Brown hails impact of ‘tremendous leader’ Stella in first year as McLaren team boss
McLaren CEO Zak Brown has heaped praise on Andrea Stella for the “fantastic job” he has done during his first season as the Woking operation’s Team Principal, adding that he “can’t say enough great things” about their new leader.
Stella stepped up to the role following former team boss Andreas Seidl’s move to Sauber and conducted an early-season transformation of the technical department – which saw designer James Key depart – amid the MCL60’s disappointing start to life.
After failing to score a point at the first two races, McLaren gradually got on top of their issues before making strides with a raft of mid-season updates, propelling drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri into podium contention.
Norris took the first of those podiums at the British Grand Prix and, thereafter, he and team mate Piastri racked up nine rostrum results between them – along with a Sprint race win for the rookie in Qatar.
Asked to reflect on the part Stella has played since taking on the team boss position, Brown said: “Andrea has done a fantastic job – he’s a tremendous leader.
“He’s a great communicator, he empowers the team, he listens, he gives great direction – I can’t say enough great things about him.”
Having, at one stage, sat ninth out of 10 teams in the constructors’ standings, McLaren’s impressive upturn in performance brought a rise to fourth behind Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari.
“The proof is in the pudding,” Brown continued. “Look at what he inherited at the start of the year, which was kind of the ninth-quickest car.
“We’ve been in the second half of the year kind of the second-, third-quickest car, [scoring] a pole, lots of podiums, so it’s credit to Andrea and everyone in the racing team. It’s a team effort, which is great to see.”
In another boost for McLaren’s hopes, the squad recently broke ground on their new wind tunnel, with Stella explaining last month that this should help them gain an advantage from both a “financial” and a “practical” point of view.
McLaren last won the F1 constructors’ title back in 1998, with Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard at the wheel, while Lewis Hamilton remains their most recent drivers’ champion, having triumphed in 2008.