The Red Bull Racing Australia team has sacked its team principal Adrian Burgess, who has been confirmed on a multi-year deal to take over as team leader of its main rival, the Holden Racing Team.
The news comes just days after HRT’s announcement that it had re-signed James Courtney onto a new multi-year deal, and it’s believed that Burgess’ decision to switch camps was triggered by the rehiring of his old mate. The pair worked together during Courtney’s days in the British Formula 3 championship, and more recently during his championship-winning campaign with Dick Johnson Racing.
Roland Dane – the head of RBRA’s parent owner, Triple Eight Engineering – will step back into Burgess’ vacated role after effectively being blindsided by the headhunting, the latest act in a long-running dispute between the two leading factory-backed Holden outfits.
“If HRT think that the only way they can win is to try and take people from us then fine, they are clearly a richer team than we are,” Dane is quoted as saying, when announcing the news.
“[Adrian] has a six month notice period which he is expecting to serve out we’re expecting him to honour before he takes up a position with HRT which he agreed to this morning.
“We won an awful lot of Bathursts and races before he came along and we will carry on in that light now.”
Burgess was credited as one of the masterminds behind the team’s recent domination of the V8 Supercars Championship, and his departure could threaten to derail the team’s 2013 championship tilt.
“We had to ensure the right long-term succession approach and with a limited field of suitable candidates, and interest from one of those candidates, we have brought forward the timeline from that which we had originally identified,” HRT co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw said.
“Adrian’s experience, leadership skills and passion for winning make him the ideal candidate to continue to build on what Steve Hallam [the team’s outgoing managing director] has achieved and lead Walkinshaw Racing into the future.”