RB team principal delivers firm response to Zak Brown over constant ‘B team’ complaints

Henry Valantine
Laurent Mekies and Zak Brown do not see eye to eye on the RB and Red Bull situation.

Zak Brown does not want a 'B team' model in F1, while Laurent Mekies has sought to clarify the situation.

Laurent Mekies has said RB are operating “1,000% within the regulations”, after repeated critique from McLaren CEO Zak Brown about their supposed ‘B team’ status to Red Bull.

Brown has called on multiple occasions for an end to multi-team ownership on the grid, with Red Bull owning both teams and RB in particular moving closer to the ‘senior’ team by taking as many customer parts as are permitted for the 2024 season.

RB boss responds to Zak Brown’s ‘B team’ complaints

Red Bull’s sister team have undergone a rebrand for 2024 and are taking as many parts as they are allowed under the regulations, following an uncompetitive 2023 season by their standards while Red Bull flew to both World Championships.

Brown in particular has been outspoken in his criticism of such a model, believing it is antithetical to a level playing field in Formula 1 to have two teams on the grid under the same ownership.

But when presented with the McLaren CEO’s words, Mekies was quick to push back.

“Look, it is black and white. The regulations are black and white, we operate at 1,000% within the regulations,” Mekies said on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“And we can be located in Milton Keynes, in Faenza, or in Japan, it’s exactly the same thing.

“Aerodynamics is an area that each team needs to do on its own, and that’s what we are doing.

“We are competitive people, we are 100% compliant with the regulations, there is not a single bit of energy that we want to waste outside of that context.”

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RB are also operating out of multiple factories this year, with work from their Faenza base supplemented with teams in the UK, in Bicester and nearer Red Bull’s factory in Milton Keynes.

They have also gone on a hiring spree, with long-time ‘Team Enstone’ stalwart Alan Permane having joined as racing director earlier this year, along with former FIA technical director Tim Goss having signed as chief technical officer.

Given the amount of work that has been taking place behind the scenes, Mekies maintained there is more to be done to push the team forward on the grid.

“Well, at first, we are in the incredible position to have a quantity of talent, in Faenza and in Bicester, that is second to none,” he explained.

“If we want to do that step in competitiveness, we will also need to reinforce our people. So it’s infrastructures, it’s tools, but it’s also injecting more skills because, as we say, the guys who we are trying to compete against are bigger.

“So yes, we are trying to hire people and to reinforce our teams. Yes, we try to do it at all levels from junior to very senior, and you have seen the recent hiring we have done, and it’s a fantastic sign for us to be able to attract super senior figures of the paddock of top teams, because it shows how serious the project is.

“Yes, it’s a very important additional benefit when we hire people with winning experiences, because the mindset that you get to have in a team that is fighting for the wins is even more on the edge than the rest of the grid, and we try to inject that mindset.

“We are lucky enough to be able to have that winning experience coming in from our drivers, from Daniel [Ricciardo], for example, to some of the people that we have, to some of the hiring that we are making now.”

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