Having been on a recruitment drive in the past year, Woking based McLaren-Honda is said to have contracted head of vehicle dynamics for Mercedes, Loic Serra. However, events have taken a turn with the revelation that the key member of staff has decided to remain at Mercedes – leading to legal action being taken by McLaren.
Serra has had a successful history in Formula 1, acting as head of vehicle performance from 2006 to 2010 at BMW Sauber, before being employed at Mercedes as chief engineer of vehicle engineering. This was followed by his promotion to head of vehicle dynamics in 2013 until now.
Having struggled in recent seasons, the McLaren-Honda team were keen to get such a well-respected and competent figure on board, and believed that he had signed a ‘binding contract’ that legally attached him to the team. However, subsequently, it has been discovered that Serra will not be leaving Mercedes, which has led McLaren to believe that the Brackley based team had encouraged him to break this contract.
Evidently, Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff, did not comment on whether they encouraged this breaking of contract, but told Motorsport.com that Serra had returned to the team.
McLaren have decided to follow legal proceedings regarding the matter, having not been the first time that a member from another team broke their contract with them. In 2014, McLaren once more believed that they had a binding contract with Red Bull aerodynamicist, Dan Fallows, who also decided to stay at his team. Again, McLaren decided to begin legal action against the team, but the matter was sorted out of court with talks being held between McLaren chief Ron Dennis and Red Bull team boss, Christian Horner.
Current events between McLaren and Mercedes could follow those of 2014, but at the moment, a McLaren spokesperson has commented that: “The matter is subject to legal proceedings and we do not wish to comment until that process is complete.” Therefore, only time will tell if the situation can be settled solely between the teams, or whether Mercedes will be taken to court.