Christian Horner part of process in poaching Laurent Mekies from Ferrari

Thomas Maher
Christian Horner smiling. Bahrain, March 2023.

Christian Horner smiling. Bahrain, March 2023.

Christian Horner was one of the voices of support to hire Laurent Mekies as the new team boss for AlphaTauri.

In the lead-up to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, AlphaTauri announced that long-time team boss Franz Tost will leave his position at the end of 2023, to be replaced with Ferrari’s current racing director Laurent Mekies.

Mekies previously worked as a chief engineer with the then-Toro Rosso team, leaving Faenza in 2014 to join the FIA before a switch to Ferrari four years later.

Tost, who has overseen Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri since Red Bull purchased the former Minardi team in 2005, has played an instrumental role in helping to hone the skills of raw talents such as Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was full of praise for his AlphaTauri counterpart as he spoke to Sky F1 in Baku.

Christian Horner was consulted about Franz Tost replacement

“Franz has been a great part of the AlphaTauri and Toro Rosso team for many years,” he said.

“He’s done a huge amount there working with many young drivers and grooming them before they’ve come on to us.

“He’s obviously at a stage of his career where he’s decided to step back.” recommends

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko revealed during the week that he, Tost, and Oliver Mintzlaff, the new head of Red Bull’s motorsport operations following the death of Dietrich Mateschitz, met in Salzburg to discuss Tost’s future, while Horner explained that he had also had some input into the course of action for the junior team’s future.

“Of course, naturally I was consulted on the replacement,” he said, revealing Mekies was an obvious candidate for the role.

“Laurent is a very capable guy, was at the team previously, speaks the language – I think he will be a great addition as a team principal and Peter Beyer as CEO again brings another dynamic and I think will be a great addition to that team.”

Laurent Mekies sole focus remains on Ferrari

For now, Mekies remains part of ‘the enemy’ as he represents Ferrari. On a weekend where Mekies celebrated his 46th birthday as Charles Leclerc took pole position ahead of the Red Bulls for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and Sprint, the Ferrari man explained that there’s no awkwardness to the fact his team are making life difficult for his new employers.

“You are a competitor and you know how it feels as a competitor,” he told Sky F1.

“You only think about the shirt you’re wearing. I’m here for Ferrari and we are all concentrated 100% on the weekend for Ferrari.

“There is, again, a huge push that we live every day at the factory to get back to a better level. It’s not something that happens overnight but it’s something that we are all putting 100% energy on.”