Mercedes mixes F1 technical team as Allison/Elliott job swap

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The switch, which forms part of a raft of changes the team is making to help it return to the front of the F1 grid, will see Allison return to the technical director role, while Elliott will take over as chief technical officer.

The bold change, coming 20 months after Allison had originally moved into the CTO position, led Elliott to conclude that the skills he had were not the right fit for his position as CTO.

Read more: What the reappointment of “gladiator” Allison reveals about Mercedes’ current F1 shortcomings

With the team doing some soul-searching after a rocky start to the 2023 season, Elliott agreed with Allison that the team would be better off if they switched roles.

Speaking about the move, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told Autosport: “This was largely driven by Mike Elliott owning the operation.

“So, we reversed roles. Mike moved up to Chief Executive Officer, where he has a bright science mind. James Allison went back to Technical Director, reporting to Mike.”

While Allison’s previous role as technical director meant he only worked three days a week, Elliott will stick full time. It is also understood that Allison will retain a level of involvement in the America’s Cup project he has been working on during his tenure as technical officer.

Wolfe explained that Elliott believed Allison was better suited to the technical director role, as there was more practical responsibility for the car, and it would be beneficial for him to focus on broader organizational technical developments that play to his strengths.

“What Mike’s assessment was, and the introspection is really admirable, is that with James we have a wrestler in the field, and the troops are going to shoot for him and with him,” Wolfe added.

Mike has come to the conclusion that the way he approaches things, and his skill set, is best used in developing the organization going forward: from technical capabilities to human capabilities and putting together a structure that can be successful for many years to come.

“It is about creating an architecture that can be sustainably successful while moving to the next generation. We are seeing huge changes in technical developments, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“And at the same time, we look at how the modern Formula 1 team is organized and structured: what kind of innovation can be introduced.

Mike Elliott, Mercedes-Amg Technical Director

Mike Elliott, Mercedes-AMG Technical Director

Photography: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Pictures

“Mike sees himself very much in his sweet spot there and is clearly a super competent engineer, credible and very respected in the organization. He will be a coach and sparring partner for the seniors.”

“And I’m actually very glad that Mike made that decision on his own to put himself in the role that he and James came to that conclusion, where we both have it in their genius.”

In addition to swapping the positions of Allison and Elliott, Mercedes has also changed the job profiles of its chief designers to better adapt the team to the cost cap environment.

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Wolff added: “John Owen as Director of Car Design had a very different job profile under the cost cap because in addition to the creative part of car design, you have a lot of extra work that comes with it.

“What happened is that the chief designer became responsible for the maximum cost.

So, we split the role. John remained the lead designer, but we delegated that [his deputy] Giacomo Tortora to become the Engineering Director.

“This means John can focus on the details of the car’s design, and Giacomo takes care of the design and organizational development office.”

Mercedes is currently working on a range of updates for its W14 model that it hopes will help it close the gap to Red Bull. Changes to the car are set to include a revamp of its sidewall concept.

Wolf said Allison’s return as technical director would see the team continue on its current developmental direction.

“We now have a path that we think is the right path. It’s just different personalities and a different management structure,” he said.