Mercedes technical chief James Allison says he cannot take much credit for the strength of former team Ferrari's 2017 title contender.
Allison left the same role at Ferrari mid-way through its winless 2016 campaign. Many speculated that his departure would be damaging for this season as it came at a crucial point in the development of 2017's car, but it has gone on to win two of the first three races of this year and leads both the drivers' and constructors championship.
The SFH70's development was taken over by Mattia Binotto, whose team has delivered a car which Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne predicts will be "at the forefront" of the title race all season. Allison feels it would be unfair to take away credit from the people who worked on the car after his departure.
"I left Ferrari many months ago and joined Mercedes just some small number of weeks ago and anything that Ferrari has done for this year's car is a credit to the people that work at Ferrari over these months and what they have delivered," Allison said in Bahrain. "Similarly, in the team that I'm in now, the credit for the fantastic performance of this team so far is down to all the people that have been putting in the effort at Brackley over those months."
He then joked about the period of gardening leave he entered after leaving Ferrari, which ended when he was confirmed at Mercedes on the eve of pre-season testing.
"I can only really be held responsible for the state of my garden at the moment which is looking very fine as a result of all the effort I've put into it in the last six months or so!"
Binotto was happy to hint at some credit to Allison, though he says the SFH70 is a product of a team effort at Ferrari's base at Maranello.
"I think that James has already answered, nothing more really to add," he said. "James was part of our team at the beginning of last year, as it's true that there is plenty of people working at Ferrari and the credit is to everybody."