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Technical Director Bob Bell to leave Mercedes
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  14 Apr 2014   |  2:23 pm GMT  |  46 comments

Mercedes have announced that Technical Director Bob Bell is to leave the team.

According to the team Bell “resigned his position in December 2013 and will leave the team at the end of November 2014, with the intention of pursuing new challenges outside the company”.

Bell joined Mercedes from Renault in 2011 having worked in a number of roles at the Enstone squad since 2001.

Mercedes added that Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe will assume Bell’s responsibilitiesd and that the role of Technical Director will not be replaced.

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46 Comments
  1. mark01981 says:

    To Ferrari methinks..

    1. David in Sydney says:

      Or Haas…

  2. Karima says:

    It would be great to see Ross Brawn take over as Team Principal at Ferrari and have Bob Well join as the Technical Director, letting James Allison concentrate on the aero side, and make Pat Fry concentrate on the running of the team/pit stops/etc during the grand prix weekends and help develop Ferrari’s young driver program. Ever since Michael Schumacher left Ferrari, and Jean Todt and Ross Brawn followed suit, Ferrari has always been playing catch up, and its high time they shape up. Bob Bell could be a great catch for the prancing horse.

    1. Dave says:

      I dont know if Ross wants to move back to Italy especially at his age. Also, I think the politics at Ferrari will no doubt be something he may be weary about, especially without the incentive of having Michael Schumacher around, which was the case when he had joined Ferrari the first time around. I think, Ross, may not want to go through the trials of Maranello without Michael. With all due respect to Alonso and Kimi, neither of them have the stature of Michael Schumacher

      1. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        “With all due respect to Alonso and Kimi, neither of them have the stature of Michael Schumacher”

        ahahaah….

        Alonso DESTROYED the “great” Schummy.

  3. Dan Wilson says:

    Is it me or is there a possible Ferrari link to his decision to leave?

    1. Ahmad says:

      He left back in December because Mercedes are trimming off their management layers. I think the announcement of his departure seem to coincide with Domenicali’s decision to quit as Bob Bell wants to let Ferrari know of his availability. He was probably expecting Domenicali would last to the end of the year, but his decision to quit now has forced Bob to show his hand.

  4. Kevin Green says:

    That will likely be one of the new American teams new signings then James??

  5. HP says:

    Will he be joining Ferrari next year? Or even this year as Mercedes won’t reveal much to him now about their future plans/developments?

  6. Andrew M says:

    You kind of forget the strength in depth Mercedes have in their technical department.

  7. hippyneil says:

    Now here is a name we may see associated with Domenicali’s old employers. He’s been around the block and has a heap of experience – I think he stood in when Flav was booted from Renault after the Piquet Jr crash scandal.
    He’d fit in as Sporting Director (or similar) next to Mattiacci. It would be like Mercedes and McLaren with Bell running the racing side, Mattiacci taking care of other management.

  8. Adam says:

    The bulging walls at Mercedes can pull in a little as the over heavy top management sorts itself out. I suspect next stop is Ferrari. But the date of resigning makes it look much more like McLaren is his next port of call!

  9. Gaz Boy says:

    Blimey, not a good day announcements about well respected and important team members in F1, is it?
    Bob’s a good bloke, he was around at Renault/Enstone during the halcyon days of Fernando during the championship days of 2005/2006. In fact, he was the Technical Director during those two years won the metronomic consistency, performance and reliability delivered two consecutive WDC and constructors title. That’s quite a pedigree on his back catalogue. Bob has also been a key figure in the re-organisation and re-structuring of Brackley-Mercedes. And look at how well they are going at the moment.
    First Stefano and now Bob…………..F1 is loosing some pedigree names at the minute, lets hope its not a mass exodus.

    1. Sujith says:

      I really don’t think F1 is gonna lose him. He might be Ferrari or McLaren bound next year.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Let’s hope so. His wisdom and knowledge can provide some direction and clarity of thought to which ever team has Bob’s signature on their contract.

  10. Kevin says:

    McLaren bound?

  11. goferet says:

    Okay am not sure if Bob Bell resigned on his own accord or was pushed.

    It appears to me that the new blood at Mercedes was keen to replace all the top management that was responsible for the team’s earlier struggles and with Bob Bell being the last of the old guard, it appears the in-house clean up is now complete.

    Good luck to Bob Bell on his future projects maybe he could give his former employers at Renault (Lotus) a helping hand.

    1. James says:

      It takes two years to build an F1 car and get the personnel for a winning team. I think you will find that this years performance is down to Ross’s and Bob’s hard work. ‘resposnisble for the teams early struggles’ is harsh and wrong as F1 is not a quick fix sport like football, its highly technical at the frontier of engineering. It’s a shame they decided not to stick around to get the spectators credit.

