Toto Wolff has aimed a dig at Christian Horner and Red Bull by insisting personnel moving between teams is completely normal but most teams do not need to make a press release when it happens. In April, Helmut Marko suggested that ‘something like’ 50 members of Mercedes staff had left to join the infant Red Bull powertrains however the importance of this has now been downplayed by the Silver Arrows chief.
Last year, Red Bull were left scrambling for a new engine provider after Honda decided to pull out of the sport. Rather than making an agreement with a rival team, the drinks manufacturer decided to go it alone, setting up their own engine unit Red Bull Powertrains with the help of the Japanese car brand.
In order to help achieve this aim, the team recruited key personnel from across the paddock with Mercedes duo Ben Hodgkinson and Phil Prew among those to make the move. The changes were big news within the Formula One sphere with many believing Red Bull looked to make a bigger deal out of the moves in order to appear like they had got one over on their rivals.
However, Wolff has now hit back against Horner and the Red Bull team by suggesting personnel switches happen constantly in the paddock, with other teams not really finding the need to publicise them.
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“I think the biggest competition is and was Red Bull because they’re just around the corner,” Wolff said. “I think there’s a bigger hurdle to changing power unit manufacturers when it comes to moving to Germany, so that’s definitely not something that worries me the most.”
Wolff and Horner will once again lock horns this weekend as the Formula One circus travels to South Asia for the Singapore Grand Prix.