Toto Wolff admits Mercedes will ‘miss’ Mike Elliott

Mike Elliott swapped positions with James Allison six months ago after feeling like the latter was better suited to the technical director role.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that the Silver Arrows will “miss” Mike Elliott, who has departed the outfit after spending the last 11 years with the side.

Elliott’s exit was announced ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, with Wolff having insisted that it has nothing to do with the performance of the car.

Elliott’s future with the team was somewhat up in the air after he swapped roles with James Allison.

Allison returned to being Mercedes’ technical director six months ago, whilst Elliott became the side’s chief technical officer.

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He’s ultimately decided that it’s time to take a break from Formula 1, with Wolff having praised him for recognising that he needed some time away.

“No, Mike was my number one employee for many, many years in terms of how he performed. We’re going to miss one of the most clever people in the industry,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1, when asked if Elliott’s exit was performance-based.

“It was just a hard toll on him over those many years, and I find it very remarkable that someone can say, ‘you know what, I need to do something else’, rather than holding on to this. Formula 1 anyway is an incestuous environment, if somebody is strong and says, ‘I’m done with it for the time being’, that’s good.”

There’s no hiding the fact that 2022 and 2023 haven’t gone as planned for Mercedes, who opted to start this season with the same concept which failed them last year.

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Elliott would’ve played a part in this decision because of the role he held at the time; however, Wolff has insisted that it was a decision made “as a group”.

“No, it’s never the decision of a single person,” Wolff said.

“I think, as a group, we’re trying to build the quickest race car, and obviously we were so far down the route with that concept of the car that we thought maybe we got on top of it.

“We didn’t, that’s why we changed it. We put lots of plasters on the car in order to be more competitive like we see now, but that hasn’t got any correlation.”

Whilst Elliott has spent the last 11 years with the Silver Arrows, Wolff doesn’t expect his departure to impact Mercedes’ performance.

READ: Lewis Hamilton targeting 2023 Brazilian GP victory

The Austrian doesn’t think one person can change how a car performs, with that instead being a team effort.

“I think it’s no single person’s fault if a car doesn’t perform,” Wolff added.

“It’s also not only one single person that makes the car faster, and I think we have such a strength in the organisation that you can take one out and everybody else is going to cover that, and the other way around, so I don’t think that’s going to change anything for next year.”