Mercedes F1 Reportedly Panicking Amid Hodgkinson’s Switch to Red Bull

Published 04/26/2021, 3:59 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 18, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


Mercedes F1 team, one of the most dominant F1 teams in this hybrid era of the sport, seems to be on the verge of falling apart with each passing day.

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Of course, it all started with the sport’s minor tweaks to the aerodynamics of the car, which pulled back the team’s on-track performance. Then came the F1’s decision to ban DAS, an incredible invention by the German outfit which definitely played a crucial role in the team’s success over the 2020 season.

And now, to add to their already mountainous woes, Red Bull broke through Mercedes’ long-held shield amongst their crews. The Austrian outfit managed to hire Mercedes’ head of mechanical engineering, Ben Hodgkinson, to lead the newly developed power train’s division.

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Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton crosses the finish line in second REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

This has definitely left the Stuttgart outfit with massive concerns in the team, considering none of the crew from Mercedes have escaped to other rival teams in almost a decade. Well, the promise has finally been broken. And who better to do it than their title threat, Red Bull!

Corriere Dello Sport claims that the news had caught the entire Mercedes F1 team off-guard, as the situation at the headquarters has been rather panicky at the moment.

What’s more, Hodgkinson has reportedly been looking to talk more engineers into following his footsteps and make their way into Red Bull.

Are Red Bull building up to be the next Mercedes?

It is no surprise that F1 and FIA together have been working hard in bringing the teams onto a leveling field. Hence, most of the regulation changes have striven against Mercedes in recent years, and it looks like the conditions are set to get worse, come 2022.

Meanwhile, Red Bull are gaining massively with each and every minor change that F1 makes. And here they stand with a much faster car in 2021, and out of nowhere, the favorites for the title as well.

The positives don’t stop here, as F1’s decision to freeze engine developments between 2022 and 2024, gave Red Bull a golden ticket in sustaining the current upward trajectory in performance.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy -Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Hence, with a Honda-made engine in hand, and an engineer who possesses every single secret of the power trains churned out by Mercedes since their F1 entry, things are consolidating pretty well for the Milton Keynes outfit.

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This is definitely a bad sign for Mercedes. But what’s more problematic is the chances of more such engineers heading out in the coming weeks. Hodgkinson has opened the floodgates, and Mercedes will be wary of more such crew moving to Red Bull, or maybe even Ferrari.

So, how are Mercedes going to handle this tricky situation? Will this change the tide of fortune towards Red Bull amid the approaching crucial 2022 season? Only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

650 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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