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Formula 1

Aston Martin brings ex-Mercedes engine guru Cowell back to F1

by Matt Beer
2 min read

Andy Cowell - who led Mercedes’ engine programme through its domination of Formula 1 from 2014 to 2020 - is joining Aston Martin to replace Martin Whitmarsh as its group chief executive officer.

Cowell was managing director of Mercedes’ High Performance Powertrains division in the period when its engine advantage over the rest of the F1 field was crucial in its string of championship successes at the start of the hybrid era.

He stepped down from that role in the middle of 2020 after seven years.


Andy Cowell the race engine engineer is deeply gifted - and intensely competitive. He’s an aggressively progressive thinker. His reach of what is feasible often goes beyond what others may even think is possible.

His 1999 Cosworth CR-1, 2001 BMW P81 and 2014 Mercedes PU106 are testament to that, each of them redefining F1 engine technology. For Cowell, the remarkable is always within reach. It’s only ever a case of working out the route.

That alone would make him one of the most significant engineers in F1’s history. But that this guy should also be that most rare of things, an engineer gifted at leadership and inspiring a team - that all those things should all be embodied in one man - is just astonishing.

From Mark’s 2020 column about Cowell when he stepped down from Mercedes - read more here

Cowell has been out of F1 since leaving Mercedes, but will take long-time McLaren chief Whitmarsh’s place in the Aston Martin group CEO role before the end of this season.

He starts at Aston Martin on October 1, with the team saying Whitmarsh “will transition from his role by the end of 2024”.

Whitmarsh welcomed Cowell’s arrival and said it was the right time for him to step away from his Aston Martin role after three years.

“I have known Andy for many years and brought him to Mercedes HPP in 2004,” said Whitmarsh.

“He will be an incredible asset to Aston Martin and will make a significant contribution to the execution of our strategy going forward.

“Andy’s arrival in October and the completion of the AMR technology campus will allow me to step away and focus on other projects in my life, knowing that the foundations have been established with an impressive team, inspiring vision and advanced facilities to achieve success in F1.”

Cowell arrives at Aston Martin at a time when it has fallen back into the midfield and lost the momentum it established with its spectacular leap up the order at the start of the 2023 season.

Last year it slipped back from its early second place in the constructors’ championship to an eventual fifth, and it holds the same position in the current standings - but is 138 points behind Mercedes ahead and has not taken any podium finishes in 2024 so far.

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