Stella turned down McLaren Team Principal role in 2018

Stella turned down McLaren Team Principal role in 2018

Stella turned down McLaren Team Principal role in 2018

Andrea Stella turned down a promotion to his current role as McLaren Team Principal back in 2018 as he felt he was not ready and Andreas Seidl was brought in instead.

The Italian Formula 1 engineer joined McLaren in 2015, following Fernando Alonso from Ferrari, where he acted as the Spaniard’s race engineer.

Stella’s first job with the Woking squad was Head of race operations. He then became became Performance Director in 2018 while in 2019 he was promoted to Executive Director, Racing before replacing Andreas Seidl as Team Principal ahead of the 2023 F1 season.

But McLaren CEO Zac Brown revealed than Stella’s 2018 promotion should’ve been into Team Principal but the latter refused as he felt it was too soon.

Speaking to F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Brown said: “He [Stella] felt he wasn’t ready at the time so we didn’t promote him.

“He didn’t want to be promoted but he then got a bigger role. Even when we promoted him this time around, when I called him, it wasn’t an immediate yes. It was: ‘let me reflect.’ He reflects, he’s very thoughtful.

“Even then it was like: ‘well, tell me more and what do you think? When do you think I’d be good at it?’ He looks in a mirror to see – ‘what do you think my strengths and weaknesses are?’ He felt he wasn’t ready in 2018. I thought he probably was. But he’s certainly turned out to be ready now,” the American explained.

Brown: Stella is leading by example

Brown: I can’t say enough great things about Stella

The promotion of Stella ended up being an inspired decision by Brown, as McLaren have gone from strength to strength under his watch, a path that was culminated by Lando Norris’ victory at the Miami GP.

Brown hailed Stella’s work ethic, he said: “Andrea is leading by example – his thoughtfulness, his communication, his transparency.

“He’s not political. He’s a team player. No one works harder than Andrea. He listens to people, he listens to their perspectives. He takes everything on board.

“He communicates his direction and decisions very well,” Brown added. “He’s not interested in anything other than performance, so he doesn’t get distracted by a lot of the other activities that maybe some of the other team bosses do. He just wants to go racing. He’s very calm.

“He wants to be in every single debrief because that brings performance and focus at the same time. When you put that all together, he’s an awesome leader. My whole leadership team has done a fantastic job leading by example in the same way Andrea does with the racing team.

“All those people are leading a term Andrea uses, ‘World Championship material’, and that’s what everyone’s trying to do in their respective departments to ultimately power our racing team,” the McLaren CEO concluded.