Cowell has been the managing director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains since 2014 and played an instrumental role in the development of Mercedes’ V6 hybrid engine that played a large role in Mercedes’ Formula 1 dominance.
Earlier this year Cowell announced he will be leaving Mercedes at the end of the year to pursuit new challenges.
“Mercedes is a company that I’m hugely proud to have worked for,” Cowell told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.
“The people here are an incredible group of people, and I’ll miss them. But it’s time for a change. Sixteen years feels like a long period of time doing largely the same thing.
“I like a clean sheet of paper challenge of design. I think my personality likes the thrill of being dropped into something that’s challenging and scary.”
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Cowell was a big part of Formula 1’s Project Pitlane that saw F1 teams help fight COVID-19. The effort led to Mercedes being a part of the team that developed CPAP breathing aids that were distributed to UK hospitals. The engine boss says this project made him think about how he could contribute beyond Formula 1.
“That lit the bonfire in my belly, and got my head thinking every second of the day about CPAPs and anything else that Project Pitlane was on about.
“That’s the challenge that I want going forward. I do class myself as having one of the best jobs on the planet at the moment. A lot of my friends, and especially my Mum thinks I’m as mad as a box of frogs to hand my notice in.
“Everyone is saying what are you going to do next? I’m not 100% certain yet, but hopefully it will give me a nice big challenge. Hopefully I can help companies and organisations, and people.”
Cowell will remain with the team until the end of the year and help the new HPP leadership team, headed up by Hywel Thomas, settle into their new roles. He will also use that time to decide on his future.
“Right from the age of 5, motorsport has been a huge, huge part of my life. Motorsport will always be a part of my life, but what part, that’s the thing to sort out.
“I was keen talking to Ola [Kallenius, Mercedes CEO], that the transition for HPP was managed for the best interests of HPP. I was very keen that Hywel took over from the beginning of July.
“Markus [Schafer] and Ola asked me to stay until the second power unit was installed to try and help out, which takes us through to September.
“I’ve got September, October, November and December to make a decision, and make a call then,” concluded Cowell.