December 19, 2013 / 9:40 AM / 4 years ago

Mercedes F1 sign top engineers from Red Bull

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany (R) drives ahead of Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany and Red Bull Formula One driver Mark Webber of Australia (L) during the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on Yas Island, November 3, 2013 File Photo. REUTERS/Steve Crisp

(Reuters) - Mercedes have hired two top engineers from Formula One champions Red Bull in a move they hope will strengthen their title challenge next year and weaken their dominant rivals.

The British-based team said in a statement that Mark Ellis would be joining as performance director next June while Giles Wood was appointed chief engineer, in charge of simulation and development, and arriving at the same time.

Ellis is currently Red Bull’s head of vehicle dynamics and Wood chief engineer for simulation.

“These two newly-created roles will further strengthen the team’s technical organization, particularly in the fields of simulation and vehicle dynamics,” Mercedes added.

The two men are the first major signings by the team since the departure of principal Ross Brawn was announced, with executive directors Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff sharing the leadership tasks.

Red Bull, with Sebastian Vettel, have been champions for the past four years and were dominant in the second half of the 2013 season with their 26-year-old German driver winning the last nine races in a row.

However they have suffered some important staff losses, with McLaren trumpeting the signing of aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou for 2015, when the Woking-based team will have Honda as engine partners.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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