Why McLaren’s revamp is not just about its 2023 F1 car struggles

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Often, when a F1 team has a car that doesn’t perform very well, the head technical people of that car will leave. This is what’s happening with McLaren right now; they have announced new changes even though their car hasn’t been in action yet. The CEO of McLaren (Zak Brown) mentioned this in a press release on Thursday.

For a long time, I’ve seen that the technical progress of our team has been slow and not fast enough for us to get back on track. After finishing up a review with Andrea, we can now start putting into action the plans needed to make this change. It started being noticed by McLaren last year around the middle of the year about how bad their situation was.

Andreas Seidl, the team boss of McLaren recently left last winter. Andrea Stella was then promoted as his replacement. This started a long and deep review of how the team is doing and what needs to be changed for it to do better. After this review, it became clear that there were problems with the way things had been running. This is why their newest car didn’t progress from 2021 into 2022 like they expected it to.

McLaren had a lot of success over the past two seasons. They built a good car in 2019, and kept improving it for 2020 and 2021 even when they switched from Renault to Mercedes engines. This allowed them to fight for podiums and even wins during that time!

McLaren was doing well when the new rules era started in 2022, but last year, things didn’t go as planned. People started debating why McLaren wasn’t able to improve as the season went on.

Stella asked if they were doing the right thing by just having Key as the technical director, and to make sure they used figures like Peter Prodromou. After Stella looked thoroughly at the team, it was decided that changes had to be made in order for McLaren to benefit from the new wind tunnel and simulator.

At the end of last winter, Stella noticed that David Sanchez wanted to come join McLaren from Ferrari. This made him create a plan.

McLaren is changing their management system and are no longer having one single technical director like they used to have in the past.

Before 2019, Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh ran a system called “matrix” management, where certain roles and responsibilities were spread out among many different people. However, when Brown and Andreas Seidl took over in 2019, they decided to go with a simpler way of running things with just one technical director. As Andreas said: “I think it’s better to keep structure simple and clear.”

McLaren thinks it’s a smarter idea to have three technical chiefs because their new team principal, Stella, comes from an engineering background. This means she has lots of knowledge when it comes to technology and the ability to do things differently.

Having three specialists, Sanchez (specializing in car concept), Prodromou (focusing on aerodynamics), and Neil Houldey (with expertise in engineering and design) all working together can make the end product even better than if we just had one person doing everything. This is what Team Principal Andrea Stella from McLaren said in a press conference.

Stella has asked Piers Thynne, their new Chief Operating Officer (COO), to be in charge of the race team’s activities when they are at the factory and away competing in Grand Prix races. This will help make sure everything runs smoothly at Woking.

McLaren recently made some changes to their team, but we won’t know the full effects until sometime in 2024 when a new racer joins called Sanchez. Unless McLaren is able to convince Ferrari to release him earlier, he will not be joining the team until January 1, 2024.

McLaren just finished organizing a plan for the next few years, which will involve using wind tunnels and simulators. Their goals are to be in fourth place by the end of this year, to fight for podiums in 2024, and then trying to get wins in 2025.

McLaren might have to struggle through some tough times before they reach their targets. But the leaders believe that they can make it in the long run. Brown said, “We need to make these changes so we can become successful again.”

“We are almost finished putting everything together. We have people and important things ready to go, and an awesome driver team too! I’m really determined to get McLaren back to where it should be.”

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