Who is Andrea Stella? From Michael Schumacher’s engineer to McLaren team principal

Sam Cooper
McLaren racing director Andrea Stella. Mogyorod, Hungary, July 2022.

McLaren's Andrea Stella at the pit wall. Mogyorod, Hungary, July 2022.

McLaren have a new man in charge as Andrea Stella makes the step up to replace Andreas Seidl, but who is the 51-year-old Italian?

Although he has not been a public figure to the extent that Zak Brown and Seidl have, Stella is very much part of the McLaren furniture.

The Italian was born in 1971 and would go on to graduate from the Sapienza University of Rome with a degree in Aerospace Engineering before joining Ferrari at the turn of the millennium.

Stella could hardly have wished for a better time to join the sport as he became performance engineer for Michael Schumacher from 2002 to 2006 and then after that he performed the same role for Kimi Raikkonen from 2006 to 2008.

In 2009 he became race engineer for the Finn and fulfilled the same role when Fernando Alonso joined the team in 2010.

Stella departed Ferrari in 2015 to move to McLaren where he started as head of race operations before becoming performance director in 2018.

In 2019 he became racing director, which was his role up until Tuesday’s announcement with Brown stating Stella was his first choice for the role.

While Stella has yet to take a top job in the sport, he certainly has enough experience in Formula 1 for McLaren to trust him.

During a press conference with selected media including PlanetF1.com, Stella was asked what he had learned from previous bosses such as Jean Todt, Stefano Domenicali and Seidl, and the 51-year-old said he had learned something different from each.

“You learn from anybody,” Stella said. “I think for me, that’s a very strong philosophy, especially when you can work together with strong personalities, very capable people. There’s a lot to learn.

“First of all with Jean Todt, his incredible dedication to the team and to his role, I think is something that gave me a bit of an idea of what it means to be committed.

“He had this early imprinting of my career in Formula 1 and I had the privilege to work in such a successful environment as the early 2000s.

“As for Stefano, I think Stefano is definitely a people person. Formula 1 is about engineering and operations, but is ultimately very much about people.

“So I think from Stefano, I understood some elements and qualities that you need to be highly regarded as a team principal, and also some ways of interacting with people based on respect, listening and just managing your ego.

“Andreas, he also brought some engineering experience from previous experience so this was very useful for me in shaking up the race team, making progress in some of the areas like pit stops.

“I think when we talk about the progress made in terms of pit stops by McLaren, I would like to pay tribute to Andreas’ input from that point of view.

“So I think what I’m taking from collaborating with Andreas is this: the importance of knowing the business, the importance of knowing even the technical, engineering, operational aspects, such that you can coach people and you can support people in a more effective way to make progress.”

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