Ahead of the 2022 Formula 1 season, Red Bull has announced that it has managed to agree a deal with Mercedes for the new technical director of its powertrains division, Ben Hodgkinson.
Red Bull’s new powertrain division, named Red Bull Powertrains has announced an important step. The company was formed in 2021 to take over the operation of Formula One power units developed by Honda from 2022 onwards, following the Japanese manufacturer's withdrawal from the sport after 2021.
The agreement practically means that Red Bull purchased the power units from Honda and renamed them. This year, the Japanese manufacturer will assemble the power units and provide trackside and race operation support, before Red Bull Powertrains takes full responsibility for their operation from 2023.
In April 2021, the hiring of Ben Hodgkinson as technical director of Red Bull Powertrains was announced. Hodgkinson was the head of mechanical engineering at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains since 2017, and worked at Mercedes for 20 years. However, it was unclear when Hodgkinson would be able to join because he was firmly contracted to the Brixworth-based factory.
The two companies have now reached an agreement. A statement from Red Bull read: "Mercedes F1 and Red Bull F1 today reached an agreement regarding the appointment of Ben Hodgkinson. "
"Under the terms of that agreement, Ben, who joined Mercedes in August 2001, will be free to join Red Bull Powertrains from 24 May 2022."
Mercedes F1 and Red Bull F1 today reached an agreement regarding the appointment of Ben Hodgkinson.— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) January 21, 2022
Under the terms of that agreement, Ben, who joined Mercedes in August 2001, will be free to join Red Bull Powertrains from 24 May 2022. pic.twitter.com/8H3Jh9dPQ3
Hodgkinson's signing was not the only one. Last May, Red Bull announced the hiring of five more senior Mercedes engine employees: Steve Blewett, who will be the production director of the Red Bull power unit; Omid Mostaghimi, who will work as chief engine, electronics and energy recovery; Pip Clode, who will take on the role of head of mechanical design for energy recovery; Anton Mayo, who will become head of combustion power unit design and Steve Brodie, who is set to work as leader of combustion engine operations.