Mattia Binotto’s, the subsequent appointment of Fred Vasseur and Ferrari’s difficult start to 2023 have created a feeling of transition in Maranello. One of the figures whose future has been most discussed is Laurent Mekies.
Mekies has spent over four years at the Scuderia, taking his current position of Race Director within the team at the start of 2021.
The Frenchman was often the most senior figure at Ferrari’s pit wall last season, with team principal Mattia Binotto spending several race weekends at the factory in Maranello.
However, the arrival of Fred Vasseur for the 2023 season – after Ferrari’s senior personnel lost confidence in Binotto – has put Mekies’ future in doubt.
To be clear, Vasseur has not been especially eager to make a drastic overhaul of the team at Maranello, which is logical given his limited time within the squad.
It is easy to forget that Ferrari believed the SF-23 could fight for the Championship during the winter break, so it was feasible that a significant transition could be avoided.
Performance was never the biggest criticism at Ferrari in 2022 anyway, with a series of reliability failures and strategic hiccups most commonly cited as the key issue in Maranello.
With all this in mind, Vasseur’s approach when joining the Scuderia seems logical – given the circumstances he arrived in.
However, this does not mean that changes (instigated by Vasseur or the personnel themselves) could ever be avoided entirely.
David Sanchez’s move to McLaren was the first key figure to depart from Ferrari, although this move was already anticipated in 2022.
In any case, changes are already underway. This is relatively common in F1, especially when a team changes its leadership and rivals (such as McLaren) are eager to strengthen their own technical departments.
Returning to Laurent Mekies, there have been whispers about his exit from Ferrari for some time – and these talks have become more pronounced over time.
It was understood that Alpine approached Mekies earlier this year, although nothing was agreed upon. More recently, Alpha Tauri has been linked with the Ferrari man.
Amidst the speculation surrounding AlphaTauri, Red Bull insists their sister team is not for sale – although Helmut Marko has mentioned that certain areas need to be addressed.
The Faenza-based team has started the 2023 season quite poorly, highlighting the already-established concerns at Red Bull about their return on investment.
Therefore, rumors about Laurent Mekies joining AlphaTauri indicate that steps are being taken to address the team’s deficiencies.
Franz Tost mentioned earlier this year that retirement was not far away, so it seems logical for Red Bull to start reorganizing the team as they deem necessary.
Mekies was at Toro Rosso for nine years before taking a position at the FIA, eventually becoming Head of Vehicle Performance, so a return to the team seems plausible.
As the F1 market continues to evolve, we can expect more news about Laurent Mekies and his future at Ferrari.