Laurent Mekies has been confirmed as the new team principal for AlphaTauri, set to replace Franz Tost, who will step down at the end of the year. However, there is no official date for Mekies’ arrival as he is under contract with Ferrari, and his release needs to be agreed. Tost has stated that resolving this matter is likely to be the responsibility of Red Bull and Ferrari. Speculation suggests that Ferrari is willing to release Mekies early if they can acquire Red Bull personnel that have signed on but are currently on gardening leave. It has also been suggested that Ferrari has been trying to poach senior technical staff from Red Bull, although Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says that those mentioned in connection have expressed their total commitment to the Red Bull team.
When asked whether a “hostage exchange” was being negotiated for Mekies, Horner quipped, “Well, we don’t have any hostages.” He went on to confirm that no top or medium-level personnel had plans to move to Ferrari, despite the inevitability of rumours in Formula 1. Red Bull recently extended its contract with chief technical officer Adrian Newey.