A wintry mist hangs heavy as dawn breaks over one of Oxfordshire's many former Royal Air Force bases.
The first rays of sunlight unveil objects previously hidden in the gloom; a disused runway and hangars that once housed some of the most advanced fighter aircraft of their time. Inside a warehouse on the site of what was RAF Bicester are some of the greatest engineering creations of the past few years: they have wings, but they were not built for the skies.
This sleepy corner of Oxfordshire is now a retirement home for racing cars. The last five title-winning Mercedes Formula 1 cars, along with earlier incarnations, sit eerily still and silent here, the very opposite of what they were designed to do. And while James Allison has spent much of his recent career wearing rosso corsa - the colours of the opposition - today he is clad in white and standing between the two championship machines he has overseen from a technical perspective.