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Brain drain from Mercedes?


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#1 Singularity

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 02:11

Red Bull have been busy hunting heads in Mercedes HQ, just look at this list:
 
  • Ben Hodgkinson,head of mechanical engineering at Mercedes, is announced as the new technical director at RBR
  • Mercedes' head of manufacturing Steve Blewett is to become Red Bull's power unit production director
  • Omid Mostaghimi, who is Mercedes' F1 electronics team leader, will be Red Bull's head of powertrains, electronics and ERS.
  • Pip Clode, who is Mercedes' F1 power unit concept team leader, is to become Red Bull's head of mechanical design ERS.
  • Anton Mayo, a Mercedes engineering team leader, will be head of power unit design ICE
  • Steve Brodie, Mercedes' F1 trackside and final inspection manager, will become Red Bull's group leader of ICE operations.
I assume RBR have said something like "we pay whatever you earn now and double it" and I am sure Mercedes have lots of talent ready to step up, but still - this is serious amounts of knowledge who goes to heir main competitor. 
 
Do they need to worry? Will they get Toto next?

Edited by Singularity, 22 January 2022 - 02:11.


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#2 MKSixer

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 03:02

 

Red Bull have been busy hunting heads in Mercedes HQ, just look at this list:
 
  • Ben Hodgkinson,head of mechanical engineering at Mercedes, is announced as the new technical director at RBR
  • Mercedes' head of manufacturing Steve Blewett is to become Red Bull's power unit production director
  • Omid Mostaghimi, who is Mercedes' F1 electronics team leader, will be Red Bull's head of powertrains, electronics and ERS.
  • Pip Clode, who is Mercedes' F1 power unit concept team leader, is to become Red Bull's head of mechanical design ERS.
  • Anton Mayo, a Mercedes engineering team leader, will be head of power unit design ICE
  • Steve Brodie, Mercedes' F1 trackside and final inspection manager, will become Red Bull's group leader of ICE operations.
I assume RBR have said something like "we pay whatever you earn now and double it" and I am sure Mercedes have lots of talent ready to step up, but still - this is serious amounts of knowledge who goes to heir main competitor. 
 
Do they need to worry? Will they get Toto next?

 

I just wonder how they will fit culturally.  The cultures seem completely divergent and that can mean quite a bit to high performers.



#3 AustinF1

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 05:17

 

Red Bull have been busy hunting heads in Mercedes HQ, just look at this list:
 
  • Ben Hodgkinson,head of mechanical engineering at Mercedes, is announced as the new technical director at RBR
  • Mercedes' head of manufacturing Steve Blewett is to become Red Bull's power unit production director
  • Omid Mostaghimi, who is Mercedes' F1 electronics team leader, will be Red Bull's head of powertrains, electronics and ERS.
  • Pip Clode, who is Mercedes' F1 power unit concept team leader, is to become Red Bull's head of mechanical design ERS.
  • Anton Mayo, a Mercedes engineering team leader, will be head of power unit design ICE
  • Steve Brodie, Mercedes' F1 trackside and final inspection manager, will become Red Bull's group leader of ICE operations.
I assume RBR have said something like "we pay whatever you earn now and double it" and I am sure Mercedes have lots of talent ready to step up, but still - this is serious amounts of knowledge who goes to heir main competitor. 
 
Do they need to worry? Will they get Toto next?

 

They don't need Toto.



#4 loki

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 05:37

Dorothy might be a good hire though…



#5 renzmann

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 08:19

Nothing to see here. Toto says no:

 

 

We have 900 or so employees there and if you’re fishing out 15 of these or so, it’s really normal. But they went mainly after manufacturing staff, so I guess it’s not performance [...]

 

 

Usually, I would have guessed that in a team like Mercedes, individuals do not matter that much. The fact that Wolff is trying to play the transfers down does make me question that, though. Still, even in the worst case for Mercedes, I think Red Bull will be benefiting more than Mercedes will be losing. A guy like Hodgkinson is priceless for a team that wants to build a motor program, but his current input at Mercedes may well have been marginal at this point (most of his ideas had been introduced years before).



#6 P123

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 08:38

No surprise that a good number of staff will come from other F1 manufacturers, and particularly from the most successful recently, with the added advantage that the bases are near to each other, so no need to uproot and move away for the new hires. From the list above it looks like career progression for most and nobody will turn down a higher salary.

They will take knowledge with them, but Merc could probably do with a fresh injection of ideas too and clearing the decks a bit may be not as bad as it would appear. Perhaps though the biggest beneficiary will be Ferrari.

