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Technical Director James Key Parts Ways With McLaren

Written by Hugh Waring, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri


McLaren has announced that David Sanchez will replace technical director James Key, as part of a restructuring process in their F1 team.


Following a frustrating start to the 2023 season, McLaren has yet to score points, with below-par showings at the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian Grands-Prix. The Woking-based team has now opted for a restructuring.


The historic team has confirmed that they will have a team of three specialists, rather than just a single technical director. All three specialists will report to newly appointed team principal Andrea Stella.


Image Credit: XPBimages


Key, appointed to the team back in 2019, has departed effective immediately. His departure has left an opening for former Ferrari Head of Vehicle Concepts, David Sanchez, who has only recently resigned from his role at the Italian manufacturer. Although the Frenchman is currently on ‘gardening leave’, he will join the British outfit at the beginning of 2024, and join his fellow specialists under the position of ‘Technical Director of Car Concept Performance’.


Image Credit: XPBimages


Sanchez will be a part of a trio which include Neil Houldey, who has been at McLaren since 2006, and promoted to Technical Director for Engineering and Design, as well as Peter Prodromous, who takes up the new position of Technical Director for Aerodynamics.


These are not the only changes the British team has announced. Giuseppe Pesce has been promoted to Director of Aerodynamics and Chief of Staff, secondary to Prodromou. Piers Thynne will move to Chief Operating Officer, supporting Stella as the newly appointed Team Principal.


Image Credits: Dan Istitene / Getty Images


Stella was quoted thanking Key for his commitment over the past 4 seasons:

"Firstly, I'd like to thank James for his hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren and wish him well for the future,"


"Looking ahead, I am determined and fully focused on leading McLaren back to the front of the field.


"Since taking on the team principal role I have been given the mandate to take a strategic approach to ensure the team is set on a long-term foundation, for us to build on over the years.


"This new structure provides clarity and effectiveness within the team's technical department and puts us in a strong position to maximise performance, including optimising the new infrastructure upgrades we have coming in 2023.


"Alongside Peter and Neil, I'm delighted to welcome David Sanchez back to the team to complete an experienced and highly specialised Technical Executive team, with the collective aim of delivering greater on-track car performance.


"I'm looking forward to continuing working together with Piers, who will play a fundamental role to define and deliver the plans to create an innovative and effective F1 team."



Sanchez also stated that he was looking forward to joining the team again, and is looking forward to the new challenge. The Frenchman previously worked at McLaren from 2007 to 2012.


"I'm excited to be returning to the team in Woking and look forward to working alongside Peter and Neil and the rest of the team to achieve our performance objectives,"


"McLaren has always had an extremely talented group of people and alongside the new infrastructure upgrades coming online this year, we have an exciting prospect ahead that I'm delighted to be a part of."



The announcement comes just as McLaren is involved in a massive development of its technical facilities, including a new simulator and wind tunnel at its factory in Woking, with the aim to catapult the team towards fighting for wins in the upcoming seasons.






1 comment

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23 mars 2023

Its always moderately amusing when people brought in to help transform the team or return them to winning ways not too long ago step aside or leave. From todays announcement it seems lots of new faces will be appearing at McLaren, hopefully it will help. Hopeful they have replaced the right people and restructured accurately. For me, I would be looking a little higher up the employee structure charts to make my changes. There are a few other people brought in to 'transform' this team back to winning ways... granted it takes multiple years, but on this seasons evidence they are maybe further away than at any point in recent history and whilst today may be a good step I…

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