Red Bull has announced it has appointed former Mercedes engineer Ben Hodgkinson as technical director for its Formula 1 engine division.

Following current engine partners Honda’s decision to leave F1 at the end of this year, Red Bull has agreed to take over its project from 2022.

In order for the transition to run smoothly, the Milton Keynes-based outfit has created Red Bull Powertrains where it will develop all its future power units.

Hodgkinson, who previously built engines for the World Rally Championship before joining Ilmor Racing Engines, now known as Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, will leave his post as head of engineering once his contract obligations have been fulffiled.

“We are delighted to welcome Ben to Red Bull Powertrains as Technical Director,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. “He comes to this hugely exciting project as a proven race winner and as an innovator capable of leading a like-minded team of highly skilled engineers.

“When Red Bull announced the creation of Red Bull Powertrains it was also announcing a new phase of the company’s ambition in Formula One – to bring every aspect of car design in-house and to put our destiny in our own hands.

“The ultimate expression of that is the development of a Red Bull power unit to meet the next generation of Formula One engine regulations.

“Ben’s appointment signals our long-term intent and we will support him and his team with every available resource required in order to succeed.”

Red Bull has given its clearest indication it plans to build its own engine for the new power unit regulations arriving in 2025, revealing Hodgkinson’s role will see him “focus on developing Red Bull’s inaugural power unit”.

Speaking about his appointment, Hodgkinson said: “I’m extremely excited to be joining Red Bull Powertrains as Technical Director.

“It was not easy to make the decision to leave HPP after almost 20 years but the opportunity to take on such a far-reaching and important project is a great honour.

“Red Bull is a serious player in Formula One and have been our biggest rival in the hybrid era, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together in this new phase of the company’s journey.”