Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting has shrugged off the impact of his right-hand man Laurent Mekies moving to Ferrari by leaving his high profile role at the FIA.

Earlier this month Ferrari announced Mekies, a former engineer at Toro Rosso, would be joining its technical team under chief Mattia Binotto but won’t officially start his new role with the Italian manufacturer until serving his notice period and starting on September 20.

Due to Mekies’ new ties to Ferrari, the FIA confirmed he has ceased all F1 duties as assistant race director with immediate effect and will finish his role as safety director in June before his move to Maranello.

Mekies’ move is the second senior FIA figure to join an F1 team in the last six months after Renault signed former technical director Marcin Budkowski who begins his new position at Enstone next month.

Despite reports of unsporting behaviour by Ferrari from McLaren’s executive director Zak Brown and Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner, FIA head Whiting says no official complaints have been made to him by any F1 teams on the issue.

“I can understand why some teams are a little upset but the sort of information that Laurent had available to him was somewhat less sensitive than Marcin,” Whiting said in Australia. “I’ve not heard any team complain to me about it.

“I’ve read a few stories but no team has approached me to express any displeasure about this. Maybe when we meet in a couple of weeks with all the teams it might come up then.

“After Marcin left there was quite a bit of discussion about this in the Strategy Group and in the F1 Commission and certain guidelines should be followed. Things are still being worked on with the relevant teams and with our legal people to see what can be done within the law in various countries which is work still ongoing.”

Whiting confirmed the FIA is yet to appoint a direct replacement for Mekies in time for the start of the new season but is confident he has the hands necessary to carry out an untroubled F1 race weekend.

Whiting’s previous assistant race director, Herbie Blash, is unavailable for the Australian GP this weekend due to a commitment clash with his advisory role at Yamaha in the World Superbike championship.

“I think we will be fine, obviously we’ll be looking for a new person to take Laurent’s place but that is not our work at the moment,” he said. “All we need to do in the immediate future for the next few races is to simply make sure we are covered sufficiently to fulfil all the tasks that we have to do in race control even in the busiest times.

“We have people within our own ranks, especially here locally in Australia, so we can call upon a number of people to help out as and when is necessary as we did when Marcin Budkowski.”


Loading Comments...