July 12th 2018
Mercedes F1 Announces Changes In Technical Leadership; Aldo Costa Stepping Away From Role As Engineering Director
In a move described as handing the baton to the next generation of leaders within the Mercedes F1 team for 2019 and beyond, Engineering Director Aldo Costa (57) has chosen to move into the role of Technical Advisor to the Mercedes F1 team from the beginning of 2019, in order to spend more time with his family in Italy.
Costa joined Mercedes in 2011, following a highly successful Formula One career with Ferrari and Minardi, and played a central role in structuring the team’s technical organization and leading it to championship success.
As part of the transition to the future, the Engineering Group led by Costa has evolved in recent months. In the months to come it will take an even sharper focus on car design activities. Chief Designer John Owen (45) will become the senior member of this group, under the leadership of Technical Director James Allison. Owen has been with the team since 2007.
At the same time, Performance Director Mark Ellis (54) has decided to retire from his current position and to take a sabbatical beginning mid-2019. Ellis returned to Brackley in 2014 following six years with Red Bull Racing that included multiple world championship wins, and continued that run of success with Mercedes. He previously worked with BAR and Jaguar Racing in Formula One.
Chief Vehicle Dynamicist Loic Serra (46) will be appointed Performance Director by the end of 2018 and Ellis will support this transition until the middle of next year. Serra has worked for Mercedes since 2010.
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 organization; 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."
Engineering Director Aldo Costa commented, “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."
Performance Director Mark Ellis said, “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."
Technical Director James Allison concluded, “Our drivers, anyone who is a fan of our Team and, most of all, those of us lucky enough to work at Brackley and Brixworth, owe both Mark and Aldo a huge debt of gratitude.
"As a Johnny-come-lately to this Team my own sense of gratitude is larger than most: not just for the fun and challenge of working alongside them over two seasons, nor only for the huge power of the engineering groups that they have created and lead, but above all for the unique manner and grace of their intended departure.
"Aldo and Mark signaled their intention to step down over a year ago and have continued to give heart and soul to the company. Every day they take the fight to our competition with undiminished vigor and yet both men have reached deeper still in order to help me and others in the planning and implementation of their succession."
"Mark and Aldo pass on an unrivalled technical legacy to worthy and well-prepared successors to whom they have set a magnificent example of top-drawer technical leadership.”