Vasseur: Laurent Mekies is still linked with us
"We have to find a deal with Red Bull and AlphaTauri for this"
There could be more than meets the eye to Rob Marshall’s move to McLaren.
Behind the scenes, Red Bull and Ferrari are still arguing and negotiating over the release of Laurent Mekies to become Alpha Tauri’s new boss in 2024.
So far, no agreement has been made after Ferrari described Red Bull-owned Alpha Tauri’s recent announcement as "aggressive".
"If Laurent is not coming then at least we have Peter Bayer," Alpha Tauri’s departing boss Franz Tost said in Barcelona.
Ferrari chief Frederic Vasseur confirmed: "Laurent is still linked with us and we have to find a deal with Red Bull and Alpha Tauri for this."
But when it came to long-time engineering boss Rob Marshall’s impending move to become chief designer at McLaren, it’s all smiles in the paddock and a rosy press release to herald the news.
"I think at Red Bull they know very well the role that Rob played over time, and I think this invokes respect for people," McLaren boss Andrea 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."
Even world champion Max Verstappen sounded supportive of the loss of one of the key pillars of Red Bull’s current success.
"He was already more on future projects anyway, for 2026," the Dutchman told Viaplay.
"I find it difficult to estimate how much it will matter because everyone else who is working on that new generation of cars is still there," Verstappen added.
He also agreed with Dr Helmut Marko that Marshall appears to have been lured away on a huge money offer.
"If someone receives such an offer, I of course understand that he will switch," said Verstappen.
"I think he is already in his 50s, so he’ll be earning well for a few years and of course I understand that."
One rumour that is beginning to swirl up, however, is that Marshall’s move could actually be part of a Red Bull Powertrains deal for McLaren from 2026 and beyond.
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