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Russell: Allison and Elliott 'in their element' after Mercedes F1 tech changes

George Russell says both James Allison and Mike Elliott are now ‘in their element’ after swapping roles in a restructure of the Mercedes Formula 1 team’s technical department.

James Allison, Mercedes

James Allison, Mercedes

Mercedes AMG

In response to Mercedes’ ongoing ground-effects struggles with the W14 car at the start of the 2023 season, Allison has reverted to his previous 2021 position of technical director.

This enables him to take a more hands-on role with influencing current car development, while Elliott now holds a longer-term strategic position in the capacity of chief technical officer.

Mercedes insists that Elliott pushed for the switch on his own terms, feeling he was better suited to a more overarching remit.

This sentiment has been reinforced by Russell, who said on Thursday ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that both engineers are now ‘in their element’.

Russell noted: “It's really good news for the team.

“Mike is probably one of the most intelligent engineers I've ever come across in my life.

“But, in any team, if you take football as an example, you have 11 players on the pitch.

“You need to make sure you've got the right players in the right positions to get the best team result. I think Mike moving into his new role, he'll be absolutely in his element.

“With James, he was obviously here on a part-time basis on the F1 project before and now he's here sort of pretty much full-time. That's only an addition for us and him as technical director.

“He's in his element. He understands people, understands the sport. He's a great leader. That’s what you need from somebody in that role.”

Russell added that the restructure was unlikely to produce dramatic changes on a day-to-day basis at the Brackley headquarters.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

He said: “At the end of the day, there is not one person who makes decisions and creates a car.

“There's probably a team of eight people. Between us and the work that we as drivers contribute with the senior technical division, that's where you make these overall decisions and then feed back into the rest of the factory the direction you want to take.

“Nothing's going to change overnight in that regard. But James just being present in all of the meetings and discussions will be a benefit.”

Meanwhile, team-mate Lewis Hamilton reckoned the Elliott and Allison switch was “only going to strengthen the team”.

The seven-time champion said: “James has always been a part of the team. Obviously, he was focused a little bit on another area before.

“I think having him step back in a little bit to support and work alongside Mike, it’s only going to strengthen the team moving forwards.

“He's obviously got an amazing amount of experience. Moving forwards, it's just going to be great for the team.

“Particularly with all the things we want to achieve, not only on track, but off track. It's going to be good.”

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