‘Silly season’ is usually associated with the manic and unpredictable driver moves during the summer break, however it seems that team principals are starting their own edition over the winter.
Mattia Binotto’s resignation saw Ferrari replace him with Alfa Romeo’s Fred Vasseur, but just as the dust was beginning to settle on the Binotto saga, Jost Capito announced that he would be departing Williams and Andreas Seidl was appointed as CEO of Sauber, seemingly out of the blue.
Seidl’s move to Sauber left McLaren scrambling to appoint a new team principal, however, rather than continuing the domino effect and appointing a new boss from elsewhere, they chose to promote from within and hand the job to Andrea Stella.
The Italian earned his stripes at Ferrari, working with the likes of Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso before moving to McLaren, where he has so far served as Head of Race Operations and Racing Director.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has suggested that the decision to appoint Stella as the team’s new team principal was an easy one, such is McLaren’s confidence in the Italian.
“Andrea was always our number one choice to lead the team moving forward,” claimed Brown.
“This feels like we won’t miss a beat versus introducing someone from the outside, because it takes quite a while to get up to speed.
“That all came together quite rapidly, and here we are with Andrea now as our team principal, which myself, our drivers [and] our team is extremely excited about.”
Brown has explained that McLaren believe that Stella is the man to take the team back to the very top of Formula 1, making the decision to appoint the Italian a no-brainer.
“Andrea obviously has a wealth of experience, not only with McLaren but a rich history with Ferrari, so is someone who knew the team inside out,” he explained.
“He is a very hands-on person in the racing team, which was of high interest to me and the shareholders. We wanted to have someone leading the team who would get their hands dirty, so to speak.
“I think as we try and build a team to get back to competing for the world championships, it has to be a team effort.”
Andreas Seidl will not be departing the team for Sauber until the end of the calendar year, meaning that Stella has a few weeks to plan his first steps as McLaren team principal ahead of the 2023 season.