Formula 1 Racing

Red Bull relaxed over F1 staff exodus amid Wheatley talks

Red Bull Sporting Director Jonathan Wheatley and the pit stop team receive the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award 2023

Earlier this week it was announced talismanic designer Newey would step away from its F1 activities before becoming available for rival squads from March 2025 onwards.

Newey’s exit is seen by some competitors as a sign F1’s dominant empire could be about to crumble amid internal power struggles, with McLaren CEO Zak Brown expecting “more dominos” to fall as he revealed Red Bull CVs are swirling around the F1 paddock.

Red Bull’s world champion Max Verstappen played down Brown’s comments as an effort to “stir things up” as rival teams aim to benefit from its inner turmoil.

On Sunday, the Times newspaper reported long-time sporting director Wheatley could be the next key figure to depart Milton Keynes.

Wheatley is said to harbour ambitions to become a team principal in F1, and sources with knowledge of the situation have indicated that the 56-year-old has been in preliminary talks with other outfits.

Red Bull Sporting Director Jonathan Wheatley and the pit stop team receive the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award 2023

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images understands Red Bull is relaxed about the situation, however, with Wheatley’s contract up for renewal as he sounds out his position in the market before committing to a new deal.

The team insists the situation is not unlike how drivers would also explore any options elsewhere before deciding on their future.

It is understood Wheatley is one of several key Red Bull figures who have been of interest to rival teams in recent months, while F1’s dominant force is working to renew contracts of the technical staff that helped it achieve its current streak of success.

Ferrari is known to have made frequent approaches for technical director Pierre Wache, who has been in charge of its recent F1 car projects. But the Frenchman has recently re-committed his future to the team on fresh terms.

Red Bull has also moved to secure the futures of head of aerodynamics Enrico Balbo and head of performance engineering Ben Waterhouse amid a wider contract renewal cycle, while understands chief engineer Paul Monaghan is in similar talks after attracting interest elsewhere.

Wheatley joined Red Bull when it was in its infancy in 2006 and became a key pillar of the team as its sporting director, helping the team win seven drivers’ and six constructors’ world titles with Sebastian Vettel and Verstappen.

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