Bosses from a number of Formula 1 teams have expressed their anger over the possibility of recent FIA technical chief Marcin Budkowski joining Renault, with one calling a possible move “entirely inappropriate”.

Budkowski tendered his resignation at the FIA earlier this week, with F1’s governing body confirming he had been placed on gardening leave for three months.

Budkowski has acted as the main point of reference for any teams seeking clarity regarding the technical regulations, giving him insight into the entire grid’s car designs and plans.

Reports emerged on Friday in Sepang that Budkowski could be set for a role at Renault once his gardening leave is over, leading to an angry response from F1 team bosses about the prospect.

“We take major issue with that, if he does end up in another team,” Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner said.

“In these individuals you place a great amount of trust in the role Marcin has been responsible for. He’s been in an extremely privileged position where he’s extremely recently been in people’s wind tunnels, been looking at intimate details of knowledge of next year’s cars.

“I think three months’ notice period for him to then turn up in a competitor team in Formula 1 is entirely inappropriate, so I certainly hope that isn’t the case and I’m sure it will get discussed quite seriously at the next Strategy Group meeting.

“It’s an important, vital role and it’s important teams have trust and faith in the governing body that they can share and discuss their technical know-how, their technical secrets in many respects, which cost millions and millions of pounds, and in confidence that information doesn’t have the ability to end up at a rival team.”

The time frame before Budkowski should be able to join another team was also discussed by Force India boss Otmar Szafnauer, who said three months is “nowhere near long enough”.

“It has to be long enough such that the technology that he’s aware becomes, not obsolete but not leading edge,” he continued.

“I think there’s some sporting regulations too that prohibit us from selling current-year cars for exactly the same reason, the cars have to be exactly one year before we can dispose of them.

“It’s for that reason and I think notice periods should follow along the same lines.”

“I think industry standard for the sort of role Marcin has been performing would be anywhere between 12 and 18 months,” Horner added.

“We would certainly look to place a senior personnel on our team on at least 12 months’ gardening leave.”

Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff acknowledged the need to review the timings involved to ensure clarity for all teams.

“We need to be transparent with the FIA and give the access,” Wolff said. “Therefore in order to have the full trust of the teams it is important to have a certain stability and understanding about how quick someone can leave the FIA and join another competitive team.”

The swiftness of Budkowski joining another team was also McLaren racing director Eric Boullier’s chief concern, suggesting it could hurt the trust placed in the FIA’s processes.

“I think we are all a bit concerned about a senior figure from the FIA having access to all data can be within three months working for a team, which I guess is common sense,” Boullier said.

“When you build your cars, there is always an interpretation of the regulations, so you sometimes got in touch with the FIA to seek their interpretation to see if you are on the right path or not.

“That trust level can be damaged if something happened again like the Budkowski case. It’s a question to raise it to the right people and see if something can be done differently.”

However, Boullier felt that any changes made to the process would only affect future deals, saying it was “too late” to resolve the Budkowski matter.

“Of course it's too late. We are going to ask the FIA is it possible to do differently because we believe it’s not the way it should be,” Boullier said.

“There have been many cases in the past, back to the ‘90s when the software code was a big issue in Formula 1. You can’t stop somebody to go to work somewhere, you have to respect the rules and the law in different countries.

“But we believe for a senior person there is a minimum.”

Renault is yet to issue any comment responding to reports that Budkowski could be set to join its team once his three-month period of gardening leave is complete.


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I see it as a shrewd move on Renault's part.  And the teams had best not try to stop the move from happening if the contract has already been agreed to because then their actions would give him legal grounds to sue them silly for a multitude of reason.

Now, going forward they should have the FIA isntitute a longer period in which a member of their organization cannot work for one that is engaged in the very racing the FIA is governing... but if you really want to be fair the FIA shouldn't be run by former team managers either.  Having Jean Todt running the FIA a year after leaving Ferrari stinks much worse to the whole sport than this move does.  

This sounds like the kind of stunt that Ferrari would pull. Within the letter of the law, but certainly not within the spirit of the sport.

He appears to be employed in Switzerland where law prevents any more than 3 month garden leave, so all the bleating is useless. You do have to comply with laws, you know, whether you like it or not. 

@MRFILL  as said: 

Within the letter of the law, but certainly not the spirit of the sport. and that move is just wrong

i hope this BS will never make it to motoGP 

Oh I don't know. Anything to add a more competitive team to challenge the usual lot. There's only Motogp worth watching at the moment. 

Formula 1 teams do this sort of thing constantly to each other, the latest being Lowe and Alison, if this story is correct it means that Renault have managed to do it to all of them in one go.

As regards the FIA terms of him trimming grass in his garden, as MRFILL said, his contract must have been under Swiss law.

I remember the great Ross Brawn once saying that one of the most important tools when managing a formula 1 team is to know what the others are doing.