Mercedes have confirmed former technical director James Allison has returned to the position in place of Mike Elliott, who in turn has taken Allison’s role of chief technical officer.
Elliott had been technical director of the Mercedes team since 2021, when he tradied positions with Allison. However, ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku next week, Mercedes have swapped the two senior technical staff back to their previous positions.
Mercedes chief designer John Owen’s position has also been amended in the reshuffle, with Giacomo Tortora being made the team’s new engineering director. A Mercedes spokesperson confirmed details of the changes to RaceFans.
The team lie third in the constructors’ championship behind rivals Red Bull and power unit customers Aston Martin after the first three races of 2023. The team endured a difficult 2022 season, out of contention for the championship and only scoring a single race victory.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted the team have been disappointed with their start to their 2023 campaign. “It’s been difficult so far,” Wolff said in a Q&A on Mercedes’ website this week.
“With the way we developed the car, we were hopeful of sorting out our issues from last year. And we realised we weren’t coming out of the blocks where we expected to be. Having said that, we don’t feel any sense of entitlement. This is the toughest competition in the world, and it wouldn’t be such a fantastic challenge if it was easy.”
Mercedes have taken a single podium finish over the opening three rounds, with Lewis Hamilton finishing second in the Australian Grand Prix earlier this month. Team mate George Russell had led the early laps of the race before losing out when he pitted under an early Safety Car, then retiring with a power unit failure.
“In terms of car development, it is encouraging to see that within three races, we understand the car much better, we have defined a clear direction where we need to go and I believe we are on the right trajectory,” Wolff said. “We need to consolidate our understanding and hopefully over the next few races we can make another step.
“It’s also important to keep on track and not oscillate too much between exuberance and depression; to stay rational and believe in our trajectory, believe in the capability of the team. There will be setbacks but there will also be upgrades and plenty of work that will help us get closer to the front.”
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