Ex-Red Bull F1 engineer at forefront of McLaren’s new-look IndyCar team

Jamie Woodhouse
McLaren logo. California November 2019.

Former Red Bull Formula 1 engineer Gavin Ward will lead the new-look McLaren IndyCar team after being appointed as racing director.

The Arrow McLaren SP outfit forms a key part of McLaren Racing’s portfolio, having taken on a 75% share in the team after the 2021 IndyCar campaign.

And ahead of the 2023 season, reforms have been announced at the top of the team, which includes Ward moving into the role of racing director.

Ward is set to lead the technical performance team of director of operations, Max Neyron, director of performance, Nick Snyder, and director of competition, Billy Vincent.

Ward had joined the Arrow McLaren SP team in July 2022 as director of trackside engineering, having formerly worked as a race engineer for Team Penske following his departure from Red Bull.

At Red Bull he played his part in the team that won four Constructors’ titles in a row from 2010-13, with Sebastian Vettel taking the Drivers’ crown in all four of those seasons also.

“I’m honoured to step into this role and work alongside the other leaders to continue elevating Arrow McLaren SP and our competitiveness on the track,” said Ward.

“Max, Nick, Billy and I have worked really well together this past season, so we already have established an impressive baseline that will lead to a smooth start for 2023. I’m really excited to see what the team will do and welcome Brian to the team as well.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown added: “This leadership team has decades of racing success, with each bringing their own expertise to the group which will be a differentiator for the team as we grow to a three-car line-up in 2023 and continue to build on our heritage in the sport.

“Gavin has made a solid impact in the few short months he’s been with the team.”

That is not the only change for Arrow McLaren SP, as Brian Barnhart has joined the team to oversee operations as general manager.

Barnhart, the former IndyCar race director, has also previously served as race strategist for Colton Herta and ex-F1 driver Alexander Rossi, who also joins Arrow McLaren SP for the upcoming IndyCar season.

“We welcome Brian and the years of IndyCar experience he brings to the team,” Brown commented.

“I’m excited to join McLaren Racing as General Manager for Arrow McLaren SP,” Barnhart added.

“The team has made incredible strides in challenging the top teams for the championship over the past two seasons. AMSP is full of talent, from their drivers to the mechanics and every position in between, and I’m honoured to join them.”

Read more: Mario Andretti says IndyCar deserves points increase in FIA’s Super Licence system