Christian Horner has put down the latest round of speculation on hiring Andy Cowell for its Red Bull Powertrain project, as Toto Wolff adds on.
After the Milton Keynes’ team has decided to create an engine department, they are looking for key personnel to join their division, where Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrain, seemed the obvious choice to look into due to their closeness.
After acquiring Honda’s F1 Power Unit intellectual property, and retaining some of their racing department staff, Red Bull made headlines when Horner announced his “delight” in luring Ben Hodgkinson away from rivals Mercedes.
Hodgkinson, who will be technical director of the new Red Bull venture, will be assisted by other 14 former members of the Mercedes engine department – with more likely to join. But not engine guru Cowell, who left Mercedes F1, yet remained in as their consultant.
Several websites re-started the speculation of Cowell joining Red Bull amid host of hirings from Mercedes. Horner was asked, again, about the chances to sign him or in fact, having already signed him, but the Brit put it down immediately.
“Obviously there’s a lot of media traction on these topics with personnel joining this obviously new venture but I can say I was surprised to read this story this morning that apparently Andy has agreed to join us because that isn’t the case,” said Horner.
With the introduction of budget cups, and this generation of engines going to be retired at the end of the 2024 season, Red Bull Powertrains’ recruitment depends on the 2025 engine regulations. Questions has been raised by Wolff about their performance.
“There’s obviously a lot of discussion going on about the future engine and what the future powertrain will be and I think, first of all, we need to establish what is that, what are the rules, what are the financial constraints, what are the dyno limitations? And then you package your team around those regulations, so of course we’ve been very focused on bringing in the leadership team into this project which we have largely now done,” said Horner, when asked about the questions raised by Wolff.
“We’ve got some great talent that’s joining the business. We’re inheriting some phenomenal talent also from HRD and yeah, we’re looking forward with interest to see what those new regs are. But of course, cost is also fundamentally at the basis of that and I think there’s lessons to be taken from the chassis side into the engine world, to really address those costs, reduce the cost of the power unit, which are just ridiculous, where they currently stand within the regulations that we currently have,” summed up Horner.
Before Horner, Mercedes F1 chief Wolff was also asked about Cowell and his future. The Austrian was certain sure that the Blackpool native will remain out of F1 and move on with his entrepreneurial journey. It would be a surprise if he joined Red Bull.
“I speak to Andy every week about different things and for me it doesn’t seem that he is going to Red Bull,” said Wolff. But in this sport we have seen many black swans, so at the moment, what I think is he’s not going there.
“It would be a big surprise because it would mean it’s different to what we have discussed but there is nothing stopping him from taking any decision, whether he continues on his entrepreneurial journey or returns to Formula 1 in a different role,” summed up Wolff.
So far, the Red Bull Powertrains department has employed Steve Blewett, who was Mercedes HPP’s Head of Manufacturing for more than a decade and Production Manager at Williams previously, will become Production Director, while Omid Mostaghimi swaps his role as Mercedes’ F1 electronics team leader to become Head of Powertrains Electronics and ERS.
Pip Clode, Mercedes’ F1 Power Unit Concept Team Leader, joins as Head of Mechanical Design ERS, while Steve Brodie leaves his role as Trackside and Final Inspection Manager to become Group Leader ICE Operations. Anton Mayo will be Head of PU Design ICE, having been Engineering Team Leader at Mercedes.
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The story was written by Lorenzo Liegi