Horner and Arrivabene clash over Ferrari's recruitment from FIA
Christian Horner has taken exception to Ferrari's appointment of a former FIA official but Maurizio Arrivabene insisted the Italian constructor did nothing wrong.
Red Bull boss Horner and his Scuderia counterpart Arrivabene, along with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, faced the media on Friday ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Earlier this month it was announced the FIA's safety chief and deputy race director Laurent Mekies would join Ferrari, drawing comparisons to last year's development that saw the governing body's F1 technical director Marcin Budkowski take up a position at Renault.
Horner claimed that after Budkowski's switch, all F1 teams agreed that any FIA member joining one of the constructors should have to take a year's gardening leave, to avoid any possible conflict of interest brought about by an immediate change.
But Arrivabene countered that no such agreement had been made, as he defended Mekies' move.
"There is nothing wrong with that," he said. "We were respecting absolutely local law, the Swiss local law, where Laurent was hired. Afterwards we went even further than that because we gave him six months of gardening leave.
"However, having said that, what we have discussed before is that we have signed a confidentiality agreement that means we are not allowed to discuss or share in public what we discuss there.
"Having said so, I heard comments related to a supposed or so-called 'gentlemen's agreement' and I think they are [just] comments because a 'gentlemen's agreement' under labour law is illegal. I thought they were comments, just comments and no more than that."
There was a hint of tension in the air earlier today at the FIA press conference at the #AusGP-- Formula 1 (@F1) March 23, 2018
Feisty exchanges between the @ScuderiaFerrari and @redbullracing bosses... with @MercedesAMGF1's Toto Wolff in the middle
Full story https://t.co/KvegC6Nid5
That prompted Horner to counter: "For me it is a big deal because the disappointing element about this is that we have a thing called the strategy group where the FIA, FOM [Formula One Management] and all team principals attend and we discussed the Marcin issue where there was great unrest about a key member of the FIA going to a team, in which case it was Renault.
"Renault diluted that by putting him on an extended gardening leave but then ensued a conversation about it being unacceptable - every team found it unacceptable.
"There was an understanding and a clear statement by the teams to say, right, let's have a clear position that there should be at least a period of 12 months in the garden for a member of a team going from either FIA or FOM to a team or from a team to vice-a-versa.
"What's most disappointing about it is that it was Ferrari, or Sergio [Marchionne, Ferrari president], who was pushing for a three-year period.
"On one hand you get a team pushing for a three-year gestation and then a few weeks later we are in this situation. It makes discussions in that forum a waste of time."