McLaren have explained how the chain of team boss changes at other teams led to Andreas Seidl making an earlier than originally planned exit from the squad.
It was confirmed on 13 December that Seidl has left the outfit to join Sauber as CEO, in a move influenced by Audi's recent strategic buy-in to the team ahead of its 2026 entry into F1.
This followed on from the news that Fred Vasseur will depart his role as Team Principal at Alfa Romeo to take up the position of Team Principal and General Manager at Ferrari from 9 January.
Elswhere, Jost Captio has exited Williams as CEO, with a replacement yet to be announced.
At McLaren, Andrea Stella will step into Seidl's position as Team Principal, but team CEO Zak Brown has revealed that the plan had actually been in place for some time, yet was brought forward earlier than planned following the flurry of moves across the paddock.
Brown explains background of McLaren change
Brown has revealed that Seidl had informed him during the 2022 season of his plan to leave the team when his contract expired at the end of 2025, but that the initial plan was to keep the current team in place until then.
However, the sudden changes at Alfa Romeo led to a request to release Seidl early, something that Brown agreed to.
"Andreas – who did an excellent job here at McLaren for the last handful of seasons – in a very transparent manner, informed me during the season that he was going to go elsewhere when his contract was up at the end of 2025," Brown told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"Probably pretty clear where that destination would be, which was quite understandable, given his background [having worked with the Volkswagen Group previously].
"So, at that time, we intended to continue for the foreseeable future, because the relationship is very, very healthy, and his work discipline is very strong.
"What we were going to do at that point was, at the end of the season, let the world know that that change would come in at the end of the '25 season."
Brown added that his intention at that point was to ask Stella – who joined McLaren in 2015 as Head of Operations, before being appointed Performance Director in 2018 and then recently as Executive Director in 2019 – if he would be interested in the Team Principal position.
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Brown: Early switch puts 'everyone in their permanent homes'
After it became clear that Vasseur was set to leave Alfa Romeo for Ferrari, Finn Rausing – Sauber Holding AG Chairman of the Board of Directors – contacted Brown regarding the possibility of releasing Seidl early.
"My reaction was, if Andrea would be happy to join as Team Principal, then I'd be very happy to make that change now, which I think puts everyone in their permanent homes for the foreseeable future," Brown said.
"So I went about having a conversation with Andrea, pre him having any awareness that Andreas was going to move on for the '26 season.
"After some good conversations, Andrea kindly accepted the role, which then put us in a very comfortable position to move forward, because Andrea was always our number one choice to lead the team moving forward, so that all came together quite rapidly."
Brown is feeling positive about the appointment of Stella to his new role, a move that he says the whole team are "extremely excited about".
"Andrea obviously has a wealth of experience, not only with McLaren but a rich history with Ferrari," the CEO added.
"So it was someone that we knew knew the team inside out.
"[He] is a very hands-on person in the racing team, which was of high interest to me and the shareholders, to have someone leading the team that gets their hands dirty, so to speak, even though I don't think you get your hands dirty!
"And so we're very excited, and that's how we came about to where we are today."
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