November 23, 2018 / 4:49 PM / 20 days ago

Motor racing: Ferrari appoint Mekies as sporting director

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Laurent Mekies will be Ferrari’s Formula One sporting director next season, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said on Friday.

The last person to carry out the role was Massimo Rivola, who left in 2016.

“Laurent is perfectly matched in all the strengths that are requested in a sporting director,” Arrivabene told reporters at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“That is the reason why we hired him, this is the reason why he’s going to take this for next year.”

Mekies, who was attending a race in Ferrari uniform for the first time in Abu Dhabi, was previously deputy race director and head of safety for the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA).

He also worked for Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso until joining the FIA in 2014.

His move was announced last March, when he ceased his Formula One duties with the Paris-based body. Ferrari said then that the Frenchman would report to technical director Mattia Binotto once at Maranello.

Ferrari have not won a championship since 2008, when they took the constructors’ title.

They finished runners-up to Mercedes this year, winning six of the 20 races so far but their title challenges faded in the second half of the year when four times champion Sebastian Vettel also made mistakes.

Arrivabene said the team need to develop “the habit to win” next season but refused to blame any individual for this year’s failures.

Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, Editing by Toby Davis

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