The RB F1 controversy starts again: Mekies confirms the move to Milton Keynes


This will give Zak Brown something to grind for. The manager of McLaren F1 has been seeing red for weeks: according to him, RB F1 has ‘copied’ too many parts from the car of the parent team Red Bull, which would distort fairness on the F1 grid, especially in times of capped budgets.

New proof of the rapprochement between RB F1 and Red Bull Racing: the aerodynamicists who were assigned to Bicester will move to a building in Milton Keynes itself.

As a reminder, if the Toro Rosso – AlphaTauri – RB F1 structure is historically based in Faenza, in Italy, it also has, since 2009, premises in Bicester, in the United Kingdom.

In particular, a wind tunnel was installed there, which was however the oldest on the plateau. This will bow out and RB F1 will now be able to use the parent team’s wind tunnel in Milton Keynes. The aerodynamicists who were assigned to Bicester will therefore move. No changes, however, for the teams based in Faenza.

So why move from Bicester to Milton Keynes? Why not elsewhere in the UK, if not to better share information with Red Bull Racing? And how do we respond to the accusations from McLaren and other teams who are sure to come forward?

It is this mission, not an easy one, that Laurent Mekies, the team director, took on.

“It’s very simple, we have very good facilities in Faenza, where Franz Tost has done a very good job modernizing the team headquarters, rebuilt in 2015 or 2016.”

“We think it’s a good foundation to build on, but we’re not happy with what we have at Bicester today in terms of infrastructure, we don’t think it puts our guys in the best possible position . »

“It’s simply because of the history of the site, it was a very small installation and we don’t have any more space; and we are here because we use our wind tunnel, but that is no longer the case today. »

“We decided to close this site, which effectively houses the aerodynamic department, the design department and a few other elements, and abandon it. »

“Instead, we are building a brand new headquarters in Milton Keynes, outside the Red Bull campus, one that will be a state-of-the-art facility, in the same way we have high-level facilities in Faenza. »

Mekies is therefore careful to specify that the RB F1 building will be located outside the Red Bull campus…

After the real estate arguments, he also mentions another series of arguments, linked to human resources. Everything except saying that the engineers between Red Bull and RB F1 will be able to share their information better, therefore!

“There are plans for the guys to move from Bicester to Milton Keynes, and in the new headquarters we will have more capacity, which means we can take the opportunity to go into the [engineering] market in recruiting who wants to stay in the UK, regardless of their background. »

“They could be racing engineers, simulation engineers, or aerodynamic and design engineers. »

Wouldn’t it also be simpler to bring all team operations back to Milton Keynes, instead of having a team torn between two different countries?

“We want to think that it is now possible to have a single department spread over two sites. »

“Historically this has been a huge disadvantage in F1, and there aren’t many examples of success, we realize that. »

“We don’t discount history, we just believe that the world has changed massively, not only because of technology, but also because of people’s mentality. »

“We’re trying to make it work and we think we can turn it into an advantage.” »

“We recruited people because they wanted to be in Italy and others because they wanted to be in the UK – we want to make that a strength rather than a weakness. »

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