McLaren team boss Andrea Stella says the side’s recent series of technical recruits has not placed a strain on it being able to comply with Formula 1’s budget cap rules.
Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, McLaren confirmed that it had completed the signing of Rob Marshall from Red Bull to take up the position of Technical Director, Engineering & Design at the team.
Marshall had been an integral member of Red Bull since arriving in 2006, taking on the mantle of becoming the current champions’ Chief Engineering Officer in 2016.
However, Marshall will move to McLaren at the start of 2024, with Stella expressing that the Briton was attracted by the prospect of playing a key role in turning the Woking squad into a front-running force in F1 again.
“So, Rob will join the team obviously with a unique level of experience, knowhow, in terms of engineering and design of Formula 1 cars,” Stella said.
“He has also been instrumental in creating such a strong technical department at Red Bull. So, at the moment, we are just very pleased and excited that Rob is keen to join our journey to take McLaren to the front of the grid.
He later added: “Certainly Rob was very keen to join McLaren. He understood perfectly our journey, our ambition. I think he understood that he could be a fundamental player in trying to make something important like bringing McLaren to the victory, so strong motivation from his side.
McLaren’s acquisition of Marshall from Red Bull marked the second time this year the team has announced the signing of a technical figure from a rival team.
Back in March, the British entry confirmed that David Sanchez would be returning to McLaren after leaving Ferrari as the Italian entity’s Head of Vehicle Concept.
Both will commence their respective roles in January 2024, working alongside Peter Prodromou as part of a revised technical structure established following James Keys’ exit from his previous role of Technical Director two months ago.
However, Stella has ruled out there being any plans to make any further additions to McLaren’s technical team.
“I think the technical structure is well-set now and quite strong, so I would take one day off.”
Having already lost Dan Fallows to Aston Martin, McLaren’s capture of Marshall prompted Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko to declare that its competitors were offering financial packages to staff that the Austrian outfit is unable to compete with.
But Stella has denied that McLaren will need to cut back on expenditure elsewhere in the company in order to meet the $135m spending cap in place for the 2023 F1 season.
“In terms of budget, Zak is doing a good job to put McLaren in condition to spend this money,” the Italian, 52, stated.
“And in terms of compliance, actually within the regulations, we had the possibility to spend this kind of budget, not only from an operational point of view, but also in terms of capital expenditures.
“So it didn’t create particular challenges, I would say. So it’s not been a difficult process.”
Despite Lando Norris scoring third place in qualifying and team-mate Oscar Piastri joining him in the top 10, McLaren departed the Spanish GP weekend empty-handed.
Norris’ hopes of points were ended on the opening lap when an incident with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton damaged his front wing, while Piastri was hamstrung by the MCL60 lacking race pace to drop three places to 13th by the chequered flag.
Alpine’s third double points finish on the bounce, meanwhile, moved it 23 points clear of McLaren, who remain a lonely fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.
After debuting significant upgrades at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in May, McLaren is set to unveil several more updates at the British Grand Prix to complete the MCL60’s transformation from the undeveloped version it started the year with.