McLaren Key Figure Leaves Ahead of Japanese Grand Prix

Following the unexpected departure of David Sanchez from McLaren just three months after his arrival, another recent addition to the team, Emanuele Pirro, who headed the driver program, has also announced his exit.

As part of the restructuring within McLaren’s senior technical team, Sanchez, who took on the role of technical director of car concept and performance in January, left the team shortly after completing his gardening leave from Ferrari.

Pirro, who had joined McLaren in April of the previous year to oversee the driver development program, is now also departing.

Despite their brief tenures, both Sanchez and Pirro played significant roles in McLaren’s technical and developmental strategies. Pirro, a former F1 racer and five-time Le Mans winner, led the restructured driver development program, which saw the inclusion of several promising young racers.

In a post confirming his departure, Pirro expressed gratitude for his time with McLaren and highlighted the progress made in nurturing young talent.

He mentioned, “After a year of hard work and satisfaction, I will be leaving the McLaren driver development program.” Pirro emphasized his efforts in establishing a structure to groom young, talented drivers for future success with McLaren.

He further stated, “I trust the internal resources who will run the DDP will continue on my path and help the program grow,” expressing confidence in the team’s ability to maintain the momentum of the program.

Pirro conveyed his best wishes to the current and future drivers, acknowledging their potential to shape the future of motorsport.

Meanwhile, McLaren announced additional changes to its technical leadership team. Rob Marshall, formerly with Red Bull, transitioned to the role of chief designer, while Neil Houldey assumed the position of technical director – engineering.

Peter Prodromou retained his role as technical director – aerodynamics, and Andrea Stella temporarily took on the role of technical director – performance while McLaren seeks a permanent replacement.

The departure of Sanchez and Pirro marks a period of transition for McLaren as they continue to refine their technical and developmental strategies under new leadership.