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Stella trying to recreate Schumacher/Ferrari era "continuity, seniority" at McLaren F1

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella says the "continuity and seniority" of Ferrari's golden era with Michael Schumacher are key elements he is trying to recreate at his current Formula 1 team.

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

In 2000 Stella joined Ferrari as engineer, working with an all-star line-up including Schumacher, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Nikolas Tombazis, James Allison and engine guru Pino D'Agostino.

Speaking on F1's Beyond the Grid podcast, Stella explained the "continuity and seniority" from Ferrari's golden era of success are still valid ingredients today as he tries to replicate them at McLaren.

"The seniority, the quality of the people involved; it was just extraordinary," Stella said. 

"I think some of them they even accepted to stay in a certain role, knowing that they were absolutely ready to pick one or two higher levels had they gone to another team, but they accepted to stay in that role because that's what was needed to create what was possibly the strongest team that we have seen in Formula 1.

"There was so much continuity in this journey where you keep identifying what you need to add and you keep building brick by brick. I think this is something that we sort of missed during the Fernando [Alonso] era. And we could have built it, but definitely would have needed a lot of continuity and this brick by brick approach that was established as of the mid 90's at Ferrari.

"There are some elements of the script that haven't changed over the years, independently of the role that I've been on. And continuity and seniority, they do form part of this script. And this is what we are trying to do at McLaren as well."

Michael Schumacher celebrates victory in both the race and the world championship with Ross Brawn, Technical Director, Ferrari, Jean Todt, Team Principal, Ferrari, and the rest of the Ferrari team

Michael Schumacher celebrates victory in both the race and the world championship with Ross Brawn, Technical Director, Ferrari, Jean Todt, Team Principal, Ferrari, and the rest of the Ferrari team

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Upon taking over as team boss from Andreas Seidl at the start of the year, Stella undertook a restructuring process of McLaren's technical departments, which yielded a much improved car that has allowed drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri to take back-to-back double podiums in Japan and Qatar.

In the meantime, McLaren has also upgraded its facilities, while going on a recruiting spree that enticed Red Bull's Rob Marshall and Ferrari's David Sanchez, among a dozen others, to head to Woking this coming off-season.

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Stella's high-profile recruiting can be seen in the context of replicating Ferrari's all-star line-up, with the Italian referring to his hires as adding additional "horsepower" to Woking.

"We definitely wanted to work on this seniority element, bringing what we call horsepower to the team," he explained.

"We want to compete with Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari. In itself it's a daunting mission, and we need to be well equipped.

"So, we are very excited that David and Rob will contribute with their expertise, with their experience, with their vision towards this generation of cars and also towards 2026.

"Like all teams, we'll have to face this important challenge that is already in the agenda and you need to be equipped."

But Stella was also keen to stress that it's McLaren's current personnel that has been responsible for its rapid improvements during the 2023 season.

"[The development we've had] was the result of the people that were already at McLaren and the 2024 car will be the result of the people that are already at McLaren," Stella explained.

"In 2024, we will see what we are able to do in terms of continuing with the development of the car. We will have, and we already have in fairness, full exploitation of the infrastructure that came to fruition: wind tunnel, simulator, manufacturing facilities." 

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