McLaren axe technical director in a major team shake up

McLaren axe technical director in a major team shake up

The McLaren technical division has undergone a significant reorganization, as part of which former technical director James Key has left the team.

The Woking-based team’s MCL60 has drastically underperformed expectations for the 2023 season, and the team has scored zero points in the first two races. This has forced McLaren’s management to make some difficult but critical decisions.

The consequences of team papaya’s poor performance have fallen on James Key, who became the executive director of McLaren in 2019.

This was evident when McLaren team boss Andrea Stella said he wasn’t too pleased with the MCL60’s state of development before to the season at the team’s presentation last month, it may have been the end for the British engineer.

Sadly, Bahrain, where neither Lando Norris nor Oscar Piastri finished in the top ten, and Jeddah, where only the latter made it to Q3, provided clear indication of the MCL60’s poor performance.

The changes, according to the team, have been in the works for a while with the goal of laying the foundations for a stronger and more inventive Formula 1 team to enable future success.

McLaren is off to its worst start since 2017 with no points to show for themselves after the first two rounds of this season. This is due to the significant regulation changes that went into force for the 2022 campaign.

The most significant change is the elimination of the Executive Technical Director position in favor of the Technical Executive Team, which will be composed of three individuals in specialized Technical Director roles and report directly to the Team Principal, Andrea Stella.

Key will depart the team, and three new Technical Directors will take his place: Neil Houldey will oversee Engineering and Design, Peter Prodromou will oversee the Aerodynamics team after joining McLaren from Ferrari at the beginning of 2024, and David Sanchez will handle Car Concept and Performance.

Giuseppe Pesce, who will assume the roles of Director, Aerodynamics, and Chief of Staff, will provide assistance to Prodromou as Piers Thynne, who has taken on a larger role as Chief Operational Officer, will support Stella.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank James for his hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren and wish him well for the future,” Stella said. “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.”

McLaren Racing’s CEO, Zak Brown, added that the restructure was necessary to “ensure the long-term success of the team”.

“It’s important now that we ensure we have a solid foundation as the next phase of our journey,” Brown said. “It has been clear to me for some time that our technical development has not moved at a quick enough pace to match our ambition of returning to the front of the grid.”

“I’m pleased that, having completed a full review with Andrea, we are now able to implement the restructure required to set the wheels in motion to turn this around.”

“These strategic changes ensure the long-term success of the team and are necessary to see McLaren get back to winning ways.”

“We have everything coming into place now with our people and infrastructure and alongside an exciting driver line-up, I’m determined to see McLaren get back to where we should be.”

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