Toto Wolff: Mercedes finding ‘sweet spot’ with technical team restructure

Henry Valantine
Toto Wolff, Mercedes, showing his serious face. Saudi Arabia March 2023

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff showing his serious face. Saudi Arabia March 2023

Toto Wolff has said swapping the roles of James Allison and Mike Elliott in the technical team will allow both to be in their “sweet spot” at Mercedes moving forward.

Mercedes confirmed in the run-up to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that Allison would be returning to the Formula 1 side of the team on a full-time basis as technical director, with Elliott replacing him as chief technical officer.

This followed an internal review at Mercedes for how they can improve their performance, instigated by Elliott himself, following a difficult time by their standards since the start of 2022, with the 2023 season proving to be just as tricky for them to navigate with Red Bull well out in front.

But while Allison and Mercedes have been keen to point out that any changes under his on-the-ground leadership will take time to implement, the team principal feels the changes made will now put both of his key lieutenants in a stronger position than before.

“Well, he’s certainly absolutely inspirational and a natural leader and has been in the job for a long time, so he has the credibility,” Wolff said of Allison to Sky Sports F1.

“It’s good that he’s able to come back full time, which was not the case years ago, and I think the job swap that we made, the rotation is really putting both of them, Mike and James, in the sweet spot – and sometimes you just need to find out.”

With the two roles sounding similar in title, Wolff was asked to clarify exactly what it meant would be changing between the two, and he said that Allison’s role would now entail a more hands-on presence within the team again. recommends

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“Simple explanation, the technical director is that gladiator on the field who is fighting with his troops,” he said.

“CTO [chief technical officer] is Caesar on the horse overlooking the field and giving the strategic decisions and direction, and that’s Mike.”

Lewis Hamilton has been vocal in his views surrounding the team’s performance so far this season, but spoke positively about the direction of Mercedes despite registering his lowest finish of the year so far in Baku.

When the team boss was asked if the seven-time World Champion’s earlier critique of the team had anything to do with the technical reshuffle, the Austrian was quick to quash that idea.

“No, that’s a team decision, it has nothing to do with the drivers or anybody else,” Wolff confirmed.

“It’s literally Mike and James talking of what would be the best for this organisation, and then they came and said, we’ve thought about that. What is your opinion?”