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McLaren announce major changes after poor 2023 start

McLaren have announced that technical director James Key is out amid a restructure at Woking, with David Sanchez coming in.

McLaren have announced a major restructure of their Formula 1 technical department with James Key leaving and former Ferrari engineer David Sanchez joining. Technical Director Key, who was hired in 2019 has completely left the team amid the restructure, with Sanchez set to join as Technical Director of car concept and performance from January 1st, 2024. RacingNews365 previously revealed that Sanchez would be joining McLaren, to work once again with new Team Principal Andrea Stella having previously done so at Ferrari. Current McLaren employees Peter Prodromou and Neil Houldey will be joining Sanchez as Technical Directors, serving as 'Aerodynamics' and 'Engineering and Design', respectively.

McLaren restructure F1 team

McLaren have started the 2023 season poorly, and currently sit last in the Constructors' Championship with zero points, having effectively written off the first batch of races. The team found a new development path late on during the design of the MCL60, with the parts not set to be on the car until the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, with boss Zak Brown making changes to the team. Key, who was hired from Toro Rosso, has departed with immediate effect with the new three-headed "F1 Technical Executive Team" reporting directly to Stella. Prodromou is moved into the Technical Director, Aerodynamics role with long-time McLaren employee Houldey set for promotion into the newly created role of Technical Director, Engineering and Design. Sanchez previously worked for McLaren before leaving for Ferrari, but will not be available until the new year following a long period of gardening leave, as is normally the case when technical figures move between teams. In further changes, Giuseppe Pesce will become Director, Aerodynamics and Chief of Staff to assist Prodromou, while Piers Thynne becomes Chief Operating Officer. Article continues below.

Stella reaction to McLaren reshuffle

"Firstly, I’d like to thank James for his hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren and wish him well for the future," Stella (above with Lando Norris) said in a McLaren statement. "Looking ahead, I am determined and fully focused on leading McLaren back to the front of the field. "Since taking on the Team Principal role I have been given the mandate to take a strategic approach to ensure the team is set on a long-term foundation, for us to build on over the years. "This new structure provides clarity and effectiveness within the team’s technical department and puts us in a strong position to maximise performance, including optimising the new infrastructure upgrades we have coming in 2023. "Alongside Peter and Neil, I’m delighted to welcome David Sanchez back to the team to complete an experienced and highly specialised Technical Executive team, with the collective aim of delivering greater on-track car performance. "I’m looking forward to continuing working together with Piers, who will play a fundamental role to define and deliver the plans to create an innovative and effective F1 team." When asked about Sanchez joining the team by RacingNews365 on Saturday at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Stella cryptically replied: "Who?" Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren Racing added that he was pleased the team now had a "solid foundation" on which to build. "It’s important now that we ensure we have a solid foundation as the next phase of our journey, it has been clear to me for some time that our technical development has not moved at a quick enough pace to match our ambition of returning to the front of the grid," he said. "I’m pleased that, having completed a full review with Andrea, we are now able to implement the restructure required to set the wheels in motion to turn this around. "These strategic changes ensure the long-term success of the team and are necessary to see McLaren get back to winning ways. "We have everything coming into place now with our people and infrastructure and alongside an exciting driver line-up, I’m determined to see McLaren get back to where we should be."

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