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McLaren promote Andrea Stella to Team Principal role as Seidl leaves for Sauber

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SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 26: McLaren Performance Director Andrea Stella looks on from the pitwall

McLaren have promoted from within by handing Executive Director of Racing Andrea Stella the role of Team Principal for 2023, following the departure of Andreas Seidl to the Sauber Group.

Stella has been with McLaren since 2015, first working as Head of Race Operations before being promoted to Performance Director and then his most recent role as Racing Director.

READ MORE: McLaren boss Seidl joins Sauber as Chief Executive Officer

When Seidl agreed a deal with the Sauber Group to become their CEO – having been transparent with McLaren chief Zak Brown about the offer – McLaren replaced him with Stella.

Before joining McLaren, Stella worked at Ferrari for 15 years, taking on the role of performance engineer for Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen and then race engineer for Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.

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Stella worked with Fernando Alonso at Ferrari

Speaking of Stella’s appointment, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said: “I’m delighted that Andrea Stella will step into the Team Principal role and lead our F1 technical and operational programme. Andrea is a highly talented, experienced and respected member of our team with a strong track record of leadership and success in Formula 1.

“His move into this role is a great example of the strength in depth we have in our team, and I’m excited to be working more closely with him with a joint focus on moving up the grid and winning races.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Andreas. He has provided great leadership for the team and has played a significant part in our F1 performance recovery plan and ongoing journey to return to the front of the grid. I thank him for the transparency throughout the process which gave us time to plan accordingly.”

ANALYSIS: Why Williams split with Capito and Demaison – and what’s next for the team from Grove?

Stella himself added: “I feel privileged to take on the Team Principal role as the next stage of being part of the McLaren F1 Team. I am grateful to Zak and the Shareholders for their trust in me and to all my colleagues and those who have supported me throughout my F1 career.

“We are realistic about the amount of work ahead of us to move back up the grid, but I am excited and encouraged that I am in this journey together with a team full of talent, experience, racing spirit and dedication. I look forward to working closely with each of them, Lando and Oscar, to together achieving great success and enjoying the journey.”

Out-going Team Principal Seidl added: “I joined McLaren in 2019 and have really enjoyed working with Zak and the team. We have achieved some good results, and I will always have fond memories, with Monza being a personal and career highlight.

“The team is on a great trajectory, and I would like to thank everyone for their support, trust and commitment. Thanks to Zak and the shareholders for their understanding of my personal decision to move on to another challenge. I wish Andrea and the team all the best for the future.”

It capped a remarkable 24 hours for Formula 1, which began with Williams announcing boss Jost Capito and his Technical Director FX Demaison would be leaving the team but not confirming their replacements.

ANALYSIS: Why Williams split with Capito and Demaison – and what’s next for the team from Grove?

Then on Tuesday morning, Alfa Romeo announced Fred Vasseur’s departure as Team Principal and Sauber CEO, with the Frenchman joining Ferrari to replace Mattia Binotto.

Sauber then announced Seidl would join as CEO, with the German tasked with finding a Team Principal to report to him, as McLaren confirmed Stella’s promotion to their top job.

READ MORE: Vasseur to replace Binotto as Ferrari Team Principal

F1 Correspondent Lawrence Barretto says…

McLaren were not blindsided by Seidl’s departure as, just as Vasseur was with Sauber, Seidl was transparent with McLaren CEO Zak Brown about the interest from Switzerland.

However, what was unexpected – and slightly frustrating for Brown – was the timing.

Sources say that McLaren and Seidl’s collective plan was for him to complete his contract, which runs until the end of 2025 and then move to Audi to head up their F1 project.

But when Ferrari and Binotto called it quits, Vasseur left to replace Binotto earlier than expected and Sauber enquired about bringing Seidl over earlier.

Brown agreed to release Seidl earlier, with the board having already decided that they had the finest of candidates to replace him with in Stella – who is a highly-rated and popular figure both internally and in the paddock.

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