Pat Fry, Manor, 2016

McLaren in talks with Pat Fry over possible return to its technical team

2018 F1 season

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Former McLaren chief engineer Pat Fry has spoken to the team about a possible return in an engineering capacity, eight years since he left them to join Ferrari.

McLaren is in the process of overhauling its technical department following its poor performance in the season so far. It has already signed James Key and parted ways with former racing director Eric Boullier and engineering director Matt Morris.

However Key remains under contract with his current team, Toro Rosso, and is unlikely to join McLaren until the 2019 F1 season at the earliest. The team is making other hires to bolster its technical division.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown confirmed to RaceFans the team has spoken to Fry but the two parties have not yet signed a contract.

“As far as Pat Fry and other recruits we’re talking to a variety of people to strengthen our technical department,” he said. “We’ve hired some people internally that we’ve not really spoken about and we’ll have some other people joining the team that we’ll speak to in due course.”

“James we have signed a contract with,” he added. “James will be joining McLaren as technical director. We’re still working through the timing of that. I think it’s highly unlikely he will join us this season and we don’t have a specific start date yet.”

Fry left McLaren in 2010 to join Ferrari, then split from the Italian team at the end of 2014. He later worked as a consultant for the Manor F1 team.

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9 comments on “McLaren in talks with Pat Fry over possible return to its technical team”

  1. This is worrying. I’ve never really held Fry in high regard, and he didn’t produce one good car in about four seasons in Ferrari. Why sign him if they are already getting James Key? Wouldn’t a team of Key, Prodromu and Fry be too much? Perhaps they are going for the Mercedes approach of having 4 technical directors.

    1. Well, ‘we are still working on the timing’ w. Key means ‘we hope to get him at some point, but it won’t be in time to have any influence on next years car, and maybe not even for the 2020 car either’, in other words, they need someone.

    2. Well, they say he never produced any good cars for Ferrari. But his cars were never running at the back if the grid. I just don’t know how McLean got into this mess.
      Wonder if the admin staff has been drinking the cars.
      They seem to have more managers and accountants than engineers and technicians.

  2. So Alonso will continue to run the team even when he’s not racing for them? :)

  3. Out of the fire into the Pat Fry pan. McLaren is dead… happy.

  4. For the sake of the sport I hope not, Ferrari were in a complete mess under his technical leadership with regard to the design philosophy and the development paths. I remember how Ferrari instead of developing a very good chassis in 2010 directed all its resources to copy the F-duct and then when it introduced it in Spain they have figured out that the performance source that year came from the exhausts which they have introduced in Valencia. In 2011, Ferrari missed completely the exhaust blown diffuser while RBR and McLaren designed their cars around it.
    Pat Fry was also responsible for the size zero concept in 2014 as he convinced Marmorini that the performance sacrificed by the small PU (in the hybrid era) could be gained by the efficient aero he introduced.

    1. That makes it read as if he’d fit right in at McLaren though, doesn’t it …

      I guess at least he knows the team from his years with them, and perhaps we just haven’t heard the more promising names they are also talking to, but I do agree, we don’t have much evidence he is the guy they need.

  5. Sure that bit you quoted Brown on you got correct?
    Seems to me a rather disjointed statement, even for that goose.

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