Red Bull has hired the current head of Mercedes High Performance Powertrains to lead its new Formula 1 engine division, Red Bull Powertrains.

Once his current Mercedes contract ends, Ben Hodgkinson will takeover as technical director of Red Bull Powertrains to develop the Milton Keynes squad’s inaugural F1 power unit for the next era of engines that is due to begin in 2025.

The news confirms that Red Bull will work on producing its own power unit from 2025 onwards, rather than attempting to find a new manufacturer partner following Honda’s exit from F1 at the end of the year.

F1 2021 | Bottas and Russell Crash | All the details of the Russell Bottas Imola Circuit Crash

Hodgkinson, who has amassed experience developing engines for the World Rally Championship and Le Mans prior to joining Mercedes, is the first major signing made by Red Bull since announcing plans for the construction of its new power unit facility.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the signing of Hodgkinson “signals our long-term intent”.

“He comes to this hugely exciting project as a proven race winner and as an innovator capable of leading a like-minded team of highly skilled engineers,” Horner said.

“When Red Bull announced the creation of Red Bull Powertrains it was also announcing a new phase of the company’s ambition in Formula One – to bring every aspect of car design in-house and to put our destiny in our own hands.

“The ultimate expression of that is the development of a Red Bull power unit to meet the next generation of Formula One engine regulations.

“Ben’s appointment signals our long-term intent and we will support him and his team with every available resource required in order to succeed.”

In his current position as head of Mercedes HPP, Hodgkinson has played a key role in helping Mercedes clinch seven consecutive world championship doubles since the V6 hybrid era began in 2014.

“I’m extremely excited to be joining Red Bull Powertrains as Technical Director,” he said. “It was not easy to make the decision to leave HPP after almost 20 years but the opportunity to take on such a far-reaching and important project is a great honour

“Red Bull is a serious player in Formula One and have been our biggest rival in the hybrid era, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together in this new phase of the company’s journey.”