30. Hywel Thomas

hywel thomas
Age 49
Occupation Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz AMG HPP
Nationality British
Position Last Year New

Hywel Thomas was appointed managing director of the Mercedes high-performance powertrain programme in 2020. He has been part of the Mercedes-AMG engineering team since 2004 when they were Mercedes Ilmor. He has been in a number of roles at Mercedes, including as power unit director, engineering director and senior engineer.

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Born in Torquay, UK, Hywel was interested in motorsports from a young age, watching Grands Prix on TV for as long as he can remember.

After finishing his Mechanical Engineering degree at Bath University in 1995, Hywel’s career was set after he joined Perkins Engines as a Graduate Engineer. He developed himself in that role and soon got the chance to step up to be a Simulation Engineer for the company.

Several years followed as a Design Engineer at Cosworth Racing before, in 2004, Hywel joined Mercedes-Ilmor as a Senior Design Engineer; the company that would later become Mercedes AMG High-Performance Powertrains. It is a relationship that has proved to work extremely well, with Hywel fulfilling numerous roles for the company over the years. Starting as a Senior Design Engineer, he became Head of Mechanical Engineering, before taking on the role of Engineering Director.

In 2015, Hywel became The Chief Engineer for Mercedes AMG HPP, before taking on the development of the Formula One Power Unit as F1 Power Unit Director, in 2019. Over the years, Hywel has seen the team in Brixworth contribute to seven consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors’ Championships with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team.

When asked why he enjoys working for the team, Hywel explains: “The people I work with throughout this organisation are so enthusiastic and are dedicated to making this the best team that it can be. The ability the team shows to continually evolve and change impresses me every single time. We are never satisfied with the norm and always look to improve.’’

Since June 2020, Hywel has been Managing Director of Mercedes AMG High-Performance Powertrains, overseeing the development of the Hybrid Power Unit. It’s Hywel intention as Managing Director to build and maintain a passionate and effective leadership group who are able, with the involvement of all of the employees, to further develop and deliver the company’s targets, strategies and policies.

Hywel Thomas is an alumnus of Torquay Boy’s Grammar School. Hywel also worked at Cosworth engineering in the late 1990s after working as a simulation engineer at Perkins Engines. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Bath University.

Hywel Thomas commented:

I am proud to have been part of HPP for 16 years and it is an incredible organisation in terms of its team spirit, values and integrity. That is no small part thanks to the leadership it has enjoyed over the years, from Mario Illien and Paul Morgan through to the current day. Andy and I have worked together throughout my time here and I am thankful to have been able to learn from him during this time and through a period of great success for the team.

Our new leadership group is very excited to step up to this new challenge: we have an incredible team of people at Brixworth, and we are all focused on delivering maximum performance on track in the years ahead.

As part of the COVID response early in 2020, the F1 Power Unit manufacturers agreed on a set of rules and restrictions to secure the long-term stability of the sport. Some of these regulations had already been worked on for a while, but the situation accelerated their introduction. We agreed to a reduction in dyno hours and that has an impact on our operation.

It’s similar to how wind tunnel usage has seen restrictions for a number of years, but we had to implement the restrictions with immediate effect for the dyno. Now, we need to decide earlier what projects focus on because we can’t afford to use precious dyno hours on ideas that end up not making it to the car.

In addition, we also reduced the permitted number of performance upgrades to one per manufacturer per year. So, the performance gains you normally saw spread out across the year will now have to be packaged together strategically. That also has a sizeable impact on us, as we need to make sure to introduce that performance upgrade at the right time and with the right improvements to extract the maximum gain for the season.

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