Red Bull claim Ferrari are blocking personnel switch

McLaren confirmed the signing of long-time Red Bull engineer Rob Marshall ahead of the 2023 Spanish GP.

Whilst Max Verstappen was busy cruising to a third consecutive pole position of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, Red Bull and Ferrari are continuing to negotiate behind-the-scenes over what is necessary for the Scuderia’s racing director Laurent Mekies to join AlphaTauri.

Whilst everything is going beautifully on the circuit for the championship leaders, off the circuit it’s currently anything but plain sailing.

Mekies is set to become Red Bull’s sister side’s team principal in 2024; however, a deal is yet to be reached on when he’ll actually be able to leave Maranello.

As things stand, no decision has yet been made, with departing AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost having suggested that Mekies might not even make the switch.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

“If Laurent is not coming then at least we have Peter Bayer,” Tost said in Barcelona.

Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur admitted that a deal for Mekies to move to Faenza was yet to made, saying: “Laurent is still linked with us and we have to find a deal with Red Bull and Alpha Tauri for this.”

Whilst Red Bull and Ferrari continue to squabble over negotiations, the Milton Keynes-based team have had no issue letting Rob Marshall move to McLaren, who’s a long-time engineer of the Austrians.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella praised Red Bull whilst at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the “respect” they showed Marshall, who was reportedly working on the Austrians’ 2026 car.

Article continues below

“I think at Red Bull they know very well the role that Rob played over time, and I think this invokes respect for people,” Stella said in Barcelona.

“From what I could judge from outside, I saw this level of respect from Red Bull to Rob which was good to see. And then when it came to the press release, that was obviously agreed between the teams. That’s why it was coordinated.”

READ: Max Verstappen responds to Helmut Marko’s threat

A new rumour though, suggests that Marshall’s switch to McLaren is due to the Woking-based team perhaps being on the verge of becoming a Red Bull customer team in 2026.

This rumour is yet to be seriously discussed and is currently just a rumour, with there being no concrete evidence behind it.

Should it be true though, then it’d see McLaren join Aston Martin in ditching Mercedes for the new power unit regulations, something which may frustrate the Germans.