Mercedes have revealed there has been a change of leadership in their Technical team and that James Allison will retake the role of Technical Director.
Allison joined Mercedes as their Technical Director in 2017, after having worked in the series with teams such as Ferrari and Renault since 1991. In April 2021 Allison moved into the role of Chief Technical Officer where he oversaw not only F1 but INEOS Britannia sailing team.
The Technical Director position was then given to Mike Elliott, who started his F1 career with McLaren in 2000, and also worked alongside Allison at Renault from 2008-2012, before joining Mercedes in 2012.
After the massive regulation changes which came into play for the 2022 season Mercedes found themselves on the back foot having gone down a very different path to the other teams. Their design however wasn’t producing the results or competitiveness that they expected and had become used to thanks to their domination over the previous number of years.
While the team did manage to improve their car over the course of the year, and were optimistic with the work that had been completed over the winter break, the start of the 2023 season demonstrated that they were still on the back foot compared to their rivals. Mercedes feel that the change in leadership, with Allison back in charge of the day-to-day F1 business, is the right move if they want to get the W14 into a consistently competitive position on the grid.
Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff, said that the initial idea for the swap came from Elliott himself who felt that the team would be better served with himself and Allison switching up roles.
“This was very much driven by Mike Elliott owning the process,” Wolff told Motorsport.com. “So, we have reversed the roles. Mike has moved up to CTO, as he has a brilliant switched-on scientific mind. And James Allison has returned to his technical director position, reporting into Mike.”
“Mike came to the conclusion that the way he approaches things, his skill set, is best utilised in developing the organisation going forward: from technical capabilities to human capabilities and putting together the structure that can be successful for many years to come.
“We’re seeing huge changes in the technical developments, artificial intelligence and machine learning. And at the same time, looking at how is a modern Formula 1 team going to be organised and structured: what kind of innovation can be brought in.
“Mike sees himself very much in his sweet spot there,” Wolff added, “and obviously he’s a super capable engineer, very credible and respected in the organisation. He is going to be a coach and sparring partner for the most senior people.
“And I’m actually very happy that Mike took this decision by himself to put himself in this role, with both him and James coming to this conclusion, as we are having both of them in their genius.”
There was another slight role change also revealed with John Owens’ duties as Director of Car Design being split between Owens and his former deputy, Giacomo Tortora. Owens will continue with the car design side while Tortora will be named Engineering Director and take over the organisational side of things and look after the cost cap duties that had been added to chief designers plate.