McLaren reveals new F1 team structure as David Sanchez is confirmed to return, while James Key has left the team.

Having had a dismal run in 2022 and continuing in 2023, McLaren has revealed a new technical structure under team principal Andrea Stella. In a big news, technical director Key has left the team after four years with the Woking-based outfit.

There will be no direct replacement for Key but McLaren has a technical team in place which includes Peter Prodromou whose role is defined as ‘Technical Director, Aerodynamics’. He will look at the aerodynamics side of things which has been the low point thus far.

Neil Houldey has been promoted to be ‘Technical Director, Engineering and Design’, which is a newly created role. Likewise, Giuseppe Pesce has been promoted to ‘Director, Aerodynamics & Chief of Staff, in support of Prodromou.

McLaren has thus also confirmed the return of Sanchez as ‘Technical Director, Car Concept and Performance’. He was with the Woking outfit but left the team to join Ferrari. He confirmed leaving the Italian manufacturer and is currently serving gardening leave.

He is due to join McLaren on January 1 of 2024, where one year is normal gardening leave practice as per Ferrari’s contract. The final piece of puzzle sees Piers Thynne become the Chief Operating Officer where he will support Stella in his role.

McLaren notes that the reorganisation is a work of several months amid infrastructure boost that the F1 team is seeing in 2023. The outfit notes of continued recruitment to increase its technical capabilities where some senior appointments already done.

“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,” said Stella. “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. Alongside Peter and Neil, I’m delighted to welcome David Sanchez back to the team to complete an experienced and highly specialised Technical Executive team, with the collective aim of delivering greater on-track car performance. I’m looking forward to continuing working together with Piers, who will play a fundamental role to define and deliver the plans to create an innovative and effective F1 team.”

Meanwhile, Zak Brown stated: “It’s important now that we ensure we have a solid foundation as the next phase of our journey. 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.”

And finally, Sanchez added: “I’m excited to be returning to the team in Woking and look forward to working alongside Peter and Neil and the rest of the team to achieve our performance objectives. McLaren has always had an extremely talented group of people and alongside the new infrastructure upgrades coming online this year, we have an exciting prospect ahead that I’m delighted to be a part of.”

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