Max Verstappen fans rejoice? Lewis Hamilton fans lament? – Ahead of the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, a breaking F1 news story has passed the TJ13 desk which will herald a seismic shift in fortunes for a certain fizzy drinks manufacturer’s (Red Bull) Formula One exploits against the might of The German Empires finest, Mercedes AMG F1.
How times have changed.
1500 cc with compressor or 4500 cc without.
No weight limit.
These were the regulations – not just the engine – for the inaugural year of Formula 1.
These days, there are encyclopedic volumes of regulations, both sporting and technical; all designed provide rules for fair competition. Yet Bizarrely, as the regulations grew, the in-balance in F1 competition also grew.
The last big engines regulation change saw a seismic change in F1 power units, both in terms of complexity and cost. Reports suggest Daimler-Benz/Mercedes AMG F1 spent over $1billion developing their hybrid power units.
The R&D and development work for the latest iteration of F1 engines introduced into competition in 2014, saw several years of prior effort. And we are in that zone again as we await the new 2025 F1 power trains.
One man stands tall when assessing the dominant hybrid Mercedes power unit which has propelled it’s drivers to all the world F1 titles since 2014 and seen the Brackley team win 7 consecutive constructor titles.
That man is Andy Cowell.
After more than a decade working with Cosworth, Illmor and BMW, Andy became the Engineering and Programme Director for Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines from July 2008 to January 2013, responsible for technical and programme leadership of all engine and powertrain projects, plus the strategy and organisation of the engineering group.
Since January 2013, Andy has been Managing Director of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, overseeing development of the PU106A V6 Hybrid Power Unit, the most dominant manufacturer engine of any period of F1’s history.
Well, despite Toto Wolff mocking Christian Horner about “15 guys and an empty building site construction is not going to be sufficient in order to be competitive in three years with a new power unit”, it might be Horner who has the last laugh.
Just as they did when attracting Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing have made Andy Cowell an offer he could not refuse.
Sources close to TJ13 have revealed that this weekend in Monaco, Red Bull Power Trains intend to announce the arrival of the ex-Mercedes man to head up their operations when they take over Honda’s responsibilities for their F1 power trains.
I guess Toto will be his usual self deprecating self over losing his team’s prize asset, just as will Christian be gracious in defeating his Austrian nemesis in the recruitment games.
This isn’t called the Piranha club for no reason.