McLaren F1 car launch – Motor Sport Magazine
Just three rounds later though and Norris was on the podium in Imola, with McLaren fourth in the teams’ standings.
From there the team became locked in a struggle with Alpine over fourth – a team with arguably the faster car, but worse reliability.
In spite of Norris’s valiant efforts through remarkable consistency, it just wasn’t enough to hold off the Enstone duo of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
Woking had to settle for fifth in the end, with Ricciardo ultimately leaving the team and a protracted contract battle ending in the signing of Piastri as the team looked ahead to 2023.
2023: McLaren continues to build
This season is set to be a building season for McLaren, with the squad pinning hopes on its new wind tunnel – to be opened next year.
However, this doesn’t mean McLaren still can’t spring the odd surprise. Norris was capable of upsetting the Big Three axis at times in 2022, and with Piastri joining the party McLaren now has one of the most exciting young driver line-ups on the grid.
The team had a generally reliable 2022 car and executed races well – it just somehow needs to extract more pace from the MCL37.
New team principal Andrea Stella moves up to replace Andreas Seidl – who has switched to Sauber – so Woking will be focused on evolution rather than revolution in 2023.
McLaren 2023 F1 driver line-up
|Lando Norris||Oscar Piastri|
- McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo agree to terminate the deal at the end of 2022
- Lando Norris penned new extension up to 2025
- Oscar Piastri confirmed for this season and beyond with a multi-year deal
CEO: Zak Brown
Motor sport marketing mogul Zak Brown took over McLaren at the end of 2016, and has helped initiate a sea-change in both its F1 performance and overall racing activities.
The team went from almost propping up the grid in 2017 to finishing third in 2020 in what was a remarkable turnaround.
“I would say that the reason why we’re having success today is getting the right people in place: Andreas Seidl [team principal]James Key [technical director]Andrea Stella [racing director and Piers [Thynne, operations director] have done an awesome job and that’s just on the racing side,” Brown said Motor Sport’s ‘My big break’ podcast last year.
As well as expanding the team’s motor sport participation to include IndyCar, Formula E and Extreme E, Brown has managed to draw in sponsors such as British American Tobacco, Google and NEOM to the Woking squad.
The list of names attached to McLaren has come partly through the team remaking its image into one of the most engaging outfits on the grid, partly focused around Norris and its social media output.
Team principal: Andrea Stella
Previously a race engineer for Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, Andrea Stella has been McLaren’s executive director of racing since 2019, having initially joined in 2015.
The team will hope the Italian’s appointment is a step which will help it seamlessly move on from Seidl’s departure.
“His move into this role is a great example of the strength in depth we have in our team,” said Brown.
Technical director: James Key
Having spent several years at what is now Aston Martin, James Key became one of the youngest ever technical directors of an F1 team when he took charge during its Midland era.
Key stayed at the team as it then transitioned to Spyker and again to Force India.
After holding the same post at both Sauber and Toro Rosso, Key took over technical matters at McLaren in 2018, helping – along with Brown and Seidl – to shift the team back to the sharper end of the grid.