McLaren will finally have the services of two senior staff members as their respective gardening leave periods come to an end this month.
The Woking outfit opted to shake up their technical team last March when director James Key was fired and in his place came not one, but three replacements.
Led by Zak Brown, McLaren opted to further divide the technical role and this month, that team will legally be able to work together.
David Sanchez and Rob Marshall to officially join McLaren
Such is the nature of Formula 1 contracts that moves to rival teams, or even any other organisation, can be a long time coming with gardening leave periods usually inserted into a contract.
In most cases, this will mean teams will be able to sign new staff members but unable to actually bring them on board until much later, which is true in McLaren’s case who were able to attract the services of staff from two key rivals with Red Bull’s Rob Marshall and Ferrari’s David Sanchez now joining the team.
On their new recruits, CEO Brown said their additions would mean McLaren start 2024 “on the front foot.”
“Speaking of the future, we have plenty to look forward to, both in 2024 and in the years ahead,” Brown said in an open letter towards the tail end of 2023.
“Significant recent investments in our infrastructure, including a new wind tunnel, a next-generation simulator and an upgraded manufacturing unit will help accelerate our journey back to the front.
“Plus, we have new senior personnel starting with us in January, in Rob Marshall and David Sanchez, who, combined with our already awesome team, should ensure we start 2024 on the front foot.”
Marshall will fulfil the role of engineering and design director, while Sanchez is the new car concept and performance director. Existing McLaren employee Peter Prodromou is the aerodynamics head.
All three will report to team principal Andrea Stella and he said Marshall’s hiring was a sign of McLaren’s ambition.
“I am incredibly pleased that Rob will be joining McLaren,” Stella said.
“With over 25 years working in motorsport, Rob comes to us with a wealth of expertise and experience, elevated by his tenure and track record at Red Bull Racing.
“Rob’s appointment is one of the fundamental steps and a natural fit to aid the team’s journey to get back to our winning ways.
“We are a team with the ambition of fighting for championships, but over the last couple of seasons we have not shown a steady upward trend from an on-track competitiveness point of view.
“Over the last few months, we have worked towards inverting this trend. The approach we have adopted is comprehensive and is based on strengthening the team from a people and expertise point of view, along with the ongoing projects to upgrade technology and infrastructure that will shortly come to fruition.
“People and culture are our most important resource. We have recently invested and worked towards developing and empowering the internal talents available at McLaren, and we already perceive and measure the positive impact.
“In parallel, we have been strengthening our roster by bringing new talents on board.
“The list was already strong and encouraging, and the addition of a high-end and skilled individual like Rob will further consolidate our ability to establish the highest technical standards at McLaren and be in condition to design winning F1 cars.”