The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team has confirmed that Bob Bell will leave his post as the outfit’s Technical Director. The team’s Executive Director (Technical), Paddy Lowe, will assume Bell’s responsibilities – the position of Technical Director will not be replaced.
The Englishman actually tendered his resignation late last year, and will serve out his term with the team until November, with the intention of pursuing new career challenges outside the Mercedes group.
The 56-year-old was one of a number of key hirings by Mercedes in the early stages of its comeback to Formula 1, commencing his role as Technical Director in April 2011. After obtaining a doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering, Bell started working with McLaren as an aerodynamicist in 1982, and in 1988 he was promoted to the team’s head of R&D and headed up a number of projects within and outside the Formula 1 team.
In 1997, he moved to Benetton, before joining Jordan two years later and then switching back to Benetton (then in its Renault guise) in 2001 as its Deputy Technical Director. When Mike Gascoyne left the team in 2003, he became the outfit’s Technical Director and oversaw the design and development of the cars that won the 2005 and 2006 Championship crowns with Fernando Alonso.
Bell was thrust into the role of Team Principal and Managing Director after the Singapore ‘Crashgate’ affair and remained with the team until he was headhunted by Mercedes.
Bell will be a highly sought after figure by a number of teams, and could no doubt command a position of great seniority and salary as he courts potential suitors. Certainly the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Williams would be interested in his services, particularly given his associations with a number of key players at each team.