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Formula 1 Bahrain GP

Mercedes hires former senior Red Bull figure as new F1 special advisor

Mercedes has hired one of Red Bull’s former senior figures as a special advisor to help drive improvements at its Formula 1 team, Autosport has learned. 

Jayne Poole, Mercedes special advisor

Team principal Toto Wolff was spotted walking arriving in the Bahrain paddock with Red Bull’s former HR director and COO Jayne Poole on Friday morning, and Mercedes has confirmed that she has been signed as a senior advisor at the squad. 

It is understood that she will work closely with Wolff and be involved in evaluating the current infrastructure at Mercedes, plus offer advice on any potential changes that can be made as teams adjust to life under the cost cap. 

Poole is well known within the F1 paddock and, in her role at Red Bull over many years, provided solid support to team principal Christian Horner – who she was regularly seen with at grands prix. 

Her knowledge of Red Bull’s working methods could also provide benefits for Mercedes as it plots its recovery back to the front of the F1 grid. 

Wolff has always been clear about the requirement of F1 teams to constantly evolve and adapt to ensure that the squad is never left on the back foot if senior figures depart. 

Speaking earlier this year, he said: “I think one of the successes in our team was planning succession.

“It's clear that you can't freeze a successful structure. But you need to almost reinvent yourself, whilst keeping what's good.” 

Mercedes has already faced the need to reshuffle things this year following the departure of former strategy chief James Vowles, who has become team principal at Williams. 

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Wolff said that Vowles’ exit highlighted the need for his team to keep an eye on being well prepared for the future. 

“In a way it opens up that succession planning that we have always cherished, and good people will make their own way in their careers,” he said. 

“There's many more pros in James leaving and becoming a team principal in Williams than negatives.

“From a personal side, obviously, James will be missed. I've been working closely for him for many, many, many years.” 

Mercedes has not yet appointed a direct replacement for Vowles in terms of the responsibilities he took on last year as he stepped away from direct strategy involvement, which included taking charge of the team’s young driver programme. 

However, former grand prix driver Jerome d’Ambrosio, who was most recently a team boss for Venturi in Formula E, has been linked with taking a position at Mercedes. 

The Belgian was a guest of the team at last week’s Bahrain test and will also be present at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. 

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