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Red Bull Racing

Marko: Red Bull failed in move for ex-Mercedes engine chief

With Red Bull ramping up recruitment of their power unit department ahead of 2026, Helmut Marko says the team held discussions with Mercedes' former engine chief Andy Cowell.

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Red Bull special advisor Helmut Marko says the team made a failed approach for ex-Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell (main picture, 2nd right).

With Red Bull bringing power unit development in-house at their Milton Keynes headquarters for 2026, the team are seeking to build up their engine department, and have struck a deal with Ford which will see the U.S. manufacturer provide battery technology and personnel.

Marko acknowledged that Red Bull had also had discussions with one-time Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell, who has not worked in F1 since leaving the Silver Arrows midway through 2020.

"Andy Cowell is an Englishman based not far from Milton Keynes," Marko told Formel1.de.

"Of course he was spoken to, but he has developed his interests in a different direction."

Under Cowell's leadership, Mercedes swept every available title between the start of F1's turbo-hybrid era in 2014 and Cowell's departure from the team.

Mercedes notably won 16 of 19 races in 2014, with Cowell's department widely considered to have produced the best power unit for F1's then-new set of technical regulations.

Marko highlights demand for engineers

With Audi set to join F1 in 2026, and existing suppliers Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda all set to remain in the sport, there could soon be six power unit manufacturers in F1, prompting Marko to note the competitive nature of the engineers' market.

"The recruitment of personnel is also going well. We don't have the optimum level of personnel yet, but we are not far from it," said Marko.

"Of course, a new competitor has appeared [Audi], and this has further increased the poaching activity."

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