Andreas Seidl, Porsche, 2018

Former Porsche LMP1 chief Seidl to run McLaren’s F1 team

2019 F1 season

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McLaren has announced Andreas Seidl, the former boss of Porsche’s LMP1 World Endurance Championship team, will become the new managing director of its Formula 1 squad.

Seidl will join McLaren “during 2019”, the team announced on Thursday. His appointment is part of an extensive management shake-up which began last year.

He will report to McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown alongside McLaren IndyCar managing director Robert Fernley and sporting director Gil de Ferran. McLaren is also awaiting the arrival of James Key fromToro Rosso as its new technical director.

Key will report to Seidl and head up the technical department comprising Peter Prodromou, Andrea Stella and Pat Fry. Paul James (team manager) and Simon Roberts (operations) will also report to Seidl.

The 43-year-old was Porsche’s team principal throughout their last WEC stint. Under his leadership they swept the series’ major trophies in three consecutive seasons, winning the constructors’ and drivers’ titles as well as taking victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Brown described Seidl’s appointment as doubly significant for the team. “First, it is another important step in our F1 performance recovery plan and long-term commitment to F1,” he said.

“Second, concentrated senior leadership on our F1 programme is an integral part of the long-term strategy of McLaren Racing to expand into other forms of global motorsport over time.”

“Andreas is a highly capable leader with a track record of success in everything he has been involved with and I look forward to working with him,” Brown added.

Prior to joining Porsche, Seidl worked in F1 for BMW Motorsport and BMW Sauber between 2000 and 2009. He described his new move as “an enormous privilege and challenge, which I am ready for and committed to.”

“To have an opportunity to contribute to the McLaren legacy is extremely special and inspiring,” he added.

“McLaren has the vision, leadership and experience but, most importantly, the people to return to the front, and that will be my absolute focus and mission. I can’t wait to join the team and begin working with my colleagues at McLaren, our partners at Renault and, of course, Carlos [Sainz Jnr] and Lando [Norris].”

In addition to the restructuring of its management team, McLaren has also revised the structure of the various companies which comprise the group. McLaren Technology Group has been renamed McLaren Services Ltd and is no longer the parent company to McLaren Racing and McLaren Applied Technologies. The McLaren Marketing and Team McLaren businesses have also been absorbed within McLaren Racing.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “Former Porsche LMP1 chief Seidl to run McLaren’s F1 team”

  1. OK, I don’t know about him as such, but this is probably the first announcement from McLaren that gives hope that they know what they’re doing and have a long-term plan. Key running the technical side of things, with Seidl running the team, and Zak overseeing things at a higher level and addressing funding.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      10th January 2019, 11:31

      This seems like a great aquisition on the face of it, but much like when Capito and Boullier were both in place as COO and Sporting Director (I think) respectively, the whole thing seems a bit top heavy again….

      Zak Brown – CEO
      Gil De Ferran – Sporting Director
      Andreas Seidl – Managing Director (F1)
      Bob Fernley – Managing Director (Indy)
      James Key – Technical Director
      Peter Prodromou – Chief Engineer
      Paul James – Team Manager
      Simon Roberts – Operation Director

      The article does a good job of explaining who sits where, but surely this is two many cooks? here’s bound to be stepping on toes somewhere here.

      Who will hand out the Freddos?

      1. Alonso, in his alter-ego role as Chief Motivator ;-)

        That said, @fullcoursecaution , when you list it out like that, it does seem a little complex. It might pan out favourably (remember when Merc felt top-heavy with Brawn, Toto, etc.), or not.

        I’ve been quite negative in my comments about the current McLaren for a while now, so this is probably my attempt to see them in a better light. Give me my two minutes, man! :-)

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          10th January 2019, 12:14

          Ah yes, Fred, of course! @phylyp

          I would like to see them replicate the Red-Bull triangle that seems to have worked very well in the long term. Brown (Marko), Seidl (Horner) and Key (Newey) perhaps, although Prodromou is a valuable piece on the board too.

          I’m not convinced of the value DeFerran brings, outside of being Nando’s Indy coach… He seems a natural fit for Fernley’s current job, and Bob is wasted in that minor role.
          I’d rather they freed him up to run Renault or Williams or something. Or give him the F1 managing director post and let Seidl run a different F1 team.

        2. No, he is the owner, everyone reports to Alonso, especially Zak

      2. @fullcoursecaution, quite a few teams have a fairly top heavy organisational structure when you look at them.

