SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) – Once-dominant Mercedes have played down the impact of staff leaving their Formula One engine division to join Red Bull’s new powertrains company and other rival manufacturers.
Mercedes won eight successive constructors’ titles from 2014 to 2021 when they had what was considered the sport’s best engine.
Red Bull have since been on top and have set up their own power unit operation for a new engine era from 2026 with several senior employees hired from Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP).
Audi, who are taking over the Sauber team, are building an engine while Honda, Ferrari and Renault are also on the lookout for staff.
“HPP has 1,000 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,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff at the British Grand Prix.
“You know, we are not bragging about any people that have joined us 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 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.”
The Red Bull operation is the first time since Cosworth were competing in the early years of the century that Mercedes have had a rival engine manufacturer so close at hand.
Renault, with a team at Enstone, build their engines in France, while Audi’s power unit plant is in Germany, Ferrari’s is in Italy and Honda’s assembly is in Japan.
Mercedes HPP managing director Hywel Thomas told reporters there was no problem with people leaving.
“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,” he said at an engine presentation on Saturday.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)