Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2023

Departure of Elliott won’t disrupt work on Mercedes’ 2024 car – Wolff

Formula 1

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insists that the departure of Mike Elliott will not affect the team’s preparations for the 2024 season.

Earlier this week, Mercedes confirmed that Elliott, the team’s chief technical officer, had resigned from his role and left the team.

Elliott had been with Mercedes before they won their first world championship title in 2014 and had helped contribute towards the teams dominant run of success through the start of the V6 hybrid turbo era. However, Mercedes have endured a frustrating run single the introduction of ground effect aerodynamics in 2022, winning just a single race in 2022 and going winless throughout 2023 so far.

Mercedes’ lack of competitiveness with champions and fierce rivals Red Bull coincided with their ‘zero sidepod’ aero concept, which was introduced during Elliott’s time as the team’s technical director. The team responded to its poor start to this season by swapping Elliott with James Allison, reversing a previous role exchange from 2021.

Wolff says that he had nothing but respect for Elliott due to his contributions to the team over more than a decade.

“Mike was my number one employee for many, many years in terms of how he performed,” Wolff told Sky. “We’re going to miss one of the most clever people in the industry.

“It was just a hard toll on him over those many years. I find it very remarkable that somebody can say ‘you know what, I need to do something else’ rather than holding on to this. Formula 1 anyway is an incestuous environment. If somebody is strong and says, ‘I’m done with it for the time being’, that’s good.”

Wolff dismissed suggestions that Elliott had “paid the price” for Mercedes’ underperformance since the current technical regulations were introduced.

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“No, it’s never the decision of a single person,” Wolff said about their car’s aerodynamic concept.

“I think as a group, we’re trying to build the quickest race car. Obviously we were so far down the route with that concept of a car that we thought maybe we’d got on top of it. We didn’t and that’s why we changed it. We put lots of plasters on the car in order to be more competitive like we see now. But that hasn’t got any correlation.”

Despite losing the team’s chief technical officer at a crucial stage of the year as teams look to design their cars for the upcoming 2024 season, Wolff insists that Elliott’s departure will not compromise their preparation for next season.

“It’s no single person’s fault if a car doesn’t perform. It’s also not one single person that makes the car faster,” Wolff said.

“I think we have such a strengths in the organisation that you can take one out and everybody else is going to cover that and the other way around. So I don’t think that’s going to change anything for next year.”

The Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend marks one year since Mercedes’ last grand prix victory at the same event in 2022. Wolff admitted he is keen to see Mercedes take a victory before the end of the season.

“I think we would like to win one, just for our own expectations,” he said. “I’m not so much into records – I like championship records, but not race win records – but it would be good for the morale, I guess.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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3 comments on “Departure of Elliott won’t disrupt work on Mercedes’ 2024 car – Wolff”

  1. Especially since no one will be around to keep saying, are we sure we don’t want to do zero side pods again? Just one more time?

  2. Well, mercedes had a chance for the win in singapore, but threw it away to keep russell happy, with hamilton faster stuck behind him, not to mention giving up a banker 2nd place which would’ve been safe for russell, unless he had to give way for hamilton.

    Even without russel’s last lap mistake he had settled for 3rd place, so net loss by pitting both, and when there’s a chance a year to win a race for other than red bull, letting ferrari have it (known for bad strategies) isn’t a highlight!

  3. Mercedes is taking the Ferrari road. Reorganization and sacking people and dropping down the order.
    One important difference, Ferrari was not shy in replacing the teammanager…

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