Mercedes not worried about Red Bull’s F1 recruitment drive

Mercedes not worried about Red Bull’s F1 recruitment drive

Red Bull is throwing huge resource behind its new engine programme, with a state-of-the-art facility being built in Milton Keynes to house the project.

F1 team chief and powertrains CEO Christian Horner has made it clear that it is on the lookout to hire the ‘best’ people it can get, as it eyes up creating its own engine from 2025.

Red Bull recently announced that it had signed long-time Mercedes head of mechanical engineering Ben Hodgkinson as its new technical director, and further staff could follow.

Wolff is not too alarmed at the situation, though, and believes that he will not need to start increasing wages to stop Mercedes employees being tempted away by Red Bull.

“If you lose someone because of money, then maybe it’s important to look back at what the core squad is made of and what values are important,” explained Wolff. “It’s not always just the best pay cheque.

“We will lose some, we will win some. But at the end of the day, I believe in the philosophy of Mercedes, and I believe that we are a really good employer.

“It’s a place where there’s high pressure, but there’s also a lot of fun. We can be proud of that and we have to rely on that.

“There will always be a back and forth. But let’s put it this way, I understand where Christian is coming from, he wants to build a structure and that’s where you have to write a big cheque sometimes. But that’s OK.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Wolff thinks that Red Bull is being ‘quite clever’ with its engine plans, as it is giving itself a whole bunch of options on how best to attack F1 when new power unit rules come into play for 2025.

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“What Red Bull and Christian are doing is quite clever, namely on the one hand to rely on their own power and to set up an engine department, and on the other hand to be able to fall back on Honda know-how and IP,” said Wolff.

“That’s without closing the door on a major automobile manufacturer as a partner, which then naturally also benefits from the learning curve that Red Bull now has. That’s a win-win situation actually. They can’t lose at all.”

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