      1. Matt says:

        Recently Mercedes have been making those kinds of statements saying that they sacrificed performance in past seasons as they were developing the car for this new regulation formula. I think we all forget how long of a development curve is in F1.

  12. Cheesypoof69 says:

    Me thinks someone will be moving to Ferrari or Mclaren very soon..

  13. AuraF1 says:

    Very nice guy. Met him when he bought a property near to me. I guess Mercedes were getting rather top heavy with so many chiefs – clearly didn’t hurt their start to this year, but I imagine they can lose a few without noticing a major downward spiral…

    1. Martin says:

      Any view on meeting him and the property he bought as to whether he’d be interested in a job in Woking or Maranello (my UK geography ain’t great). For all I know it was a holiday house near Nice.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Ha ha, no it was in the UK and although incredibly polite and happy to talk to an F1 junkie like me, he didn’t let on about his future plans. He did say he felt he was getting on a bit and wanted to have options to slow down but I think that’s something lots of people say and then realise they are bored and want a challenge again…

        I imagine he’ll be in demand and can probably choose based on the salary/position offered.

  14. Graeme says:

    Hmmmm… Probably the first of many off to Honda….

  15. Agent Orange says:

    Honda?

  16. Sebee says:

    Off to RBR? Ferrari?

  17. Mike Martin says:

    I have no clue what a technical director does. Would love to learn more how this impacts the team.

    James, is it possible to get a team hierarchy we asked for a couple of months ago? I know you are a busy person but maybe you can help us out?

    1. Victor says:

      Mercedes’ hierarchy seems to be one of the most complex one. Ferrari’s aswell, I never figured out with Pat Fry does there.

      1. mjrszr says:

        not even Fry knows what he does at Ferrari, he just does it.

  18. uncas says:

    where will he go?
    strange movements……..

  19. Kidza says:

    It makes sense for him to resign, having been passed up for the job that was handed to Paddy!

  20. Matt H says:

    Well David Moyes can’t manage Man Utd and be a tech director at Mercedes ! Wait that’s not Moyes ? Misleading photo editor ; )

  21. Rich C says:

    What the…?

    A clear violation of Mercedes’ “More Chiefs Fewer Indians” philosophy!

  22. Aelfwald says:

    Mercedes fans should enjoy their moment in the sun. When Ross retired i thought it was just a matter of time before things would unwind. Bob Bell’s departure is an i early warning this is happening already. All respect to Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff but I would be very surprised if they can bring to the team what Ross Brawn did. I’m sure Mercedes will take the title this year, but I don’t believe Mercedes will create a Red Bull like period of dominance.

  23. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    This makes sense to me. We have had a massive arms race in the past 2-3 years with the incoming technical regulations plus the requirement to build cars for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Therefore Mercedes decided to staff up with senior personnel to make sure that these programs ran smoothly. It seems to have paid off

    However, looking into the near furture, the regulations have stabilised. Therefore the staffing levels required have reduced. No doubt management would be looking at budgets and someone of Bob’s level would be (rightly) expensive to keep around. I would expect more announcements (not including Stefano’s departure) from the other teams. Or perhaps these have already occured but less publicly so.

  24. Michael Powell says:

    Unlike many jobs, it doesn’t matter which team you work for, you still end up at the same racetrack come the weekend. As a result we have musical chairs without the need to move home, and with the same hotels for your sixty or seventy days away every year.

    It encourages rapid job switching, and that notches the pay increases steadily upwards. It’s not surprising that F1 can’t control it’s spending. People in F1 can’t get into regular employment because on the severe pay cut they would need to take, to realistic levels, so they remain trapped in the sport.

    Many of these guys are journeymen but I regularly hear them referred to as “geniuses”. Not so. If they were geniuses they would be working elsewhere inventing new technologies, or in nuclear or aerospace companies, not fiddling about with two-centuries old internal combustion devices.

    1. Martin says:

      While genius is word that means different things to different people and can be used in flattery or sarcasm, you are right that most engineers in F1 are not especially well paid – the jobs section in Autosport showed me that much. Part of that is probably market forces between Australia and the UK, but I’d need a pretty senior (visible to fans) job to get the money I’m on as an engineer in Australia.

      Your comment on location is a little misguided as the engineers spend more time at the factory than at the track.

