As Red Bull Racing braces for the 2024 season, a storm is raging behind the scenes amid swirling rumours and intense speculation – with the spotlight now turning to Pierre Wache, Red Bull’s technical director, whose potential leap to Ferrari stirs the pot of Formula 1’s ever-dramatic narrative.
The drama intensifies as Christian Horner, Red Bull’s everlasting team principal, finds himself embroiled in a controversy that threatens to end his illustrious career. A marathon eight-hour meeting with a barrister, convened by Red Bull’s Austrian overlords last Friday, underscores the gravity of the situation. With allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” against a female staff member hanging over him, the saga took a clandestine turn, with the meeting shifted to undisclosed locations away from the media’s focus on Milton-Keynes.
Red Bull’s statement, “It would not be appropriate for us to comment until the investigation is complete,” does little to quell the rising tide of speculation. The outcome, shrouded in uncertainty, looms over the team’s imminent 2024 car launch and the upcoming winter testing sessions.
Meanwhile, Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s design virtuoso, casts a cautious eye on the season ahead. His acknowledgment of a “conservative” development strategy for the new car, a third iteration of the formidable RB18, hints at an uncertain confidence. “Our car will be a third evolution of the (2022) RB18,” Newey revealed, emphasizing the constraints faced in pushing the envelope of innovation. “Resources are limited, so we decided to develop what we have. I just hope it turns out to be correct.”
The potential exodus of key personnel, such as Wache’s rumored courtship by Ferrari, adds fuel to the fire. The narrative of a “burning” Red Bull tree, as veteran journalist Roger Benoit puts it, paints a picture of internal strife and possible decline. Ferrari’s interest in Wache, once thwarted, now appears rekindled with more fervor, suggesting a shift in the tectonic plates of F1’s power dynamics. “Is he (Wache) leaving the sinking ship?” Benoit wonders in Blick.
La Gazzetta dello Sport adds: “Ferrari looked into hiring Pierre Wache last year, but they failed. But now Wache is seriously considering accepting the offer.”