Toto Wolff says Red Bull pouching Mercedes’ engineers was “expected”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Toto Wolff gave his comments on Red Bull hiring Mercedes’ Head of Mechanical Engineering Ben Hodkinson to head their new engine department.

Red Bull is in the process of starting up its new engine factory called Red Bull Powertrains, with the aim of developing its own Formula 1 engines.

The Austrian team’s ambitions were made clear when they announced this week that they hired the Head of Mechanical Engineering at Mercedes High Performance Powertrains Ben Hodkinson to head their new operation.

At the Portuguese Grand Prix Friday press conference Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff gave his comments on the move.

“Well, I guess it was expected that this would happen,” the Austrian said.

“This is just a battleground, such as the one off track. And you need to acknowledge that. And the last few weeks was certainly very much a…pulling on both sides of the rope!

“Which I enjoyed. It’s part of the competition. So you need to take it as a sportsman and sportsmanship.”

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Wolff goes on to explain how Red Bull has very little choice when looking for experienced staff for their new outfit, so it’s only natural that they’d try to lure Mercedes’ engineers.

“Well, I think the right strategic steps have been, as far as I can see, set in motion from Red Bull.

“I think they are going to a track with their own power unit and maybe with a new OEM joining in. And that’s certainly intelligent.

“The arrangement that has been found with Honda and carrying over the IP is also clever. And then it’s clear that they’re going to hire English engineers, because it’s in the United Kingdom.

“And there is not a lot of companies that can probably provide those engineers, so absolutely understood what the strategy is,” concluded Wolff.

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