McLaren could be “dead in the water”

One of Formula One’s most recognisable personnel from team radio has voiced concerns over McLaren’s new structure suggesting they could find themselves “dead in the water.”

McLaren have had a poor start to the season and are flattered the points table which places them with behind Ferrari by just 14 points. Carnage towards the end of the Australian GP saw both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri benefit hugely from the late red flags and safety car.



McLaren flatter to deceive

The woeful MCL60 could easily have the team in last position behind both Williams and Alfa Romeo.

To address the slide over recent years Zak Brown sacked the Woking technical director James Key and replaced him with a triumvirate of three technical bosses in Peter Prodromou, Neil Houldley and the inbound David Sanchez from Ferrari.

However Brown spins this structure it is reminiscent of there old ‘Matrix’ style organisation Martin Whitmarsh favoured when in charge of the F1 team – which was eventually ditched.

Whilst each of the three headed management team has a clearly defined role it is how they collaborate which will define whether this is another job for Keanu Reeves to fix or a success.

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New structure a “big risk”

Rob Smedley, of the famed, “Felipe, Fernando is faster than you” non-team order when team orders were banned believes McLaren’s new structure does with big risks if they are to turn around their current poor form.

“There’s clear demarcation as to the areas where they’re going to be making decisions,” Smedley explained on the F1 Nation podcast.

“What you’ve got is [Team Principal] Andrea [Stella] whose job now is to make sure that all three of them are collaborating well together, and that you don’t get into a situation where one of them or two of them are looking at the other and thinking: ‘That’s a bit of a weak link.’

“‘We’re probably going to have to override some of the decisions’ and once you get into that, then you’re dead in the water.

Hamilton contract talks resume



F1 teams so large now

“You need all three to be operating at a very high level, a high functioning team who rely on each other so that you get this synergetic effect – and that’s what brings you a good car.”

The ex-Ferrari senior engineer believes if McLaren get it right then this may well be the new way forward for F1 teams given the size of the personnel is so large.

“The single technical director [role], the teams are too big now,” he said.

“They’re just way too big, the technical organisation, the levels of detail and a technical director within a Formula 1 team is still operational.

“It’s not somebody who is navigating where the chips are going to be sewn in the next 10 years or what technology you’re going to bring in – that’s what we’d call the Chief Technical Officer.”

Of course Mercedes have just switched their technical director and Chief Technical Officers around as James Allison has been brought back to support the day to day running of the team instead of Mike Elliot.

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