George Russell tackles theory Mike Elliott ‘defender’ of flawed Mercedes concept

Jamie Woodhouse
Mike Elliott

Mike Elliott opted to leave his Mercedes role.

When asked by Sky F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz whether Mercedes’ departed chief technical officer Mike Elliott was the “defender” of the unsuccessful ‘zero-pod’ concept, George Russell denied this.

Formula 1 is now coming towards the end of its second season since returning to ground effect aerodynamics, a move with alongside the introduction of a budget cap and sliding scale on permitted windtunnel testing time, was designed to bring the grid closer together.

However, this ambition is yet to be truly realised, with Red Bull having established themselves as the dominant force of Formula 1, winning the 2022 and 2023 Constructors’ Championships, while Max Verstappen has reeled off three Drivers’ Championship titles in a row.

George Russell defends Mike Elliott in Mercedes teamwork claim

Mercedes meanwhile has scored only one victory since the regulatory reset, that achieved by Russell at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix.

And ahead of Formula 1’s return to Interlagos, Mercedes broke the news that chief technical officer Mike Elliott had left the chief technical officer role, having resumed it earlier in the year when a job swap with technical director James Allison was reversed.

It was at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix where Mercedes finally waved the white flag on their unique ‘zero-pod’ concept which had failed to deliver the goods, though Russell denied that Elliott was the one who had dug his heels in to keep it around into a second season, to no success.

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“No, it’s never one individual who makes or breaks success,” said Russell when asked if Elliott was the “defender” of the W13 and W14 concept? “It’s always a collective.

“You’ve always got a leader, somebody at the helm sort of steering the ship. We have five exceptionally talented designers, engineers, who are at the top of the design group, and then we’ve got an amazing design office, aerodynamics department and racing below who sort of follow their lead.

“But as I said, there’s never one individual, it’s always a collective. As the saying goes, ‘We win and lose together’.

“Mike has been a huge part of the team and it’s very important to remember that he was the chief aerodynamicist during all of the glory years, and arguably that is, alongside the technical director, that is probably the most vital part of every Formula 1 team.

“So Mike has been a huge part of that success and I wish him well.”

Elliott now heads into the customary period of gardening leave, with no F1-related future plans currently on the agenda.

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