However the Mercedes Formula One team spin the recent personnel reassignments the bottom line is Technical Director Mike Elliot has failed the team for the past two years since he stepped into the role vacate by James Allison.
In his Autosport interview, it seemed like Toto Wolff was protesting too much when he revealed Elliot would no longer be managing the day ton day development of the F1 car.
Wolff protests too much
“This was very much driven by Mike Elliott owning the process” said Wolff.
“So, we have reversed the roles. Mike has moved up to CTO, as he has a brilliant switched-on scientific mind. And James Allison has returned to his technical director position, reporting in to Mike.”
All this appears to be the inevitable outcome following dramatic outbursts from both the Mercedes’ team boss and its seven time champion driver.
An exasperated Toto Wolff declared after just the first qualifying session of the year in Bahrain, “I don’t think that this package is going to be competitive eventually.”
Outbursts from Hamilton and Wolff
“We gave it our best go, also over the winter, and now we just need to all regroup, sit down with the engineers who were totally not dogmatic about anything, no holy cows, and decide what is the development direction that we want to pursue in order to be competitive [enough] to win races.”
Deciding to throw away the planned development direction before the first race of the season was in stark contrast to his comments less than a month previously at the launch of the W14.
“We are now getting ready to start the next season,” said Toto.
“I see so much effort, motivation, and energy in the organisation to launch a car that will eventually be competitive enough to fight at the very front of the grid.”
Hamilton lambasts ‘unamed’ persons
At the second race weekend in Jeddah it was Lewis Hamilton’s turn to shock those listening as he lambasted un-named individual(s) within the team for not listening to his input over the car design.
“Last year, I told them the issues that are with the car. I’ve driven so many cars in my life, so I know what a car needs, I know what a car doesn’t need,” Lewis explained to the BBC.
“And I think it’s really about accountability, it’s about owning up and saying ‘yeah, you know what, we didn’t listen to you.”
When demanding people are ‘accountable’ and ‘own up’ is mere management speak for someone taking the blame and more often than not, losing their job.
W13/14 Tech Director now gone
Toto Wolff tried to play down Hamilton’s comments when pressed and explained, “Now it’s about how we develop further and discussions are taking place about what the organisation should look like in the future. But it is not as if we are going to make heads roll. It’s better to ask: how can we function as well as possible in the future?”
And of course heads haven’t in reality rolled at Mercedes.
James Allison, feeling somewhat burned out, was sent away 2 years ago to do a corporate job away from the hectic nature of the day to day running of the F1 team. Mike Elliot, in what appears to be a smart decision to save his skin, has elected to suggest James return to the coal face while he moves away to do some blue sky thinking.
And all this time the matter of Lewis Hamilton’s future contract with Mercedes has been parked up. Toto led us all to believe it was a matter of a few hours together in a room after Christmas and we’d all see the white smoke, but it hasn’t happened that way.
2023 Spanish GP to be ‘spiced up’
Why has Hamilton delayed signing?
What has been delaying Lewis’ putting pen to paper?
Within the last week, Lewis hit the headlines with his thoughts about legacy and emulating the great Stirling Moss. Yet behind the obvious rhetoric were some carefully chosen words about the conditions required for him to stay.
“I think, for me personally, just as long as I can continue to help the team, as long as I can continue to help drive the team forwards and really contribute, then that’s why I want to stay.”
Of course if someone influential is not listening to you and de facto blocking the direction you wish to “drive the team forwards” then its surely time to quit.
Hamilton states this explicitly: “If there’s ever going to be a point where I feel like I’m not able to do that, then it’s time for a youngster to come in to take my seat.”
Contract talks can now resume
So with Mike Elliot out of Lewis Hamilton’s world and an old friend back running the day to day matters for Mercedes, its probable we’ll see a fairly swift resolution to the strangely delayed Hamilton new contract saga.
Unless of course it is Mercedes who are considering their options or as Martin Brundle recently suggested believe they should trim the remuneration Lewis is currently receiving.
READ MORE: Steiner pointed comments at McLaren
If i say Marlboro, you obviously say BRM P160 with Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda! Don't you? #F1 #RetroF1
Austrian Grand prix 1973. pic.twitter.com/0MHNczYOsd
— UnracedF1 – Passion for historical F1🏁 (@UnracedF1) April 21, 2023
Me parece qué el cambió es muy necesario y positivo para los objetivos de Mercedes me parece el comentario de Hamilton acertado ya que iban en dirección equivocada y eso es terrible, porque daba la sensación de que trabajaban para RBR