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’
Load comments
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. On the 50th anniversary of his death, Autosport recalls the career of an F1 and sportscar ace gone before his time

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021