Mercedes appear to have lost yet another Silver Arrow from their quiver after Ferrari confirmed the acquisition of full-time aerodynamics engineer Gianluca Romani.
According to reports in Italy, Romani joined Mercedes as a graduate aerodynamicist in 2019 before being promoted to full-time aerodynamicist in 2021.
Romani opted to return to his homeland last month and now his LinkedIn activity has confirmed his departure to the Scuderia stables in Maranello. He wrote:
“I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position as Aerodynamicist at Ferrari.”
The move comes as yet another blow for Mercedes, who have already seen an exodus of talent to other teams. Red Bull have reportedly snagged more than 50 employees for their Powertrains division from the Silver Arrows, as per Dr. Helmut Marko.
Most notably, Ben Hodgkinson was prised away from the German juggernauts after more than two decades with the team. He is due to join Red Bull after 24 May 2022.
At the time of the announcement in 2021, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said:
“We are delighted to welcome Ben to Red Bull Powertrains as Technical Director. He comes to this hugely exciting project as a proven race winner and as an innovator capable of leading a like-minded team of highly skilled engineers.”
With the Silver Arrows scrambling to find solutions to their issues, they will also need to find a way to stop or reduce the brain drain happening at Brackley and Brixworth soon if they want to remain competitive.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is still seeking clarity with regards to how F1's engine cost cap will be applied to new entrants in the sport.
According to Wolff, the ambiguity bothering him is whether "new entrant" refers to an entirely new manufacturer or an existing team becoming an engine-maker like Red Bull and Porsche.
During an interview with The Race, the Austrian said:
"It’s not clear yet who actually enters as a power unit supplier and who declares themselves as newcomers. It could well be there are three companies from the same group that are entering as newcomers. The picture is still very unclear and whether $15m CapEx is enough or not enough, there are much bigger topics we need to agree on – which we haven’t."
With F1 implementing a strict cost-cap of $140 million and Mercedes already working with a smaller wind tunnel testing allotment, every penny will be important for the Silver Arrows in their quest for supremacy.