#7 PayasYouRace

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 08:39

I just wonder how they will fit culturally.  The cultures seem completely divergent and that can mean quite a bit to high performers.

 

I wouldn't overstate the cultural differences. I don't think there's a lot of difference in work culture between the UK based teams in particular. While some of the top level management and particularly the owner companies management can be very different, these companies don't become so successful by not letting their teams operate in the way that works best. F1 is still a relatively small community and a people switch teams all the time.

 

 

Nothing to see here. Toto says no:

 

 

 

Usually, I would have guessed that in a team like Mercedes, individuals do not matter that much. The fact that Wolff is trying to play the transfers down does make me question that, though. Still, even in the worst case for Mercedes, I think Red Bull will be benefiting more than Mercedes will be losing. A guy like Hodgkinson is priceless for a team that wants to build a motor program, but his current input at Mercedes may well have been marginal at this point (most of his ideas had been introduced years before).

 

Of course he's going to play it down. But the guys listed in the OP aren't manufacturing staff. They're engineering and operations management people.



#8 BRG

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 10:56

Dorothy might be a good hire though…

"I don't think we are in Brackley any more , Toto"

 

Wolff is probably smiling as Red Bull saves him all the redundancy pay-outs by head-hunting all of Merc's dead wood.



#9 Anderis

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 11:06

Wolff is probably smiling as Red Bull saves him all the redundancy pay-outs by head-hunting all of Merc's dead wood.

Sometimes I wonder where you get these kind of statements from.
 



#10 thefinalapex

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 11:31

Sometimes I wonder where you get these kind of statements from.


From his dislike of Red Bull😜

#11 BRG

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 11:57

Sometimes I wonder where you get these kind of statements from.
 

Simple deduction, Watson.  If these were people that Merc was really keen to retain, they would make sure they made them a better offer than Red Bull.  But they haven't been doing that which implies they are not too fussed to see them go.  With the budget cap and downsizing the order of the day, how convenient to not have to lay off staff and pay them to leave. 

 

From his dislike of Red Bull

That as well. of course.  Red Bull are a blot on the F1 landscape.  I used to think Ferrari were bad enough, but things can always get worse it seems.


Edited by BRG, 22 January 2022 - 11:58.


#12 Beri

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 12:26

Toto and Marko as representatives from the same team. How cringe worthy will those press releases become, then?

#13 Sterzo

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 12:55

Simple deduction, Watson.  If these were people that Merc was really keen to retain, they would make sure they made them a better offer than Red Bull. 

Easier said than done. All these guys have gone for a higher-level job with more responsibility. You can't match that if you don't have the vacancies.



#14 Ivanhoe

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 13:03

Easier said than done. All these guys have gone for a higher-level job with more responsibility. You can't match that if you don't have the vacancies.

That, and for some it’s just the outlook of a new challenge and change of work environment.



#15 HeadFirst

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 13:26

Happens all the time, and to all teams. Red Bull just lost Dan Fallows (Chief Engineer – Aerodynamics) to Aston Martin. Obviously Red Bull need to do some head hunting, with taking over the Honda power unit program.



#16 Singularity

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 13:40

They don't need Toto.

I know, it was a joke. But imagine if...  :clap:



#17 r4mses

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 13:46

Do their roles fall under the budget cap or are heads of whateveryoucomeupwithinscrabble excluded?



#18 Singularity

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 13:47

Simple deduction, Watson.  If these were people that Merc was really keen to retain, they would make sure they made them a better offer than Red Bull.  But they haven't been doing that which implies they are not too fussed to see them go.  With the budget cap and downsizing the order of the day, how convenient to not have to lay off staff and pay them to leave. 

I'd think that for a company like Mercedes it is harder to make huge changes in the contracts of the employees. They have important people outside F1 and it I am pretty sure that their behavior in case of headhunting is regulated way over Toto's head. I also doubt that RBR are so in the dark that they go after people of so little importance that they'd be victims of the cost cap.



#19 Nathan

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 13:47

 

Of course he's going to play it down. But the guys listed in the OP aren't manufacturing staff. They're engineering and operations management people.

 

Manufacturing is an operation, and some engineers job is to make a design 'manufacturable' and work directly with the factory floor through the process of developed idea to on the car.  For example, an aerodynamic engineer isn't also figuring out how to produce and verify the reliability of the wing/body panel etc..


Edited by Nathan, 22 January 2022 - 13:50.


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#20 BRG

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 16:32

I'd think that for a company like Mercedes it is harder to make huge changes in the contracts of the employees. 

