Former Lewis Hamilton ally rejects Red Bull transfer

Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of new season

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Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ key engineer Andy Cowell rejected a move to arch-rivals Red Bull. Helmut Marko admitted the team had tried to lure the services of the Silver Arrows powerhouse but failed to secure his services.

Cowell departed Mercedes in 2020 and left F1 with Hywel Thomas taking over the role. Marko told Formel “Andy Cowell is an Englishman based not far from Milton Keynes.

“Of course, he was spoken to, but he has developed his interests in a different direction.” After a career at Cosworth and BMW Motorsport, Cowell took over as Engineering Director for Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines until 2013.

He then took over as Managing Director of the powertrain division and helped mastermind the team’s dominance in the turbo-hybrid era. His work secured seven Drivers’ Championships for the German manufacturer with Hamilton picking up six.

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Back in 2021, Red Bull was accused of poaching Mercedes staff in a bid to develop their own Powertrains division. Toto Wolff claimed Red Bull had approached around 100 individuals for roles with some taking the bait.

They included Mercedes’ Head of Mechanical Engineering, Ben Hodgkinson who joined as Red Bull Powertrains new Technical Director. Red Bull also secured the signing of Phil Prew who was a chief engineer in Mercedes’ engine division.

The former title winners also lost more top talent in recent years which could have been a major blow when developing machines under the new regulations. Technical director James Allison departed in 2021 while their chief aerodynamicist Eric Blandin moved to Aston Martin.

Ahead of the new season, the German manufacturer also lost the services of James Vowles who became team boss at Williams. Mike Elliott succeeded Allison as technical director in 2021 and has taken much of the flack for Mercedes issues.

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Italian media said Elliott may have been handed an “ultimatum” after Bahrain as the squad appear to lack pace to challenge at the front for a second season. Ralf Schumacher, brother of seven-time F1 champion Michael, feels Elliott’s job is under threat.

He explained “I wouldn’t be surprised if the pecking order changes now. That also happened at Aston Martin. [Andrew] Green was basically transferred, they got a new one from Red Bull [Dan Fallows].

“And now something is going to happen at Mercedes. Because, I’ll say it again, with a technical director who believes that a concept works and pulls for it so hard, you can’t change your mind overnight. So that I think it’s problematic.”

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