James Allison/Mike Elliott Swap Jobs in Mercedes Team's Restructuring Efforts

Mercedes Formula One Team has undergone significant changes in its technical and organizational structure, with James Allison returning to the role of Technical Director

by Faruk Imamovic
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James Allison/Mike Elliott Swap Jobs in Mercedes Team's Restructuring Efforts

Mercedes Formula One Team has undergone significant changes in its technical and organizational structure, with James Allison returning to the role of Technical Director and Mike Elliott moving up to the position of Chief Technical Officer.

In an interview with Autosport, Team Boss Toto Wolff confirmed the news and shed light on the thought process behind these changes.

A Shift in Focus: The Move to CTO

"This was very much driven by Mike Elliott owning the process," Wolff stated.

"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 in to Mike." According to Wolff, Elliott believed that Allison was better suited to the technical director role, being a "gladiator on the field" and someone the troops would follow through fire.

On the other hand, Elliott saw himself as better suited to developing the organization and its structure for future success. "What Mike's assessment was, and the introspection is really admirable, is that with James we have a gladiator on the field and the troops are going to go through the fire for him and with him," Wolff added.

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

Adapting to the Future: Technical and Organizational Changes

Wolff explained that the changes were also driven by the rapid pace of technological advancements, particularly in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The team is looking at how to be a modern Formula One team that is organized and structured to bring in innovation. "It's about creating a structure that can be sustainably successful going into the next generation," Wolff said.

"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 One team going to be organized and structured: what kind of innovation can be brought in." Elliott's new role as CTO will see him serve as a coach and sparring partner for the most senior people, bringing his credibility and engineering expertise to the table.

Wolff expressed his satisfaction with the decision, saying, "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."

Design Changes to Accommodate Cost Caps

In addition to the changes in technical and organizational structure, Mercedes has also altered the job profiles of its senior designers to better adapt to the cost cap environment.

John Owen, the Director of Car Design, will now concentrate on the specifics of car design, while his deputy Giacomo Tortora takes on the role of Engineering Director and looks after the design office and organizational development.

"John Owen as the director of car design had a very different job profile under the cost cap because, in addition to the creative part of designing a car, you have a tonne of extra work that comes with it," Wolff said. "What happened is that the chief designer became a cost cap administrator.

So, we've split the role. John stays as the chief designer, but we have mandated [his deputy] Giacomo Tortora to become the engineering director. It means John can concentrate on the specifics of the car design, and Giacomo looks after the design office, and the organizational development."

Mercedes
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