McLaren announced a decision earlier today which was the culmination of all their extravenous problems put together. Their F1 race director, Eric Boullier resigned from his position after a poor start to 2018.
The team did not announce a like-for-like replacement ahead of their home grand prix at Silverstone, which has led to some structural changes within their F1 crew. They have decided to promote Andrea Stella to head of race operations.
Simultaneously, consultant Gil de Ferran has been instated as sporting director. McLaren’s CEO for F1, Zak Brown explained the changes. “He [Stella] will consult and collaborate.”
“Whether it is with engineers, Gil de Ferran, Paul James; whoever he feels he needs to work with to get the information he needs to make that final call”, said Brown.
“Andrea is there to maximise the weekend. Gil is there in a sporting context to maximise the performance of the team, and the drivers”, he added.
Stella joined McLaren along with Alonso in 2015, coming in from Ferrari and his promotion, being from within the team is understandable. Ferran’s appointment on the other hand came as a surprise.
“We brought Gil in a few months ago as we identified that we could possibly use someone with his sporting experience to get the most out of our drivers, our engineers. It was not our plan at that time to have him in this role”, he said about Ferran.
His appointment is thought to be a way of seeking his experience in motor racing in the United States, with reports strongly suggesting that McLaren could introduce their own vehicle in the IndyCar series next season onwards.
That is not to say Ferran is completely a stranger to F1 though. He has been a sporting director in the period of 2005-2007 for the now defunct BAR and Honda teams.
Brown remained positive about the team’s future. “Our structure and ways of working is what has got us to where we are today. I am confident that this is a great starting point in our journey.”