McLaren confirms return of Pat Fry as new engineering director

McLaren has signed Pat Fry to the role of engineering director, eight years after he left the team for Ferrari.

Fry worked for McLaren between 1993 and 2010, when he made the switch to Maranello. At Ferrari he worked his way up to director of engineering before his departure in 2014. He briefly worked as an engineering consultant with Manor before that team folded in 2016.

He has returned to Woking this week for a second stint with McLaren, part of CEO Zak Brown’s major overhaul of the team’s F1 operation so far. The team parted company with racing director Eric Boullier in July, while Tim Goss and Matt Morris, both key figures in its technical department, have also left. The team has signed James Key from Toro Rosso as its new technical director, although he is unlikely to start until next year at the earliest.

“I think we’re in a pretty good place now,” Brown said, confirming the Fry appointment on Tuesday. “We still need to kind of populate, i.e. James’ start, but Andrea Stella is leading all performance, setting the targets, and it’s for Pat as engineering director to execute, so it will ultimately be led by Andrea with Pat, the development of next year’s car.

“And then of course there’s lots of people that feed into that. Pete Prodromou from an aero, Mark Ingham and Neil Oatley from design, Simon Roberts the COO ultimately responsible for bringing everything together and Gil on the sporting side but at the end of the day it’s Andrea and Pat who are going to drive next year’s car.”

McLaren’s difficult 2018 campaign prompted the changes, with its Renault-powered MCL33 scoring just 12 points so far this year. The Fry confirmation comes a day after McLaren confirmed Stoffel Vandoorne will be replaced by junior driver Lando Norris next season.