Brown explains why McLaren fast-tracked Seidl move to Sauber

Zak Brown says events of late at Ferrari and Alfa Romeo F1 led to McLaren fast-tracking Andreas Seidl’s move to Sauber because the German’s transfer to the Hinwil squad and to its project with Audi was already planned to take place, albeit at the end of 2025 .

Tuesday’s cascade of dominoes saw three teams – McLaren, Alfa Romeo F1/Sauber and Ferrari – undergo team principal changes or resolutions.

When briefly considered, Seidl’s decision to join Sauber might be perceived as a direct consequence of Mattia Binotto’s exit from Ferrari and Frédéric Vasseur’s subsequent move from Hinwil to Maranello.

However, Brown revealed on Tuesday that Seidl had already informed McLaren earlier this year of his decision to join Audi’s F1 project with Sauber upon the completion of his contract with the Woking-based outfit, or at the end of 2025.

Binotto’s demise earlier this month and Vasseur’s appointment by Ferrari simply brought forward Seidl’s transfer to Sauber by three years, with the move agreed upon by all parties.

The changes ultimately paved the way, importantly, for Andrea Stella’s nomination as McLaren’s new team boss, a move that now ensures team papaya’s long-term stability.

“[Andreas] informed me during the season that he was going to go elsewhere, when his contract was up at the end of 2025,” Brown told the media on Tuesday in the wake of F1’s whirlwind of team announcements.

“[It was] probably pretty clear where that destination would be, which was quite understandable, given his background.

“At that time, we intended to continue for the foreseeable future, because the relationship is very, very healthy. And his work discipline is very strong.

So read:

  • McLaren appoints Stella as new team boss as Seidl joins Sauber
  • Seidl appoints Chief Executive Officer of the Sauber Group

“What we were going to do at that point was, at the end of the season, let the world know that that change would come in at the end of the ’25 season.

“And, after we intended to go public, the first person I was going to call to see if they would lead McLaren’s F1 team is the gentleman sitting next to me, Andrea [Stella] – but not at that point, being sure whether that would be something that he would consider.

“When it became clear that Fred was going to go to Ferrari, [Sauber owner] Finn Rausing, who is someone that I’ve known for a decade, and get along with very well, gave me a call to see if there was a discussion to be had to potentially release Andreas early.

“My reaction was, if Andrea would be happy to join as team principal, then I’d be very happy to make that change now, which I think puts everyone in their permanent homes for the foreseeable future.”

Brown said that Stella’s acceptance of stepping up to his new role at McLaren was not instantaneous.

“After some good conversations, Andrea kindly accepted the role, which then put us in a very comfortable position to move forward,” he added.

“Because Andrea was always our number one choice to lead the team moving forward, that all came together quite rapidly.”

Although Brown declined to reveal the exact moment in time when Seidl informed him of his plan to join Audi, the McLaren Racing boss said that he had no intention of getting embroiled in contractual or gardening leave issues with the German.

“We have a great relationship,” said the McLaren boss.

“I know a lot of teams play the gardening leave card. But I think, as we’ve demonstrated at McLaren, there are ways to dissolve relationships, whether that’s with racing drivers, or employees, where you can do things on very workable terms for everyone.”

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