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Zak Brown

Brown Exclusive: Seidl exit not due to McLaren shortcomings

In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Zak Brown believes McLaren were unable to prevent Andreas Seidl from switching to Audi, and believes the 'technically-minded' Andrea Stella is well-placed to succeed as Team Principal.

Brown Seidl Mc Laren 2022
To news overview © XPBimages

Zak Brown believes that Andreas Seidl's decision to leave McLaren wasn't down to any shortcomings at the Woking-based team.

McLaren were one of the teams central to the flurry of Formula 1 team principal transfers during December.

Andreas Seidl was confirmed to have left the Woking team before being announced as the new Sauber CEO, with his old team needing a replacement.

Fortunately, McLaren were able to activate their contingency plan, and Andrea Stella was promoted to Team Principal for the 2023 season.

In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Brown was asked if Stella would be able to fill the void left by Seidl.

"Absolutely, I don't think we're going to miss a beat," affirmed Brown.

"I think all these racing teams are big into team effort and should be stronger than any one individual. I think Andrea has a tremendous amount of experience, and in many ways already leads the team. He runs the team at the race weekend.

"He's very well respected by the drivers, very hands-on, very technical. So I'm excited and I think Andrea is going to do a great job and I don't think we're any weaker, we're just different."

Brown: McLaren didn't drive Seidl exit

McLaren have ambitions of returning to the front of the F1 grid within the next couple of years, aided by a stabilising of the regulations, the cost cap, and their own improved facilities.

These factors, along with a new wave of power unit regulations, have encouraged Audi to join Formula 1, who will become a full works team in 2026.

McLaren's own upgrades are underway, but have been delayed by covid-related stoppages, something which the team believe is a contributing factor in their own lack of development progress.

Brown was asked if the delays had been a frustrating factor in Seidl's decision to make the switch to the soon-to-be-Audi-backed Sauber team.

"I don't think that was in his decision, because these [upgrades] are around the corner [for McLaren]," said Brown.

"He initially notified me for 2026, and by 2026, we'll be well up and running with all of our infrastructure."

Brown added that he was confident Seidl's decision was driven from his Sauber and VW Group history, and his ambition to become a CEO.

"I think it was more a case of that's where he came from. When he joined us, it was because the [VW] group he was at, we're [looking] into Formula One, and then obviously decided not to, and now they're coming back in," commented Brown.

"It was an environment he came from when they intended to go Formula One racing, and now they're going Formula One racing, and he still lives in Germany.

"So I don't think our current situation is what drove his decision. In fact, I don't think it was McLaren what drove his decision.

"He can speak for himself but, in my conversations with him, I think it was more about the opportunity.

"He also wants to be a CEO, and that opportunity doesn't currently exist at McLaren. So, I think it was more about the opportunity [at Audi and Sauber] as opposed to the lack of opportunity at McLaren."

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