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'Hodgkinson tried to take multiple Mercedes employees to Red Bull'

'Hodgkinson tried to take multiple Mercedes employees to Red Bull'

24-04-2021 18:32 Last update: 21:22

At Mercedes they are worried about the departure of Ben Hodgkinson to Red Bull Racing. At least, that is what Corriere dello Sport this weekend. Hodgkinson is said to have even spoken to other Mercedes employees about his departure for the Austrian rival in the hope that more men would follow him.

Red Bull wants to develop their own engine in Formula 1 from 2025 and it has recruited Hodgkinson for that purpose. Despite there being an engine freeze until then, small things can be adjusted by the engine suppliers. That's where Hodgkinson's knowledge and expertise comes in, as the Mercedes top executive has been involved in Mercedes' engine operations for twenty years.

Alarm bells set off at Mercedes

"Mercedes is seeing a strategic man leave and very soon - well before the autumn of 2022 when Hodgkinson can formally take his place in the company - Red Bull will know all about the German power sources that have dominated Formula 1 since 2014," writes the Italian newspaper. So the alarm bells in Brackley went off last week.

At the end of 2022, Hodgkinson can start working for Red Bull and until then he has to serve his 'gardening leave'. This is a rule in the pinnacle of motorsport that prevents sensitive information from teams from being revealed when employees leave. However, it is impossible to know exactly when Hodgkinson provided his new employer with certain specific information.

More Mercedes men to Red Bull?

On the shop floor, Hodgkinson has reportedly spoken to several colleagues about his switch before it was made official."There is now disquiet at Mercedes, and not just because it was discovered that Hodgkinson spoke to two or three colleagues about the subject, clearly trying to convince them to follow him. Indeed, there are fears that other valuable technicians may be contacted by Red Bull and offered more money to make the switch."

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