Mercedes are particularly displeased to have lost Ben Hodgkinson to Red Bull Powertrains, according to reports in Italian media.
Hodgkinson, who has been a key part of Mercedes' High Performance Powertrains, was announced on Friday as joining Red Bull's new engine department as Technical Director. Red Bull have started up their own engine department as they will continue to use Honda intellectual property to run their own programme as an engine regulation freeze kicks in for 2022.
According to Corriere dello Sport, the departure of Hodgkinson hasn't gone down well with Toto Wolff.
"Mercedes is not at all happy with his departure and they are breaking up on bad terms," claims the newspaper, "because the racing stable is not happy with the fact that he is switching to a competitor."
According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, Mercedes have put Hodgkinson on an extended gardening leave, which will prevent him from joining Red Bull until the end of 2022. Gardening leave is usually a couple of months, and refers to a transitional period where a member of staff transfers to a competitor. That staff member gets paid, but can no longer be privy to information which can be taken to the competitor.
An eighteen month gardening leave would suggest that Mercedes are not happy to facilitate the transition, and are doing everything they can to ensure Hodgkinson doesn't join Red Bull ahead of the engine freeze introduction.