Todt Admits FIA were ‘upset’ over Budkowski Departure to Renault

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

FIA President Jean Todt feels teams should not aggressively pursue FIA staff in the manner that the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team did with Marcin Budkowski, with both parties now having come to an agreement for the former Formula 1 technical department head to start his new role on 1 April 2018.

There was controversy when Renault hired Budkowski as their new executive director, particularly as he would have had first hand knowledge of their rivals’ future developments as he analysed them to see if they were legal, and initially it appeared he would switch to his new role at the beginning of 2018.

But now he will start after the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and Todt hopes that in the future, teams will be less aggressive in head hunting FIA staff, and that a gentleman’s agreement of a minimum one year’s gardening leave should be applied.

“The teams were upset? The FIA was upset!” said Todt to Autosport. “I would say sometimes when you have talented engineers leaving you are never happy.

“Those people are under Swiss contract, and we have limitations. And so it was three months’ gardening leave. We finally agreed with Renault that he will only start on April 1 – which means six months. That is the way it is.

“If the teams globally are not happy, it is easy that they make a gentleman’s agreement among them, and they would agree that they don’t hire any FIA employees or engineers, without respecting a minimum of one year’s gardening leaving. They should all agree on that.

“On our side, we will try to make the most solid contract in order to protect us and to protect them, but there is little we can do.”