Toto Wolff reveals new signing will ‘take over’ some of James Vowles’ responsibilities

Former F1 driver Jerome D’Ambrosio has been spotted in the Mercedes garage during the opening weeks of the season.

Mercedes are in desperate need of all the help that they can get at the moment, with the team struggling to compete at the start of this season.

The W14’s design features the zero sidepod concept that the Silver Arrows used in 2022, a bold choice which has not paid off.

Team principal Toto Wolff has already admitted that his team will now be exploring a different development pathway and it has been rumoured that former technical director James Allison has returned to the team to oversee the next batch of upgrades.

Allison is not the only staff change at Mercedes however, with former F1 driver Jerome D’Ambrosio now being appointed by the team.

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Toto Wolff has now explained what the Belgian’s role will be with Mercedes, with D’Ambrosio set to take on some of the responsibilities vacated former strategic director and new Williams team principal James Vowles.

“Jerome is taking over some of James’ topics. He’s looking after the young driver programme in very close co-operation with Gwen [Lagrue], who has been doing it very successfully over the last few years with Gwen’s team,” he explained.

“We are looking at grassroots motorsports from the early stages of go-karts and this is where Gwen is very active, and he was the one working with James and now within the Brackley structure Jerome has taken that over.

“He’s looking at things and there’s plenty of scope that James did beyond the strategy work, so I see Jerome growing in the organisation but, at this stage, that’s his area.”

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Mercedes will be hoping that their off-track changes affect their performances on track, with the Silver Arrows currently struggling to even compete for podiums.

Following P5 and P7 finishes in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will begin the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from P7 and P3, giving them a reasonable chance to score their first podium of the year.

Issues and penalties will see Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen stat in the bottom ten in Jeddah, meaning that the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has potential to be one of the most exciting races of the season.