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Christian Horner

Horner responds to suggestion that Red Bull unsettled Mercedes off-track

Christian Horner has been asked about the effect of Red Bull's recent engine-related signings from Mercedes, with their F1 rivals struggling for pace at the start of the sport's new era.

Perez Hamilton
Article
To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has made it clear that the outfit did not only look at Mercedes when it came to building up their new engine operation, brushing off the suggestion that they have unsettled their rivals.

Red Bull are working flat-out to go live with their dedicated 'Powertrains' facility, which will see them join Ferrari as the only teams on the F1 grid to manage both their chassis and engine operations in one location.

During the recruitment phase, Red Bull signed Ben Hodgkinson - Head of Mechanical Engineering at Mercedes HPP - as Technical Director of their Powertrains programme, while also securing the services of Mercedes Chief Engineer Owen Jones.

Other appointees, all signed from Mercedes HPP, include Steve Blewett as PU Production Director, Omid Mostaghimi as Head of Powertrains Electronics and ERS, and Pip Clode as Head of Mechanical Design ERS.

Horner: Red Bull haven't only hired from Mercedes

Questions were raised about the potential impact of the staff changes towards the end of the 2021 season, when Mercedes suffered a string of reliability issues, and the questions have resurfaced after the Silver Arrows' tough start to the new campaign.

While the W13 is suffering well-documented issues with the porpoising phenomenon, the performance of Mercedes' engine has also come under the spotlight, with several customer teams and drivers expressing concerns.

Asked in an interview with Sky Sports if he thinks Red Bull's signings have had an effect on Mercedes, which notched up eight successive world titles from 2014 to 2021, Horner was unmoved.

"I have no idea," he commented, before highlighting just how many avenues the new arrivals have come from.

"We're looking to bring in the best people, and we've recruited people from Mercedes, from all the other [F1 engine] manufacturers, as well as many manufacturers outside of Formula 1.

"What we're really focused on here is a real hub of technical excellence, both on the chassis and the power unit side, and seeing that come together and facilities like that [all] helps."

Red Bull Powertrains project remains on schedule

In a recent progress update, Horner explained that the project was "very much on target", with the first staff members set to move into the new facility by mid-May.

At the moment, Red Bull are running rebadged Honda engines, which the Japanese manufacturer still ship from their base in Sakura, with F1 going through an engine freeze until the new power unit regulations come into force in 2026.

"We've got more than 200 people recruited at the moment within the project, and they're scattered around the [Red Bull] site, but they'll be moving into their new home imminently," Horner explained.

"It's been a huge challenge, and I have to say all the contractors and suppliers have done an amazing job, because it's not just the building, it's what's in the building.

"[We've got] dynos, machines, measuring tools, all the equipment that's coming online to have a state-of-the-art power unit facility.

"It's been an incredible achievement in a short space of time, but everything is still very much on target."

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