Earlier this week Mercedes announced Elliott would be stepping down from his role as Chief Technical Officer, seven months after swapping roles with technical director James Allison.
Elliott, who originally joined the squad in 2012 as head of aerodynamics, was hailed for his instrumental role in Mercedes’ unprecedented streak of world championships in F1’s turbo hybrid era.
He said the decision was his, and it would allow him to “pause and take stock, after 23 years of working flat-out in this sport, and then to find my next challenge”.
Mercedes realised from the start of pre-season in testing that it had missed the mark with its F1 car, for the second year running, which prompted another mid-season revamp. But team boss Wolff refuted claims that Elliot had paid the price for its performance woes.
“No, Mike was my number one employee for many, many years in terms of how he performed,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.
“We are going to miss one of the most clever people in the industry. It was just a hard toll on him over those many years and I find it very remarkable that somebody can say, ‘You know what, I need to do something else’.
“If somebody is strong and say, ‘I’m done with it for the time being’, that’s good.”
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG
He added: “[Car design] is never the decision of a single person. I think we as a group are trying to build the quickest racecar and obviously we were so far down the route with that concept of a car that we thought maybe we got on top of it.
“We didn’t. That’s why we changed it. And we put lots of plasters on the car in order to be more competitive, like we see now, but that hasn’t got any correlation [with Elliott leaving].
In April, Motorsport.com revealed that Allison and Elliott would be swapping roles, with Allison returning to the hands-on technical director job and Elliott taking a more overarching role as Chief Technical Officer.
The switch formed part of a raft of changes the Brackley team made to return to the front of the F1 grid after missing the mark with its Mercedes W14, with Elliott and Allison reportedly reverting to roles that better suited their skillset.
When asked how Elliott leaving will impact the development of the 2024 car, Wolff replied: “It’s no single person’s fault if a car doesn’t perform, it’s also not one single person that makes the car faster.
“We have such a strengths in the organisation that you can take one out and everybody else is going to cover that and the other way around, so I don’t think that’s going to change anything for next year.”