Mercedes hires ex-Red Bull executive as new F1 special adviser

Team principal Toto Wolff was seen walking to the Bahrain paddock with former Red Bull HR director Jayne Poole on Friday morning, and Mercedes confirmed she has signed on as a senior adviser to the team.

It is understood he will work closely with Wolff and be involved in assessing the current infrastructure at Mercedes, as well as offering advice on any potential changes that can be made as the teams adapt to life under the cost cap.

Poole is well-known in the F1 paddocks and, in her role at Red Bull for many years, provided steadfast support to team principal Christian Horner – with whom she was regularly seen at grands prix.

Her knowledge of Red Bull’s working methods could also provide benefits for Mercedes as it plots its recovery back to the front of the F1 grid.

Wolff has always been clear about the requirement for F1 teams to constantly evolve and adapt to ensure the team is never left behind if senior management leaves.

Speaking earlier this year, he said: “I think one of the successes in our team has been succession planning.

“It is clear that you cannot freeze a successful structure. But you almost have to reinvent yourself while keeping what’s good.”

Mercedes has already faced the need to reshape things this year following the departure of former chief strategy officer James Vowles, who has become team boss at Williams.

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing

Photo: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Wolff said Vowles’ exit underscored the need for his team to keep an eye on being well prepared for the future.

“It kind of opens up that succession planning that we’ve always loved, and good people will make their own career path,” he said.

“There are far more positives to James leaving and becoming team captain at Williams than negatives.

“On a personal level, obviously, James will be missed. I’ve worked closely for him for many, many, many years.”

Mercedes has yet to appoint a direct replacement for Vowles in the responsibilities he took on last year as he stepped back from direct strategic involvement, which included taking over the team’s new driver programme.

However, former Grand Prix driver Jerome d’Ambrosio, who was most recently team principal at Venturi in Formula E, has been linked with taking a seat at Mercedes.

The Belgian was a guest of the team at the Bahrain test last week and will also be present at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

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