      Someone like Bob Bell isn’t touching the Otto cycle device in the back either. But they are engaged in using technology that engineering has enabled in the last two decades through advanced electrical and electronics engineering. Without engineers and scientists we’d still be in the stone age. The guys and girls in F1 are not necessarily geniuses, but they do have to have the aptitude to adapt quickly to using technology that didn’t exist when they went to university, something that isn’t really the case for most jobs.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Martin, just out of interest, but do universities in Australia and New Zealand offer scholarships if they spot talented engineering or aero students to give them a financial helping hand to come here to Britain to work in the British F1/motorsport industry?
        I say that because I know Sam Michael graduated from the UONSW with an engineering degree and then joined Team Lotus in the UK, then went onto work with Eddie Jordan during their halcyon days of 1998 and 1999 – Sam was actually race engineer to Frenzy, including wins at France and Italy 1999. Sam working for Eddie Jordan was a good experience – god help anyone working for Eddie! – but I don’t know if Sam came here to the UK off his own financial back or whether he received a scholarship to do so.
        As you probably know from my posts Martin I am incredibly proud of the British F1 industry, as I think British engineering is the best in the world – however I do recognise and value the huge contribution our commonwealth friends and allies in Australia and New Zealand have made to the British Formula 1 industry. As you probably know, there were some chaps in the late 50s early 60s called Jack, Bruce, Chris and Denny who came from Oceania to Britain, and a couple of them set up teams here………….and of course McLaren are still going strong today. Jonsey teamed up with Frank and Patrick, and together they became world beaters with Alan guiding the superb FW07 to a drivers title and 2 constructors titles……..and Daniel looks pretty handy too, so that relationship between the British Formula 1 industry and AUS/NZ is still going strong. It’s good to see.
        Personally Martin I think engineers are the salt of the earth, but don’t worry, you and I have a key ally in the wooly haired shape of Jeremy Clarkson, who also believes in the primacy of clever, technologically advanced engineering to benefit human existence – and F1 is at the fore front of that.
        PS Martin, any particular university in AUS and NZ that has an excellent reputation for aerodynamic engineering? Here in Britain Imperial College, London is considered the best.

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        Just to add: Martin, very, very impressed with Daniel’s speed and maturity. He reminds me of Jenson in terms of temperament, attitude and ability to get a team on his side. If Renault can find a bit more torque/BHP, then Daniel’s first win cannot be far away.
        I think the Red Bull’s excellent downforce might give Daniel a good chance at Monaco, and Barcelona and Silverstone are both aero-efficiency/aero-balance/high speed stability tracks, so at the very least Red Bull honest at those aforementioned circuits.
        Here’s hoping!

  25. bubney72 says:

    As long as they keep chief designer Aldo Costa they should have a good car.

  26. Peres Mircea says:

    James what do you think? Bell will go to Mclaren or to Ferrari?

    Look what I have found.

    autosprint ‏@autosprint 1h
    Oggi dopo Domenicali si è dimesso Bob Bell dt Mercedes. Ma sembra che la sua destinazione non sarà Maranello ma dt McLaren-Honda nel 2015
    PitLaneTalk ‏@pitlanetalk 2h
    According to our sources, Bob Bell is set to join McLaren-Honda as Technical Director in 2015. #F1 #Formula1

  27. No1fan says:

    I hope the fans remember when Mercedes win the championship this year, this is Ross Brawn and Bob Bell car, 3 years in the making, not the New Managements work

  28. Matt says:

    There has always been a great deal of movement in technical and design positions. Most fans just focus on the drivers and major players, but there are always key persons moving about in the sport.

    Where ever he is headed that team will be lucky to have him. There are so many great people that drive development behind the sport we never really get to see. Shame we don’t hear more about the folks who really make F1 spin.

  29. panagiotis says:

    Okay Bob you may go red and hung around with James and Alo. I ‘ve got the impression though that this merc car is Aldo’s car and not Bob’s, but who cares, merc released Bob.

    1. No1fan says:

      Im sure Aldo had a big hand in this car as will Jeff Willis under the Tech Directors guidance. I was really pleased to see Aldo on the Podium at Bahrain, not one of the new boys on the block! my point was credit should go to the people who did design this winning car. Oh and Merc wont release Bob until end Nov

  30. Kimberley Barrass says:

    Bob Bell is good and all, but Aldo Costa was credited as the 2013 and 2014 car’s designer, and Rory Byrne always highly praised him in the ferrari wonder years as being massively responsible for the cars they had then. He [Aldo] was moved to a management role after 2005 when the car was let down by the tyre company they used, and was never the same again until now it seems, as I think using him solely as a pure designer is where he is best.

    I’m not a huge fan of Paddy Lowe, but say what you like about him, he did oversee lot’s of success at McLaren as head of engineering. Together with the rest of the team Mercedes have in place I do not see Bob Bells departure as a huge concern. I think the main concern is how Paddy is going to do in his role over the next couple of years. He’s a great technical employee as his years at McLaren before 2011 testify to, but after becoming McLaren Technical Director in Jan 2011, they [McLaren] have suffered a little bit of a reversal of fortune. Is this to do with missing the technical input of Paddy Lowe in a more hands on engineering capacity? Or is this because Paddy was not suited to the role? If it’s the latter, then that is ominous for Mercedes.

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