Revealed: The key question facing Mercedes with Red Bull poach plan suggested

Henry Valantine
Mercedes W15 driven by Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes have started the season in the mix, but not for podiums or wins for now.

With Mercedes having made key hires for 2025, former F1 driver Karun Chandhok wonders if they need to look elsewhere to plug any gaps in the team.

Simone Resta and Enrico Sampo are due to move across from Ferrari in time for next season in senior roles, as is the cut-and-thrust of the Formula 1 paddock, with Mercedes looking to bolster in key positions in the same way as their rivals.

Mercedes make new hires, but could they look ‘further down the food chain’?

James Allison is back at the helm of the Silver Arrows’ technical team after taking over from Mike Elliott last year, and will be reuniting with Resta after working with him at Ferrari in the mid-2010s.

Head of vehicle performance Loic Serra is heading the other way to Maranello, but Chandhok suggested that Mercedes should continue to look for personnel to bolster their ranks moving forward, potentially even from the likes of Red Bull, to help with their car designs.

“Every organisational structure will have gaps that need to be plugged,” Chandhok told Sky Sports.

“They must feel, reading the press release, it sounds like Simone Resta is going to work alongside James on the overall structure of the team, rather than detailed design.

“What perhaps they need to understand is further down the food chain and in terms of detailed design, are there people at Red Bull who they can have?

“In the same way they lost Loic Serra to Ferrari, that’s quite a loss to them because Loic was highly rated at Brackley.” recommends

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F1 2026: Confirmed teams and power unit suppliers for Formula 1’s huge regulation changes

With a looming significant regulation change on the horizon, Mercedes and their rivals are already working at pace to establish interpretations of the 2026 regulations, though work cannot officially start on their cars for that season yet.

Mercedes and the other factory power unit manufacturers are already constructing their new engines for Formula 1’s new era, but when the new cars do eventually roll out, former F1 driver Chandhok wonders if their current approach reflects a system whereby they believe the personnel that have powered their title glory can take them back to the top – and whether or not they need to put the right people in place for a seismic shift in the sport for 2026.

“I look at it and go, they think their existing team can still do the job. That’s the question. Do they have the confidence in the people who are there, who haven’t been able to do the job in the past few years, are going to get it right in the fourth year?” Chandhok said.

“It’s looking unlikely because next year’s car will probably be an evolution of this year’s car as everyone looks to 2026.

“It’s tricky times for Mercedes because at this point, next year is not looking great as it’s an extension of this year for everyone.

“It’s all about how do they get the right people and right concept for 2026?”

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