McLaren has announced a major restructuring of its Formula 1 team, which sees the departure of technical director James Key and the arrival of former Ferrari Head of Vehicle Concept David Sanchez.
After an ups and downs in 2022 and a disappointing start to the 2023 season, with the team yet to score any points in the first two rounds of the championship, McLaren has announced a major overhaul of its technical department.
Indeed, the Woking-based team announced on Thursday that James Key, the current technical director, will leave the team with immediate effect, setting up a technical group of three specialists who will report directly to Team Principal Andrea Stella, at the helm of the stable. since last winter.
Peter Prodromou, Adrian Newey’s former henchman in his Red Bull days, will take on the role of technical director of aerodynamics, with Neil Houldey having instead been promoted to the new role of Technical Director, Engineering and Design, specifically created to give solid foundations to this structure.
This trio will also include former head of Ferrari’s Head of Vehicle Concept David Sanchez, who recently resigned from the Italian team following a decision that has matured over the last few months. The Frenchman is currently in the gardening leaving phase as agreed with the Cavallino team, so he will not be able to fully participate in the McLaren project until 1 January 2024, when he will enter Woking with the role of technical director as regards the concept and performance of the single-seater.
For Sanchez it is a return, since before taking service in Ferrari in October 2012 the French engineer had worked for McLaren.
As part of this restructuring, Giuseppe Pesce was promoted to Director of Aerodynamics and Head of Staff, to support the management of the aerodynamic department under Prodromou.
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Alongside these changes, Piers Thynne moves into the expanded role of Chief Operating Officer of the Formula 1 team. In this new role, Thynne will support Andrea Stella’s mission to innovate and raise the team’s standards to return to being more competitive on the grid.
This reorganisation, which required several months of work, adds to the technical restructuring processes currently being completed. The new wind tunnel is nearing completion, with various adjustment procedures to confirm its operability and data accuracy before entering the Formula 1 car models. Similarly, the Woking team is hard at work on a new simulator, whose work is expected to be completed in the second half of the season.
“First of all, I would like to thank James [Key] for his hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren and wish him well for the future,” explained Team Principal Andrea Stella.
David Sanchez arrives from Ferrari and will be part of the technical trio who will report to Andrea Stella.
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
“Looking forward, I am determined and fully focused on returning McLaren to the top of the standings. Since taking on the role of Team Principal I have been given a mandate to take a strategic approach to ensure the team is set up on a one-to-one basis. long term, on which to build over the years”.
“This new structure provides clarity and effectiveness within the team’s technical department and puts us in a strong position to maximize performance, including optimizing for new infrastructure upgrades arriving in 2023.”
“Besides Peter [Prodromou] and Neil [Houldey]I am delighted to welcome back David Sanchez to complete a team of experienced and highly skilled technical leaders, with the collective goal of achieving greater performance on the track.”
“I look forward to continuing to work with Piers [Thynne]who will play a key role in defining and executing plans to create an innovative and effective F1 team,” added Stella.
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