Marko: Mood at Mercedes 'tense' after Vowles exit

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Red Bull's Helmut Marko says the mood at Mercedes has become "tense" in the wake of the departure from the team of chief strategist James Vowles.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Vowles -- a long-standing member of the Mercedes team -- would become Williams racing's new team principal, succeeding former team boss Jost Capito.

While the move was viewed as a major coup for Williams, Toto Wolff has ensured that Mercedes' will not suffer from Vowles' departure as the Briton had already taken a step back last season from his responsibilities as the Brackley squad's chief strategist.

However, a little bird has told Marko that the atmosphere at Mercedes has become tense since the announcement of Vowles' move to Williams.

It was suggested to the Austrian that the Briton's transfer could actually benefit Mercedes, with Williams becoming the German manufacturer's genuine B-team in F1.

But Marko offered his view on that assumption.

"No, I have completely different information," he told Sport1.

"Vowles went of his own accord and – so it is said – even takes good engineers with him. My sources tell me that’s why the mood at Mercedes is so tense."

Should a group of Mercedes engineers follow Vowles to Williams, the change could potentially disrupt the Brackley squad on the eve of an all-important season in which it will seek to turn around its fortunes after its disappointing 2022 campaign.

However, Marko downplayed that prospect and insisted the former championship winning team would be Red Bull's biggest rival this season.

"We’ll see," he said. "However, I still believe that Mercedes will be our biggest challenger when it comes to defending our title."

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