McLaren appoint ex-Porsche boss Seidl to run F1 team
A huge 2019 season is on the horizon for McLaren. Not only will they have a new-look driver line-up as they bid to climb back towards the front of the grid, but the iconic British squad now have a new chief after confirmation that Andreas Seidl has been appointed as Managing Director of their F1 team…
Seidl, whose announcment comes just days after historic rivals Ferrari announced their own senior management changes, will arrive with some pedigree, having overseen Porsche's recent LMP1 successes in the World Endurance Championship and in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
He will report to McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in a newly-created role at the Woking outfit which will see him take responsibility for all aspects of the team’s F1 racing programme.
Seidl is familiar with the F1 paddock, having worked at BMW Motorsport from 2000 and 2006, then at BMW Sauber as head of track operations until 2009.
“This is an enormous privilege and challenge, which I am ready for and committed to, said Seidl, who boast plenty of F1 experience, having worked at BMW Motorsport from 2000 and 2006, then at BMW Sauber as head of track operations until 2009.
To have an opportunity to contribute to the McLaren legacy is extremely special and inspiring
"To have an opportunity to contribute to the McLaren legacy is extremely special and inspiring. McLaren has the vision, leadership and experience but, most importantly, the people to return to the front, and that will be my absolute focus and mission. I can’t wait to join the team and begin working with my colleagues at McLaren, our partners at Renault and, of course, Carlos and Lando.”
Seidl's appointment follows a leadership reshuffle midway through the last campaign, which saw Racing Director Eric Boullier leave the team – but in a fresh bid to overcome their recent on-track struggles, Seidl will now oversee a new era, which will see rookie driver Lando Norris paired alongside the more experienced Carlos Sainz in 2019.
Brown, McLaren CEO, added: “We are delighted that Andreas is joining McLaren to lead our F1 technical and operational programme. This is a significant appointment for us on two fronts.
“First, it is another important step in our F1 performance recovery plan and long-term commitment to F1. Second, concentrated senior leadership on our F1 programme is an integral part of the long-term strategy of McLaren Racing to expand into other forms of global motorsport over time.
“Andreas is a highly capable leader with a track record of success in everything he has been involved with, and I look forward to working with him.”
It is unclear when Seidl will begin his new role with McLaren, with a start date yet to be agreed. The new McLaren F1 car is set to be launched on February 14.
Lawrence Barretto [Senior writer, F1.com] says…
This is a huge coup and a real statement of intent for McLaren as Zak Brown continues his bid to steer the iconic British team back to the sharp end of the grid after a growing period of disappointment.
There was a real buzz in the paddock towards the end of last year when it emerged Porsche’s former World Endurance Championship LMP1 chief was heading to F1 – but at that point his exact destination was unclear.
McLaren, who are without a win since 2012, have won the battle to secure his services, bringing on board someone who oozes motorsport experience and has a proven track record, following his success with Porsche.
Seidl was highly rated by Porsche as well as by BMW and Sauber, whom he worked with between 2000 and 2009, and his arrival means McLaren now have someone focused purely on the F1 team’s operations.