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Brown reveals Stella didn't initially feel he was ready to be McLaren Team Principal as he hails his leadership

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 22: McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella talks with McLaren Chief

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has praised Team Principal Andrea Stella for his leadership approach since taking on the position ahead of the 2023 season, despite the Italian previously believing that he was not ready for the role.

Stella was promoted to his current job following the exit of former Team Principal Andreas Seidl to Sauber, having acted as Executive Director, Racing at the squad since 2019. Prior to that Stella had worked as Head of Race Operations when he first joined McLaren from Ferrari in 2015, before a promotion to Performance Director followed in 2018.

READ MORE: Stella outlines what McLaren need to do to ‘seriously challenge’ Red Bull going forward

The team have continued to progress since Stella became Team Principal, with the squad enjoying a rapid improvement in the latter half of the 2023 campaign while Lando Norris recently claimed his debut victory with the outfit at the Miami Grand Prix.

Speaking to F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast, Brown shared his admiration for how Stella performs as a leader at McLaren.

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"Andrea is leading by example – his thoughtfulness, his communication, his transparency,” Brown explained. “He's not political. He's a team player. No one works harder than Andrea. He listens to people, he listens to their perspectives. He takes everything on board.

“He communicates his direction and decisions very well. He's not interested in anything other than performance, so he doesn't get distracted by a lot of the other activities that maybe some of the other team bosses do. He just wants to go racing. He’s very calm.

READ MORE: McLaren boss Brown says maiden Norris win ‘long overdue’ as he praises ‘perfect’ Miami performance

“He wants to be in every single debrief because that brings performance and focus at the same time. When you put that all together, he’s an awesome leader. My whole leadership team has done a fantastic job leading by example in the same way Andrea does with the racing team.

“All those people are leading a term Andrea uses, ‘World Championship material’, and that’s what everyone’s trying to do in their respective departments to ultimately power our racing team.”

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Race winner Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren celebrates with

Stella joined Norris on the podium to celebrate his victory in the Miami Grand Prix

While Stella appears to have flourished in the role, Brown detailed how the engineer was not confident about taking on the position when previously asked, with this being one of the reasons why he was not initially promoted instead of Seidl back in 2018.

“He felt he wasn't ready at the time so we didn't promote him,” said Brown. “He didn't want to be promoted but he then got a bigger role. Even when we promoted him this time around, when I called him, it wasn't an immediate yes. It was: ‘let me reflect.’ He reflects, he's very thoughtful.

READ MORE: ‘Leave him to it’ – Norris’ race engineer reflects on an emotional victory for McLaren

“Even then it was like: ‘well, tell me more and what do you think? When do you think I'd be good at it?’ He looks in a mirror to see – ‘what do you think my strengths and weaknesses are?’ He felt he wasn't ready in 2018. I thought he probably was. But he’s certainly turned out to be ready now.”

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