Zak Brown and Andrea Stella concur on the vibes presented by Lando Norris regarding the new F1 technical structure at McLaren.
McLaren bosses Brown and Stella concur with Norris about its F1 team structure coming along nicely with the re-structure they have done post the departure of Andreas Seidl. The Woking-based team had to move on from Ron Dennis era when Seidl came in.
He brought some calmness in the team which had rough few years with the situation with Eric Boullier and Honda. After a better start to Seidl’s journey, the last few years saw some hiccups and it led to the German’s departure along with Daniel Ricciardo and James Key.
With new faces and promotions which includes Stella to being the F1 team principal after faith put in by Brown, it has brought new enthusiasm. Norris, who has been at McLaren to oversee these changes, has given thumbs up to the structure now in place.
Norris: “No, it doesn’t work exactly like that. I think, say like the new floor we have now, it’s more of a different philosophy, different understanding of how things work. I guess that was kind of found during the winter already, just a little bit too late. The rest is not as simple as that. It’s not just one big thing. People do come up with different ideas and different ways of doing things. It’s also the efficiency of work, especially with the budget cap now and time with CFD and wind tunnel. It’s about the efficiency and how you work through things and coming up with the ideas from that side of it.
“And working from there, and just how people work together at the same time, just the teamwork and team ethic of it all. So it’s not like we don’t have the correct people. We got a lot of clever people and I think a lot of people that can help us move forward. It’s just how people work together. And just the structure of it all, I think that makes a bigger difference than a lot of people think from the outside. It’s nothing big. It’s not like me miss massive things. It’s just chipping away and finding little things and putting them all together by the end of the week and going from there. And the efficiency of work.
“It’s probably just more efficient and over time, over weeks and months, you see a bigger change from that. Definitely the guys and everyone back in the factory seem happier, like more optimistic. I have even more faith in terms of the new structure and some of the new people we have and things like that. Everyone’s a bit more free and willing to try new things and make bigger steps.”
Brown: “I would say right now what we’ve done is optimise the organisation and given real clarity to roles. At the end of last year, second half of the year, I wasn’t happy with the progress we were making and so when I got the opportunity to put in Andrea Stella as team principal and he’s very technical, was a move I was very happy with. First thing I asked him to do is take a look at why we weren’t developing at the pace I felt we should. And what he identified was we structurally weren’t optimized so we went about setting out what would the optimum structure look like and then you populate that org chart and there were some changes we wanted to then make to optimise the new structure.
“And so there’s a lot of energy and clarity inside the MTC. Now Andrea is doing an excellent job or as someone mentioned to me earlier, a ‘Stella’ job and very, very happy. And I think the slow start to this year is what I started to see at the end of last year and that’s why we called our shot, if you’d like, at the launch that we knew we wouldn’t be where we wanted to be. And I think now the upgrades, which will start coming, are starting to show the work of the new structure that we have in place and hopefully will continue to develop over the course of the year.”
Stella: “Teamwork, team ethic, I think they’ve always been points of strength at McLaren. Let’s say, the cultural element of the team has been strong for some years. We’ve worked in the past on that one. I don’t think this is the reason behind our performance deficit. The reason is more in the area of actually designing and making a quick car. There’s always room for improvement. Certainly, what we have observed over the last weeks is a re-energised group of people and if anything, even more cohesion.
“This element of the ethos, culture, teamwork, they’ve always been a point of strength at McLaren and to be honest, is something that people coming from other teams they spot as the main think like ‘This is a really good environment’. But in itself, it is not enough to then go trackside and be quick. So we need to unite the cultural and the good environment. Ultimately, we need to deliver in terms of designing a quick car.”
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