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Mercedes grabs Resta from Ferrari as part of F1 staff swoop

Mercedes has captured two senior Ferrari staff members, including its former chief designer Simone Resta, as part of a bid to strengthen its Formula 1 operation, Autosport has learned.

Resta has been signed as strategic development director and will work directly with technical director James Allison to push forward with car-related projects.

Also joining Mercedes is Enrico Sampo, who is joining as head of performance software applications.

Sampo has been Ferrari’s driver simulator team leader for the past few years, and has vast experience in an area that is now proving critical to F1 car performance ahead of, and during, race weekends.

While both men have signed for Mercedes, their contractual terms mean that they will be unable to join until 2025, with their exact dates of arrival having yet to be decided.

The appointments come at a time when Mercedes has been shoring up its structure for the long term and looking at areas for improvement.

Team principal Toto Wolff and technical director Allison both signed long-term contract extensions last winter, while the team also recently appointed David Nelson as its senior vehicle dynamicist as replacement for performance director Loic Serra, who will be switching to Ferrari.

Simone Resta, Sauber Designer

Simone Resta, Sauber Designer

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Motorsport Images

The movement of Resta and Sampo from Ferrari to Mercedes comes at a time when the Maranello squad has set its sights on key recruitments from the German manufacturer.

As well as Ferrari capturing Lewis Hamilton for 2025, it is also set to secure the services of Mercedes’ driver development director Jerome D’Ambrosio to be the head of its young driver development programme.

Resta’s signing is especially significant for Mercedes because he has vast experience in both F1 and with Ferrari.

The Italian is a long-serving Ferrari man, having most recently been loaned out to Haas as its technical director from 2021 until the start of this year.

His deal was part of an ongoing arrangement between the Italian manufacturer and its American-owned customer team, with Ferrari wanting to capitalise on stronger technical ties between the two organisations, which have worked closely together ever since Haas entered F1 in 2016.

Resta had previously been Ferrari's chief designer between 2014 and 2018, where he would have worked with Allison, before a short stint as Alfa Romeo technical director.

After returning to Maranello in 2019, he headed up the department responsible for chassis development before his move to Haas.

His exit from Haas had been without explanation as it was unclear why Ferrari had recalled him suddenly, especially with it made clear that he would not be handed a role within Maranello. 

Instead it now appears that the Mercedes development could have been a factor in how things played out.

Watch: Explained: Mercedes Grabs Resta from Ferrari in F1 Staff Swoop

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