F1: Beyond The Grid

Mike Elliott: how Mercedes’ ‘mistake’ is making them stronger

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Episode notes

As soon as the 2022 Mercedes F1 car hit the racetrack, the man who oversaw its creation realised it had problems. ‘We made a mistake’, admits Technical Director Mike Elliot. In finding fixes, Mike and his team of engineers have improved Mercedes’ results and learned a lot about themselves. Mike tells Tom Clarkson how they traced the car’s problems to a single design decision, how a year of not winning has helped the people at  Mercedes develop, and how he craves a return to the team’s championship-winning form. Looking back, Mike remembers why he chose a career in F1, and the remarkable day two top teams offered him a role. That led him to work in aerodynamics for McLaren, and he recalls a surprising early conversation he had with the team’s young test driver, Lewis Hamilton. McLaren’s former leader Ron Dennis, legendary car designer Adrian Newey, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and drivers Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and George Russell also feature in Mike’s story. He explains how F1 engineering has become ‘more specialised’ and has advice for anyone who aspires to work in F1 car design.

More BTG interviews with F1 Technical Directors:

AlphaTauri’s Jody Egginton 

McLaren’s James Key 

Alpine’s Pat Fry

James Allison, former Mercedes TD

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