Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted McLaren have gained an “asset” in Rob Marshall, who joins the team as of the new year.
Marshall left Red Bull partway through last season after 17 years as a crucial member of their design team, first working directly with Adrian Newey as chief designer and then as chief engineering officer, before McLaren moved for his signature.
Having now served a period of enforced gardening leave, Marshall can now join his new team as of January as one of McLaren’s three-pronged technical director group, alongside Peter Prodromou and fellow new signing David Sanchez, who arrives from Ferrari.
Christian Horner: McLaren ‘could well be a factor’ in challenging Red Bull in 2024
Marshall will take on the role of ‘Technical Director, Engineering & Design’ at McLaren as he makes the move across from Red Bull, having been with his previous team since 2006 and through all their prior title successes.
He heads to a team on an upward trajectory too, with McLaren having been the second-fastest team for much of the second half of the 2023 season, following a raft of upgrades and concept changes brought to the MCL60.
Red Bull team boss Horner acknowledged that the Woking-based team might be snapping at their heels come 2024, and the addition of Marshall will only serve to help them even further.
“McLaren had a great second half of the year,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.
“There were times they were very, very competitive – our closest competitor at times during the second half of the season – and they’ve strengthened their team. Rob will for sure be an asset.
“But with Lando and Oscar, who was really impressive as a debutant this year, I think they could well be a factor next year.
“With stable regs, inevitably we’re going to get into diminishing returns because we’re probably close to the top of the curve in development that others haven’t been, so that will converge.
“We’re fully expecting, whether it’s McLaren or Ferrari or Mercedes or even Aston Martin, [they] could well be contenders next year.”
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