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Brown aimed to appoint Stella as McLaren F1 head in 2018

Brown aimed to appoint Stella as McLaren F1 head in 2018.

11/05/2024

In 2018, Andrea Stella turned down the top spot at McLaren F1, leading to Andreas Seidl’s recruitment.

Zak Brown is very pleased to have Andrea Stella leading McLaren F1. The former engineer has long been the team’s sporting director and took over as boss when Andreas Seidl left. His CEO is effusive about the Italian.

“He leads by example, with his thinking, communication, transparency, he’s not political, he’s a team player,” Brown said. “And so, what does that mean? No one works harder than Andrea. He listens to people. He considers their perspectives. He is very thoughtful.”

“He takes everything into account. He communicates his directions and decisions very well, explaining them. He doesn’t just say, ‘I’ve heard, but here’s what I think. And here’s why we’re going to do it this way.’ He’s interested in nothing but his performance.”

“He therefore does not get distracted by other activities, as perhaps other team bosses might. He just wants to race. He is very calm. When you put all this together, he’s a great leader.”

“He communicates very well, very clearly, very simply. You know, there are no frills or fanciful worries. He is fair, you know, and it’s inspiring and motivating.”

“And, you know, when he’s done, sort of, talking to you, he dives into the work and gets down to it. The impact he’s had is clear. And, you know, look at the progress the team has made over the last 18 months.”

A dual leadership inevitable

Brown is convinced that current teams need both a CEO and a team principal, the duo he forms with Stella: “I think it’s very important, especially with the composition we have. You know, these teams are large today.

“The former role of the team director was to lead the racing team, deal with the media, partners, etc. I relieve Andrea of much of these tasks, allowing him to focus on the racing team.”

“So, I think the best composition, at least the best composition for McLaren, is a CEO/TP role, as opposed to the traditional TP role. Because I think the sport is so big today and there are so many aspects to consider that you talk about spreading yourself thin.”

“You know, if Andrea took on all the media engagements that I work on or the partner engagements, he wouldn’t be present at every debrief, but he wants to be present at every debrief because that brings performance and focus.”

“At the same time, if I were the team director, you know, compromises would have to be made. So I think the scale of the task of running a Formula 1 team actually requires two people.”

Stella did not feel ready in 2018

In 2018, when Eric Boullier left McLaren, Brown considered promoting Stella to director, but the Italian did not feel ready. So, he placed him in the role of sporting director to prepare him for his eventual rise.

“We talked about it. He felt he wasn’t ready at that time. He thought about the team and felt he wasn’t ready. So, we did not promote him. He didn’t want to be promoted, but he took on a more significant role.”

“And even when I promoted him this time, when I called him, it wasn’t immediately yes, it was, let me think. Let me think. He is very thoughtful, he thinks. And so, even at that time, he was considering in which areas he was strong.”

“And it’s a bit like he was looking in the mirror to see what his strengths and weaknesses are. So I think he wasn’t ready in 2018. I thought he probably was, but it turned out he was ready now.”

Brown aimed to appoint Stella as McLaren F1 head in 2018

Brown aimed to appoint Stella as McLaren F1 head in 2018.. Brown aimed to appoint Stella as McLaren F1 head in 2018.

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