Mercedes set for big technical restructure in 2019

play
Has the Ferrari, Mercedes rivalry turned bitter after Silverstone? (2:24)

ESPN's Nate Sauders and Laurence Edmondson discuss Mercedes' comments about Ferrari targeting their drivers at the British Grand Prix. (2:24)

Mercedes has announced a restructuring of its technical team ahead of 2019, which will see Aldo Costa step back from his role as Mercedes' engineering director.

Costa, who joined Mercedes from Ferrari in 2011, will become a technical advisor to the team, allowing chief designer John Owen to take over the engineering group previously headed up the 57-year-old Italian.

Meanwhile, performance director Mark Ellis has decided to retire from his position ahead of a sabbatical in mid-2019, seeing chief vehicle dynamicist Loic Serra take over his role. James Allison remains as technical director, with Owen and Ellis set to report to him.

"This is a significant moment for our team and a great opportunity," Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said. "We have said many times that you cannot freeze a successful organisation; 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 One 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."

Costa is one of the architects of Mercedes' recent success in Formula One and joined the team from Ferrari in late 2011 under then team principal Ross Brawn. He set about overhauling the engineering department in Brackley and the first car designed under his watch from the ground up was the race-winning W04 in 2013. Four title-winning cars then followed between 2014 and 2017.

"The last seven years with Mercedes have been an amazing experience -- not just successful professionally but also a life experience that has enriched me and my family, and given us a more open and international mind-set," Costa said.

"Back in 2011, it took just a few weeks to settle in the team and dedicate myself to this new challenge. The reason for the easy fit was the attitude of my colleagues, with their warm welcome, respect and collaborative approach all the way through the team. This has been especially true with Toto: we share a professional challenge and also a personal passion for racing, and I have been grateful for his trust and full support in what I have tried to achieve.

"We have seen the team progress and achieve success, and now our next challenge is to create an even stronger group to meet the challenges of the next decade. Over the past year, I have worked with Toto and James to develop a long-term succession plan to help the next generation do the job in the best possible way. I am happy to leave the baton in the capable hands of John and James -- and to continue to support the new organisation as a Technical Advisor to ensure it prospers in the future."

Technical director James Allison said the restructuring had been in the pipeline for over a year.

"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. 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 signalled 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 vigour 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 unrivalled technical legacy to worthy and well-prepared successors to whom they have set a magnificent example of top-drawer technical leadership."