• John Owen

Chief Designer of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

John Owen is Chief Designer of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. He works as “the architect of the car”, making sure that the team makes the right trade-offs between different areas of performance  - aerodynamics, Power Unit, vehicle dynamics to name a few – with the minimum of compromise. 

When asked about his favourite car that he worked on, John gives a surprising answer: “Strangely, it would be the W04, our 2013 car. It’s the car that suddenly delivered Mercedes to the front of the grid. We came second in the World Championship that year, we won three races, but the technological jump in the team’s capability and the way we designed the car from 2012 to 2013 was the biggest we have ever done and it set the scene for a lot of future developments and the success that we were fortunate to enjoy in subsequent years.”

John started his career in motorsport in Brackley in 2001, working as an aerodynamicist for race chassis manufacturer Reynard Motorsport. One year later, he transferred to Hinwil, Switzerland, to work for the Sauber team. In 2004, he was promoted to senior aerodynamicist for the Swiss team. Three years later, he returned to Brackley as principal aerodynamicist for Honda. In 2010 he was promoted to Chief Designer for the Mercedes works team. 

John thinks that the biggest strength of the team is our culture. “We have a team that is very accepting of failure. We’re not negligent in what we do, everyone tries hard, but we accept that failing is a part of what we do, so we need to pick ourselves up and move forward from there and learn from those mistakes rather than blame people.”

Nationality: British
Date of birth: 11 May 1973
Place of birth: Cambridge, UK 
2010 Chief Designer, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
2009 Principal Aerodynamicist, Brawn GP
2007 Principal Aerodynamicist, Honda F1 Team
2006 Senior Aerodynamicist, BMW Sauber, Switzerland
2004 Senior Aerodynamicist, Sauber Petronas, Switzerland
2002 Aerodynamicist, Sauber Petronas, Switzerland 
2001 Aerodynamicist, Reynard Motorsport, Brackley