Shades of Ferrari in Mike Elliott's Mercedes departure that should worry Lewis Hamilton fans

Mike Elliot is leaving Mercedes after 11 years
Mike Elliott is leaving Mercedes after 11 years

Mike Elliott, the man behind Mercedes 'no-sidepod' concept in the ground effect era (much to the chagrin of Lewis Hamilton), has left the team. The writing seemed more or less on the wall after what appeared to be a public admonishment of the no-sidepod concept in the very first race of the season by Toto Wolff.

However, what at the time appeared to be a more sensible thing was done by Mercedes when James Allison was brought back to the team as a technical director and Mike Elliott was moved to the role of a Chief Technical Officer. The role was more based around the factory in Brackley, a complete contrast to the trackside role that we see James in these days.

By the looks of it, the cookie has crumbled now and Mike Elliott has resigned from his role. While it might look amicable from the outside, it's hard to say that one can't have some uncomfortable similarities with Ferrari which should be a concern for Lewis Hamilton fans.

First things first, last two seasons were a disaster for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton

Before we talk about similarities, let's get one thing out of the way. The last two seasons where Mike Elliott has been the leading light were very disappointing for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. They could even be termed disasters by some.

Since 2014, Mercedes had been a title contender every year and Lewis Hamilton was in contention for the title in all of these seasons until the last lap of the last race. In 2022, the situation flipped. The much-touted no-sidepod concept had too many limitations and the team struggled.

A team that won races for fun has only picked up one win in the last two years. Lewis Hamilton himself has not won since 2021 and even this season he's not really come close to it. In all fairness, if Mercedes had to make a change at the top and if the alternative was the brilliant mind of James Allison, then it's not such a bad thing. Now, let's get to the troubling part.

Mike Elliott has been part of the team for a decade

While we should acknowledge that Mike Elliott had a decent amount of struggle in the last couple of years, he's not a nobody. Until he came into the limelight in the last couple of years, he had been a part of the team even before Lewis Hamilton was a Mercedes driver. He joined the team in 2012 from Lotus as the head of aerodynamics.

The man has been instrumental in Mercedes' success throughout the turbo hybrid era. He became technology director in 2017 and it was in 2021 when James Allison left that he took over as the technical director. In all fairness, Mike Elliott is an asset that is on the free market right now and he's going to be in demand as soon as he closes the door at Brackley.

Shades of Ferrari's biggest weakness, instability!

Now comes the most troubling part. What is one of the major things that have led to Ferrari's downfall in all these years? What is the one thing that has been primarily responsible for the team not winning a title since 2008?

Well, it's the revolving door nature of the team. If something doesn't work for 2-3 years, it gets chopped and changed and a new guy is brought to do the job. Even in 2023, Fred Vasseur has been responsible for what could only be termed as culling most of the Ferrari staff and bringing new people into place.

One of the things that has been considered the hallmark of Red Bull's success in the current era was the team's ability to keep things stable. Fans and pundits forget that the team did not win a single title from 2014 to 2020. That's seven years of failure. Even then, there was no chopping and changing of personnel.

Adrian Newey was still a part of the team and so were Christian Horner, Dan Fallows, and Pierre Wache. Looking at how Red Bull is dominating right now, it's safe to say that the model works in F1 and stability is arguably the key to success.

Mercedes however has gone the Ferrari way and let Mike Elliott go. This should be a concern for Lewis Hamilton because it is as clear as day that the lack of stability just does not work in F1. You don't chop and change and expect instant results.

One of the best examples was Fernando Alonso's time at Ferrari as the Spaniard was arguably too powerful a voice within the team. As a result, there were some strategic decisions influenced by him that did not work.

What Mercedes has done is let a man who helped the team win an unprecedented eight world titles in 10 years walk away. Could it be his decision? Possibly. But Toto Wolff can be persuasive when he wants to be.

During Ferrari's Fernando Alonso era, the team let go of Aldo Costa, the man who was responsible for the Mercedes V6 Turbo Hybrid. Lewis Hamilton will be hoping against hope that Mike Elliott does not sign with a rival and pull off a similar feat.

When it comes to success in F1, stability is one thing that is considered paramount. What Mercedes has done is disrupt that and it will be interesting to see what overall impact something like this has on the team.

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