How Ferrari’s move for Fred Vasseur pushed McLaren into action

Sam Cooper
McLaren CEO Zak Brown. Silverstone July 2022.

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown walks through the paddock. Silverstone July 2022.

Zak Brown revealed that Fred Vasseur joining Ferrari resulted in McLaren letting Andreas Seidl go earlier than planned.

It was announced on Tuesday that the German would be swapping McLaren for Sauber as he moved across to become CEO and prepare for Audi’s arrival in F1.

McLaren reacted quickly by naming executive director of racing Andrea Stella as his replacement and Brown has now revealed the plans were in the pipeline for quite a long time.

Speaking to select media including, Brown said that Seidl had informed the team of his decision to leave during the 2022 season but Vasseur’s appointment at Ferrari brought up his exit date.

“Andreas, who did an excellent job here at McLaren for the last handful of seasons, in a very transparent manner informed me during the season that he was going to go elsewhere when his contract was up at the end of 2025,” Brown said.

“Probably pretty clear where that destination would be, which was quite understandable, given his background.

“At that time we intended to continue for the foreseeable future, because the relationship is very, very healthy and his work discipline is very strong.

“What we were going to do at that point was at the end of the season, let the world know that change would come in at the end of the ’25 season.

“And after we intended to go public, the first person I was going to call to see if they would lead McLaren’s Formula 1 team is the gentleman sitting next to me, Andrea, but not at that point being sure whether that would be something that he would consider.

“In the fast pace of the Formula 1 environment when it became clear that Fred was going to go to Ferrari and [co-owner of Sauber] Finn Rausing is someone that I’ve known for a decade and get along with very well. [He] gave me a call to see if there was a discussion to be had to potentially release Andreas early.

“My reaction was if Andrea would be happy to join as team principal, then I’d be very happy to make that change.”

Brown said he had “good conversations” with Stella about the step up and that the 51-year-old Italian was always his first choice.

“I went about having a conversation with Andrea, pre-him having any awareness that Andreas was going to move on. After some good conversations, Andrea kindly accepted the role, which then put us in a very comfortable position to move forward.

“Andrea was always our number one choice to lead the team moving moving forward. So that all came together quite rapidly. And here we are with Andrea now is our team principal, which myself, our drivers and our team are extremely excited about.”

Read more: McLaren confirm Andrea Stella as new team boss, Alfa sign Andreas Seidl