Red Bull has been shopping at Mercedes High Performance Powertrains in recent months, looking for people for Red Bull’s own engine project. Several (high-ranking) staff members joined in. But according to Helmut Marko, that would never have happened if Niki Lauda was still at Mercedes.
Multiple Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda was a team advisor to Mercedes until his death in 2019 in a similar role as his good friend Helmut Marko at Red Bull. According to Marko, his death has had quite an impact on Mercedes. In fact, he thinks that if Niki Lauda were still alive, employees of Mercedes’ engine branch would not easily switch to Red Bull.
“We are a great team, in which passion comes first”, the Austrian is quoted by Oe24, adding, “Under Niki Lauda this wouldn’t have happened, he was much closer to those biker guys.”
Red Bull is busy setting up Red Bull Powertrains, to eventually maintain the ‘frozen’ Honda engines under its own management and to design and develop an engine completely independently with a view to 2025 or 2026. According to Red Bull, it is more than logical to shop at Mercedes first, because, according to Max Verstappen’s employer, the best specialists in Great Britain work there.
The barrier to switching would be lowered by the fact that Red Bull’s headquarters in Milton Keynes is not that far from Mercedes’ headquarters in Brixworth. Relocation would therefore not be necessary, leaving the employees’ family life untouched.