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McLaren's big ex-Ferrari F1 hire out after three months

by Josh Suttill
3 min read

One of McLaren's major 2024 Formula 1 technical signings, David Sanchez, has already departed the team just three months into starting his role.

Then-Ferrari staff member Sanchez was signed by McLaren back in February 2023 but couldn't start work until January 2024, when his gardening leave ended.

He started work as one of three McLaren technical directors (his remit was car concept and performance) under team principal Andrea Stella's revised McLaren technical leadership.

Stella had instigated his new leadership structure one month after Sanchez's initial signing, with then-technical director James Key departing in March 2023.

But just three months after Sanchez (pictured below) started work on January 1, 2024, McLaren confirmed his departure from the team in a surprise release on Tuesday.

Stella described the move as a "further step in the evolution of the technical department" and described Sanchez's departure as a "mutual decision".

He continued: "Upon our joint reflection, it became apparent that the role, responsibilities, and ambitions associated with David’s position did not align with our original expectations when he agreed to join us in February 2023.

David Sanchez looks on in McLaren uniform during the 2024 Formula 1 season

"Recognising this misalignment, both David and I agreed that it would be best to part ways now, so to enable him to pursue other opportunities that will better leverage the full scale and breadth of his remarkable skillset.

"We greatly and gratefully value the contributions that David has made during his relatively short time with us, and we wish him the best in his future endeavours."

Sanchez said he was "grateful for the opportunity" and stressed his respect for the team remains undiminished.

"While the role we envisioned and had agreed to was not aligned with the reality of the position I found, I leave with respect for the leadership, admiration for the dedication of my colleagues, and appreciation for the openness and honesty in which we discussed and arrived at this decision," he said.

"I wish this team continued success as it continues its journey to the front of the grid where it belongs. I look forward to my next challenge within F1.”

The new structure

McLaren chief designer Rob Marshall in McLaren uniform smiles, Formula 1 2024

In the wake of Sanchez's departure, McLaren has unveiled a revised technical leadership structure.

Red Bull signing Rob Marshall (pictured above) switches from technical director (engineering and design) to chief designer.

Neil Houldey goes from deputy to Marshall's former role of technical director of engineering.

Stella will assume Sanchez's former duties in the interim and that role is tweaked to technical director of performance (now minus the car concept element). Stella already covered this role while Sanchez was completing his gardening leave last year.

McLaren technical leadership, Jan 1 2024
Rob Marshall - technical director, engineering and design
David Sanchez - technical director, car concept and performance
Peter Prodromou - technical director, aerodynamics

McLaren technical leadership, April 2 2024
Rob Marshall - Chief designer
Neil Houldey - technical director, engineering
Peter Prodromou - technical director, aerodynamics
Andrea Stella - technical director, performance

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