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How McLaren can 'afford' key Red Bull signing in cost cap era

McLaren are investing heavily in staff and facilities, with boss Andrea Stella praising CEO Zak Brown's efforts.

McLaren boss Andrea Stella has praised the efforts of CEO Zak Brown to allow the Formula 1 team to be able to 'afford' Rob Marshall from Red Bull. Long-time Red Bull engineer Marshall was announced as joining McLaren for 2024, being tempted away from Milton Keynes to join the revamped technical department at Woking as McLaren try to climb back into title contention. In addition, the team are also heavily investing in infrastructure, including a new wind-tunnel, simulator and repurposing the old factory as a composites facility. This comes against the backdrop of the cost cap which limits how much teams can spend, but Stella pinpointed Brown's efforts when asked how McLaren were able to hire Marshall on a bumper deal as well as commit to the infrastructure projects.

Stella praises Brown

"In terms of budget, Zak is doing a good job to put McLaren in the condition to spend this money," Stella told media including RacingNews365. "Within the regulations, we had the possibility to spend this kind of budget, not only from an operational point of view, but also in terms of capital expenditures. "It didn't create particular challenges, so it has not been a difficult process. "Rob will join the team with a unique level of experience and knowhow in terms of engineering and designing Formula 1 cars. "He's been instrumental in creating such a strong technical department at Red Bull, so at the moment, we are very pleased and excited Rob is keen to join our journey to take McLaren to the front of the grid."

Tweaks to revamp

McLaren are putting a new three-headed technical structure in place, with current employee Peter Prodromou set to be joined by Marshall and David Sanchez, formerly of Ferrari. The original plan called for Neil Houldley to head up the engineering and design department, but Marshall is set to take that position, with Houldley set to be his number two. Stella praised Houldley for being a "team player" in the process. "Neil has always been a part of the process, he’s been in the conversation," Stella explained. "He has actually played as a team player, and when we told Neil that we had this opportunity, which was quite unmissable, we elaborated together on the solution. "There's so much to do in terms of engineering and design to create the right standards to design the fastest car in Formula 1, that actually we thought this is a very powerful combination, with Rob, the more of the technical authority and Neil running more of the day-to-day activities within the department."

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