Christian Horner issues Toto Wolff reminder: ‘We took 220’ staff members away from Mercedes

Michelle Foster
Zak Brown and Toto Wolff speaking, Christian Horner

Christian Horner couldn't resist a go at Toto Wolff.

Christian Horner has brushed off Toto Wolff’s claim he’s seen an increase in Red Bull CVs, saying the Austrian should worry more about the “220” engine personnel Red Bull signed than “one or two” CVs.

Red Bull have spent the past three months trying to silence rumours about their personnel, beginning with Horner when he was investigated for alleged inappropriate behaviour, which was dismissed, before extending to Max Verstappen, Helmut Marko and more recently Adrian Newey.

Mercedes and McLaren ‘seeing’ uptick in Red Bull CVs

The latter though, turned out to be true.

Red Bull announced in the build-up to the Miami Grand Prix that Newey would leave the team in the first quarter of 2025, the design guru immediately taking a step back from the team’s Formula 1 project with Horner confirming he has “no access to any data” nor is he “drawing parts” as he focuses instead of the RB17 hypercar.

Rivals were quick to pounce, McLaren’s Zak Brown claiming the design legend’s departure is a “bit destabilising” and will be “probably the first domino to fall” at Red Bull.

“My guess is it’s not the last based on the resumes that are flying around,” he said, later adding: “We’ve seen an increase in CVs coming our way from the team.”

His Mercedes counterpart Wolff jumped in on the action, confirming: “Zak is absolutely correct, we are seeing Red Bull CVs through all the levels.”

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Christian Horner claps back at Toto Wolff

Wolff and Brown’s comments were put to Horner during his post-race review in Miami and while he initially shrugged off their comments, he couldn’t resist a go at long-time rival Wolff.

According to the Red Bull team boss, never mind the “one or two” CVs Mercedes might have received, Wolff should be more concerned that “220” of Mercedes’ engine personnel jumped ship to Red Bull’s Powertrain division.

That list included former HPP head of mechanical engineering Ben Hodgkinson who joined Red Bull Powertrains as their Technical Director, as well as chief engineer Phil Prew, head of manufacturing Steve Blewett and electronics team leader Omid Mostaghimi.

“I think it’s inevitable,” Horner said of Wolff and Brown’s comments. “You know the two candidates involved, they talk a lot. I’m not going to get sucked into a tit-for-tat but I’d be more focused on Toto’s own issues that he has.

“I don’t have any concern with the strength in depth.

“Of course, there is always going to be movement between teams. I don’t know how many people we’ve employed from McLaren this year, or how many people VCARB have employed.

“Mercedes, we’ve taken 220 people, 220, out of HPP [Mercedes High Performance Powertrains] into Red Bull Powertrains so when we talk about losing people I would be more worried about the 220 than one or two CVs.”

The team boss is not at all worried, adding: “Not in the slightest. I don’t know where these CVs are supposed to be coming from but we also get CVs every week.”

The team boss also weighed in on the latest Red Bull personnel rumour amidst reports sporting director Jonathan Wheatley is considering his future.

“There are rumours about everybody,” Horner said of the Red Bull stalwart. “Contracts between individuals and their terms and conditions is not something that we really talk to the public.”

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