Mercedes parts ways with chief technical officer Elliott after 11 years

Formula 1

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Mercedes has parted ways with Mike Elliott, six months after moving him out of the role of technical director.

Elliott joined Mercedes in 2012 as head of aerodynamics and took over as technical director from James Allison in July 2021.

However the pair swapped roles again in April this year after the team made an unsuccessful start to its championship for a second year running.

Elliot oversaw the development of the W13, Mercedes’ first car built to the new technical regulations introduced in 2022, incorporating a novel ‘zero’ sidepod concept. But the radical design proved uncompetitive and the team failed to win the constructors’ championship for the first time since 2013.

Mercedes persisted with the concept into the beginning of this year. But soon after the launch of the W14 the team confirmed it would abandon the design.

In a statement Mercedes said Elliott has “chosen to depart the team and begin the next chapter of his career beyond Mercedes”.

Elliott was part of Mercedes’ design team throughout their championship successes of 2014 to 2021.

“It has been one of the great privileges of my career to be part of this Mercedes team,” he said.

“During my time, I have seen it grow from a group of people pulling together to win races, then a first championship, to winning a record eight consecutive constructors championships. – and I am proud to have made my contribution to that journey.

“Although the last two seasons have not seen us winning races in the manner we aspire to, they have tested us in many other ways – and forced us to question our fundamental assumptions about how we deliver performance. During the past six months, I have enjoyed developing the technical strategy that we hope can provide the foundations of the team’s next cycle of success.”

Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff said Elliott “has been one of the pillars of the team’s achievements over the past decade”.

“It’s with truly mixed feelings that we say goodbye to him today,” he continued. “Mike is a fiercely intelligent technical brain and a great team-player. He has made a strong contribution not just to winning racing cars but also to building the culture of our team.

“But on the other side, it’s clear that he’s ready for new adventures beyond Mercedes – so I know this is the right step for him to take, too. He leaves the team today with our thanks for the effort, commitment, and expertise he has brought to the team over the past 11 years – and our very best wishes for the future.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Mercedes parts ways with chief technical officer Elliott after 11 years”

  1. Is he about to leave his very aerodynamic garden, tended for the last six months, to join another team?

  2. Best thing really, he’s a bit too superfocussed nerdy I think, completely mega with his aero numbers, but… and got promoted to the wrong role.

    James Allison does the whole car, as well as the team leader communications, and suspension, look at the tyre use already. Next year, watch out, the Lewis n James show rides again :) The only thing that can challenge Adrian n Max

    1. @zann Just looks like the Peter Principle in action. No-one’s fault, just general dynamics of a company/career. It is like when the best salesman is promoted to sales manager and they can’t hack it as it is a completely different skillset needed to succeed.

      1. well the Peter Principle is when it just happens automatically as a routine, because he was doing his old job well, but this was because James wanted to go off and design yachts so it left the team without a TD. But yes it wasn’t in Mike Elliott’s skillset was it, bit of a mistake

      2. I think Mike Elliot staked his reputation (and possibly his job) on making the W13 design work as the W14. The timing is suspicious– “This new floor, from the new design direction, works” followed almost immediately by “And we’d like to wish Mike Elliot the best in whatever his future might bring”.

  3. About time. Shame it ended this way, was just never cut out for the very senior role, tars what was otherwise a good career in other senior behind scnces roles. Job swap with Allison was always good cause nothing suggested Elliot was cut out for his new wider executive ‘future outlook’ role either….a role which was crafted just for James Allison which only he was qualified for in reality. Anyhow, hope he’s got himself a nice cushy payoff, can’t see many teams taking him.

  4. call me crazy but I want him at Haas
    I want to see what he and Resta can cook especially with an Alfa Romeo budget.

    I can also see him at Audi with Seidl because I baselessly hold the opinion Seidl needs help.

  5. Robert Henning
    31st October 2023, 22:13

    Seems a premature firing. Time will tell. If the next car fails will the next TD be replaced?

    Not what I expected of a team whose PR team spent years preaching No Blame culture. Totos worst day in racing and Lewis’ they don’t listen to me ended in this one would assume.

    Well time will tell where everyone is at in 2024. Afterall the RB19 behaves like the W13 given its sensitivity to bumps and low ride height. It’s just a much more refined evolution. RB18 seemed a better car once the weight was off but maybe the potential was limited with how high it ran from the ground.

    1. Robert, “Seems a premature firing”

      That’s you reading your own interpretation into the situation and extrapolating that into Mercedes scapegoating him for the lack of wins. None of us know the details of this. Does it say anywhere that he was sacked? For all we know, rather than being fired, it might be that another team had made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and he handed in his notice six months ago, or he is fed up with the pressures of F1 year after year and just wants to do something completely different, or maybe he has won the lottery. Let’s not rush to judgeent.

      1. Robert Henning
        31st October 2023, 23:54

        Well Alan all of that would make sense had he first not been demoted to a CTO which Merc made it appear as if he himself wanted out of the TD role and promoted Allison as a gladiator.

        2 years of not getting a car right is fine. If this is the benchmark RB should have thrown Adrian and Pierre in the bin.

        Mercedes already have lost plenty of good engineers and you don’t play a key role in such successful cars unless you’re also very good. 2 years of not winning much is perfectly reasonable. Mercedes was the same team that got regs right before and everyone had to play catchup. Now it’s roles reversed and all I saw was Elliot being scapegoated after Bahrain, then demoted to CTO and finally now “resigned’.

        You should probably read a but more into this history.

