Did Zak Brown’s open letter give first glimpse into brewing F1 2024 clash?

Jamie Woodhouse
McLaren's Zak Brown in the paddock at the Japanese Grand Prix.

McLaren's Zak Brown in the F1 paddock.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said the strengthening of ties between Red Bull and AlphaTauri is “not in the spirit of the regulations” as this alliance continues to ruffle feathers in the Formula 1 paddock.

With Red Bull’s second team having gone down an increasingly independent route over recent years, their driver line-ups no longer strictly representing that of a junior team, Red Bull and AlphaTauri senior advisor Helmut Marko announced that AlphaTauri was to strengthen its Red Bull alliance once more off the back of poor performance in recent seasons.

The order was that AlphaTauri would rely on Red Bull in every way that the F1 regulations permitted, with a fresh rebrand expected for F1 2024 and Laurent Mekies takes over as new team principal. Peter Bayer has been installed as the team’s CEO.

Zak Brown tells F1 it is ‘important to stand up for independence’

F1’s governing body, the FIA, has assured it is monitoring the Red Bull-AlphaTauri alliance closely, though this is an issue seemingly with the potential to escalate as Brown spoke out against alliances between F1 teams.

In his open letter, McLaren boss Brown wrote: “Most other major sports prohibit the ownership of two teams within the same league because of the obvious potential damage that it does to competition.

“It’s an unhealthy situation because it impacts decisions made both on and off the track.

“Whether it’s a case of having access to more data, sharing components/personnel, or even having influence over a strategic vote, it’s not in the spirit of the regulations.

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2024 calendar: Car launch dates, pre-season testing, TV schedule

F1 schedule: When is the next F1 race and where is it being held?

“It’s important to stand up for independence, competition and fairness, and I’d like to see changes in the regulations to ensure that in future, they stop influence spreading from one team to another through strategic alliances and especially through ownership. Formula 1 should be true to its brand, and every team – except power units – should be totally independent of each other.

“I believe Formula 1 fans universally believe in fairness in competition and a level playing field, and would reject any actions that compromise the true spirit of competition within Formula 1.

“Part sharing of information, shared ownership models, and strategic alliances within the sporting fabric of Formula 1 will only serve to undermine the fans’ belief in fair and fierce competition.”

Eight-time grand prix winner and former McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo will continue to partner Yuki Tsunoda in AlphaTauri’s F1 2024 line-up, with a new team name expected in the coming months.

Read next: New AlphaTauri CEO spots glaring ‘error’ in snub of key Red Bull component