Horner: Poaching Mercedes F1 engine staff an “inevitability”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has defended his team's strategy of poaching key Mercedes staff for its Formula 1 engine project, saying its proximity to Mercedes made it an "inevitability".

Horner: Poaching Mercedes F1 engine staff an “inevitability”

Red Bull will take on the development of its Honda F1 engines from 2022 when the Japanese giant pulls out of F1, whilethe team will also prepare to build in-house power units at its Milton Keynes campus for the new 2025 engine regulations.

Last month Red Bull Powertrains announced it had hired long-time Mercedes employee Ben Hodgkinson as its technical director, who had been the head of mechanical engineering at Mercedes' High Performance Powertrains plant in Brixworth.

In Hodgkinson's wake Red Bull revealed last week it had added five more key members to the newly formed powertrains division, all jumping ship from senior positions at Mercedes' engine department.

When questioned by Sky Sports F1 on Red Bull's recruiting strategy, team boss Horner said bringing on senior Mercedes personnel was an "inevitability" given both team's proximity to each other, and Red Bull's desire to develop power units at its Milton Keynes campus.

"I think there is an inevitability that obviously we're based in the UK, we're only 30 miles up the road from Brixworth where Mercedes have chosen to build their engines in the UK," Horner said.

"And they've done that for a reason because the talent is within the UK. I think for us bringing the engines on site within the campus, fully integrating it with the chassis is tremendously appealing.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"We've been very flattered by the amount of approaches that we've had. Of course, we're starting with a clean sheet of paper and it's important to get the right people in the right positions.

"Obviously, we've had quite a bit of success in attracting some fantastic talent on top of the talent that we will inherit from Honda when they depart at the end of the year."

Read Also:

By poaching six leading Mercedes HPP members Red Bull, which has been Mercedes' main competitor for years and the two teams are involved in a fierce 2021 title fight, also appears to have gone to war with its rival off the track.

But Horner shrugged off that suggestion, saying "people work where they want to work".

"At the end of the day, you can't force someone to work where they don't want to be," he added.

"And if we're an attractive place to be and people see that racing spirit and they want to be part of it, they're going to come on the journey."

shares
comments

Related video

Aston Martin: Red Bull/Mercedes F1 gap justifies low-rake complaints
Previous article

Aston Martin: Red Bull/Mercedes F1 gap justifies low-rake complaints

Next article

Tost: Changes to F1 cost cap rules must be done ‘in a proper way’

Tost: Changes to F1 cost cap rules must be done ‘in a proper way’
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Plus

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Plus

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022