Red Bull signs five more Mercedes engine staff

We discussed Red Bull’s signing of Mercedes head of mechanical engineering, Ben Hodgkinson, last week but Red Bull isn’t stopping there. In order to fully develop their engine program, it seems they have nabbed five more people from the Mercedes program.

According to Autosport, here are the new appointments:

“Mercedes’ head of manufacturing Steve Blewett is to become Red Bull’s power unit production director.

Omid Mostaghimi, who is Mercedes’ F1 electronics team leader, will be Red Bull’s head of powertrains, electronics and ERS.

Pip Clode, who is Mercedes’ F1 power unit concept team leader, is to become Red Bull’s head of mechanical design ERS.

Anton Mayo, a Mercedes engineering team leader, will be head of power unit design ICE, while Steve Brodie, Mercedes’ F1 trackside and final inspection manager, will become Red Bull’s Group Leader ICE Operations.

The team has also said it will soon appoint a new Head of Mechanical Development, whose name will be announced in the coming weeks.”

That’s a very big move on many levels and at first blush, you’d have to think it is a massive impact to Mercedes. I go back to the season in which Red Bull were unhappy with Renault and looking for another engine supplier. Mercedes flatly declined to consider supplying Red Bull and it now looks like that would have been better to do than to lose your key engine people to Red Bull.

Team boss Christian Horner said:

“Red Bull’s mission to bring all aspects of its Formula 1 operations in-house through Red Bull Powertrains is an enormously exciting undertaking but also an extremely demanding one, and we know that success will only be achieved by bringing in the best and brightest talent, by providing them with the right tools and by creating the right environment in which they can thrive.

“Today’s key leadership team appointments demonstrate our strong commitment to those goals and we certainly benefit from our campus being located in the UK where we have access to a huge wealth of engineering talent.

“Working with our new technical director, Ben Hodgkinson, and alongside key personnel retained from Honda Racing Development, each of the senior personnel announced today bring a wealth of experience, expertise and innovation to the Red Bull Powertrains program and provide us with the strongest possible technical platform for the future.”

I doubt Mercedes boss Toto Wolff will be too happy with this move and I am curious if he knew it was happening or if losing Hodgkinson might also mean he would take a team of people with him?

Things are heating up and getting very serious between the two manufacturers and who knows what’s next? Does Toto poach Adrian Newey? The fun thing to watch will be Toto’s response to all of this.

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I guess ultimately RBR need staff as they don’t have any to begin with in the engine department, and if you are going to start somewhere, may as well start at the top.

I wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the Merc domination?