Toto Wolff responds to Christian Horner’s claim on Mercedes staff exodus to Red Bull

Toto Wolff responds to Christian Horner's claim on Mercedes staff exodus to Red Bull

Toto Wolff has responded to Christian Horner’s claim that he has taken 220 employees from Mercedes to Red Bull, saying the Milton Keynes boss has to “work on the math.”

Christian Horner’s assertion that Red Bull has hired “220 staff” from Mercedes over the last few years has drawn criticism from Toto Wolff, who asserts that the real number is actually only 19 and advises the 50-year-old to “work on his math.”

Longtime adversaries Horner and Wolff have recently been engaged in a verbal sparring match. The latter has implied that Adrian Newey’s exit may portend future developments and that he has already received multiple resumes from Red Bull staff interested in switching from Milton Keynes to Brackley.

Horner did not appreciate the comments and fired back: “Mercedes, we’ve taken 220 people, 220, out of HPP into Red Bull Powertrains so when we talk about losing people I would be more worried about the 220 than one or two CVs.”

However, it seems his 220 is considerably wide of the mark and Wolff was quick to point out the discrepancies in Horner’s bold claims about Red Bull’s hiring streak.

“You got to work on the maths,” he hit back in Imola. “19 engineers. Whatever those numbers are, I think there’s natural fluctuations between teams that come and go, which is completely normal.

“I think we have an engine department that is as good as it can be with top leadership.

“There is not a millimetre in HPP that I wish would be different in terms of organisational set-up, in terms of the people that work there that I am lucky to interact with. It’s just a perfect organisation.

“You can see they’re just delivering and they have delivered for a long time. Since 2014, we have been pretty much the benchmark, or with maybe another engine, the benchmark.

“So that hasn’t changed. I really can’t wait for 2026 to come and see the different levels of performance of the power units.”

Wolff’s remarks regarding natural fluctuations coincides with the departures of Loïc Serra and Jerome d’Ambrosio from Mercedes and the retirement of senior aerodynamicist Gioacchino Vino.

Although Mercedes’ unsettling start to the 2024 season suggests that they won’t likely be back in the championship contention before the current regulation period ends in 2025, the Silver Arrows’ camp has provided very encouraging news regarding their 2026 power unit project, and this optimism will help Wolff retain key personnel.

Technical director James Allison confirmed this to Sky Sports F1: “I wasn’t in the team in the run-up to 2014 when the new generation of power units were being concocted and the enormous push to make them a reality was taking place.

“But those of us in the team who were, tell me that the feeling is very similar. There is a massive shove going on in HPP to make a success of that because it will set the course of anyone who’s lucky enough to have that in the back of their car for some seasons to come.”

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