Laurent Mekies says that the new team management structure at Visa Cash App RB (VCARB for short, or RB1) will play an important role in reviving the team's fortunes after a rocky 2023 season.
Originally named Toro Rosso and more recently racing under the AlphaTauri brand name, VCARB is entering a new era this season after the departure of long-time team principal Franz Tost.
Mekies has taken over the role after a period as Ferrari’s sporting director following extensive experience working as deputy race director for the sport's governing body until 2018.
But he will be working alongside Peter Bayer who has been appointed as the team's CEO. Bayer is another alumni of the FIA, having been Secretary General for Sport and subsequently F1 Executive Director until his departure.
Their shared background at the FIA means that Mekies believes the new partnership will prove to be a productive one, and added that he doesn't envisage any problems.
“Obviously we've been knowing each other for a long time and therefore it’s a win-win combination,” Mekies told RacingNews365 in exclusive comments after the official VCARB launch in Las Vegas this week.
“We had a short stint with the FIA, and then after that when I was at Ferrari, we got working together on different sides of the fence," he noted. “It's always been with very exceptional quality of interactions.
"It's a pleasure to work with him daily," Mekies added, adding that "the interaction is very, very good" so far. "We are the only team to have a team principal and a CEO at the same level, working hand in hand."
Mekies brushed aside concerns that the lack of a formal hierarchy at the top might become an issue in the event of disagreement between the pair over the direction of the team in future.
"Peter is a great guy, we have very well-defined parameters for each of us to focus on," Mekies insisted.
"We equally are able to bounce back questions at each other, to challenge each other, to brainstorm together. And he's a very sharp person, a very intelligent individual.”
Mekies said that this new approach to running the team was an important feature of VCARB's plans for 2024 and beyond.
“It’s a new project, we are not trying to copy the model of any other teams," he explained. “We are applying the same approach for the rest of the organisation. We are not looking at copying what the other guys do.
“We are trying to do what we think is best for F1 now and what is going to be best for F1 tomorrow.".