Which company are you talking about?  The race team and the powertrains set-up are both separate companies from Daimler-Benz AG in Germany.  I am sure their terms and conditions are not predicated by HR in Stuttgart.  The F1 operation would have stalled and failed long ago if it didn't have the necessary flexibility.  If they really wanted to retain a key employee, I am sure they could make him an improved pay and status offer.  But if someone is stuck in a job with no upwards path open for him, then moving elsewhere might be the best thing for all concerned.  Even Bottas figured that out eventually.



#21 JdB

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 16:55

They are a year late. What can they do with engine regulations being frozen?

#22 thefinalapex

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 17:05


That as well. of course. Red Bull are a blot on the F1 landscape. I used to think Ferrari were bad enough, but things can always get worse it seems.


I can understand the dislike but i wouldn’t call it a blot on the landscape, they have given F1 much in terms of talented drivers and they are never afraid in taking risks(Vettel 2009, Ricciardo 2014, Verstappen 2016) imo.

#23 Singularity

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 17:21

I am sure

Ok



#24 Anderis

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 17:54

Simple deduction, Watson.  If these were people that Merc was really keen to retain, they would make sure they made them a better offer than Red Bull.  But they haven't been doing that which implies they are not too fussed to see them go.  With the budget cap and downsizing the order of the day, how convenient to not have to lay off staff and pay them to leave.

Perhaps this deduction is too simple to account for the complicated state of reality because Red Bull has been one of the most successful teams in modern F1 and if you think they got there by head hunting dead wood from other teams and that's the simplest explanation of what has happened here then I have no further questions to you. :kiss:
 


Edited by Anderis, 22 January 2022 - 18:02.


#25 noikeee

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 20:36

Feels like it's been a long time since we had a bit of a staff silly season with important technical guys moving. Who's been the last hyped big move, James Key? James Alisson?

#26 Counterbalance

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 20:43

Feels like it's been a long time since we had a bit of a staff silly season with important technical guys moving. Who's been the last hyped big move, James Key? James Alisson?


Sam Michael.

Brain drains are going to happen from time to time. Perhaps as others have mentioned, employees have hit their ceiling in terms of career progression. Perhaps some want a new challenge after eight years of uninterrupted success and want to make a name for themselves elsewhere, to further enhance their reputation.

It happens to all successful teams at some point or other. I just wish someone would poach Horner and ensure he’s never allowed near a camera or microphone again.

#27 ColeTrickle44

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 21:40

You think RBR will steal a few management resources and suddenly start producing a better engine than Mercedes’ Benz? 😆

#28 PayasYouRace

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 09:27

You think RBR will steal a few management resources and suddenly start producing a better engine than Mercedes’ Benz?

 

Who thinks that?



#29 Requiem84

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 09:33

Simple deduction, Watson. If these were people that Merc was really keen to retain, they would make sure they made them a better offer than Red Bull. But they haven't been doing that which implies they are not too fussed to see them go. With the budget cap and downsizing the order of the day, how convenient to not have to lay off staff and pay them to leave.


The Power Units departments are not part of the cost cap though?

#30 Singularity

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 09:38

You think RBR will steal a few management resources and suddenly start producing a better engine than Mercedes’ Benz?

They have done pretty well in all other areas so far, so why would that be impossible? 

In case they have been off your radar, take a look at their achievements so far:
https://en.wikipedia...g#Racing_record

Their car has, in the last 10 years, always been regarded as one of the best. 

I have a feeling that they know what they are doing and that would mean that they know who they need.
 



#31 Ali_G

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 09:59

Sam Michael.

Brain drains are going to happen from time to time. Perhaps as others have mentioned, employees have hit their ceiling in terms of career progression. Perhaps some want a new challenge after eight years of uninterrupted success and want to make a name for themselves elsewhere, to further enhance their reputation.

It happens to all successful teams at some point or other. I just wish someone would poach Horner and ensure he’s never allowed near a camera or microphone again.


Would have to imagine that the cost cap is driving some of this as well. Overall it will even out the talent pool between teams.

#32 Clatter

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 11:00

Do their roles fall under the budget cap or are heads of whateveryoucomeupwithinscrabble excluded?


Does the PU side of things come under the budget cap? I thought it didn't.

#33 Requiem84

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 11:13

Does the PU side of things come under the budget cap? I thought it didn't.


From December this year:

FIA has revealed its plans to introduce new power unit regulations for the 2026 Formula 1 Season.

