McLaren has undertaken a restructure of its senior management in preparation for the 2020 season that sees Andrea Stella promoted as the team’s new racing director.
Stella, who joined McLaren in 2015, will now lead the team on race weekends, with responsibility for race engineering and trackside operations.
These changes are amid team principal Andreas Seidl’s plan to have three main divisions reporting to him as he continues to restructure the team under his leadership.
Technical director James Key and production director Piers Thynne will also report to Seidl, who began his role at the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix.
The position of racing director hasn’t been filled since the departure of Eric Boullier in 2018, with McLaren aiming to build on its fourth place finish from last season.
“Motorsport is a team sport. You can never do it alone,” said Seidl. “I have a very strong line-up of people reporting into me, with James Key as technical director, Piers Thynne as production director and Andrea Stella as racing director.
“I have full trust in them and their teams in everything they do and therefore they have my full backing.
“It is crucial to empower people, to encourage them to make decisions, to allow them to take risks and to back them up if it goes wrong because I accept that mistakes can happen. That’s the only way to get better and to improve as a team.”
As pre-season testing draws closer, McLaren is focused on the completion of its 2020 challenger but is yet to reveal a launch date for the MCL35.
CEO Zak Brown is aware of the performance deficit it had at the beginning of 2019 and said work is ongoing to shrink that gap further this year.
“The rules don’t change a lot, so our goal has to be to continue to incrementally improve.” Brown said.
“[We must] keep our heads down. We’ve still got a lot to work on. We started last season more than 1.5 seconds off pole and towards the end of the year it was as low as eight-tenths. [But] that’s still a big gap we need to close.”