Ferrari's handling of hiring FIA man Mekies 'wrong' - Red Bull

Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner says the situation surrounding Ferrari's swoop for FIA safety chief Laurent Mekies is "wrong"

Ferrari's handling of hiring FIA man Mekies 'wrong' - Red Bull

Ferrari's signing of Mekies caused controversy last week when it emerged that he would be joining the Italian outfit in September - just six months on from handing in his notice.

This contradicts what other teams believe was a gentleman's agreement made at the last Strategy Group meeting for teams not to employ FIA personnel unless they had had a 12-month period of gardening leave.

Although Ferrari sources have denied any such agreement was made, Horner is adamant that those in the meeting knew exactly what the situation was.

"It was quite clear - that with the FIA, FOM or vice versa from a team - there would be a 12 month grace period," Horner told Autosport.

"I even made comments that it should be accompanied with a million-dollar donation to the FIA Road Safety Foundation - which the president [Jean Todt] was particularly receptive to.

"So what is disappointing is that within six weeks of that meeting, here we are with an individual that will be going with a huge amount of knowledge and know how.

"Only last November/December, our technical staff are sitting in meetings discussing with him suspension systems, etc, and that is his value.

"And it is wrong - because you place trust in these officials, rightly so, because they are the governing body. It is wrong then for that to end up at a competitor.

"OK he is good at his job but his value is enhanced by the fact that he knows privileged information, which isn't illegal for him to take there as long as he hasn't got drawings or data, which I doubt very much that he has.

"But he still has the knowhow in his head and that is something... it is not what we agreed."

Pushed on Ferrari's claims that there was no agreement in place, Horner responded: "We were in the room. And the gentlemen that agreed it know about it."

Budkowski controversy

This Strategy Group agreement hoped to prevent a repeat of the furore Renault caused when it signed former FIA technical delegate Marcin Budkowski, prompting fears of him taking teams' secrets with him.

Renault accepted the situation and delayed Budkowski's arrival at its F1 operation until he had been out of the FIA for six months.

Although some have suggested that something more than a gentleman's agreement over the matter should have been in place, Horner says anything more formal would have been hard to implement because of employment laws.

"It is tremendously disappointing because we agreed only a couple of months ago in a meeting that employment law is something very difficult to control - particularly across countries with different legislations and employment rules," said Horner.

"Nobody was happy with what happened with Budkowski, but Renault did the right thing and managed to dilute that by saying he will not start for whatever period of time it was.

"What was particularly disappointing was that Ferrari were the most vociferous and wanted a three-year gardening leave period.

"So to go from three years to a few months it is not what was agreed at all. I am sure it will go on the agenda for the next meeting."

shares
comments
Promoted: Meet Martin Brundle in Singapore with Imagine Cruising

Previous article

Promoted: Meet Martin Brundle in Singapore with Imagine Cruising

Next article

F1 delays launch of 'OTT' live streaming service to later in 2018

F1 delays launch of 'OTT' live streaming service to later in 2018
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing
Author Jonathan Noble
The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Plus

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021