10 January 2019
News from down Woking way
If you were a reader of the JSBM newsletter, you would have read in JSBM 18 45 (November 26 last year) that the former Porsche World Endurance Championship LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl would be joining McLaren in 2019. It has now been confirmed that he will become the managing director of the F1 team. At the time it was reckoned that Sporting Director Gil de Ferran would end up having less direct influence in the F1 team, stepping back in order to play a more strategic role, overseeing both the McLaren F1 and IndyCar programmes, the latter being run on a day-to-day basis by Bob Fernley.
The announcement is very vague about when Seidl will take over the team saying that he "will join the team during 2019", which could mean next week (although the team would have said that if this was the case) or it could mean December. Thus it is difficult to judge the impact he can have on operations as we don't know when he will start. Seidl left Porsche in mid-November and one would expect a minimum of six months of "gardening leave", but it could run to a year. Thus, one would expect him to appear with the from the middle of May, which would mean that his first Grand Prix would likely be Monaco.
Seidl is a highly-rated individual who has F1 experience as an engineer with BMW Motorsport between 2000 and 2006 (with Williams) and then at BMW Sauber at head of track operations until the Munich firm quit F1 in 2009.
The team says that it expects two IndyCar chassis to be delivered in late January and they will be put together in Woking. The team says it has hired an engineer and a chief mechanic, has collected much of the equipment required and has found some sponsorship as well. It is most likely that some of the people and equipment will come from Ed Carpenter Racing, which lost its funding from Fuzzy’s vodka.