The fight between RBR and Mercedes isn’t limited to tracks in the F1 calendar. Behind the scenes, the Austrian national team is also using their weapons to weaken an opponent in order to strengthen themselves. Focusing on 2025, when it begins building its own engines, RBR has already recruited six engineers from leading positions in the Mercedes engine area.
The maneuver began in April, when the energy team brought Ben Hodgkinson, the former head of mechanical engineering at the competing firm, to the position of Technical Director of the project.
RBR’s mission to carry out all its operations in one factory is a very exciting one, but it is also a very demanding one, and we know that success will only be achieved by bringing in the best and brightest talent and giving them the right tools to create an environment in which they can thrive – says Christian Horner, President RBR
Christian Horner and Toto Wolff were unhappy with the Bahrain Racing Director’s decision – Photo: Mark Thompson / Getty Images
The decision to build their power units came after Honda announced that it would abandon the sport by the end of 2021. Faced with this scenario, RBR was able to negotiate with F1 and the teams on a freeze on engine development from 2022 to 2025, when it will continue to use Japanese engines. In preparation for that near future, the team is building a state-of-the-art engine production plant at its headquarters in Milton Keynes, England.
Today’s leadership team appointments demonstrate our strong commitment to these goals and we certainly benefit from having our campus in the UK, where we have access to a wealth of engineering talent. Working with our new technical director, Ben Hodgkinson, along with Honda employees, each employee announced today brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and innovation to the RBR engine program and provides us with a solid technical platform for the future. Horner.
Despite the losses, the head of Mercedes Toto Wolf was not worried about the possibility of more staff leaving from the German team to the competitor.
We will lose some, we will win some. But in the end, I believe in the Mercedes philosophy and I think we are a great business owner. It’s a place where there is a lot of pressure, but also a lot of fun. We can be proud of it and we have to trust it. There will always be a come and go. But let’s put it this way, I understand Christian’s thinking. He wants to build a foundation, and that’s when you have to write a big check sometimes. Wolf said.
In addition to behind-the-scenes wrangling, the two teams will face each other again this weekend, in the Spanish Grand Prix, fourth stage of the 2021 season. Mercedes leads the World Builders Championship with 101 points, versus 83 from RBR. Lewis Hamilton is the driver’s championship leader with 69 points, compared to 61 for Max Verstappen, deputy commander.
- Schedule 2021 and its classification
Spanish Grand Prix schedule drawing – Photo: Infoesporte
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