James Allison

Allison grew up surrounded by fast cars and even faster airplanes. His father, Air Chief Marshal Sir John Allison was one of the most senior Royal Air Force officers, who served as Commander-in-Chief of the RAF's Logistics Command, and was a keen restorer of vintage cars and old airplanes. He studied mechanical engineering and specialized in aerodynamics and, after graduating from Cambridge University in 1991, was hired by Benetton Formula to work as an aerodynamicist under Willem Toet.

After a couple of years with Benetton he was poached by Larrousse UK, Robin Herd's design office in Bicester, and did the aerodynamic work on the Larrousse F1 cars in 1994. When the team fell apart at the end of that year Allison went back to Benetton and worked with Toet and Nick Tombazis in the Defence Research Agency windtunnel at Farnborough. Allison was also involved in the planning, design and construction of the new Benetton windtunnel at Enstone. He later moved on to Ferrari to be part of the hugely successful team around Michael Schumacher. He left the team in 2004 and returned in 2005 to become deputy technical director at Renault F1.