Hamilton and Russell say Elliott is not to be blamed for Mercedes’ issues

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After Mercedes announced that the team’s CTO Mike Elliott is leaving the team, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell say he was not the ‘defender’ of the ‘zero sidepod’ concept.

On Tuesday, Mercedes announced that the team’s Chief Technical Officer (and former Technical Director) Mike Elliott has chosen to depart the team after 11 years.

Elliott was promoted to the role of Technical Director in 2021, but after Mercedes failed to produce a competitive car in 2022 and 2023, he switched places with James Allison and re-assumed his old spot of Chief Technical Officer.

It was during Elliott’s reign as TD that Mercedes introduced the innovative, but ultimately unsuccesful, ‘zero sidepod’ concept.

Ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, George Russell was asked if Elliott was the ‘defender’ of this controversial concept.

“No, it’s never one individual who makes or breaks success,” George told Sky Sports F1.

“It’s always a collective. You’ve always got a leader, somebody at the helm sort of steering the ship.

“We have five exceptionally talented designers, engineers, who are at the top of the design group, and then we’ve got an amazing design office, aerodynamics department and racing below who sort of follow their lead.

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“But as I said, there’s never one individual, it’s always a collective. As the saying goes: ‘We win and lose together.’

“Mike has been a huge part of the team and it’s very important to remember that he was the chief aerodynamicist during all of the glory years, and arguably that is, alongside the technical director, that is probably the most vital part of every Formula 1 team.

“So Mike has been a huge part of that success and I wish him well,” Russell concluded.

Lewis Hamilton also said that Elliott is not to be blamed for Mercedes’ current situation.

“What we have to remember is nothing is down to one person,” Lewis told Sky Sports F1.

“We do everything as a team. There are so many moving parts at the factory, so there’s not a single individual responsible for where we are.

“It’s a collective,” Hamilton concluded.

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