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RB confirms closure of Bicester facility ahead of move

The team is to move out of its Bicester facility to a new purpose-built one in Milton Keynes, near Red Bull.

Laurent Mekies RB Bahrain testing
Article
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

RB Team Principal Laurent Mekies has confirmed that the team's UK facility in Bicester is to close in favour of a purpose-built facility in Milton Keynes.

The team has operated the outpost in the United Kingdom since 2009, with it being used for wind-tunnel testing, with the main base of operations remaining in Faenza in Italy.

However, Mekies and CEO Peter Bayer have committed to changing the way the team operates, including forging a closer technical alliance with the main Red Bull squad - with the joint-ownership of the two teams drawing ire from McLaren's Zak Brown.

Mekies dismissed that criticism from Brown, and has confirmed that the team will be moving to Milton Keynes in a new facility - where he hopes it can start to draw UK-based engineers to the team who previously would not have made the move to the main Faenza base.

Mekies confirms Bicester closure

"It is super simple, we have a very good facility in Faenza, where Franz [Tost] has done a very good job to modernise the headquarters, and I think it was built in 2015 or 2016," Mekies told select media including RacingNews365 in Bahrain.

"We think that that is a good base to build upon, but we are not happy with what we have in Bicester today in terms of infrastructure, we don't think puts our guys in the best possible position.

"It is simply because of the history of it, it was a very small facility that we've out-grown and we are there because we are using our wind-tunnel, but that is not the case anymore.

"We have decided that the site is going to close, it is effectively the aero department, the concept department and and a few other bits and pieces there, and it is going to be discontinued.

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

"The plan is that people will move from Bicester to Milton Keynes, and in the new headquarters, we will have more capacity, meaning that we [can] take the opportunity to go in the [engineer] market, and get somebody who wants to stay in the UK, regardless of what the background is.

"It could be race engineers, simulation engineers or an aero and design guy. We want to think that it is now possible to get a single department split across two locations.

"Historically, it's been a huge downside in F1 to do that, and there are not too many sucessful examples of it, we are conscious of that.

"We are not disregarding the history of it, we are just thinking that as the world has changed massively, it is not only technology, it is also people's mindsets.

"We are trying to make that work and think we could turn it into an advantage.

"We've got people in because they wanted to be in Italy and we've got people in because they wanted to be in the UK - we want to play it as a strength instead of a weakness."

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