Mercedes F1 engine guru Cowell still mulling future
Mercedes F1 engine boss Andy Cowell, the man behind the German manufacturer’s dominant hybrid power unit, is still mulling his future professional plans.
Cowell will leave Mercedes at the end of the current season after 16 years with the company, having guided the latter’s Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrain department in Brixworth since 2014.
“Mercedes is a company that I’m hugely proud to have worked for,” Cowell said on F1’s latest Beyond the Grid podcast.
“The people here are an incredible group of people, and I’ll miss them. But it’s time for a change. Sixteen years feels like a long period of time doing largely the same thing.
“I like a clean sheet of paper challenge of design. I think my personality likes the thrill of being dropped into something that’s challenging and scary.”
During this year’s disrupted season, in addition to overseeing Mercedes engine efforts in collaboration with Hywel Thomas, his successor at Brixworth, Cowell put his engineering expertise to good use with Formula 1’s Project Pitlane.
The endeavor leveraged F1 teams’ engineering and innovation abilities to assist with the manufacture of medical devices to help in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Cowell says the experience reminded him that there was nothing like “a nice big challenge” that delivers change.
“That lit the bonfire in my belly, and got my head thinking every second of the day about CPAPs and anything else that Project Pitlane was on about,” he said.
“That’s the challenge that I want going forward. I do class myself as having one of the best jobs on the planet at the moment. A lot of my friends, and especially my Mum think I’m as mad as a box of frogs to hand my notice in.
“Everyone is saying what are you going to do next? I’m not 100% certain yet, but hopefully it will give me a nice big challenge. Hopefully I can help companies and organisations, and people.”
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Regardless of where life takes him next, only time will tell if motorsport will remain a component of Cowell’s next big adventure.
“Right from the age of 5, motorsport has been a huge, huge part of my life,” Cowell said. “Motorsport will always be a part of my life, but what part, that’s the thing to sort out.
“I was keen talking to Ola [Kallenius, Mercedes CEO], that the transition for HPP was managed for the best interests of HPP. I was very keen that Hywel took over from the beginning of July.
“Markus [Schafer] and Ola asked me to stay until the second power unit was installed to try and help out, which takes us through to September.
“I’ve got September, October, November and December to make a decision, and make a call then.”
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