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Laurent Mekies

RB boss explains plan to attack F1 elite

RB team principal Laurent Mekies says his team is working in two concurrent "streams" to optimise performance and build foundations for the long-term, but cautions it will not be a "linear progression."

Mekies
Interview
To news overview © XPBimages

Laurent Mekies believes RB has started the current F1 season "on the right foot" as it looks to solidify its place at the top of the midfield.

The 47-year-old spoke exclusively to RacingNews365, sharing his feelings five rounds into his tenure as team principal at the Red Bull sister team.

Mekies says that those working for him are putting "everything on the table" to reach RB's "ambitious targets".

"It’s been only a privilege to lead to the group," the French engineer replies, when asked how he has found the opening salvo to his time as team boss.

"The guys and the girls have been fantastic at wanting to put all their energy into these new adventures, wanting to accept to put everything on the table and try to see in every single area what did we need, to go to our ambitious target, which is to consistently top the midfield."

Two work streams

The Faenza-based squad transitioned from its previous name, AlphaTauri, over the winter, having been known as Toro Rosso before that. After the opening five rounds of the year, the team sits in sixth position in the F1 constructors' race on seven points, two clear of Haas behind.

Whilst none of the three teams beneath them (Williams, Alpine, and Stake F1) have scored points, a sizeable gap has formed between the top half of the grid and the bottom half, where RB finds itself. As such, the Italian team is 33 points behind Aston Martin in fifth.

In order to bridge that growing divide, which has seen F1 effectively split into two distinct classes, Mekies explains that RB has developed two concurrent work streams.

"We are all very conscious that some of these gaps, you can fill them quite quickly. Some of them will need a bit of time. So, what we are putting in place – we have two streams in the company," he confirms before elaborating on their primary focuses.

"One stream that is trying to optimise and nail every race weekend and become as sharp as we can as a race team, and they have been doing a pretty good at getting the most out of the first five races.

"And another stream trying to build stronger foundations for the company to have a chance to do a step change in the future."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Mekies: 'It will not be a linear progression'

However, Mekies is quick to caution that this way of working may not yield immediate results.

Heading into the season, there was speculation that RB might have struck gold over winter, developing its car to a point it could break into the group with Aston Martin and Mercedes. Unfortunately for the team, that has not yet been the case, even if it does currently lead the fight behind the five strongest constructors.

"It will not be a linear progression," Mekies contends. "There will be bumps on the way, and highs and lows, but the response of our people has been fantastic. The response of our stakeholders, shareholders, have been fantastic.

"We are embarking on this adventure with a lot of energy and grand prix weekends every two weeks are keeping us honest with the fight we are getting from the other four teams," he adds, highlighting that RB's current fight is with the teams below it.

When the conversation is brought back to his experience over the first five rounds of the F1 season, having taken the helm at RB just a few months ago, the Frenchman is quick to the focus back onto the "incredible" people working beneath him.

"Of course, of course," he responds to being asked if he is enjoying his new role.

"Again, it’s a privilege to be in that situation with so many talent people, with Daniel [Ricciardo], with Yuki [Tsunoda]. We have incredible combinations in the team, from our owner to our partners to drivers to teams.

"It’s a fantastic project to be associated with and we have started on the right foot, and we know the road is long – we are pushing very, very to make it as fast as we can."

With F1 headed to Miami for the sixth round of the season, Mekies will be hoping Yuki Tsunoda will be able to build upon his seven world championship points and that Daniel Ricciardo will be able to open his account for the year.

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