McLaren have a new man in charge as Andrea Stella takes over to replace Andreas Seidl, but who is the 51-year-old Italian?
Although he hasn’t been a public figure to the extent that Zak Brown and Seidl have been, Stella is an integral part of McLaren furniture.
The Italian was born in 1971 and graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering from Sapienza University in Rome before joining Ferrari at the turn of the millennium.
Stella could hardly have dreamed of a better time to join the sport as he became a performance engineer for Michael Schumacher from 2002 to 2006 and then after that he played the same role for Kimi Raikkonen from 2006 to 2008.
In 2009 he became race engineer for the Finn and filled the same role when Fernando Alonso joined the team in 2010.
Stella left Ferrari in 2015 to join McLaren where he started as Head of Race Operations before becoming Performance Director in 2018.
In 2019, he became race director, which was his role until Tuesday’s announcement with Brown stating that Stella was his first choice for the role.
Although Stella is yet to hold a top position in the sport, he certainly has enough Formula 1 experience for McLaren to trust him.
In a press conference with select 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 that he had learned something different from everyone.
“You learn from anyone,” Stella said. “I think for me that’s a very strong philosophy, especially when you can work with strong personalities, very capable people. There is a lot to learn.
“Firstly with Jean Todt, his incredible dedication to the team and his role, I think that’s something that gave me a little idea of what it means to be involved.
“He had this early imprint of my Formula 1 career and I had the privilege of working in such a prosperous environment as I did in the early 2000s.
“As for Stefano, I think Stefano is definitely a people person. Formula 1 is about engineering and operations, but at the end of the day it’s mostly about people.
“So I think Stefano helped me understand some elements and qualities that you need to be highly regarded as a team leader, as well as some ways of interacting with people based on respect, listening and simply managing your ego.
“Andreas, he also brought some engineering experience from his previous experiences, so that was really helpful for me in shaking up the race team, making progress in certain areas like pit stops.
“I think when we talk about the progress that McLaren has made in terms of pit stops, I would like to pay tribute to Andreas’ contribution from that point of view.
“So I think what I take away from working with Andreas is this: the importance of knowing the business, the importance of knowing even the technical, engineering and operational aspects, so that you can coach the people and you can support people in a more efficient way to progress.
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