One thing is certain: both Volkswagen and Red Bull, who will be using the Honda engine on their own from next year, have long been prepared. Red Bull recently poached the Englishman Ben Hodgkinson from Mercedes. The Briton is the new engine manager for the Austrians. Negotiations are now underway with Mercedes as to whether approval is possible before 2023. According to the contract, Hodgkinson should only then start working for a new employer.
The group, which was on the verge of a Formula 1 deal with Red Bull (the diesel scandal in September 2015 destroyed the connection between Audi and Red Bull, which had already been believed to be safe), has also set the course.
McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl also plays an important role in the simulation games. From his time at BMW, the Bavarian not only knows Duesmann and Baker very well, but also the structures of BMW and Volkswagen. At BMW he worked for a long time as a leading engineer in Formula 1, with Porsche he won the Le Mans 24 Hours as project manager, among other things. In 2019 he switched to the traditional British team, which found its way back on the road to success under his leadership.
Alone: There are still hurdles to overcome. This could be compared with those with which the SPD, the Greens and the FDP are confronted in the current coalition negotiations. Everyone has to compromise to come to an agreement. The same goes for Audi, Porsche, Red Bull and McLaren.
Background: The corporations mustn’t demand too much influence. Red Bull wants to remain as autonomous and independent as McLaren. Both would be happy to have great partners, but they don’t necessarily need them. “Constellations have to be found that require humility and compromise from everyone involved,” says the protagonists. Only then can the traffic lights be switched from yellow to green.