Carlos Sainz reacts to massive Ferrari change after latest staff restructure

Michelle Foster
The Ferrari pit wall. Bahrain March 2023

The Ferrari pit wall. Bahrain March 2023

Confirming Laurent Mekies will no longer feature on the pit wall as he goes on gardening leave ahead of his AlphaTauri move, Carlos Sainz insists Ferrari are not suddenly “light” on leadership.

While it has long been known Mekies would be leaving the team at some point during this season, the sporting director having signed with AlphaTauri to replace the departing Franz Tost as their 2024 team boss, the date of his exit seemed to move back week on week.

It was finally confirmed on Thursday with Ferrari revealing he had left for his gardening leave period and would not be on the pit wall at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Additional reporting Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

Yet more changes in Ferrari’s leadership

“As from the Belgian Grand Prix, part of Laurent’s duties on the pit wall will be carried out by Diego Ioverno, who takes on the role of Sporting Director. He will be responsible for all sporting matters, as well as liaising with the FIA,” the team said in a statement.

Mekies’ exit and Ioverno’s promotion are the second big changes in the top leadership positions this season after Fred Vasseur replaced Mattia Binotto as team principal back in January.

But it’s not the only change as Ferrari also lost head of vehicle concept David Sanchez to McLaren earlier this year while the team has yet to sign a new technical director after Binotto’s exit, the team bosses having worn both hats.

Sainz though was quick to rubbish a suggestion that Ferrari are now “light” in leadership.

“I’m 100 percent sure that the structure we have now is also working well for the development of next year’s car. I don’t feel at all like it’s light,” he told the media including

“I also feel like Fred is doing the best he can do to reinforce the team. But also, the people we have also have very clear targets in mind. The car is being developed nicely in the wind tunnel and I don’t feel light at all.

“I’d rather have a lighter a year now knowing that we are not really fighting for the World Championship and make sure we are restructuring, we are recruiting and we are strong for when the tougher challenges hopefully come in the near future.”

The Spaniard added that the transition from Mekies and Ioverno had been a “smooth” one before going on to praise the soon-to-be AlphaTauri team boss. recommends

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He said: “He obviously was a very important figure in Ferrari the last few years and he’s been a huge contributor to the team. Honestly, I had a really good relationship with him and he was very proactive and very good to the team in general.

“I think we were all very appreciative and that’s probably why he’s going to a team principal role in another team because he was doing a good job for us.

“But the transition has been done already. He’s been very helpful also in helping Diego to learn. He’s relearned the job that he was doing and I’m not concerned at all with the transition period because it’s already been smoothened out.”

Asked what characteristics he feels make for a good team boss, the Spaniard replied: “There’s not one clear characteristic for everyone. You have the likes of Toto, Christian and Fred or Mattia in the past with a very technical approach.

“I think honestly, there, I am not the one to comment what makes a great team principle but analyse the ones that have been here for the longest term, and you will find the traits.”

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