Italian engineer Simone Resta, who left the technical direction of Haas at the end of the 2023 Formula One season upon the expiration of his three-year contract, has an alternative to returning to Ferrari, as he is of interest to AlphaTauri. Since Simone does not fit into the Scuderia’s plans, and there has been talk only of a move to Ferrari’s GT department, it is possible that he may be attracted by Laurent Mekies’ offer. Furthermore, he seems ready to bring along with him the one who was his right-hand man in the American team.
Simone Resta concluded his working relationship with Haas at the end of the three-year contract that bound him to the American team. The engineer from Imola has thus returned to Ferrari’s availability since he had been “loaned” to the customer team, but his contract still belongs to Maranello.
To recap, it will be remembered that Resta had returned to the Scuderia’s Sport Management after an experience at Alfa Romeo as technical director in the summer of 2019 but had not found an effective placement in Mattia Binotto’s staff.
The relationship between the two has never been particularly idyllic. In 2021, with the introduction of the Budget Cap into the financial regulations of F1, Ferrari found itself in the position of reducing staff to comply with the stipulated parameters. Thus, the Prancing Horse made available to Haas a group of experienced and capable technicians who became the core responsible for designing and developing the American team’s cars in the base set up in Maranello. This ensured close synergy with the Sport Management. Simone’s departure was, therefore, strategic. After the idea of placing him in the technical leadership of the Scuderia failed due to Mattia Binotto’s opposition, it was better not to leave a technician who had a global vision of a modern F1 car freely available on the market.
Seeing him at work in the neighboring office (the building that houses Haas also contains the simulator) in a customer team seemed the best solution. Unfortunately, the investments made by Haas in maximizing cooperation with Ferrari have not been spent in the best way, and the results have been deficient, especially in the last year when the Gene team closed the 2023 championship in last place in the Constructors’ standings.
The VF-23, capable of brilliant performance in a single lap, never found a good balance in the race, with an exaggerated tire consumption (a copy of the SF-23). However, due to alleged cost constraints, the car was never developed, and the upgrade package (half a new car) brought to Austin represented a clean break with the aerodynamic philosophy, effectively proposing a blank slate.
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The evolution of Haas was a poor copy of what the 2024 car would be. With the layout constraints related to the chassis and radiators, a significant investment was made to evaluate a different aerodynamic concept, knowing that the numbers would not allow for significant improvement margins. There was an awareness that the setup and development work would have to start from scratch. Was it worth it, or would it have made more sense to evolve the known machine? The skeptics argue that Haas conducted an experiment useful to Ferrari as well, to understand how far they could go with the 676 in the concepts used by Adrian Newey on the dominant Red Bull, without adopting some solutions from the RB19, such as the front pull-rod and rear push-rod suspensions.
The relationship with Haas has ended, preceding Gunther Steiner‘s departure determined by team owner Gene Haas. Now the Imola technician returns to the base and, for the umpteenth time, finds himself at a crossroads in his career. He will have some time to reflect since he still has holidays to take.
But while waiting for Maranello to decide where to place Simone, it is said that he will not be reinstated in the Sport Management precisely not to upset a balance that has been laboriously found and will undergo significant strengthening over time with the arrival of key figures like Loic Serra from Mercedes. The technical job market would have moved.
Resta is in the sights of Racing Bull, the current AlphaTauri. It is true that the junior team is undergoing a transformation, with many figures in the process of transferring from Bicester and Faenza to Milton Keynes, so there will be greater synergy with Red Bull. Still, it is equally true that the Emilian has significant experience in transferring technology from the top team to the customer team.
Laurent Mekies, the newly appointed team principal of AlphaTauri, would not buy a “pig in a poke,” especially since Simone Resta would be able to bring along his right-hand man, Matteo Piraccini.