        Sure another team could have made an offer he couldn’t refuse but he was already the TD of the most dominant team in F1. Anywhere else is just a downgrade.

        1. but he was already the TD of the most dominant team in F1. Anywhere else is just a downgrade.

          Plenty of people find themselves in jobs they aren’t right for. There’s nothing wrong with moving to another position even if it is a downgrade. You’re making assumptions with little in the way of facts to go on.

    2. Well, yes, I suppose they could have ‘moved him on somewhere beyond Mercedes’ some time around 2046. However, given they probably want to compete next year, now seems as good a time as any.
      It was persisting into this year that did the real damage. OK so 2022 was bad, the new concept was tried but failed. Move on quickly, learn from the mistakes. But trying the same concept again for 2023 seemed stubbornly misguided and so it proved. Neither driver felt listened to in the design of the W14 and were complaining as such before the actual racing began.

      1. Robert Henning
        1st November 2023, 0:00

        First of all, Russell isn’t there saying they didn’t listen to him. I have come to realize you assume Lewis speaks for everyone so I’ll leave that at that.

        Secondly, the car is plenty quicker than RB18, and that’s already a significant step. Just because RB found 1s more doesn’t mean everyone else has to. Reasons are really simple – RB got it right the first time and had a headstsrt in develooment which will likely be there till end of these regs. Merc did quite a thorough change and did improve significantly. I’m sure if W14 was there at the beginning of 2022 you’d probably be praising the same guy. Merc improved most on average since 2022 and are P2 from P3. That’s progress.

        Also Elliot isn’t the TD now. He was demoted to CTO already. Allison is running the show now and that’s after anyways putting Elliott under the bus.

        Hamilton should seriously start engineering cars. As an engineer all I can say is he speaks plenty not out of his mouth and I’m sorry to say this, many on this website being his worshippers hardly have the capability to think.
        That is the ground reality.

        1. First of all, Russell isn’t there saying they didn’t listen to him. I have come to realize you assume Lewis speaks for everyone so I’ll leave that at that.

          did you really watch f1? everyone could see mercedes got it wrong by a long margin! you are not lewis, so dont utter non-sense, the guy has been driving since he was a kid, so he is telling some constructive info to the team

          I’m sure if W14 was there at the beginning of 2022 you’d probably be praising the same guy

          again, you repeat the same thing in reverse, did you really watch f1?

          Hamilton should seriously start engineering cars. As an engineer all I can say is he speaks plenty not out of his mouth and I’m sorry to say this

          we all know you are the guy behind adrian, so your words coming out of some real stuff!

          his worshippers hardly have the capability to think

          have you looked at the mirror lately?

          or better, if you are so genuis, why are you not driving one of the w14s or replace whoever at mercedes, only you seem to think who knows his stuff?

          1. Funny part a other Designer looked at the design and he said that could be very fast if they do the suspension right. gues who said that ….. A.N. indeed.

            So they were right it’s a fast design but they had the suspension wrong…..

          2. @macleod Newey said the first thing they worked out was the front and rear suspension, on the basis that the most important aspect under the new ground effects era was maintaining a constant ride height (i.e. no porpoising). After they could keep the car more or less at the height they wanted, they could work on the floor downforce etc. Seems obvious in retrospect I guess.

        2. I assume Hamilton is able to say stuff Russell can’t, true, fairly obvious given their career differences and time at the team. Did he speak for Russell too when he said they hadn’t listened? Probably. But Russell was coming out with some damning comments too in the early season.
          Mercedes obviously improved after they switched round Elliot and Allison dropped the ‘zero pod’, redesigned the nose and floor and basically introduced a Mark 2 W14, which proceeded to see them improve. Which you’ve more or less said yourself so I’ve no real idea what you’re rambling on about.

  6. Interesting the picture they took, it looks like he’s just been fired!

    1. Anyone would look glum faced with digging that garden for 6 months.

  7. It’s with truly mixed feelings that we say goodbye to him today


    1. That tells the whole story

    2. I don’t understand why that confuse you. The next two sentences explain it, They are sad to see him go but understand that he wanted something else.

  8. At the end of the day, it’s not surprising that there’s changes happening.

    What I’d love to know is whether or not it was him that insisted they persist with the design that was such a complete flop last year.

    The fact that they finally abandoned it suggests that someone either forced the issue or they finally accepted that their modelling was wrong.

    Hopefully next years car will at least be more competitive from the start instead of handing a huge advantage to the competition, not unlike the way RBR did from 2015 thru 2017. These days no team can afford to start a season on the back foot because those at the front just get better making it almost impossible to win a WDC/WCC, regardless of how good their drivers may be.

  9. Toto Wolff’s statement, ‘We blame the process, not the people,’ has aged like milk. On a more serious note, when Elliot was pushed out of the design office, I emphasized that for Ferrari to truly challenge RBR and Mercedes for world championships, signing Elliot is essential.

    Some might point out to his failure designing a ground effect Mercedes, but that’s not the issue. Elliot undoubtedly possesses valuable insights into what makes Mercedes a championship-winning team. It’s not just about the car; even with a competitive vehicle, Ferrari manages to falter. It’s about the processes, technology, organization, and tools that elevate Mercedes to a championship level.

    Bringing Elliot on board, irrespective of his past challenges, would undoubtedly benefit Ferrari.

  10. Elliott has contributed to 8 constructors’ championships in his 23 years of F1. There are not many who can say that.

    He has contributed to every car in which Hamilton has won a championship.

    Aside from that he has contributed to the Technical Regulations, and has never wanted to achieve success by breaking them.

    It is a career anyone could be proud of.

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