Ferrari have signed the FIA’s safety director, Laurent Mekies, to bolster their technical team.
In what could be viewed by rival teams as a controversial appointment, Mekies will join the Maranello outfit in September after nearly four years at F1’s governing body.
Sky F1’s David Croft tweeted: “Interesting signing by Ferrari.”
Ferrari’s move for Mekies, a former engineer at Toro Rosso, comes just six months after Renault angered rivals by signing the FIA’s then-technical director Marcin Budkowski. He starts work at Enstone next month.
Mekies will continue in his role overseeing the FIA’s safety programme until June, but “will immediately cease all Formula 1 duties and will no longer be involved in any Formula 1 matter, stepping down from his role as deputy F1 race director with immediate effect”.
The Frenchman will then start work at Ferrari on September 20 and report in to technical director Mattia Binotto, although the team have not specified what role Mekies will take on.
Rival teams criticised Budkowski’s move to Renault when it was confirmed last October after it emerged the technical chief would have to serve just three months’ gardening leave prior to joining the Enstone team.
Team bosses were angered that Budkowski’s role at the FIA meant he had seen details of their 2018 cars, with Red Bull’s Christian Horner describing the short period of gardening leave as “entirely inappropriate”.
Mekies will return to front-line F1 involvement for the first time since leaving Toro Rosso, where he was chief engineer. The Frenchman has also worked for Arrows and Minardi.
After joining the FIA in late 2014 to oversee their safety work across motorsport, he was chosen to succeed the long-serving Herbie Blash as second in command to F1 race director Charlie Whiting.
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