Sauber technical boss Jorg Zander said that FIA personnel should be free to move to Formula 1 teams at any moment, despite the fact that recently, the moves of engineers Marcin Budkowski and Laurent Mekies from prominent FIA roles to Renault and Scuderia Ferrari respectively have made waves in the paddock.
Renault’s ex-FIA F1 technical director Marcin Budkowski is due to begin working with the grand prix team soon, while FIA safety director Laurent Mekies will switch to Ferrari later this year. Budkowski’s move triggered anger among other F1 teams amid fears his knowledge transfer means Renault will soon understand the inner workings of their technical packages and news of Scuderia Ferrari hiring Laurent Mekies then provoked fresh outrage over a supposed gentlemen’s agreement struck over the amount of ‘gardening leave’ FIA staff would have if they left to join a race team.
The Mekies signing, and the supposed agreement it breached, was a hot topic over the opening weekend of the F1 season, particularly when Red Bull boss Christian Horner clashed with Ferrari’s Maurizio Arrivabene in the pre-race press conference.
But German Formula One car designer Jorg Zander, who is back with Sauber as the Swiss outfit’s new technical director in 2017, said that any ‘gardening leave’ requirements should not be too stifling: “Of course you want to protect your own developments, but you also have to see both sides.” – he explained, as reported by he told Speed Week – “I would not like to block people. Of course it would be stupid to have someone with access learning everything and then joining a team right away. But you have to see it from the point of view of the employer and the employee too. You also cannot fool yourself: if someone wants to work for a team then he will, regardless of the contracts.” – Sauber technical boss Jorg Zander concluded.