Andy Cowell, who led the development of Mercedes’ all-conquering hybrid Formula 1 engine has announced that he is stepping down from his role.
Cowell has been Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) since 2013, overseeing work on the engines used for each of the F1 team’s six championship-winning years.
He is leaving for a “new engineering business challenge” but will help with the transition and assist Mercedes on a “major future project” until at least 2021. From July 1, his role will be split between other senior members of the company.
Cowell accepted a Motor Sport Hall of Fame award last year on behalf of the company. In an accompanying podcast, he said that there was not secret to his success, just a relentless determination to find new ways of going faster. “We have an attitude that every experiment teaches you something, so long as you get a conclusion,” he said. “If it doesn’t make the car quicker then you go the other way and invariably that direction makes it quicker.”
He also said that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find big leaps in performance from the V6 engine, which will continue in use until new engine regulations mid-decade.
“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,” said Cowell, who told team principal Toto Wolff and Mercedes-AMG HPP non-executive director Markus Schäfer of his decision in January. Hywel Thomas will be appointed managing director.
“I have appreciated the opportunity to work with Markus and Toto in defining the future leadership structure of the company and I have every confidence in the ability of Hywel and the team to lead the company forward,” sad 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.”
His successor and the structure that will succeed him has been overseen by Cowell and Wolff, whose own future with the team has attracted a large deal of scrutiny over the past few months.
“Andy’s leadership of the team at HPP has been a key factor in our championship success in recent seasons,” Wolff said.
“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.”