Mercedes High Performance Powertrains managing director Andy Cowell (pictured) will leave the company next year, with Hywel Thomas preparing to take his place.
Cowell has been an integral part of Mercedes’ dominance of Formula 1 since new hybrid power unit regulations were introduced in 2014, overseeing HPP’s development of the benchmark engine that has helped the team secure five consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championship doubles so far.
Since informing Mercedes of his decision to leave the company in January, Cowell has worked with team principal Toto Wolff and Daimler COO Markus Schäfer to define a new leadership team that will be headed up by Thomas. Internal appointments have been made in order to try and smooth the transition, with Thomas taking direct responsibility for the F1 power unit, and working alongside Adam Allsopp – Project One powertrain director who will report directly to Schafer – as well as operations director Richard Stevens and finance and IT director Ronald Ballhaus.
Wolff says Cowell’s influence has been a significant factor in Mercedes becoming the fourth most successful constructor in F1 history, but believes the team is well set to deal with his departure in early 2021.
“Andy’s leadership of the team at HPP has been a key factor in our championship success in recent seasons,” Wolff said. “He has made an outstanding contribution to our motorsport legacy and I have valued and enjoyed our working relationship since 2013; I am sure he will enjoy great success in the next challenge he decides to take on.
“Our philosophy has always been that a winning team is a dynamic organization, and that change is a natural part of every company’s development. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to work together to create a new leadership structure, by building on the strength in depth of the team in Brixworth. It puts us in a very strong position for the years ahead, as we aim to set new benchmarks in Formula 1 and Formula E.”
Cowell has not announced what his next move will be, but said he is ready for a new challenge after joining Mercedes in the mid-2000s after spells at Cosworth and BMW.
“After 16 enjoyable years working for HPP, I have decided that now is the right time to move on from my role and seek a new engineering business challenge,” Cowell said. “I have appreciated the opportunity to work with Markus and Toto in defining the future leadership structure of the company and I have every confidence in the ability of Hywel and the team to lead the company forward.
“It has been an absolute honor to work for Mercedes and especially to be Managing Director of HPP for seven years. Thank you to everyone who has provided me with such amazing opportunities and enjoyable challenges.”