Christian Horner has denied Red Bull will engage in a “hostage exchange” of any of their staff to Ferrari in order to get Laurent Mekies on board.
With the current Ferrari race director Mekies already stating his plan to move to AlphaTauri and take up the role of team principal, Ferrari appear to be playing hard ball as to when exactly the Frenchman will be allowed to leave.
As with most high-level executives within an F1 team, Mekies would have to serve a notice period before leaving to join a rival team and it seems both parties have yet to come to an agreement.
Having suffered an exodus, Ferrari themselves are on a recruitment drive and it was rumoured that Mekies may become a bargaining chip as the Italian outfit look to raid the Red Bull offices.
Head of aerodynamics Enrico Balbo and technical director Pierre Waché were both rumoured to be on Ferrari’s shortlist and there was talk that those in Maranello were proposing to allow Mekies to leave earlier to AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s sister team, in order to speed up some of their own recruitments.
Red Bull team boss Horner has poured cold water on that theory though, stating there was no “hostage exchange for Laurent Mekies” and that there was “no plans” for any senior member to join Ferrari.
“There is plenty of speculation,” Horner said during the Miami Grand Prix weekend. “Will there be a hostage exchange for Laurent Mekies? We don‘t have any hostages in terms of personnel moving to Ferrari. Certainly in the senior or medium level there is nothing planned.
“The individuals that have been mentioned in connection with Ferrari came to see me last week and mentioned their disbelief in some of these rumours. But there are no plans of any senior members of our team to be joining Maranello.”
Ferrari already have a huge amount of ground to make up on Red Bull in the Constructors’ standings, the Scuderia 118 points behind F1 2023’s runaway leaders ahead of race day in Miami.