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McLaren

McLaren explain decision to bring back Indy 500 winner

As the team continues to go through a restructuring process, former IndyCar champion Gil de Ferran has returned to McLaren in an advisory role. Team Principal Andrea Stella has explained why the squad made the move.

Norris Miami
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McLaren have explained why they have chosen to bring back former IndyCar champion Gil de Ferran in a consultant advisory role.

De Ferran previously acted as Sporting Director at the squad between 2018 and 2021 during their previous restructuring process, and worked alongside current Team Principal Andrea Stella, who was then in the position of Performance Director.

Now, with the team again going through a restructuring – which saw Technical Director James Key leave the outfit earlier in the season – de Ferran has returned to the McLaren fold and is set to attend a number of races during the rest of the 2023 F1 campaign.

When asked about the reasons behind the decision to bring de Ferran back into the team, Stella explained that, as well as addressing the technical side of the squad, McLaren were keen to ensure that they were also looking at other areas as part of their restructure.

De Ferran 'very knowledgable'

"One element that we also wanted to address is that we want to have enough capacity at the leadership level to look into all the opportunities that you have," Stella told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"And definitely this process of innovation that we have started at McLaren, we want it to be 360 degrees – not only the priority [areas] that we have addressed in the early months, so we will continue for the time being.

"Certainly, we thought that having Gil with us during this process, during this journey, would add horsepower from a leadership point of view, because Gil is not only very knowledgeable about racing, but he is definitely strong in identifying talent [and] supporting talent.

"He is a great coach. He has quite brilliant strategic thinking, and you can talk to Gil more as an engineer than as a driver, actually. To be honest, I'm not sure how he developed so much technical knowledge.

"So he's a brilliant person that we want to have alongside [us]."

Past success of de Ferran and McLaren

Stella believes that de Ferran's contribution during McLaren's previous restructuring highlights the potential for the Woking-based squad to succeed again.

"We have already proven in the past that this can be a very successful team," the team boss continued.

"[We had] Gil on board in 2018, for instance, when we were able to turn a difficult situation at McLaren around.

"It was actually, I think, the lowest point in the history of McLaren, and in the space of a few months, we set the direction for then being more successful in the years to come."

De Ferran's role will be as a "non-operational, non-executive" consultant, Stella has said.

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