Skip to content

McLaren insist titles still the F1 aim after Andreas Seidl's early exit and claim 'we won't miss a beat'

"This feels like we won't miss a beat versus introducing someone from the outside because it takes quite a way to get up to speed," says McLaren CEO Zak Brown; McLaren finished fifth behind Alpine in 2022 but aiming to improve despite Andreas Seidl's early exit

McLaren's long-term ambition to return to the world championship battle remains top of the agenda despite unexpectedly early changes to the team's structure, according to chief executive Zak Brown.

Last week it was confirmed that Andreas Seidl is leaving the Woking team to join the Sauber Group as chief executive in January, with Andrea Stella moving from his role as racing director to take over as team principal.

Brown revealed that Seidl had told him this year that he was going to join Sauber to oversee their Audi project at the end of his McLaren contract in 2025, but once Frederic Vasseur's move to Ferrari fast-tracked that exit there was only one man he wanted to call.

"Here we are with Andrea and as our team principal, which myself, our drivers and our team is extremely excited about," Brown said.

"Andrea obviously has a wealth of experience, not only with McLaren, but a rich history with Ferrari, so was someone that we knew who knew the team inside out.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Speaking in Sky F1's season review, commentator David Croft says Max Verstappen raced differently against Charles Leclerc this season compared to versus Lewis Hamilton in 2021.

"He is a very hands-on person in the racing team, which was of high interest to me and the shareholders, to have someone leading the team that gets their hands dirty so to speak, so we are very excited."

Brown, whose McLaren team finished fifth behind Alpine in 2022, added: "We have done a lot of promotion from within and have got a really solid racing team.

Also See:

"The response I have had from the racing team about Andrea's employment has been predictably very well received.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky F1's Ted Kravitz gives his reasons why he thinks Fred Vasseur is a good team principal appointment for Ferrari

"As we try and build a team to get back to competing for world championships, it has to be a team effort.

"This feels like we won't miss a beat versus introducing someone from the outside because it takes quite a way to get up to speed.

"If we didn't have Andrea, that maybe would have been an alternative to look at, but it was very clear to all of us very quickly that Andrea was who we wanted to have on the team."

Stella joined McLaren in 2015, also having worked as both head of race operations and the Woking-based F1 team's performance director.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Craig Slater gives a full update of today's team principal movements of Fred Vasseur, Andreas Seidl and Andrea Stella

"There's clearly elements of continuation," the Italian said. "I think we worked very well with Andreas, we established some very important directions and we do want to consolidate them.

"At the same time, the vast study and the complexity of Formula 1 leaves the business always open for opportunities.

"This is what I am thinking about intensively together with my leaders at McLaren, so that we can find the further opportunities to go even faster towards achieving our mission."

Stella added: "I will be close to the core objectives of the team, which ultimately is to build a quick car and race this car effectively while on track."

Brundle: Seidl exit disappointing for Norris, McLaren

Seidl's fast-tracked move to Sauber to oversee its transformation into the Audi F1 team has led to McLaren promoting Stella from within, and while Martin Brundle is not panicking about his former team, he believes Seidl's exit is a blow.

"There's no doubt about it, losing Seidl is bad news for McLaren going forward," said Sky Sports F1 pundit Brundle.

"He's had a long-term relationship with the Volkswagen group with Porsche so I can understand what he's done and I can understand why McLaren wanted to expedite that.

"But this is not what they needed."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky F1's Martin Brundle is unsure whether Fred Vasseur has the skills required to take Ferrari in the right direction

It's also, according to Brundle, not what Lando Norris needed.

Norris has emerged as one of F1's most exciting young talents in recent years but unlike counterparts George Russell and Charles Leclerc, he has not yet had a car to compete for race or title victories.

Norris is signed up until the end of 2025 with McLaren but frequently hinted at frustration this season.

"The big thing for McLaren is their new wind tunnel in 2024," said Brundle. "So Lando will be looking at it thinking, why has Andreas jumped ship? What has Andreas seen at Audi, that he much prefers to McLaren?

"Oscar [Piastri, new signing] will be disappointed as well because he would have done all the discussions, all the imaginations, with Andreas, for Oscar to join and Lando to stay.

"Lando is very close to Zak (Brown) and he is doing a great job there, there's a good structure at McLaren. I don't panic in the slightest for them, but you can't read this as good news."

Around Sky