Nico Rosberg highlights ‘surprising’ team absence from Red Bull poaching mission

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, George Russell, Mercedes, side-by-side. Azerbaijan, April 2023.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull and George Russell, Mercedes, racing side-by-side. Azerbaijan, April 2023.

Nico Rosberg expressed his surprise that former team Mercedes have not joined rivals in pinching staff from runaway leaders Red Bull.

Red Bull have made an all-conquering start to F1 2023, winning all seven grands prix so far as they continue to enjoy life out of reach of the chasing pack.

Understandably then, the likes of Aston Martin and McLaren have been tempting away some key cogs in the Red Bull machine in their bid to join them at the front.

The influence of former Red Bull aero chief Dan Fallows has been clear since he left for Aston Martin, taking on the technical director role and overseeing the team’s surge from midfield runners to battling Mercedes for ‘best of the rest’ behind Red Bull.

McLaren meanwhile have confirmed the signature of Red Bull’s long-standing chief engineering officer Rob Marshall as of 2024, while Ferrari are also believed to be in something of a gardening leave stand-off with Red Bull, who have taken Ferrari’s race director Laurent Mekies for their AlphaTauri team, while Ferrari reportedly have personnel from Red Bull ready to make the switch.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has admitted it is difficult for the team to keep hold of their staff when rivals are doubling their salaries, or quadrupling in the case of Fallows, according to Rosberg, and the 2016 World Champion is rather “surprised” Mercedes have not joined the party, the team currently P2 in the Constructors’ standings and fighting to rediscover their past title-winning form.

“I’ve heard also that Dan Fallows has also been quadrupled in salary plus an equity stake in the team,” Rosberg told Sky F1.

“The teams are going for it to try and get the talent from Red Bull which is the normal way in F1. That’s what always happens.

“Mercedes – strange that they haven’t been a little bit more active there. The knowledge that you also get around a set of regulations when you take someone from the best team is just so valuable. Perhaps that’s a little surprising.” recommends

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Or did Monaco already give Mercedes key knowledge?

Crashes for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez at the Monaco Grand Prix led to a further unfortunate situation for both teams, as the crane lifting away the stricken challengers offered rivals a perfect look at the undersides of the Mercedes W14 and Red Bull RB19, which went on to be the strongest packages at the Spanish GP.

Mercedes have played down the suggestion that these helpful photos can allow a team to transform their performance, with Red Bull also warning that “ignorant copies” of their floor will not surge a team forward, though Rosberg reasons that this RB19 floor reveal will have given Mercedes a big boost.

“Then again, of course, they have incredible talent at Mercedes and now the pictures from Monaco help a lot thanks to Sergio’s crash,” Rosberg continued.

“There are beautiful pictures of the underbody of the car which they can now take from those pictures and create a whole CAD [computer-aided design] model and do a whole accurate design in the computer of what that car is actually doing.

“That makes it very easy to start to really understand and learn about that Red Bull car.”

The Spanish Grand Prix did only further demonstrate though just how much work lays ahead for the pursuing pack, with Hamilton finishing P2 yet 24 seconds behind Max Verstappen despite Mercedes’ improved showing.