Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has denied Lewis Hamilton had an influence on the technical team changes ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Chief Technical Officer James Allison has moved back into his former Technical Director role after 20 months in a direct swap with Mike Elliott as Mercedes attempts to get on top of its struggles within F1’s newest regulatory era. The decision to make the switch was down to Allison and Elliott themselves after an “honest” internal reflection, given the state of the outfit’s fortunes in the sport as of late. But asked by Sky Sports F1 whether seven-time World Champion Hamilton had any say in the changes given his open criticism of the W14 early in the season, Wolff replied: “No it was a team decision, it has nothing to do with the drivers or anybody else. “It is literally Mike and James talking about what would be best for this organisation and they came and said ‘we have thought about that, what is your opinion’.” Elliott is Caesar, Allison the gladiator The change around is particularly intriguing given Elliott has essentially been promoted despite leading the team into its issues with the ground-effect concept, though the support from Mercedes fits in with its well-documented no-blame culture. Explaining the difference in the roles, Wolff said: “So a simple explanation, the Technical Director is the gladiator on the field fighting with his troops. “The CTO is Caesar on the horse, overlooking the field and giving the strategic decisions – that is Mike.”

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