It follows a period of deterioration for McLaren, during which the team finished fourth in 2021 and fifth in 2022. They haven't accrued any points after the first two races in 2023.
As part of a series of organisational changes that the team hopes will give it a strong foundation for long-term success, McLaren has parted ways with Technical Director James Key. Before the start of this season, Andrea Stella, who replaced Andreas Seidl as Team Principal, evaluated the operation alongside CEO Zak Brown as part of a project the team claims started several months ago. It follows a period of deterioration for McLaren, during which the team finished fourth in 2021 and fifth in 2022. They haven’t accrued any points after the first two races in 2023.
McLaren has chosen to replace its previous organisational structure of having a single Technical Director oversee the entire business with a team of three specialised roles. As Technical Director, Aerodynamics, Peter Prodromou, who has 32 years of F1 experience, will be in charge of overseeing the entire aero function. After ten years at Ferrari, David Sanchez will rejoin McLaren as Technical Director, Car Concept and Performance on January 1 2024. The position of Technical Director, Engineering and Design is promoted to Neil Houldey.
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Stella said: “I’d like to thank James for his hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren and wish him well for the future. Looking ahead, I am determined and fully focused on leading McLaren back to the front of the field. Since taking on the Team Principal role I have been given the mandate to take a strategic approach to ensure the team is set on a long-term foundation, for us to build on over the years.”
“This new structure provides clarity and effectiveness within the team’s technical department and puts us in a strong position to maximise performance, including optimising the new infrastructure upgrades we have coming in 2023.”
While Aston Martin is aware of the problem that led to Lance Stroll’s early retirement from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2023, they have not yet identified its source. After passing Carlos Sainz for P4 at Turn 13 on the first lap, Stroll was in the points race. However, after pulling off the track on Lap 16 and triggering the deployment of the Safety Car, the Canadian driver quickly realised that his promising start was quickly fading.
“We were just losing power every lap, like six, seven laps kind of thing, just a second and a half every lap and eventually it was game over,” said Stroll after the race. “They were [applying the fire extinguisher] on the brakes, but there was some smoke from the engine,” he added.
“It is a real shame that Lance was forced to retire early with an energy recovery issue, the cause of which is still being investigated, because he had strong pace and would surely have scored big points tonight as well,” said team principal Mike Krack.
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