Hodgkinson’s exit from Mercedes likely to trigger several ‘high-profile figures’ to jump ship

According to Red Bull, there are several key individuals in Mercedes who are looking to change teams after they captured their head of mechanical engineering Ben Hodgkinson.

Helmut Marko has also claimed that the Silver Arrows are pursuing every legal resource to delay Hodgkinson’s move to Red Bull.

Hodgkinson will join Red Bull as their technical director and help them work on their new engine. With his help, the outfit hopes to assist Max Verstappen get the better of Lewis Hamilton, who is hoping to surpass Michael Schumacher’s record.

The Red Bull chief also goes on to say that Hodgkinson’s exit will probably open floodgates in Mercedes leading to many jumping ship.

“The decisive thing is, we didn’t have to persuade him at all,” Marko told F1 Insider. “Ben applied independently through our advertisement.

“Mercedes is now trying everything they legally can do to delay the start of his work. But it won’t take as long as Mercedes would like.

“He is not the only one who wants to join us. There are also other high-profile figures, whose names I cannot yet give.

“I know only one thing: if Niki Lauda were still alive, we would not have been able to do this.”

Former F1 star Mark Webber seems to think that Mercedes has had several weak moments and Hamilton’s drive experience this season is the testament for that.

“I think Hamilton has propped Mercedes up a bit in the first two races,” Webber said.

“The car is not easy, far from it, but Lewis has got the results and even leads the world championship.

“But he has a tough rival in Verstappen. We are all fans of Max’s style, watching his racing is incredibly spectacular, which is exactly what we ask of an F1 driver.

“They are two gladiators and that’s what this sport needs, an intense rivalry… and there will come a peak moment when there will be fireworks between the two, I’m convinced.

“At the moment they get on well and have a lot of respect for each other, but during the season? Hamilton is a 12-round boxer, he will always be on the prowl and against him you have to be ready to take the fight.”

Webber also said that his old team is well prepared to fight Mercedes.

“They have never been so ready,” he added. “They know they have a great chance, they know they have to be very precise and always be ready for the fight because Lewis doesn’t give you a second chance.

“They have the right man for it in the cockpit. In the last race we saw what they are capable of doing in the pit stops… Mercedes are not being the best at this, although they are a great team, of course.

“But every part of the Red Bull team is psyched to fight and they know how to fight to win, there are other teams that are not used to it, but Red Bull is.

“They expect to win, although they have the utmost respect for Lewis and Mercedes.”

Do you think Verstappen can take down Hamilton this season? Let us know in the comments below!

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