Andrea Stella’s promotion to team principal in place of Andreas Seidl was partly to ensure McLaren “won’t miss a beat” after recent progress, according to McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.
McLaren has a new team principal starting with immediate effect after allowing Andreas Seidl to start work as Sauber CEO next month, after the German originally told Brown he would be leaving to join the Audi-backed team when his contract expired at the end of 2025. That process was expedited by Frederic Vasseur’s move to Ferrari to replace Mattia Binotto, and Brown says he didn’t want to hold Seidl back but similarly saw a clear option for continuity with the team’s racing executive director Stella.
“It’s hard for me to comment on other teams because I ultimately don’t know that much about them,” Brown said. “I think we’ve done a lot of promotion from within, we’ve got a really solid racing team. The response I’ve had from the racing team about Andrea’s appointment has been predictably very well received.
“And I think as we try and build a team to get back to competing for the world championships it has to be a team effort, and this feels like we won’t miss a beat versus introducing someone from the outside because it takes quite a ways 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 us very quickly that Andrea was who we wanted to have run the team.”
“It’s been an exciting day – 24 hours – with 40% of the grid changing. I think Formula 1’s a very fast-paced, performance-driven business. All I can speak to is McLaren’s situation, I don’t have enough visibility to Ferrari but I thought Mattia did a good job this year, they were very competitive. Jost (Capito) obviously had challenges…
“So I think from our standpoint what I’m looking from Andrea is total responsibility for the performance of the Formula 1 team. I think some of the teams now are structured similarly, some are structured differently, and I think it’s a team effort so I’ll continue to do what I think I do best which is on the commercial, marketing, bringing in the best people and giving them the resources and the direction to let them do their job to the best of their ability. And ultimately Andrea’s responsibility is the performance of the Formula 1 team.”
While Stella steps into the team principal role, he will not be directly replaced from outside of McLaren and Brown says it won’t take a lot of redistributing of responsibilities to cover the movement.
“I don’t think there’ll be a tremendous amount of change. I’ll certainly lean in more where Andrea would like my support. Obviously in the team principal role there’s the sporting side and the commercial side – the media etcetera – and I think we’ll find a good way of working together.
“I would say that we’ve not gone from three people to two people, we’ve gone from 850 people to 849 people. It’s quite a large organization where there’s a tremendous amount of talent in the team and these are opportunities for everybody to step up. I’m very comfortable that between Andrea and myself and any modifications he may make we’ve got it well covered.”
And Stella himself says ensuring the race team continues on its recent path is important to him, but that he will have to work out how best to use his time when it comes to factory work.
“Yes, I think in terms of racing, we are happy with the progress we have made recently. So I think it’s important to maintain continuity there in terms of the way we go racing trackside, so I would certainly see my presence and my impact still being quite direct in relation to that.
“At the same time, as Zak was saying, here on the factory side we have senior leaders I will be able to rely on, and I think some of them will step up a little bit such that we can cover all the tasks required to run the business. At the same time – which is a challenge in modern Formula 1 – I do plan to be very present, very impactful factory-side, but how do we configure this? It will require some thoughts.”