Red Bull poach another key member of Mercedes engine staff

Jon Wilde
Sergio Perez racing ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Imola April 2022

Red Bull are reported to have added another senior member of the Mercedes engine personnel to their Milton Keynes operation.

Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, 30 miles north of Red Bull HQ, has provided a rich seam of new recruits since Red Bull Powertrains was set up.

Among them have been Ben Hodgkinson, head of mechanical engineering at the Brixworth factory who had spent 20 years with Mercedes. He is now the technical director at Red Bull Powertrains.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko was quoted in April as saying “something like” 50 people had left Mercedes to join Red Bull Powertrains, which was established following Honda’s announcement that they would leave F1 at the end of 2021.

Now another significant name has joined the exodus, according to Motorsport.com, who report that Phil Prew, who was most recently the chief engineer in Mercedes’ engine division, is set for a “senior role” with Red Bull Powertrains.

Prew joined Mercedes in 2016 and had previously been at McLaren for a quarter of a century, also working with Lewis Hamilton at the Woking-based team having been his race engineer for the Briton’s World Championship-winning campaign in 2008.

Phil Prew next to Lewis Hamilton. Montreal June 2008.

At McLaren, as well as being a race engineer, Prew was also principal race engineer and, from 2013, chief engineer. Before Hamilton, he had worked with David Coulthard and Juan Pablo Montoya.

In a press conference at the Hungarian Grand Prix, team principal Christian Horner provided an update on the progress taking place at Red Bull Powertrains.

“I think Powertrains is going from strength to strength,” said Horner. “We’ve taken on further appointments and recruits, which will be announced shortly, and that’s exciting for the project.

“I think things are really taking shape. You can see in Milton Keynes we’ve gone from being an industrial estate, or a few units on an industrial estate, to being a technology campus. And investment by the group has been significant.

“I think with the new power unit regulations coming for 2026, we’ll be the only team other than Ferrari to have everything under one roof, on one site, on one campus. That’s tremendously exciting for us.

“And so Red Bull has seen tremendous growth in the sport in everything we are doing and I think that commitment and that investment has been second to none.”

Red Bull are 107 points clear of second-placed Ferrari in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship, with a further 30 back to Mercedes in third.