Ferrari finally agree early Laurent Mekies release date for AlphaTauri move – report

Oliver Harden
Laurent Mekies will become the newest of the F1 team principals with AlphaTauri.

Laurent Mekies will become the newest of the F1 team principals with AlphaTauri.

AlphaTauri-bound Laurent Mekies will make his final appearance on the Ferrari pit wall at next month’s Hungarian Grand Prix, it has been claimed.

Eyebrows were raised in April when Red Bull junior team AlphaTauri announced Ferrari deputy team boss and race director Mekies as their new team principal for 2024, with the Frenchman set to succeed the outgoing Franz Tost.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur was said to be annoyed by the timing of the announcement, with no fixed date set initially for Mekies’ departure.

However, the Italian branch of Motorsport.com reports that Mekies is to make his last public appearance in red in Budapest – the penultimate race before F1’s traditional summer break – on July 23 before spending some months on gardening leave ahead of taking up his new position at AlphaTauri.

Mekies has operated as normal since his switch to AlphaTauri was announced ahead of the Azerbaijan GP and will continue to do so until Hungary.

Starting from this weekend’s Canadian GP in Montreal, Mekies will work closely on the pit wall alongside Diego Ioverno, who has been lined up as one of his two replacements by Ferrari, who seem intent on splitting Mekies’ duties going forward.

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Ioverno has established an impressive reputation at Ferrari and has been credited with the team’s improvement in pit stops in 2023, with the Scuderia now “rivalling Red Bull in the speed and efficiency of tyre changes.”

The reports claims Ioverno will eventually assume Mekies’ “sporting and organisational” responsibilities with an as-yet unannounced appointment from a “second-tier team” set to adopt political functions, including building and maintaining a relationship with governing body the FIA.

The resolution to the Mekies saga appears to have come after a reported crunch meeting between Vasseur, Ferrari president John Elkann and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner at last month’s Monaco GP.

Mekies previously worked for AlphaTauri in their previous Toro Rosso guise as a chief engineer before leaving to join the FIA in 2014.

Having risen to the position of deputy race director to the late Charlie Whiting in 2017, Mekies went on to join Ferrari – initially as sporting director – in September 2018.

In the immediate aftermath of the announcement of Mekies’ move, Horner revealed he was involved in the process of snapping up the 46-year-old.

Horner said: “Of course, naturally I was consulted on the replacement [for Tost].

“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.”