Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport announced yesterday that its Formula One team will go through a series of staff changes next season, after two senior members Aldo Costa and Mark Ellis decided to take a step back.
Mercedes sees the wave of changes as natural and called it a planned transition which will see the baton handed on to the next generation.
The biggest change affects Aldo Costa who decided to decrease his involvement in the team and in the whole sport by moving to an advisory role from the beginning of 2019. The Italian cited a need to spend more time with his family in his native Italy.
After graduating from the University of Bologna, Costa joined Formula One as the chief designer for Minardi in 1988. The following year saw him moving into the role of the technical director. Costa then joined Ferrari in 1995 where he took up different roles, continually moving up the ladder. He was assistant to the team’s Chief Designer Rory Byrne, then he became the Head of Design and Development. At the end of 2007, Costa took on the role of technical director. After announcing his departure from Ferrari in the mid-point of 2011, the now 57-year-old Italian joined Mercedes as Engineering Director in the same year.
The Engineering Group led by Aldo will take an even sharper focus on car design activities in the next months and will be led by John Owen who has been working as the Chief Designer of the team.
In parallel to Costa's decision, Performance Director Mark Ellis has decided to take a sabbatical beginning mid-2019. The 54-year-old engineer previously worked with BAR, Jaguar Racing and Red Bull before joining the Brackely-based team in 2014. Chief Vehicle Dynamicist Loic Serra will be appointed Performance Director by the end of 2018 and Mark will support this transition until the middle of next year.
Despite to these major changes which include departures, promotions and reorganizations of the current engineering groups, Mercedes is confident that the transition will not affect its dominant form and run of success.
“This pro-active implementation of the organisation’s succession planning draws on the internal capability that has been built in recent years by identifying and developing future leaders within the Team,” Mercedes commented the changes in its announcement.