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Mercedes downplays impact of staff lost to Red Bull F1 Powertrains

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has downplayed the impact of losing staff from his team's engine division to the new Red Bull Powertrains organisation.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG, in the Team Prinicpals Press Conference

Over 120 people have made the move from Mercedes since the Red Bull project was launched, including several key players who are now leading the development of the 2026 Ford-backed engine in Milton Keynes.

Audi has also been hiring experienced F1 people to work at its new power unit facility in Germany.

Both new entrants have also been chasing the top university graduates, making it even harder for Mercedes to plug any gaps.

However, Wolff insists that Mercedes has not suffered from the loss of so many people.

"I think what I said before is that it is a very ambitious project with Red Bull Powertrains and a very courageous project," said Wolff when asked about the staff moves by Autosport.

"HPP has 1000 employees and lost some to Red Bull in the same way we lost some to Ferrari, and we lost some to Renault. And indeed, the other way around.

"We are not bragging about any people that have joined us [the race team] from Red Bull. I won't mention any names. We have a constant influx of Red Bull people, as we have from the other teams. The two of us are often discussing that.

"So that is happening all the time. And so, the people they've hired, we wish them the best. Some of them were retired in our organisation and ended up there in a leading position, but that's fine. They've been given a second lifeline."

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: James Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains managing director Hywel Thomas also downplayed the impact of the departures.

"I guess it's been a big change for us that we've got a competitor 40 miles down the road," he said.

"It hasn't been since really the early 2000s, when Cosworth was in Northampton, that we had two manufacturers close together.

"They have undoubtedly hired a number of people. Some of them have come from our place. There's no secret there, and there's no problem with that, people are going to move their careers, and they're going to want to be involved in different projects.

"We have had plenty of good people join us to replace those people that left, we've had plenty of really strong people promoted within the organisation.

"We've got a really, incredibly strong project group that I'm sure is going to be very successful in making an awesome 2026 powertrain."

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Thomas revealed that HPP has ramped up its recruitment programme.

"It caused us to change some directions of some things that we were doing in terms of recruitment.

"But we've always had a strong pipeline of graduates, we've always had a strong pipeline of young, enthusiastic engineers coming through the system, and we've just accelerated some of that, and that sprinkling of people from outside that we've always done with perhaps a bit more of that."

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