Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies will leave the team at the end of this week ahead of his move to AlphaTauri as its new Formula 1 team principal, Ferrari has confirmed.
Diego Ioverno, previously head of vehicle operations and with a long history at Ferrari stretching back to 2000 will effectively succeed Mekies by taking up the role of sporting director.
A Ferrari statement indicated “he will be responsible for all sporting matters, as well as liaising with the FIA”. While Ioverno was not involved in these matters recently, he does have experience in this area with Ferrari in the past. He will report to team principal Fred Vasseur.
The announcement from Ferrari marks the end of a protracted negotiation between Ferrari and AlphaTauri about the move, with Mekies permitted to stand down before his contract expired. Mekies isn’t present at this weekend’s Belgian GP meaning his last appearance in Ferrari colours came in Budapest.
AlphaTauri announced in late April that Mekies would be joining as team principal “at a date to be confirmed” as part of a reshuffle with Franz Tost leaving the team principal role and Peter Bayer joining as CEO. Bayer took up his position in June.
Ferrari team principal called AlphaTauri’s announcement that Mekies would be joining it as “a bit aggressive” the day after it happened. However, AlphaTauri’s position was that its hand was forced into making the announcement because of rumours of the deal that it hinted emanated from Ferrari’s side.
While Vasseur said Ferrari had no intention of standing in Mekies’s way, the “timeline” for the move was still up for discussion. However, Mekies’s departure indicates an agreement has now been reached.
AlphaTauri has yet to confirm when Mekies will take up his new role, although it has always been hopeful that he would be in the job before the start of next season.