Engine exits are big opportunity for Mercedes, says Toto Wolff

The Austrian praised the members of his staff who had rejected Red Bull's "lottery number" offers and said Mercedes would fill vacancies internally at the Brixworth power unit operation.

Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff during Press Conference.   -  REUTERS

Red Bull's raid on Mercedes for Formula One engine experts is more of a positive than a problem for the reigning world champions, according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

The Austrian praised the members of his staff who had rejected Red Bull's "lottery number" offers and said Mercedes would fill vacancies internally at the Brixworth power unit operation.

"We have 900 people there working on F1 power units, it’s a huge organization and losing 10 or 15 or more will not change the collective strengths of the group," Wolff said at the Spanish Grand Prix.

"In a way it's almost like a natural selection, it opens the way for young ones to move up and we see it as a big opportunity actually.

READ | Red Bull hires more engine experts from F1 rival Mercedes

"There is no destabilization whatsoever because the group is so big. Performance is being made by the power of the group and not single individuals.

"We are promoting from within and some of the promotions are really exciting," he added.

Red Bull are setting up its own power unit company from next year following current partner Honda's exit from the sport and have announced six signings from Mercedes.

The aim also is to develop the next engine to be introduced from 2025.

No starting dates have been given and all are likely to have a long period of gardening leave before joining.

"It’s good to see the really loyal ones that have been approached in such an overwhelmingly larger number than the ones that were lured away. Seeing that loyalty and integrity confirms the values of this group," Wolff said.

"There were some really good people that were approached with lottery number paychecks and they haven’t even thought about it twice. They stayed because they like the environment and what we stand for."

Mercedes have dominated the current V6 turbo hybrid era, winning every drivers' and constructors' championship since 2014.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is chasing a record eighth world title this season, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen his biggest rival.

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