Mercedes High Performance Powertrains Managing Director Andy Cowell will depart his position before the start of the new Formula 1 season, bringing his tenure at the ultra-successful division to a close.
Cowell has led Mercedes’ Formula 1 engine department for more than seven years and worked at HPP for a combined 16 years, helping the team to dominate the hybrid era as well as enjoying success as an engine supplier to McLaren, prior to Mercedes’ return as a works team.
Mercedes revealed that Cowell had informed the company in January of his intention to depart.
Cowell’s responsibilities will be “redistributed among the senior leadership team, with internal appointments to these key positions ensuring a smooth transition,” a statement confirmed.
Hywel Thomas will take over Cowell’s role from the start of July, ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
Cowell, who is to pursue other engineering challenges, will continue to work alongside Thomas during a transition period and will consult to Mercedes-Benz AG on a “major future project until at least early 2021.”
“After 16 enjoyable years working for HPP, I have decided that now is the right time to move on from my role and seek a new engineering business challenge,” commented Cowell.
“It has been an absolute honour to work for Mercedes and especially to be Managing Director of HPP for seven years. Thank you to everyone who has provided me with such amazing opportunities and enjoyable challenges, especially [Daimler CEO] Ola Källenius who had the courage to support me back in 2006.”
Mercedes’ F1 team boss Toto Wolff added: “Andy’s leadership of the team at HPP has been a key factor in our championship success in recent seasons. He has made an outstanding contribution to our motorsport legacy and I have valued and enjoyed our working relationship since 2013; I am sure he will enjoy great success in the next challenge he decides to take on.
“Our philosophy has always been that a winning team is a dynamic organisation, and that change is a natural part of every company’s development. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to work together to create a new leadership structure, by building on the strength in depth of the team in Brixworth. It puts us in a very strong position for the years ahead, as we aim to set new benchmarks in Formula One and Formula E.”
Thomas added: “I am proud to have been part of HPP for 16 years and it is an incredible organisation in terms of its team spirit, values and integrity. That is no small part thanks to the leadership it has enjoyed over the years, from Mario Illien and Paul Morgan through to the current day.
“Andy and I have worked together throughout my time here and I am thankful to have been able to learn from him during this time and through a period of great success for the team.
“Our new leadership group is very excited to step up to this new challenge: we have an incredible team of people at Brixworth, and we are all focused on delivering maximum performance on track in the years ahead.”