Formula 1 will see no change in drivers for the 2024 season, but significant changes have occurred in the paddock, notably with several key figures leaving Red Bull Racing for McLaren and Ferrari, including Rob Marshall and Laurent Mekies.
‣ All the drivers who finished the 2023 F1 season will start the 2024 racing year with the same team, with significant changes happening deeper in the paddock, particularly at Red Bull Racing.
‣ Rob Marshall, one of the best-known people to leave Red Bull, had to wait before he could start working for his new employer, McLaren, as Technical Director of Engineering & Design.
‣ Red Bull also saw several people go to Ferrari, starting work for the Italian team much earlier than originally planned.
‣ Red Bull’s Christian Horner spent months negotiating with Ferrari team boss Frederic Vausseur about recruiting Laurent Mekies for Visa Cash App RB, who will be the team’s new boss from the start of 2024.
Formula 1 is hitting Bahrain next month. It’s the first and only test, and guess what? The same faces will be in the cockpits of the 20 cars. Yep, all the drivers who wrapped up the 2023 F1 season are sticking with their teams for the 2024 racing year.
But hold on, it’s not all same old, same old.
Dig a little deeper into the paddock, and you’ll find some significant changes. The most notable? The departures from Red Bull Racing.
Rob Marshall, for instance. He’s one of the big names who bid adieu to Red Bull. This happened way back in spring. But, poor guy, he had to twiddle his thumbs for a bit before he could join his new gig at McLaren. His new title? Technical Director of Engineering & Design.
But the exodus didn’t stop there.
The Austrian team, which has been basking in the glory of winning the constructors’ world title for two years straight, saw a few more departures. And guess where they headed? Ferrari.
Vasseur and Horner: A Negotiation Saga
These folks started working for the Italian team much sooner than expected. Here’s the scoop: Red Bull, or more specifically, Christian Horner, spent months haggling with Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur. The bone of contention? Recruiting Laurent Mekies for Visa Cash App RB. Mekies, the Frenchman, is set to be the team’s new boss from 2024.
Ferrari was willing to let Mekies go early, but there was a catch.
They wanted something in return. So, Horner and Ferrari struck a deal. The engineers who were moving to Maranello anyway would ‘only’ have to spend six months on the sidelines. Usually, this ‘gardening leave’ is a lot longer.
So, there you have it. The F1 world is never short of drama, is it?