Reports Ferrari are to poach two senior figures from the Red Bull team have been contradicted by Gazzetta dello Sport who reports neither Enrico Balbo nor Pierre Waché will be swapping allegiances.
Ferrari’s goal of fighting Red Bull for this year’s World titles began to unravel in pre-season testing already when Carlos Sainz admits they became aware of their deficit to Red Bull.
Conceding the RB19 is “superior everywhere – in qualy, in race, straight-line speed, superior in medium and low speed corners, they are superior with tyre management over the kerbs,” he added that they have a “clear advantage everywhere”.
And that includes DRS. Red Bull’s DRS is said to be worth two or three tenths more than any other teams, prompting Ferrari to reportedly made a play for a “key player in creating this magic DRS” whom Motorsport.com reports “already now works for Ferrari in Maranello”.
The report added that Ferrari also have their eye on a second key figure, one they hope to leverage Laurent Mekies’ swap to AlphaTauri to acquire.
However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport that person will not be Enrico Balbo nor Pierre Waché as both have already turned Ferrari down.
Reporting that ‘the target is obviously Red Bull’s top engineers’, the Italian publication adds that the ‘attempts so far do not appear to have been successful.
‘There was a move for Enrico Balbo, aerodynamics chief of Red Bull, but the negotiations immediately stopped due to the latter’s refusal to leave Milton Keynes.
‘In addition, Pierre Waché, the technical director of the World Champion team, was contacted. But even in this case the proposal was rejected.’
Gazzetta, though, does claim that ‘other engineers are arriving at Ferrari, but they would be medium-level figures, like the twenty who were recruited Mattia Binotto last year (also from Red Bull) and who are now already working in Maranello.’
However, if Ferrari do manage to persuade other Red Bull personnel to jump ship, their impact on the car won’t be felt for some time due to ‘gardening leave’ criteria.
‘In any case,’ the report continued, ‘the new ones, when they sign, will be required to observe a break before being able to take up service at Ferrari, due to the “non-competition” clauses included in the contracts.
‘It will therefore take some time before the reinforcement plan takes shape completely, provided that it goes through.’
Team boss Fred Vasseur has not commented on the latest personnel rumours but did concede earlier this season that team members swap between teams, it’s part of F1.
“Honestly, it’s the life of the team that we have a turnover each year,” he said.
“Now, if you want to speak about key people, I don’t think so. For sure, we will have people leaving the team and some people joining the team. But it’s like this in every single team in F1.
“Now, we are a solid group, we are building up a team for the future also, and the link is good. I don’t think that key people will leave the team.”