AlphaTauri-bound Laurent Mekies will make his final appearance on the Ferrari pit wall at next month’s Hungarian Grand Prix, take gardening leave and then join AlphaTauri in 2024.
That is the claim of the Italian branch of Motorsport.com reports that Mekies is to make his last public appearance in red in Budapest before spending some months on gardening leave ahead of taking up his new position at AlphaTauri to start the 2024 season.
The site also claims that starting from this weekend’s Canadian GP in Montreal, Mekies will work closely on the pit wall alongside Diego Loverno, who has been lined up as one of his two replacements by Ferrari.
May 29, 2023
Christian Horner on the Laurent Mekies situation:
“Laurent is the right guy to become the new team principal at AlphaTauri.”
“There’s no hostage exchange. We’re looking forward to welcoming Laurent to the team and that will be done in the fullness of time.”
The two former Red Bull engineers that were set to join Ferrari have ended their gardening leave today, and will begin work shortly.
The two are not considered first-rate, but their reinforcement is thought invaluable for the 2024 car.
One of the engineers is American University Professor, David George, an Aerodynamicist engineer who has worked in NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula 1. The second one remains unnamed, but is said to be a former Red Bull Aerodynamicist engineer.
May 28, 2023
(GMM) Laurent Mekies is currently blocked from leaving Ferrari in order to prepare to take over as Alpha Tauri team boss next year.
Red Bull-owned Alpha Tauri made the announcement about Mekies’ forthcoming new role at the end of April – so early that Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur called the timing of the official news “a bit aggressive”.
Some believe the timing was to enable complex negotiations to play out regarding the potential and related move of some Red Bull engineers to Maranello.
“Will there be a hostage exchange for Laurent Mekies?” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said when asked about the issue recently. “Well, we don’t have any hostages.
“In terms of personnel moving to Ferrari, certainly at a senior or medium level, there’s nothing planned,” he insisted.
Since the announcement, the F1 circus has travelled to Baku, Miami, Imola and now Monaco – and Mekies continued to wear red throughout as Vasseur’s Ferrari deputy.
“Well, the truth is the decision has not been made yet, so until that point, I’m wearing red,” the Frenchman said in Monaco.
“As a result I’m committed 100 percent to Ferrari.”
When asked specifically about the rumors of troubled negotiations between Ferrari and Red Bull, he added: “It’s not something I’m going to give much detail on.
“What is fair to say is that there is still discussion because people needed more time to talk to each other. That’s what they are doing now,” the 46-year-old explained.
“I’m confident that gives them a little bit of time, and we’ll find a solution that will make all parties comfortable.”
And in the meantime, he reiterated his full commitment to Ferrari rather than speculating about when he might start making the transition to the top job at Alpha Tauri.
“Please believe me that when we come to a racetrack with a given shirt, we only think about that team. And that’s how we have agreed to go forward for the time being.”