Red Bull has poached one of Mercedes’ senior power unit engineers, Ben Hodgkinson, to head up its new Red Bull Powertrains division.
Red Bull will manufacture its own engines from 2022 onwards following the withdrawal of Honda at the end of this year.
The team will purchase the designs of the existing Honda engine to continue to use it during the upcoming freeze on engine development, while preparing its in-house engine department for new regulations in 2025.
Hodgkinson, who is currently head of engineering at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, will join Red Bull Powertrains as technical director.
“We are delighted to welcome Ben to Red Bull Powertrains as technical director,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. “He comes to this hugely exciting project as a proven race winner and as an innovator capable of leading a like-minded team of highly skilled engineers.
“When Red Bull announced the creation of Red Bull Powertrains it was also announcing a new phase of the company’s ambition in Formula One — to bring every aspect of car design in-house and to put our destiny in our own hands.
“The ultimate expression of that is the development of a Red Bull power unit to meet the next generation of Formula One engine regulations.
“Ben’s appointment signals our long-term intent and we will support him and his team with every available resource required in order to succeed.”
The new Red Bull Powertrains department will be based in a purpose-built facility, which is currently under construction at the team’s base in Milton Keynes.
Red Bull said Hodgkinson, who has worked at Mercedes’ engine factory in Brixworth for nearly two decades, will be mainly focused on the next set of engine rules in 2025, which have yet to be finalised by the FIA.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining Red Bull Powertrains as technical director,” Hodgkinson said. “It was not easy to make the decision to leave HPP after almost 20 years but the opportunity to take on such a far-reaching and important project is a great honour.
“Red Bull is a serious player in Formula One and have been our biggest rival in the hybrid era, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together in this new phase of the company’s journey.”