Mercedes' Toto Wolff has explained that the loss of engine personnel to Red Bull recently is all part of the game.
With Red Bull having established their own engine department, Red Bull Powertrains, ahead of them taking over Honda intellectual property for 2022's engine freeze on development, they have snaffled Mercedes power unit engineer Ben Hodgkinson away from Brixworth.
More personnel are expected to join Red Bull, with some deals already reportedly confirmed but not yet public, and Mercedes' Toto Wolff has explained that the loss of staff to the nearby Red Bull facility isn't unexpected.
"Well, I guess it was expected that this would happen," Wolff told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"This is just a battleground, such as the one off track. And you need to acknowledge that. And the last few weeks was certainly very much a...pulling on both sides of the rope! Which I enjoyed. It's part of the competition. So you need to take it as a sportsman and sportsmanship."
Wolff acknowledged the inevitability of Red Bull attracting staff away from Mercedes, particularly as they build up their engine department while Mercedes have to figure out how to downsize theirs in light of the ever tightening budget cap over coming seasons.
"Well, I think the right strategic steps have been, as far as I can see, set in motion from Red Bull. I think they are going to a track with their own power unit and maybe with a new OEM joining in. And that's certainly intelligent.
"The arrangement that has been found with with Honda and carrying over the IP is also clever. And then it's clear that they're going to hire English engineers, because it's in the United Kingdom. And there is not a lot of companies that can probably provide those engineers, so absolutely understood what the strategy is."