Emanuele Pirro parts ways with McLaren

McLaren suffers another senior staff exit as Emanuele Pirro departs

Emanuele Pirro has stepped down from his role overseeing the McLaren driver development program barely a year after his signing.

Head of McLaren driver development program Emanuele Pirro has confirmed his departure, following the shocking news that David Sanchez had parted ways with the team just three months after starting his new role.

It was revealed that Sanchez had left the team as part of the changes to McLaren’s senior technical leadership. He had only started serving as the team’s technical director of car concept and performance in January, following the conclusion of his Ferrari gardening leave. Now, it appears Pirro has also left the Woking based outfit.

Pirro, who is a five-time Le Mans winner and former Formula 1 driver has also not been with McLaren for long. He joined the team in April of last year to manage the driver development program, which has since undergone a major overhaul with the recruitment of several young racers.

However, Pirro’s time with McLaren has come to an end after a year of hard work and fulfillment. According to Motorsport.com, Pirro signed a one-year deal that hasn’t been renewed because McLaren plans to bring the young driver program in-house, where Stephanie Carlin, the recently hired head of F1 commercial operations, will be in charge.

Senior McLaren engineers will be working with Carlin in overseeing the McLaren driver program.

In an Instagram post confirming the news, Pirro wrote: “After a year of hard work and satisfaction, I will be leaving the McLaren driver development programme.

“Together with the Formula 1 team, I was able to put in place a structure to help develop young, talented, and hard-working drivers into future McLaren champions.

“To the best of my ability, I carried out this task, scouting and signing young stars which I truly feel can carve their names into the history books.

“I trust the internal resources who will run the DDP will continue on my path and help the programme grow, giving the type of unique support developing drivers need alongside the professionalism and experience of the great teams they are all representing.

“I have done my best in transmitting the lessons learned and the mistakes made over a life in motorsport and now I step aside and let the programme walk on its own legs, grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me.

“I wish all the best to Gabriel [Bortoleto], Ugo [Ugochukwu], Bianca [Bustamante], Pato [O’Ward], Ryo [Hirakawa] and Brando [Badoer], along with the future drivers with whom a collaboration has already begun.

“With all of you and your competitors, the future of the sport I have grown to love so much is in safe hands. I am now ready for new challenges…”

The McLaren F1 team announced another technical department restructure on Tuesday. It was confirmed that Rob Marshall, who also joined in January, had taken over the the role of chief designer, as Neil Houldey becomes technical director – engineering.

Peter Prodromou retains his position as the technical director of aerodynamics, and team principal Andrea Stella has been appointed as the technical director of performance on an interim basis while McLaren searches for a permanent replacement.

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