Red Bull’s pre-season recruitment created ‘difficulties’ for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton

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Red Bull’s decisions ahead of the new season may have created “some difficulties” for Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, according to Helmut Marko. The Red Bull chief warned that taking around 50 staff from the Silver Arrows was “not insignificant” and has created some issues for the team.

Red Bull embarked on a massive recruitment operation last year when they decided to set up their own engine operation. The new Red Bull Powertrains took over this season after Honda pulled out of F1 at the end of 2021.

The team’s new engines have impressed on pace so far, pushing the Red Bull and Alpha Tairi pairings closer to the front. Meanwhile, Mercedes engines are struggling with all of their customer teams towards the foot of the table.

Red Bull’s plant is only around 30 miles from Mercedes which provided an excellent opportunity for many to switch. When asked whether the number of staff switching between teams was around 50, Marko replied “yes, something like that.”

Speaking to Formel1.de, he added: “I think a loss of this size is not insignificant, it’s quite normal that it can create some difficulties. And just before that, Andy Cowell left.” Back in May last year, Toto Wolff claimed around 100 Mercedes people had been approached by Red Bull.

The Mercedes boss claimed only 15 had accepted roles with the business but this has since likely risen. When asked at the time whether Red Bull’s move had annoyed him, Wolff simply replied “no”.

He added: “I think it’s pretty obvious [that] if you want to set up an engine factory in the UK, there is only one and that’s us. We have 900 or so employees there and if you’re fishing out 15 of these or so, it’s really normal.

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“But they went mainly after manufacturing staff, so I guess it’s not performance; they want to build up the company. But credit to the project, it’s a Mount Everest to climb and I’d like to have a fight with Red Bull power units.”

Despite Mercedes’ struggles, Christian Horner has failed to write off the German manufacturer’s chances just yet, However, he warned he has “no feelings” towards the team as he is solely focused on Red Bull’s chances.

He added: “I have no doubt at some point Mercedes will join that battle, but my focus is very much on our team.”

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