Toto Wolff's verdict on Mercedes staff joining 'ambitious' Red Bull Powertrains

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has had his say on his former staff joining Red Bull Powertrains, who will be making their debut as an engine supplier come 2026.
(L to R): Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director with Jim Ratcliffe (GBR) Chief Executive
(L to R): Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive…

Wolff remained unconcerned when discussing the issue, despite former Mercedes High Performance Powertrains technical director Ben Hodkinson now being at Red Bull’s hand, as well as ex-head of ICE Operations Steve Brodie: “It is a very ambitious project with Red Bull Powertrains and a very courageous project”, he pronounced.

“HPP has lost 1,000 employees and we lost some to Red Bull in the same way we lost some to Ferrari, to Renault, and indeed, the other way round.”

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As suggested by Wolff, staff joining other teams is nothing new. Former Red Bull Chief Operating Officer Jayne Poole was snatched by Mercedes off Red Bull in March. 

“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”, said Wolff.

“The two of us are often discussing that. It is happening all the time.”

The two in question would be Wolff and his opposite number Christian Horner, who over the past three years have never shied away from making a sly dig at one another.  

This issue saw nothing new, as the Mercedes boss suggested Red Bull are taking some staff that had come to the end of their working days: “The people they’ve hired, we wish them the best. Some of them were retired from our organisation and ended up there in a leading position, but that’s fine. They’ve been given a second lifeline.”

How the switching of personnel will pan out is an outcome we will only get to see in 2026, when the more sustainable engine regulations come into play. For now, despite Toto’s downplaying, it's evident that the race to nail the new rules is already heating up. 

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