Mercedes have announced a series of changes to their senior technical leadership for 2019 and beyond.
Performance Director Mark Ellis will retire from his current position and take a sabbatical from the middle of next year, while Aldo Costa, who is currently the team’s Engineering Director, takes on the role of Technical Advisor.
Chief Designer John Owen will take charge of the Engineering Group currently led by Costa under the leadership of James Allison, while Loic Serra, the Chief Vehicle Dynamicist, will take over from Ellis by the end of 2018.
The team insists the changes are part of a planned transition to bring through the next generation of leaders within the team for next year and beyond, and the changes are made with the full buy-in of everyone involved.
In a statement announcing the changes, Team Principal Toto Wolff said: “This is a significant moment for our team and a great opportunity. We have said many times that you cannot freeze a successful organisation; it is a dynamic structure and I am proud that we are able to hand the baton smoothly to the next generation of leaders inside the team.
“We have been in discussion for many months with both Mark and Aldo about how best to implement this transition and to empower their successors. They could not be more different personalities but they have both respected that difference and their legacy with Mercedes will stand test of time. Mark and Aldo have both helped to shape the timing and manner of these changes, and the Team’s future is very bright with John, Loic and our entire technical leadership working under James’ direction.”
Ellis added: “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. 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.”
Costa said: “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. 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.”
Ellis has been in his role since 2014 following a six-year stint at Red Bull, while Costa joined Mercedes in 2011 following spells with Ferrari and Minardi. Owen has been part of the team since 2007 and Serra has worked for Mercedes since 2010.