Revolutionizing McLaren: Andrea Stella’s Vision for Success and Building a Dream Team

2023-10-18 16:27:23

Arrived at McLaren in 2015 as director of racing operations before climbing the ranks to take charge of the team last December, Andrea Stella launched major maneuvers in Woking.

Indeed, technical director James Key was replaced by a three-headed structure made up of David Sanchez (concept and performance), Peter Prodromou (aerodynamics) and Neil Houldey (engineering and design, who will be Rob Marshall’s second from January 2024 in this domain). This revolution came as the legendary British team updated its infrastructure, notably its simulator and wind tunnel – decisions which preceded Stella’s promotion to these responsibilities.

Before arriving in Woking, Stella spent around fifteen years with Ferrariwhere he experienced the supremacy of the period 2000-2004 with the dream team composed of Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Nikolas Tombazis and James Allison, among others. This is precisely what he is trying to achieve in his current stable.

“The experience, the quality of the team members… it was simply extraordinary,” remembers the Italian in the Beyond The Grid podcast. “I believe some of them even agreed to stay in a certain role [chez Ferrari] knowing that they were perfectly prepared to go a level or two higher by joining another team, but they agreed to stay in that role because that’s what was necessary to create what was perhaps the team the strongest we’ve seen in Formula 1.”

“There was immense continuity in this adventure: we kept identifying what needed to be added, laying brick by brick. I think that’s something that we missed a little during the Fernando era [Alonso]. We could have built that, but we really needed a lot of continuity and that ‘brick by brick’ approach established at Ferrari in the mid-1990s. Some parts of the storyline haven’t changed over the years, regardless of the role I had. Continuity and experience are part of this scenario. And that’s what we’re trying to do at McLaren as well.”

Andrea Stella and Lando Norris with members of McLaren Racing

In this context, the recruitment of sure values ​​like David Sanchez and Rob Marshall, joining McLaren from Ferrari and Red Bull respectively, takes on its full meaning.

“We really wanted to work on that aspect of the experience, recruiting what we call horsepower.”explains Stella. “We want to compete with Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari. In itself, this is a daunting mission, and we must be well equipped. So we are particularly excited that David and Rob are contributing with their expertise, with their experience, with their vision for this generation of single-seaters and for 2026. Like all the teams, we will have to take up this important challenge which is already on the agenda, and you have to be equipped.”

The main team is, however, quick to salute the merits of the staff who have been there for a long time, given the dazzling progress made during this 2023 season in terms of performance. “It is the result of the work of those who were already at McLaren, and the 2024 car will be the result of the work of those who are already at McLaren. In 2024, we will see what we can do to continue the development of the car. We will have – and we already have, in fact – the capacity to fully exploit the infrastructures that we have created: the wind tunnel, the simulator, the production.”Stella concludes.

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