RB issue direct challenge to critics of relationship with Red Bull

RB's competitiveness in F1 pre-season testing and Bahrain GP free practice has drawn criticism

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RB team principal has Laurent Mekies invited every other Formula 1 team to demand an FIA investigation into their relationship with Red Bull if they think the partnership is illegal, amid accusations of unfairness from around the paddock.

RB made the headlines in FP1 for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix with Daniel Ricciardo topping the timesheets and Yuki Tsunoda fourth, sandwiching the two McLaren drivers led by Lando Norris.

McLaren boss Zak Brown has been one of the most vocal critics of the partnership between the two Red Bull-owned teams and faced the media alongside Mekies and MercedesToto Wolff.

“There is a clear set of regulations today,” Mekies told journalists. “And we operate 100 percent within that set of regulations and take every single extra precaution with the FIA to make sure they have zero doubt about how much we operate within these regulations.

“And I invite anyone if they have any doubt on do we comply with sporting, technical or financial regulations – they can go to the FIA and ask them to further investigate anything.

“So this is the state of play in terms of how clear the regulations are today, I’m not saying that they are right or wrong, but certainly that we are operating in a black and white area within these regulations.”

Mekies: Beware overconfidence with regulations

Laurent Mekies, Yuki Tsunoda, Daniel Ricciardo and Peter Bayer at the 2024 Visa Cash App RB Car Launch in Las Vegas | Red Bull Content Pool / Jesse Grant / Getty Images

Mekies also warned against giving F1 teams too much responsibility to counter close relationships between constructors, with a new Concorde Agreement set to define the sports’ future from 2026.

Ferrari also share components with Haas while the 2020 Racing Point car was also criticised for its similarity to the previous season’s Mercedes W10.

Racing Point were even fined and docked points in the constructors’ championship, but the criticism of RB has more covered how much scope the current rules give for close relationships between teams.

“Are the regulations fit for purpose? Again, we say many times why we can today share some components,” Mekies added. “We can share components to avoid having too much of a spread between the guys at the top and the bottom 2, 3, 4 teams. And we share some components to make sure that we have a more sustainable business model for the guys that are at the bottom.

“And if we think that the business is so good as to ask every single team to be bigger tomorrow because today we already between 500 and 600 people in Faenza.

“So if we want to say look, ‘we think for F1 teams should be even bigger, because they should do everything’ – suspensions, gearbox, PU, that’s a decision that will be at a Concorde Agreement level.

“It feels strange to be that optimistic about the economics of the years to come.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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