Ferrari made an official announcement on Thursday before the Belgian Grand Prix, stating that Laurent Mekies, their sporting director since 2018, has departed from the Scuderia.
He is on gardening leave until 1 January, when he will replace Franz Tost as the team principal of AlphaTauri. Mekies has been replaced at Ferrari by Maranello veteran Diego Ioverno.
Mekies’ departure comes after Ferrari’s head of vehicle concept, David Sanchez, moved to McLaren. Additionally, Ferrari has yet to appoint a technical director following the departure of former team boss Mattia Binotto during the winter, who held a dual role.
Ferrari has recruited Loic Serra, the performance director of Mercedes, but he is not expected to start with Ferrari until 2025.
When Motorsport.com inquired about his opinion on the Ferrari leadership structure, Sainz expressed his unwavering confidence in the setup guided by new boss Fred Vasseur.
The individual from Spain expressed complete certainty that the current structure is also effective in the progress of the car for the upcoming year. I do not perceive any sense of it being insufficient.
“I believe Fred is making every effort to strengthen the team. Additionally, our team members have distinct objectives in mind.”
“The vehicle is making good progress in the wind tunnel, and I don’t feel any sense of weightlessness.”
Sainz mentioned that despite the team lacking leaders, now would be a perfect opportunity to go through a transition due to a decline in performance for 2023 in anticipation of more difficult obstacles.
Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari
Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images
He expressed his preference for having a less demanding year at present, ensuring that they are not actively competing for a world championship. Instead, he believes it is crucial to focus on reorganizing, recruiting, and building strength to prepare for more difficult challenges that may arise in the near future.
Sainz mentioned that he was not particularly worried about Mekies leaving for AlphaTauri, but he emphasized that he had a positive and strong connection with the sporting director.
He additionally commended Mekies and Ioverno for their management of a remarkably seamless transition.
He stated that the individual had undoubtedly played a significant role in Ferrari over the past few years and had made substantial contributions to the team.
Honestly, our relationship was excellent and he consistently demonstrated a proactive and supportive attitude towards the team as a whole.
“I believe we all had a great level of gratitude, which likely led to his transition to a team principal position in another team due to his excellent performance for us.”
“The transition has already been completed. He has also been very supportive in assisting Diego’s learning.”
“He has successfully acquired the necessary skills for the job again, and I have no worries about the transition phase as it has already been made seamless.”