."

Wolff said he and Allison were fully aligned on the strategic direction of the team and had discussed the role of principal.

"He made it very clear that that was not for him. And since then, obviously I am thinking and I'm looking and I'm observing, what is happening out there, and who is doing a good job so finally I can step back from this madness."

Wolff said the former Ferrari technical director remained a huge asset for the team as a leader as well as engineer and referred to him as his "technical twin brother".

"He is a sparring partner of mine when it comes down to strategic discussions, political discussions, and he is getting more involved also with the other departments and racing programmes that we have," he said.

Allison said the decision to step down as technical director came to him in 2019.

"When I felt that this was the right thing for me and the best thing for the team to step away, I very much thought that I would be stepping away to my sofa to cheer the team from the sidelines as a punter," he said.

"Happily, Toto saw it a little differently. And between us we worked on the manner in which I could contribute to the team."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond)

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