They say all is fair in love and war, and attracting staff from your rival Formula 1 team’s power unit development division probably falls into the latter category. Red Bull had previously announced in April that it had chosen former Mercedes mechanical engineering director Ben Hodgkinson as their new technical director. Now five new hires have seen the light of day, and wouldn’t you know these are all faces Hodgkinson will likely recognize in the office.
The news was announced earlier this morning by Motorsport.com:
Mercedes manufacturing manager Steve Blewett will become Red Bull’s powertrain production manager.
Omid Mostaghimi, who is Mercedes’ F1 electronics team chief, will be the powertrain, electronics and ERS chief at Red Bull.
Pip Clode, who is Mercedes’ F1 powertrain concept team leader, will become ERS mechanical design manager at Red Bull.
Anton Mayo, head of the Mercedes engineering team, will be responsible for the design of the ICE powertrains, while Steve Brodie, head of Mercedes’ final inspection and F1 trackside, will become the head of the ICE Operations group. Red Bull.
Red Bull is bringing together the best minds in the business to develop its own power pack, which will be used from 2025. Honda, which currently builds the engines for Red Bull and AlphaTauri’s F1 cars, will abandon the sport after the end. of this season. From early 2022 to early 2025, there will be a powertrain development freeze; teams will not be able to update their hardware in the last years of the current formula before the big regulatory change.
This gives Red Bull a bit of a breather as it inherits the engineering work of Honda and some of its staff – in addition to those great Mercedes minds.
Italian release last week Corriere dello Sport reported that Hodgkinson was trying to convince a few Mercedes employees to follow him into the Austrian squad, causing an “alarm” at the defending champion manufacturer. Mercedes has had the best performing engine on the grid since Ferrari was quietly punished for its fuel flow transgressions in 2019, and whatever staff have learned since then they will now take to the research and development of Red Bull.
And Red Bull could still gain the backing of a major manufacturer – something Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff slyly alluded to in an interview ahead of last weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix (with Christian Horner of Red Bull in the room!). Of Ars Technica:
“I think the right strategic steps have been, as far as I know, implemented by Red Bull,” Wolff said. “I think they’re going dual track with their own powertrain and maybe with the arrival of a new OEM, and that’s certainly smart, and the arrangement that was found with Honda in the postponement of IP is also smart.
Word on the street is that OEM Wolff is referring to Porsche, which has been surprisingly active in shaping the 2025 engine regulation despite not being officially involved in Formula 1. Porsche was getting ready to get into the sport, maybe as a full-fledged manufacturer or maybe just as a power unit partner for a team like Red Bull. Hopefully, we don’t have to wait much longer to find out – rumors and intrigues are reaching critical mass.