Christian Horner opens up on Red Bull poaching Mercedes employee

Red Bull have poached a number of Mercedes engineers in recent months, as they continue to hire talent for their newly formed powertrains division.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has hailed the team’s recent poaching of a Mercedes engineer, with the 48-year-old saying they have “assembled great strength” at their powertrains division.

Following Honda’s shock decision to quit Formula 1, Red Bull opted to manufacture their own power units, instead of looking to the other three power unit suppliers – namely Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari.

They subsequently set up a powertrains unit, which is being advised by Honda, and began hiring engineers from across the Formula 1 grid for this ambitious project.

They poached Ben Hodgkinson from Mercedes to head up their new division, and most recently lured Phil Prew from the Silver Arrows.

Prew was the chief engineer at Mercedes AMG High-Performance Powertrains (HPP), and Horner has said this latest signing is indicative of how committed Red Bull are to building a competitive power unit for their main racing outfit and sister team Scuderia AlphaTauri.

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“I’m delighted that Phil is going to be joining the team and he has a phenomenal track record,” Horner said.

“He has been a key component of Mercedes’ recent success and again, it is another statement of intent of where we want to be with the power unit.

“I think we have assembled great strength and depth within the business and it’s fantastic to see it really coming together and coming to life.

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“Phil’s one of a few key signings recently that add to the very talented group of people that we have already assembled,” he added.

Honda, alongside Ferrari, have had the strongest power unit in Formula 1 this season, but both manufacturers have experienced more than their fair share of unreliability.

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Mercedes, meanwhile, are down on power relative to their two main rivals, but neither Sir Lewis Hamilton nor George Russell have experienced a DNF as a result of a mechanical issue so far this campaign.

Red Bull Racing currently lead the Constructors’ Championship, and they have a 97-point advantage over second-placed Ferrari.

If the Milton Keynes-based squad can maintain an advantage over Ferrari and Red Bull until the end of the season, they will win their first Constructors’ Championship in almost a decade, with their last one coming in 2013.