Ferrari president John Elkann, team principal Fred Vasseur and his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner reportedly met for staff crunch talks in Monaco, with Laurent Mekies a key piece of the puzzle.
The situation is that AlphaTauri, the junior team of Red Bull, has named its successor to current team principal Franz Tost who will retire at the end of the season.
And the person in question is Laurent Mekies, the current race director of Ferrari who is set to form one-half of a new-look AlphaTauri management team when he is installed as team principal, while Peter Bayer, the former FIA secretary general, takes on the CEO position at AlphaTauri.
Those particular cogs are in place, but currently Red Bull and Ferrari are at something of an impasse, meaning this particular machine cannot yet spring into action.
As is customary with staff members who depart one of the teams, they usually are subject to a period of gardening leave which they must respect before getting the chance to begin work with a rival employer.
And it is this prospective gardening leave period for Mekies which Formu1a.uno report had Elkann, Vasseur and Horner locked in discussions in the paddock during the Monaco Grand Prix race weekend, Elkann and Vasseur apparently heading over to see Horner in his motorhome.
It is reported that Ferrari already have their replacement for Mekies decided, but his release is not a simple one as Ferrari have allegedly also agreed terms with ‘high-profile technicians’ from the Red Bull team to make the move to Ferrari, these personnel therefore also suitors for gardening leave.
Formu1a.uno report that the most likely compromise seems to be a six-month period of gardening leave for all involved, with Mekies remaining in the Ferrari ranks until the end of June, though add that there remains the potential of Mekies exiting the Ferrari frontline in time for the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix.
AlphaTauri’s announcement that Mekies would replace Tost as team principal did not go down well with Ferrari, who found the course of action to be “aggressive”.
Tost though would stress that the team had no choice but to make that news public, as already press leaks were underway.
“The announcement, to tell you the truth, was not planned to come up now, this was planned much later,” Tost is quoted by Motorsport.com.
“But as you all [journalists are] very professional, there were some leaks in the press. And I didn’t want to come here to Baku – it was in the Gazzetta dello Sport, for example, that Laurent will come to us – and to tell all to you, ‘no, I don’t know anything,’ because it’s not the way of how we are working.
“So, we said ‘okay, we go out with the press release.’ It was planned to do at a later time in the year. But now it’s out. And of course, I can imagine that some people are not happy about this.”
Ferrari hold P4 in the Constructors’ Championship going into the Spanish GP with 90 points on the board, while AlphaTauri are down in P9 with only two.