Red Bull break silence on ‘hostage exchange’ after meeting Ferrari chairman

Ferrari has warned that they won’t release Laurent Mekies if Red Bull doesn’t allow several of its engineers to join the Italian team.

Christian Horner has dismissed threats of a “hostage exchange” between Red Bull and Ferrari, sparked by Laurent Mekies’ planned move to lead AlphaTauri next year.

Motorsport Italy reported ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix that Ferrari might not release Mekies in time to take up the role of team principal at AlphaTauri next season unless Red Bull let a number of its engineers join the Italian outfit in time to work on next year’s car.

With the reports looming over the paddock, Ferrari’s chairman John Elkann and Horner met during the weekend in Monaco, potentially seeking to iron out their differences.

Horner has rejected the idea of bowing down to threats, believing that Ferrari will do the right thing by allowing Mekies to depart as he wishes.

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“Laurent is the right guy to become the new team principal at AlphaTauri,” Horner said. 

“We’ve picked him because of the abilities he has demonstrated and, of course, he’s known to AlphaTauri from years ago.

“But no, there’s no hostage exchange. We’re looking forward to welcoming Laurent to the team and that will be done in the fullness of time.”

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Mekies himself weighed in on the whole debacle, revealing that there hasn’t been a timeframe decided for his departure, stating he’s 100% committed to his role at Ferrari until the day he leaves.

Ferrari has been on a hiring spree in recent months, as it works to build the strongest team on the grid ahead of a potential championship bid next season.

Ferrari hasn’t won a title since 2007, sparking frustration for the team, as they hope to get back to the winning ways that made them an iconic feature of the industry.