Mercedes has announced Aldo Costa and Mark Ellis will both move on from their current roles as part of a technical evolution at the team.
Costa (pictured below) will leave his role of engineering director to become technical advisor from the start of 2019 in order to spend more time with his family in Italy. The former Ferrari technical director joined Mercedes in 2011 and has helped put together the current technical team that has won four straight championship doubles.
In making that transition, Costa’s move will see 45-year-old chief designer John Owen become the senior member of the technical team working under current technical director James Allison.
Performance director Ellis will also leave his role in order to take a sabbatical starting in mid-2019. Ellis has been with the team since joining from Red Bull in 2014, and he will be directly replaced in the position by chief vehicle dynamicist Loic Serra. While Serra will take up the role by the end of this year, Ellis will remain with the team to support the transition for a number of months.
“This is a significant moment for our team and a great opportunity,” team principal Toto Wolff said. “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.
“Since the early days of 2013, Aldo and I have shared many dinners in Oxford as fellow European exiles, as well as some amazing days in the car at the Mille Miglia last year. I have got to know not just an outstanding individual but also somebody who has taught me so much about Formula 1 and the humility it takes in order to be successful.
“With Mark, when we first met we could never have imagined the success we would achieve together. He has been a sparring partner in the truest sense of the word – and I will miss our ‘tough love’ discussions with their shared passion for our Team and driven by the ultimate will to win.
“Mark and Aldo have both helped to shape the timing and manner of these changes, and the Team’s future is very bright with John, Loic and our entire technical leadership working under James’ direction.”
Allison himself is full of praise for the manner of the transition, saying both Costa and Ellis have ensured there will be a thoroughly planned handover period.
“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,” Allison said. “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 unrivaled technical legacy to worthy and well-prepared successors to whom they have set a magnificent example of top-drawer technical leadership.”