Ben Hodgkinson has been the talk of the town since he confirmed that he will be accepting the role of technical director for Redbull’s Powertrains Operations.
Hodgkinson’s move from Mercedes to Redbull has been seen to be a big game-changer that could really shake things up in the coming Formula 1 seasons.
Let’s rewind a bit to know who Ben Hodgkinson is and his achievements in the sport.
Ben Hodgkinson first started out with an Engineering Foundation year from the University of Leichester in 1994. Then, he went on to graduate from University College London with an MEng 1st class honours in 1998.
He gained his first job as a graduate at Mountune Race Engines, where helped design the WRC engine for the Ford Focus driven by the late Colin McRae.
Then, he took up a series of jobs which brought him to Ilmor Racing Engines. They later changed the name of the company to Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.
Making a mark at Mercedes
Hodgkinson earned his first major promotion at Mercedes in May 2004 when he became the development team leader. Then, he climbed up the success ladder to move through the roles of mechanical development team leader, mechatronics team leader all the way to top-end team leader in 2014.
In 2016, he became the ICE team leader and then finally was announced as the head of mechanical engineering in 2017. As its head, he was accountable for designing and developing the internal combustion engine for Mercedes F1.
During his 20 years at Mercedes, the team managed to win eight constructors’ titles. He has also worked on all of Lewis Hamilton’s world championship-winning cars, not to mention that of Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button.
Why did he quit Mercedes?
After Hodgkinson’s two decades of experience in Mercedes, Christian Horner who is the team principal of Red Bull said that he was “delighted” to lure Ben Hodgkinson away from the team’s main rivals.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Christian Horner said, “Of course you do your due diligence, you look around at what is the talent, we have so much of that here based in the UK and Ben’s name absolutely came to the fore.
“He was an obvious candidate for us, and I was absolutely delighted when he agreed to join the team for this exciting new chapter in Red Bull’s history in Formula 1.”
Red Bull is not holding back when it comes to investments as they are setting up a new engine facility at Milton Keynes.
They have been recruiting some of the best minds in motorsports including Ben Hodgkinson. Many of these, in fact, are believed to be Mercedes employees, where a mass exodus is expected to take place.
Red Bull’s signing of Hodgkinson is being considered a huge step-up for the team and it will be really interesting how events unfold in the coming seasons.