Mercedes have announced a rake of changes to their technical and engineering departments.
Mercedes have revealed the details of a shift of personnel in their technical departments, a move they stress has been planned in recent months.
Engineering Director Aldo Costa is stepping aside from his leadership role to become a technical advisor to the team as he moves back to Italy to spend more time with his family. He has served in his current role since 2011, overseeing the designs of all the World Championship winning Mercedes cars from 2014 to current. He changes role at the end of this season. Costa, departing after four straight years of domination, praised the team for making his time at Mercedes so rewarding: “The last seven years with Mercedes have been an amazing experience – not just successful professionally but also a life experience that has enriched me and my family, and given us a more open and international mind-set. Back in 2011, it took just a few weeks to settle in the team and dedicate myself to this new challenge. The reason for the easy fit was the attitude of my colleagues, with their warm welcome, respect and collaborative approach all the way through the team.”
“This has been especially true with Toto: we share a professional challenge and also a personal passion for racing, and I have been grateful for his trust and full support in what I have tried to achieve. We have seen the team progress and achieve success, and now our next challenge is to create an even stronger group to meet the challenges of the next decade. Over the past year, I have worked with Toto and James to develop a long-term succession plan to help the next generation do the job in the best possible way. I am happy to leave the baton in the capable hands of John and James – and to continue to support the new organisation as a Technical Advisor to ensure it prospers in the future.”
Current Chief Designer John Owen will take over as senior leader, reporting to Technical Director James Allison. Owen has been with the team since 2007, when they were still the Honda team.
Performance Director Mark Ellis is also stepping aside, retiring from his current position and will take a sabbatical from Formula 1 from mid-2019. Leading up to that time, he will help the transition to the new appointment Loic Serra. Having joined Mercedes in 2010, Serra is currently Chief Vehicle Dynamicist.
“After 30 flat-out seasons in motorsport, 19 of them in Formula One, I have decided it is time for me to take a sabbatical from the sport.” said Ellis. “On a personal level, it will allow me to take a (hopefully well-earned) break to consider my next steps while remaining part of the Mercedes family, whilst on a professional level, it has enabled us jointly to plan the succession in a structured way and create and develop the space for the next generation to step up.”
“I would especially like to thank Toto for allowing me the space to bring my best to this incredible team and the opportunity to share the incredible journey over the last few years as well as the support from all my fellow engineers. This is without a doubt the best team I have ever worked with, at every level of the organisation; it is packed full of awesome people with a shared determination to deliver excellence in a humble, open and collaborative manner, a truly cohesive organisation which I shall miss. Our championships in recent years have been underpinned by the approach of developing our people along with our long-term capability; this transition is proof of that philosophy in action.”