McLaren have lately been on a massive recruitment drive in an attempt to bolster their backroom staff, and re-structure the F1 part of the team.
It has been revealed that one of Mercedes key members had been tempted to join McLaren. Loic Serra is the head of vehicle dynamics at Mercedes, and would have been a great asset to Woking as McLaren play catch up in the hybrid era.
Whatever Mercedes have said to Serra appears to have done the trick. After signing what McLaren believes was a ‘binding’ contract to move to Woking, Serra is now staying put in Brackley.
This has erupted into a dispute between the two teams, where McLaren will now seek legal advice.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff made no comment on the matter, but did confirm that Serra was indeed staying at the championship chargers.
A Woking spokesman said: “The matter is subject to legal proceedings and we do not wish to comment until that process is complete.”
Serra was head of vehicle performance at BMW Sauber from 2006 to 2010 before moving to Mercedes in 2010 as chief engineer of vehicle engineering. He was promoted to head of vehicle dynamics in 2013.
This is all too common for McLaren, as in 2014 a similar incident occurred over Red Bull aerodynamicist Dan Fallows. McLaren administered legal action then against his employers, as Dan decided to remain at Red Bull, again after signing a ‘binding’ contract.
McLaren felt that Red Bull had enticed Fallows to break his contract, but in the end the matter was sorted out of court following face-to-face talks between McLaren chief Ron Dennis and Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
How placid has Ron become in his old age? Round 2 awaits.