Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner is furious over Ferrari’s hiring of former FIA official Laurent Mekies. Horner said that the move broke a gentlemen’s agreement made by all Formula 1 teams a couple of weeks ago.
Mekies used to be the deputy race director and safety chief of the FIA. News broke last month that Ferrari wanted to employ his services. There’s nothing wrong about an F1 team to hire a former FIA official.
Gentlemen’s Agreement among F1 Teams
There will be no issue in Ferrari’s hiring if the company did it before March of this year. Renault made the same move last season when it hired Marcin Budkowski, who was then the F1 technical director. Formula One teams discussed the appropriateness of signing an official of the FIA. As the technical director, Budkowski had knowledge about each racecar and their secrets. That’s why the teams decided that such hiring was inappropriate.
The teams agreed that a candidate should be on leave for at least 12 months before being hired by any of the teams. Ferrari wants the period to be at least three years. That’s why the Red Bull team principal reacted the way he did when Ferrari announced they hired Mekies before the F1 Australian Grand Prix.
Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene said that there was nothing wrong about their signing because it respected the local Swiss law where Mekies was hired. He added that Ferrari had six months of leave before finalizing the hiring.
Arrivabene said he was upset because other teams leaked their gentlemen’s agreement to the media. He said that team owners signed a confidentiality agreement and they are not allowed to share or discuss in public what they discussed in the Strategy Group.
Horner said that it was a big deal because teams were pushing for the leave period to be three years, but they agreed on 12 months. He was furious about Ferrari’s latest hiring because it came less than six weeks after the teams met regarding Renault’s hiring. He felt that the meetings were pointless because teams don’t follow their gentlemen’s agreements.