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McLaren lands senior Aston F1 aerodynamicist amid aggressive recruitment push

McLaren has landed senior Aston Martin aerodynamicist Mariano Alperin as part of an aggressive recruitment drive to boost the performance of its Formula 1 team.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

In the wake of the restructuring of its technical department last week which included the departure of technical director James Key and confirmation that former Ferrari man David Sanchez will join in 2024, McLaren has been pushing hard to sign further top-level personnel.

Having undertaken a comprehensive review of its organisation over the winter, one of the conclusions was that its aero department was not as good as it needed to be to match its ambitions to move further up the grid.

Autosport has learned that its bid to expand the aero department has now resulted in it concluding agreements with 15 individuals, some who have joined already and some who will need to serve gardening leave before being able to move across.

It is understood that the senior staff include personnel from a range of top teams like Ferrari, Red Bull and Aston Martin.

One of the key figures is Aston Martin's head of aero performance and analysis Alperin, who has played a role in the transformation of the British manufacturer that is currently Red Bull's nearest challenger in F1.

Alperin has a great deal of experience in F1, having had spells at AGS and Minardi before joining British American Racing and eventually becoming head of aerodynamics at Honda from 2006 to 2007.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, leaves the garage

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, leaves the garage

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

After Honda, he became head of aerodynamic development at Sauber from 2008 until 2019, before moving across to Aston Martin as chief of aerodynamic technology.

As part of McLaren's recent restructure, the Woking-based outfit has set up a new Technical Executive Team made up of Sanchez (car concept), Peter Prodromou (aerodynamics) and Neil Houldey (engineering and design). The trio will report directly to team principal Andrea Stella.

McLaren believes that change was needed if it was to capitalise on the opportunities that are coming with its new wind tunnel and simulator fully operational later this year.

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CEO Zak Brown made it clear that he felt the squad's structure had been lacking in recent years, which is why it is now making significant changes.

"It has been clear to me for some time that our technical development has not moved at a quick enough pace to match our ambition of returning to the front of the grid," he said.

"I'm pleased that, having completed a full review with Andrea, we are now able to implement the restructure required to set the wheels in motion to turn this around."

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