The new power unit regulations are aimed at introducing a budget cap on power unit development for manufacturers which will as well reduce the power unit cost for the teams come 2026. The budget cap regulations were introduced this year with the teams cutting down on their spending, however, the new rules exempted cost cap on power unit development.


It seems that until 2026 spending on Power Units is unlimited

#34 Clatter

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 11:15

From December this year:


It seems that until 2026 spending on Power Units is unlimited

Thanks, that's what I thought.

#35 Deeq

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 11:32


Red Bull have been busy hunting heads in Mercedes HQ, just look at this list:


  • Ben Hodgkinson,head of mechanical engineering at Mercedes, is announced as the new technical director at RBR

  • Mercedes' head of manufacturing Steve Blewett is to become Red Bull's power unit production director

  • Omid Mostaghimi, who is Mercedes' F1 electronics team leader, will be Red Bull's head of powertrains, electronics and ERS.

  • Pip Clode, who is Mercedes' F1 power unit concept team leader, is to become Red Bull's head of mechanical design ERS.

  • Anton Mayo, a Mercedes engineering team leader, will be head of power unit design ICE

  • Steve Brodie, Mercedes' F1 trackside and final inspection manager, will become Red Bull's group leader of ICE operations.
I assume RBR have said something like "we pay whatever you earn now and double it" and I am sure Mercedes have lots of talent ready to step up, but still - this is serious amounts of knowledge who goes to heir main competitor.

Do they need to worry? Will they get Toto next?
Would be very funny if Mercedes then gets Max from RB.. before seasons start.

#36 Singularity

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 11:41

From December this year:


It seems that until 2026 spending on Power Units is unlimited

So it seems like the perfect time to go all in on PU development is... now.



#37 Requiem84

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 11:48

So it seems like the perfect time to go all in on PU development is... now.


RB has free cash they can’t spend on the car/team, so makes full sense to spend it on setting up their PU operations and simultaneously weakening the opposition.

#38 romaincrouton

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 12:07

Just out of interest, how does the engine development freeze work? That's come into play now the 2021 season is over. I'm guessing like always there will be changes allowed for reliability but how liberal can you be with that.

#39 Requiem84

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 13:30

Just out of interest, how does the engine development freeze work? That's come into play now the 2021 season is over. I'm guessing like always there will be changes allowed for reliability but how liberal can you be with that.

 

The freeze didn't come in at the end of 2021, it's coming in now. Meaning that manufacturers will be allowed to improve the PU until it's homologated (I guess the first race of the year). So as of the first race of this year, the PU's are effectively frozen.

 

BUT, there is some sort of 'informal agreement' (again!) to ensure that there won't be too much differentiation between the Power Units:

 

https://www.autospor...477498/5477498/

 

But Red Bull F1 boss Horner has revealed that while it was not written into the regulations, an agreement had been struck between the manufacturers to address any big gaps in performance.

"Whilst there isn't anything within the regulations, there is an agreement between the manufacturers that each have supported to the FIA to address it, in the event that a manufacturer is out of kilter," Horner said in a select media roundtable including Autosport.

"So there is effectively an undertaking by each of the manufacturers to address it should it arise, whilst it's not within the regulations."



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#40 romaincrouton

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 23:10

Ah thanks Requiem, I tried googling it this morning and I think I must've read a quite limited article. Will be interesting to see how Red Bull Power Trains progress between this season and last considering Honda "threw everything at it and were probably still a little behind the Merc.

Not sure how important the power unit will be this season considering the reg changes. It's quite exciting to think a new team could run away with it if they can find some magic bullet.

#41 ExFlagMan

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 09:30

The freeze didn't come in at the end of 2021, it's coming in now. Meaning that manufacturers will be allowed to improve the PU until it's homologated (I guess the first race of the year). So as of the first race of this year, the PU's are effectively frozen.

 

BUT, there is some sort of 'informal agreement' (again!) to ensure that there won't be too much differentiation between the Power Units:

 

https://www.autospor...477498/5477498/

 

Look how well the last informal agreement between the teams worked out....



#42 Requiem84

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 10:29

Look how well the last informal agreement between the teams worked out....


Exactly.

This is bound to explode at some point.

#43 Singularity

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 10:33

Exactly.

This is bound to explode at some point.

I'm looking forward this new season, it will be tense. I'm bit afraid that most action will be off track though. 



#44 Lennat

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 11:35

Look how well the last informal agreement between the teams worked out....

 

Honestly, with frozen engines it makes more sense to simply properly freeze the best engine and let the other catch up, but nothing more. To peg back the best engine would be too principally wrong, and if everyone CAN'T catch up even though the best one is frozen, well... :drunk: