Ex-McLaren technical chief already linked with new team after shock abrupt exit

Jamie Woodhouse
Former McLaren technical director of car concept and performance David Sanchez.

McLaren announced the departure of David Sanchez after just three months with the team.

Former McLaren technical director of car concept and performance David Sanchez could be set for a swift return to the Formula 1 grid, according to a report.

Following the conclusion of his gardening leave period after departing Ferrari, Sanchez headed for Woking to link-up with the McLaren team in time for the start of the year. But, just three months after joining, it was confirmed that Sanchez had left.

David Sanchez to join Alpine after McLaren departure?

But just like his McLaren tenure was very brief, his spell out of F1 may follow suit as respected Japanese publication autosport-web claim sources close to Alpine have informed them that Sanchez is closing in on a move to Enstone.

It is claimed that Sanchez would join as chief technical officer once his current gardening leave period ends in July. It would not be Sanchez’s first experience of working with the team, as he started his F1 career there in 2005 – when they were known as Renault – as an aerodynamicist.

Alpine is a team which has undergone major personnel changes in recent times, starting with a shock clearout of senior figures while the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix race weekend was in progress. Team principal Otmar Szafnauer, sporting director Alan Permane and chief technical officer Pat Fry all departed at that point.

The exodus has continued this year with the exits of technical director Matt Harman and aerodynamics chief Dirk de Beer, Alpine bottom of the Constructors’ Championship with zero points scored after four rounds of the F1 2024 season.

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When Sanchez’s surprise McLaren exit was announced, he spoke of a misalignment between the role he was offered and the one he actually found upon joining the team.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this team,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

McLaren sit P3 in the Constructors’ standings, Lando Norris having scored their only podium of the season so far via a P3 finish in Australia.

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