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Mercedes chief technical officer Mike Elliott resigns on the eve of Brazilian GP

Mercedes have announced Mike Elliott has left the team as they continue to look for a first win in 2023

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Mercedes chief technical officer Mike Elliott has resigned from his position at the team ahead of the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Elliott, who joined Mercedes in 2012 after a stint at Renault, rose through the team’s ranks, going from head of aerodynamics to technical director in nine years.

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

“I have decided that now is the right time to make my next step beyond Mercedes – first to pause and take stock, after 23 years of working flat-out in this sport, and then to find my next challenge. 

“I would like to thank my team-mates for a fantastic 12 seasons together and wish them every success for the years to come.”

Elliott‘s spell as Mercedes technical director coincided with the end of the team’s dominant reign over Formula 1, with the team losing both the driver and constructor titles in 2021 and 2022 to Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

After a poor start to the 2023 season, which saw Mercedes pick up only one podium in the opening three races, Elliott swapped positions with predecessor James Allison, returning to his old role as chief technical officer.

Fortunes have improved since the swap, with Mercedes now second in the constructors championship. Lewis Hamilton is also only 20 points behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in their battle for second in the drivers’ championship.

Total-Motorsport.com understands a replacement for Elliott will not be announced before Sao Paulo.

Lewis Hamilton in action during the 2023 Mexico City GP | Mercedes

What went wrong for Elliott?

With Formula 1 announcing during the Spring of 2020, that year’s cars would be carried over to 2021 to save costs, the new ground effect-based regulations were pushed back to 2022.

When 2022 arrived, Mercedes launched the striking W13, a car which featured a unique ‘no’ sidepod concept, making it stand out from its competition.

However, the car had numerous teething troubles, such as balance issues and poor handling caused by porpoising, making it uncompetitive and ending all chance of Mercedes retaining their constructors’ championship.

Hamilton would suffer the indignity of being lapped by Verstappen at the 2022 Emilia Romagna GP on his way to finishing 14th and later suffered back issues caused by extreme porpoising at the 2022 Azerbaijan GP.

At the penultimate race of 2022, the Brazilian GP at Interlagos, George Russell, took his maiden F1 victory ahead of Hamilton, ensuring Mercedes’ 10-year-long winning streak would be preserved. 

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes drives around Baku City Circuit at the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022, Friday – LAT Images

But hopes Russell‘s victory would be a turning point were dashed at the start of 2023 as Mercedes‘ new W14 wasn’t much better than its predecessor, with Hamilton and Russell picking up one podium between them in the first three races.

After April’s Australian GP, where Hamilton finished second behind Verstappen, Mercedes reshuffled Allison and Elliott back to their previous roles before the latter’s departure seven months later.

“Mike has been one of the pillars of the team’s achievements over the past decade, and it’s with truly mixed feelings that we say goodbye to him today,” said Toto Wolff.

“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.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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