Red Bull / RB relationship “100% within regulations”, insists Mekies

Red Bull / RB relationship "100% within regulations", insists Mekies


RB boss, Laurent Mekies has dismissed growing concern at the relationship between his team and ‘big sister’ Red Bull.

While McLaren’s Zak Brown has been the most vocal critic of the relationship, Mercedes and Ferrari have also voiced concern at what they see as the ability to circumvent aspects of the budget cap whilst also allowing the ‘junior’ team to develop components as its ‘sibling’ looks ahead to the following season.

With (as was) AlphaTauri using a rear suspension modelled on that of the RB19 in the final stages of last season, thereby allowing the Faenza-based outfit to finish eighth in the standings, there were fears that this year’s car would be a carbon copy of the Austrian team’s title winning car, whereas it is mainly the front suspension that has been carried over.

However, as the criticism continues, Mekies responded.

“I think first, there is a clear set of regulations today, and we operate 100% within that set of regulations, and we take every single extra precaution with the FIA to make sure they have zero doubt about how much we operate in within these regulations,” he said.

“And I invite anyone, if they have any doubt on sporting, technical, financial regulations do we comply with them? They can go to the FIA and ask them to further investigate,” he added.

“So would we show this is a state of play in term of how clear the regulations are today? I’m not saying that they are right or wrong, but certainly I’m saying here that we are operating in a black-and-white manner within this regulations.”

Asked about engineers, such as Guillaume Cattelani leaving Red Bull to join his team, Mekies said: “Unlike what you may have heard, the regulations are clear also for that. You cannot use personal movement to go around the regulations of the IP of the technical parts, you cannot do that.

“So how is that practically applied in a fairly simple way? When we hired somebody from Red Bull in that case, we go to the FIA, we say, ‘look, we are planning to hire that person’, you guys need to define what you feel the reasonable garden leave is for that person, and we stick to it.

“In the other direction, I think it never happened that one of our guys went back or if he did it, we will have to follow the same process.

“So ironically I can agree with Fred (Vasseur) to get one of his (Ferrari) guys probably the next morning if we find an agreement, probably we won’t find an agreement, but we could. We cannot do that with Red Bull because we are over-respecting the regulations and making sure that the FIA is on board on every single one of these calls.”

While Brown has argued that the budget cap eliminates the need for one entity to own two teams, Mekies insists that moving forward stronger ties to its sibling will allow RB to operate more independently.

“As the regulations fit for the sport well… these regulations today, they mean for us that we are an independent team, that all the development we are doing to make the team stronger tomorrow with that set of regulations is to make the team more independent,” he said. “So we are growing the team, we are growing our infrastructures, we are growing our facilities in order to be more and more independent tomorrow because that’s the way we go faster.

“We are here to compete with the nine other teams,” he insisted. “Let them be owned by the same shareholders or not, we will compete as high as our competitiveness will allow us to do so.

“Are the regulations fit for purpose? Again, we said many times why we can today share some components. We can share components in order to avoid to have too much of a spread between the guys at the top and the top and the bottom two, three, four teams. And we share some components in order to make sure that we have a more sustainable business models for the guys that are at the bottom.

“As Zak said, for those who are at the bottom, it is a very different equations in terms of balancing the accounting. If they will change tomorrow, if we think that we don’t want any more close racing, that it’s okay to have a more spread field. And if we think that the business is so good, as to ask every single team to be bigger tomorrow, because today we are already between 500 and 600 people in Faenza.

“So if we want to say, look, we think Formula One teams should be even bigger because they should do everything, suspensions, gearbox, PU, that’s the decision that will be at a Concorde Agreement level. It feels strange to be that optimistic about the economics of the years to come.”


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