Ferrari chief lining up to become new AlphaTauri team principal

Laurent Mekies worked for AlphaTauri when they were previously known as Minardi and Toro Rosso.

It has been reported by Italian media that Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies is set to complete a move to AlphaTauri.

Mekies’ future at Ferrari has been questioned for a little while, especially after former head of vehicle concept David Sanchez completed a move to McLaren.

The reported switch comes just a month after team principal Frederic Vasseur confirmed that Mekies wouldn’t be moving, after seeing the racing director as “one of the pillars of the future” for Ferrari.

“I don’t know what’s happened in the past with Laurent, but I’ve known Laurent for 25 years or something like this. I trust him,” Vasseur told reporters.

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“We have a very good collaboration together and he will be one of the pillars of the future of the company.”

Something has clearly changed behind-the-scenes at Maranello for the switch to have been approved, especially given how highly Mekies is rated by Vasseur.

According to Italian sources, Mekies will work alongside AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost, whose own future has also been questioned recently following the Faenza-based team’s poor start to 2023.

Mekies’ move is believed to be part of a bigger reshuffling taking place at AlphaTauri, with the Italians not being the only side to have decided to make considerable team changes.

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Mekies could end up being well-placed to eventually replace Tost, should he stand down.

Lars Stegelmann also recently joined the team as their new head of commercial, with his job having started in March.

Mekies’ move to AlphaTauri is in a way a return technically, given that he was the team’s chief engineer for over 10 years after joining in 2002, when they were known as Minardi.

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It meant he worked for the team after Red Bull bought Minardi out, before the energy drink company changed the side’s name to Toro Rosso.

With Mekies being a high-profile signing by Red Bull, it would suggest that AlphaTauri are definitely not for sale, something which had been reported ahead of the 2023 season.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko and Tost denied that the team was up for sale, with a $800 million offer having also been rejected according to reports.