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Storm clouds over F1 paddock following FIA move

NEWS STORY
29/09/2017

The clouds that brought the rain to Sepang earlier were nothing compared to those that gathered over the paddock as team bosses met to discuss the shock resignation of Marcin Budkowski, Head of the FIA's Formula One Technical Department earlier this week.

As expected, one of the sport's leading gamekeepers has allegedly been poached, by Renault, and rival teams are far from happy.

Even worse than the fact that Budkowski leaves the FIA with untold inside info on the teams and manufacturers current data and their future plans is the fact that the Pole has been placed on just three months gardening leave, meaning that he could be in place at Enstone by the start of 2018.

The paddock witnessed angry and frustrated faces this morning as team bosses met at the Williams hospitality unit to discuss the situation.

Speaking at the FIA press conference afterwards, Christian Horner reflected the mood among his fellow team bosses.

"We will take major issue if he does end up in another team," admitted the Red Bull boss. "In these individuals, you place an enormous of trust in the role that Marcin has been responsible for. He has been in an extremely privileged position where he has extremely recently been in people's wind tunnels and been looking at intimate details of knowledge of next year's cars.

"Three months notice period and for him to then turn up in a competitor team in F1, is entirely inappropriate," he insisted. "I hope that isn't the case and I am sure it will get discussed quite seriously at the next Strategy Group meeting."

"I personally get on with Marcin and wish him success for his career," added Toto Wolff, "but we need to look at the times.

"We need to be transparent with the FIA and give them access," he continued, "and therefore in order to have the full trust of the teams it is important to have a certain stability and understanding how quickly somebody can leave the FIA and join another competitor team."

"We need to know where Marcin will go, but it is a big issue," said Sauber's Fred Vasseur, who left Renault at the end of last season. “The FIA is fully aware of all the details of the team's project, and if we cannot be open with the FIA it is a tricky situation."

"It would have been nice to know the notice period," argued Force India's COO Otmar Szafnauer. "Three months I don't think is long enough and if we had known it was three months earlier, perhaps we would have hired him! But three months is nowhere near long enough.

"I think a year, it has to be long enough such that the technology he is aware of is not obsolete but not leading edge. There are some sporting regulations that prohibit us from selling current year cars for exactly the same reason."

And that's just the teams that attended the FIA press conference, the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Williams are likely to be just as angry at what is generally seen as a betrayal of trust.

Of course, only a total sceptic would look at how 'French' the FIA has become under Jean Todt's leadership, and how coincidental it is that a man with the knowledge Budkowski has acquired - and cannot be 'un-acquired' - is allegedly heading to a French team.

Plus ca change. As they say.

Check out our Friday gallery from Sepang, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Damnsborne, 06/10/2017 14:29

"He's French but I think he still works for the Ferrari mafia. He makes the two jobs fit together.
What about the shed loads of FIA dosh going to Syria and Sudan and other war zones. It is not laundering, it is making money very dirty. We await an inquiry to declare all is whiter than white. One more F and you have FIFA. "

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2. Posted by markscottuk, 29/09/2017 18:17

"End of this year, the frog is seeking a 3rd term"

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3. Posted by bfairey, 29/09/2017 14:57

"when does Jean Todts service end?"

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