The major McLaren signings as behind-the-scenes work comes to light

Thomas Maher
McLaren CEO Zak Brown

Zak Brown is entering his eighth year with McLaren.

McLaren is working apace to get new signings Rob Marshall and David Sanchez fully up to speed for the F1 2024 season.

McLaren heads into 2024 under increased expectations after a tremendous 2023 turnaround saw them become the second-quickest team on the grid – even if their eventual Constructors’ Championship position didn’t reflect that speed as a result of their slow start.

With infrastructure improvements back at base coming on line, McLaren team boss Andrea Stella is hugely enthusiastic about the work being carried out to improve the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking as some new key signings also find their feet.

Andrea Stella: New signings ‘adding horsepower’ to McLaren

During the week, McLaren outlined how they have rolled out new CNC milling machines to streamline their machining processes and speed up the manufacturing of components – the first time in 20 years the machines have been upgraded.

Added to that is a new wind tunnel, a new state-of-the-art simulator and the signing of new senior staff in the form of Rob Marshall from Red Bull and David Sanchez from Ferrari.

Marshall had been chief engineering officer with Red Bull, while Sanchez had led the vehicle concept of the 2022 Ferrari before leaving the team in early ’23.

All the progress points to further upward momentum and Stella outlined his pride in how everything is proceeding ahead of the 2024 season.

“We have the tools from an infrastructure point of view,” he told the official Formula 1 website at the launch of McLaren’s MCL38 livery last week.

“We talked about this topic extensively last year and now, finally, these tools have actually been used to develop the car in the wind tunnel.

“For instance, the MCL38 has been entirely developed in the MTC wind tunnel. This is really great news for McLaren, the manufacturing infrastructure, and we are testing the MCL38 in the new simulator. So this is definitely very effective.

“We see the benefit and then, from a staff point of view with Rob Marshall and David Sanchez joining, we have added horsepower to the team.” recommends

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Stella believes all the new ingredients will lead to evident progress on track over the next season or two.

“Now we’re working on integration, and getting Rob and David to know everyone at McLaren,” he said, “and benchmarking the way we do things from a methodological point of view in particular, looking at the car,  looking at what’s coming, and I think we will have an impact of these important additions distributed over the 2024 season and then more clearly onto 2025.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown paid tribute to the “incremental gains” that his team keeps rolling out and said there won’t be any lifting of the throttle in a bid to find more performance.

“They’re very important,” he said of the ongoing improvement project.

“Formula 1 is all about incremental gains – whether it’s incremental gains from your people, or the technology and the resources that you have.

“So we do have everything that we need, but it’s a very competitive sport. We’re very proud of all the work that everyone did last year.

“We have some new additions, which will be additive to this already great team, and some new technologies. I think, in Formula 1, there’s no silver bullet – it’s about incremental gains everywhere and that’s where the team is pushing very hard.”

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