Red Bull Powertrains snap up Mercedes engine chief

Red Bull Powertrains have announced the appointment of Ben Hodgkinson, Mercedes’ engine chief, as their first technical director.

When Honda confirmed that they would leave Formula 1 at the end of 2021, Red Bull quickly stated their intentions to take over the Honda power units and bring development in-house.

The Austrian outfit succeeded in this mission, and thus created Red Bull Powertrains to supply their works team and AlphaTauri from 2022.

And they have wasted no time in snapping up one of the best minds in the industry from their main rivals Mercedes.

Hodgkinson spent his early years developing engines for the World Rally Championship and Le Mans, before joining Ilmor Racing engines which would later become Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.

Hodgkinson will now though depart his role as Head of Engineering at Mercedes to join Red Bull, their main rivals, and bring his experience to the other side of this battle at the top of Formula 1.

Honda already made great progress over the winter, with their power units seemingly now a serious challenger for Mercedes.

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“We are delighted to welcome Ben to Red Bull Powertrains as Technical Director,” said Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal.

“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.

“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.”

Hodgkinson has said it was a tough decision to leave Mercedes but the opportunity presented by Red Bull was took good to turn down.

“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.”

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