Toto Wolff tells Christian Horner to "work on the maths" after 220 staff poaching claim

Toto Wolff has rejected Christian Horner's claim that Red Bull have poached 220 Mercedes employees.

(L to R): Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director and Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing
(L to R): Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive…

Toto Wolff has hit back at Christian Horner’s claim that Red Bull have poached 220 people from Mercedes’ F1 engine department.

Horner caused a stir in Miami with a claim that Red Bull Powertrains have signed over 200 of Mercedes’ staff.

The Red Bull boss said: “Mercedes, we’ve taken 220 people, 220, out of HPP into Red Bull Powertrains so when we talk about losing people I would be more worried about the 220 than one or two CVs.”

Horner’s response stemmed from Zak Brown’s claim that Adrian Newey’s exit would be the first “domino” to fall in terms of Red Bull exits.

Speaking after this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Wolff was asked about Horner’s remarkable claim.

With regards to the 220 figure, Wolff said: “You’ve got to work on the maths. 19 engineers.

“And so, you know, whatever those numbers are, I think there is a natural fluctuation between teams that come and go, which is completely normal. 

“We have an engine department that is as good as it can be, with a top leadership., there is not a millimetre in HPP that should be different in terms of organisational set-up, in terms of the people that works there that I’m lucky to interact with, it’s a perfect organisation.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 runs wide ahead of Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20. Formula 1 World
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 runs wide ahead of Max Verstappen…

All manufacturers are gearing up to the 2026 regulations where new engine rules are introduced.

2026 will also see Red Bull build their own power unit for the first time, hence their heavy recruitment drive.

Mercedes famously nailed the new engine rules in 2014, building the foundations for their years of dominance.

Wolff remains convinced Mercedes are still “the benchmark” when it comes to engines in F1.

“They have delivered for  a long time, since 2014 we have been the benchmark, with maybe another engine the benchmark, that hasn’t changed.I really can't wait for 2026 to come and see the different levels of performance of the power unit,” he added.

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