Pat Fry, McLaren, 2018

McLaren engineering director Pat Fry to leave team

2019 F1 season

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Pat Fry, who worked as engineering director on McLaren’s current MCL34 chassis, is to leave the team, RaceFans understands.

A former long-term McLaren employee, Fry rejoined to the team in September last year. His return followed the departures of previous technical director Tim Goss and engineering director Matt Morris in the wake of McLaren’s poor start to the season.

Fry’s appointment was expected to be on an interim basis while McLaren awaited the arrival of new technical director James Key, who joined them from Toro Rosso in March. When approached for a comment by RaceFans a McLaren spokesperson said the team does not comment on personnel developments as a matter of policy, but did not issue a denial.

Possible future destinations for Fry are thought to include Renault or Williams. The latter announced last week it had formally parted ways with former chief technical officer Paddy Lowe.

Fry originally worked at McLaren from 1993 to 2010 before taking up an assistant technical director role at Ferrari. He later became engineering director at the team but left at the end of 2014. He rejoined McLaren last year following a brief spell at the Manor team, which collapsed at the end of 2016.

RaceFans understands Fry will serve a six-month term of gardening leave following his departure from McLaren.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has described Fry as one of two fathers of the MCL34 chassis which has helped turn the team’s performance around last year. McLaren ended 2018 sixth in the world championship but scored just 10 points over the final nine races. It currently holds fourth in the standings.

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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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  • 12 comments on “McLaren engineering director Pat Fry to leave team”

    1. Stephen Higgins
      2nd July 2019, 18:26

      That’s a blow. Just as Macca are on the way back …

      1. How do you figure? McLaren have the two people they want in place now. Fry was only ever keeping the seat warm and McLaren would have been planning on this from day one. Don’t see how or why anything would change.

      2. Fry’s departure is not a blow. It’s James Key who is going to blow everyone away with the positive things he does at McLaren over the next years. The positive impacts he had at Sauber and Toro Rosso are almost legendary. He is going to do great things for McLaren, me thinks.

    2. To me it looks like Pat is the exact person Williams needs right now, and, if he is available, they should be begging for him to come. There is nobody else of his caliber and recent expertise available. The success of MCL34 is a good testament to that.
      And in the spirit of good sportsmanship, McLaren should let him go there without gardening leave.

      1. @njoydesign – I’m hoping this is the case. It is perhaps coinciding with Williams officially announcing the departure of Lowe this week.

      2. Sounds like it is just rumor that it could be Williams or Renault.
        I like the sound of the former. Sooner would be better than later too.
        Never let the facts get in the way of a really well placed and believable rumor.

    3. @njoydesign i totally agree with you except for the last sentence. Allowing him to leave without gardening leave wouldn’t be “good sportsmanship”, it would be complete incompetence from McLaren. This is still F1, not a primary school sports day. McLaren have/will not let Fry leave so he can just go help someone else try to beat them. He is leaving because they now have the team in place they’ve been wait for. ie James Key and Andreas Seidl

    4. I would love to have a gardening leave about now.

      1. @darryn
        People watching F1 seriously under estimate the joy that experience while on gardening leave. Here everyone, trying to push Pat Fry in to his next job… maybe he just wants to relax before switching jobs.

    5. I’m a bit torn.

      Williams definitely need a boost and my head says that would be ideal but my heart leans towards Renault because I’m a fan of Dan and he (and Nico) need a better car.

      If only Renault could prise Newy from RBR …… sigh

    6. Do the right thing and join Williams please Pat.

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