In a move which McLaren says is the next step in their “recovery plan and restructure”, former boss of the Porsche World Endurance Championship outfit Andreas Seidl will join the team during 2019.
Continuing their efforts to revise the team’s structure after a disappointing 2018 season, Seidl joins the team as the new managing director of the McLaren F1 team, with the team saying that he will report directly to McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown and be “responsible for all aspects of the team’s F1 racing programme”.
Brown commented that the signing is an important step in McLaren’s recovery, with the team wanting to have a dedicated management structure at the head of the McLaren F1 arm.
“We are delighted that Andreas is joining McLaren to lead our F1 technical and operational programme. This is a significant appointment for us on two fronts,” said Brown.
“First, it is another important step in our F1 performance recovery plan and long-term commitment to F1. Second, concentrated senior leadership on our F1 programme is an integral part of the long-term strategy of McLaren Racing to expand into other forms of global motorsport over time.
“Andreas is a highly capable leader with a track record of success in everything he has been involved with, and I look forward to working with him.”
McLaren’s road to recovery
Following McLaren’s decision to switch from Honda to Renault for the 2019 season served to highlight the gulf between themselves and the top teams; they struggled for competitiveness in the midfield and were often the slowest of the Renault-powered teams.
With Honda no longer the scapegoat for McLaren, a technical reshuffle has been undertaken at the team.
Chassis chief Tim Goss left his position last April, as did Engineering Director Matt Morris, with McLaren bringing in James Key from Toro Rosso, who is due to officially start later this year.
Team Principal Eric Boullier left the team in July, with Gil de Ferran being appointed as sporting director, and Andrea Stella being appointed as performance director. Pat Fry was also re-signed as engineering director.
Seidl will essentially take over much of the responsibilities that Brown had on the F1 side of things. He will oversee the heads of the three main departments, which include Key, Simon Roberts – who will be responsible for car production – and chief mechanic Paul James, who will lead operations at the track.
“This is an enormous privilege and challenge, which I am ready for and committed to. To have an opportunity to contribute to the McLaren legacy is extremely special and inspiring,” said Seidl.
“McLaren has the vision, leadership and experience but, most importantly, the people to return to the front, and that will be my absolute focus and mission. I can’t wait to join the team and begin working with my colleagues at McLaren, our partners at Renault and, of course, Carlos and Lando.”
Seidl’s previous experience includes a nice-year stint with BMW in Formula One. He was employed by BMW Motorsport from 2000 and 2006, before taking a role as head of track operations at BMW Sauber until 2009. He then led BMW’s return to DTM.
More recently, he comes from the World Endurance Championship, where he has overseen the Porsche LMP1 team take 17 wins in 33 races – three of which were at Le Mans – and secure the WEC title from 2015-2017.
By: Luke Murphy
Title Image: Porsche Motorsport
Remaining images: Motorsport Images