McLaren CEO Zak Brown has given further insight into the team’s recent technical shake-up, stating in an interview that the changes were driven by the need to improve the team’s pace of development. The team entered the 2022 season with brake duct issues, followed by driver-related problems that drew attention away from the slow pace of development. Brown had been dissatisfied with the team’s pace of development in the second half of last year and began to discuss changes before the departure of former team principal Andreas Seidl opened up an opportunity for a thorough review to be undertaken by new principal Andrea Stella.
The changes include the departure of technical director James Key, who has been replaced by a trio of technical directors: Peter Prodromou for aerodynamics, Davide Sanchez for car concept and performance, and Neil Houldey for engineering and design. Brown is confident that the new arrangement will improve development, saying they were “confident with the direction where we’re headed now.” He also highlighted the privileged position Stella held as a long-time member of the McLaren team, better equipped than an incoming outsider to undertake a review of this kind.
Brown stressed that while he made the decision to drop Key and make other major calls in the interest of pushing the team forward, he was always part of a consultative process, and that his leadership team was closely aligned with his thinking. This included discussions with the McLaren principal, in which the two men agreed on what needed to be done. The team had been working on the new approach for some time before the announcement was made, which Brown suggested was co-incidental to their disappointing start to the season. This is not the first major decision made by Brown in order to drive McLaren towards a more successful future, as he parted ways with driver Daniel Ricciardo last year.