Formula 1 Racing

Ferrari will hire key staff to “compensate” for high-profile exits

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

The December departure of former team boss Mattia Binotto has left Ferrari without a technical director, and it has since lost head of vehicle concept David Sanchez to McLaren.

That led new team principal Fred Vasseur to state last month that there would be no more high-profile departures, however it has now been announced that Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies will leave one Italian outfit to become the team principal of AlphaTauri.

Speaking ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Ferrari driver Sainz reckoned he was “only happy” for Mekies who ‘had’ to take the new role given it was such a “step up”.

Sainz said: “[Mekies] is a great guy, very valid, very strong figure. He’s taking a step up in his career, so I can only be happy for him.

“Obviously, when you’re offered such an important role, I think you have to take it.”

The Spaniard added that the Scuderia should be in the more drawn-out process of hiring replacements to bolster its management structure following the run of exits.

“We are also hiring staff,” he noted. “It is not like we are only losing.

“We’re doing the best to restructure our team, to make it stronger. I’m sure there’s going to be people coming, people arriving to compensate for the last few losses that we have.

“It’s just that sometimes the losses are quicker than what you managed to get people back.”

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Sainz reckoned he had full faith in Vasseur’s leadership to navigate the staff turnover, saying: “I’m quite confident with Fred’s approach to the management and the way it’s being handled because I see good things coming.”

The 2022 British GP winner added that Ferrari had used the four-week gap following the Australian round to fully troubleshoot the SF-23 after a disappointing start to the campaign.

He said of the break: “We do know our car much better, especially after these three weeks.

“We’ve managed to put together some good analysis and good directions set for the future, to chase in our development programme.

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“This was target number one of this three-week break, to really identify the weaknesses that we have.

“The strengths of our direct competitor, in this case Red Bull, that is a clear step in front of everyone, and we try the best we can to come back to fighting them as quickly as possible.”

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