        For example, if you were to look at Force India at the start of the year, their organisational structure for individuals in comparable roles was as follows:
        Team Principal – Vijay Mallya
        Deputy Team Principal – Rob Fernley
        Chief Operating Officer – Otmar Szafnauer
        Technical Director – Andrew Green
        Sporting Director – Andy Stevenson
        Production Director – Bob Halliwell
        Chief Engineer – Tom McCullough

        That is just part of the senior management (not mentioning the chief designers, heads of individual departments and so forth). Now, Mallya’s removal means that his role as Team Principal went to Szafnauer, but it is not as if they are that light in the senior management ranks.

        Similarly, other major teams are not exactly light in terms of senior management either – this is part of Red Bull’s senior management:
        Team Principal – Christian Horner
        Chief Technical Officer – Adrian Newey
        Chief Engineering Officer – Rob Marshall
        Chief Engineer (Car Engineering) – Paul Monaghan
        Chief Engineer (Performance Engineering) – Dan Fallows
        Technical Director – Pierre Waché
        Team Manager – Jonathan Wheatley
        Head of Production and Logistics – Paul Field

        Again, that is not the full list – that is just a section of the more public roles that Red Bull mention, and it shows that Red Bull are quite a bit more top heavy than perhaps you realised.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          10th January 2019, 19:48

          Hmm fair play anon, quality RB knowledge there!
          I kinda had the first impression this was a desparate ‘were slow so let’s just hire ALL the talent and hope it leads to gains’ sort of move, but perhaps it’s just par for the course as you say

        2. anon, your point about positions is very well-made. I do wonder if the matrix style is what is tripping McLaren up compared to the more linear approach seen elsewhere – not so much because of inherent weaknesses (Ron Dennis, when he originally introduced it, made it work very well) but because a weaker manager and/or one watching their back for power-plays (real or imagined) and/or one trying to keep track of too many relationships (internal or external) simultaneously won’t be sufficiently capable of keeping everything straight to optimise things the same way.

  2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    10th January 2019, 12:19

    With the Porsche man coming on board I would bet on Brendon Hartley becoming McLarens development driver

    1. @fullcoursecaution That would be great. From all his comment about how his own car behave and how deep technicality he explain it, I think he was one of the best development driver.

  3. If it means hearing less of Zak Brown’s marketing BS that fools no one, then it’s a good thing.

    1. Actually, I expect the ZBMBS quota to be upped, if anything he’ll have more free time to do what he really loves: grab a TV mic.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          10th January 2019, 21:57

          You can what you like about his management style, the man rocks a mean Copacabana

          1. Once you see him as a real life version of Martin Prince from “The Simpsons”, you can’t go back.

  4. “Second, concentrated senior leadership on our F1 programme is an integral part of the long-term strategy of McLaren Racing to expand into other forms of global motorsport over time.”

    This is the issue. The long-term thinking is to do other sports. However, the only reasoning behind them choosing other motorsports is that Alonso wants to do them.

    Other teams have better justification for their non-F1 sports activities:

    1. Mercedes is doing Formula E because in the global scheme of things, they identify with the automotive electric future and Formula E supports that vision.
    2. Red Bull does other daredevil sports because those sports identify with Red Bull’s daredevil brand image.
    3. Ferrari doesn’t do any other sport stays exclusive to F1 and exclusivity is also a critical part of the allure of the Ferrari brand.

    1. I’m fairly certain Ferrari race in WEC. Not in LMP1, but they do.

      1. That program is run by Corsa Clienti right? Does it recieve factory support in any form?

        1. Ferrari (the automotive company, of which the F1 team is considered an indivisible and inseparable part) supports Corsa Clienti itself in that it is the 100% funder and organiser of it. CC does not itself compete in any series, being a support network for others to race Ferraris (mostly at international level, though it takes some interest in Italian sportscar series also). However, it does not fund the various otherwise-privateer teams across the world who use Corsa Clienti resources to various degrees. Risi Competizione, which only has a low use of the system and has highly variable results in IMSA, is considered a privateer team. AF Corse, which uses them a lot in GTE and LMP2 alike (including drivers in many key roles, who are effectively selected by Corsa Clienti and remain on Ferrari’s retainer), is deemed a semi-works team.

          Ferrari acknowledges them mostly when it suits them. It is considering LMP1, but I’m not sure whether even that is intended to be a separate entry, as distinct from being Corse Client support of a privateer team making that leap. (If the hunch is correct, three guesses which team will be running the cars).

  5. yeah yeah yeah but when will Zac take his overpriced hat?

  6. By @dieterrencken‘s twit the other day in which he thanked Ferrari for sending them their sporting yearbooks, I think they have 3 sporting programs: F1, their Clienti thing, and GTs.

  7. Alonso’s quest for his third title continues.

  8. Malcolm Smethurst
    11th January 2019, 10:01

    Another big name. Would have been a bit more encouraging if he was going to bring the entire resources of the Volkswagen Group with him, though.

    1. Slowly slowly catchy monkey!

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