They have a point. If the former FIA Formula 1 technical department head Marcin Budkowski has just tendered his resignation and been put on gardening leave and is now rumored to be joining Renault Sport F1 in 2018, you can see why the other teams may have a major issue with that.
Marcin is the man who is at the tip of the spear with regards to all things technical in F1 and the teams have shared all their 2017 and 2018 technical design direction, technical regulation compliance with regards to their proposed designs for 2018 and basically shared some incredibly sensitive information with him.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner has a major issue with the situation according to Autosport:
“We will take major issue with that if he does end up in another team,” said Horner.
“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 windtunnels and been looking at intimate details of knowledge of next year’s cars.
“I think three months’ notice period and for him to then turn up in a competitor team in F1, is entirely inappropriate.
“I hope that isn’t the case and I am sure it will get discussed quite seriously at the next Strategy Group meeting.”
I can’t say as I blame them but poaching engineers with technical details from other teams has happened before in Formula 1—but is this the same? Marcin is not just coming from another team, he’s been privy to all the teams technical data.
I am not sure how non-competition employment clauses work in France but in the states, they are not favorably looked upon by judges in a court of law if they are too egregious. Still, I’ve seen 18 months as about the maximum in the case I’ve been involved in with most a max of 12 and even some cases dismissed due to the clause actually preventing a person from being gainfully employed and providing a living.
It will be interesting to see how the FIA handle this and perhaps the three-month gardening leave that Horner mentions is all the FIA’s employment contract could impose on Marcin. Time will tell but it is an aggressive move for Renault and just adds to my comments about Renault becoming a serious force in F1 again. When they bought Lotus, I said that is the team to watch and people scoffed at me and when I said Alonso should go there, people laughed but this team knows how to win and with corporate backing, they may do just that and sooner than later.
Hat Tip: Autosport