James Key parts ways with McLaren as team announce technical restructure

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 04: James Key, Technical Director of McLaren looks on from the pitwall

McLaren have parted ways with Technical Director James Key as part of a series of organisational changes that the team hope will give it a solid foundation for long-term success.

Team Principal Andrea Stella took over from Andreas Seidl ahead of this season and has been evaluating the operation along with CEO Zak Brown as part of a project the team says began several months ago.

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It comes after a period of decline for McLaren, which has seen the team finish third in 2020, fourth in 2021 and fifth in 2022. After two races in 2023, they have yet to score a point.

McLaren have decided to move away from a structure of having a single Technical Director, overseeing the whole operation, and replace it with a team of three specialised roles.

Peter Prodromou – who has 32 years of experience in F1 – moves into the role of Technical Director, Aerodynamics, leading the whole aero function.

David Sanchez will return to McLaren as Technical Director, Car Concept and Performance on January 1 2024 after a decade at Ferrari.

Neil Houldey is promoted into the newly created role of Technical Director, Engineering and Design .

The trio will report directly to Stella.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 19: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL60

McLaren are one of two teams yet to score points in 2023

Elsewhere, Giuseppe Pesce is promoted to Director, Aerodynamics & Chief of Staff and will be tasked with supporting the running of the aero department, reporting into Prodromou.

Piers Thynne has been given an expanded role of Chief Operating Officer, supporting Stella closely with regards “innovating and elevating the standards at McLaren”.

Stella said: “I’d like to thank James for his hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren and wish him well for the future.

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“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.”

Brown added: “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,” added Brown. “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.”

Sanchez said: “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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