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McLaren make shock technical personnel change

McLaren have announced a shock technical restructure ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix after recognising a “misalignment”.

David Sanchez, who joined McLaren from Ferrari at the start of this year as technical director for car concept and performance, has left the team.

McLaren said Rob Marshall, who joined from Red Bull, will assume the role of chief designer with Neil Houldey becoming technical director for engineering. Last year, Marshall was announced as technical director for engineering and design when signing for McLaren.

Peter Prodromou will continue in his role as aerodynamics technical director while team principal Andrea Stella will take over Sanchez’s role on an interim basis.

“This further step in the evolution of the structure of the technical department and of the working model within the team signify our commitment to constantly enhancing our technical capabilities and workflows for greater efficiency and effectiveness,” said Stella.

“Following thoughtful discussions between David Sanchez and the team leadership, the mutual decision has been taken for David to leave the team.

“Upon our joint reflection, it became apparent that the role, responsibilities, and ambitions associated with David’s position did not align with our original expectations when he agreed to join us in February 2023.

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“Recognising this misalignment, both David and I agreed that it would be best to part ways now, so to enable him to pursue other opportunities that will better leverage the full scale and breadth of his remarkable skillset.

“We greatly and gratefully value the contributions that David has made during his relatively short time with us, and we wish him the best in his future endeavours.”

Sanchez ‘grateful’ for McLaren opportunity

McLaren are third in the constructors’ championship behind Red Bull and Ferrari going into this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1.

Lando Norris finished on the podium last time out in Melbourne, with Oscar Piastri in fourth as McLaren continue their attempted charge to the front.

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They were regularly Red Bull’s closest challengers in the second half of last season but still lack performance on slow-speed corners.

Sanchez’s departure is a major surprise as he’s only been in the job for three months and it’s unusual for a prominent technical figure to leave after such little time.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this team. While the role we envisioned and had agreed to was not aligned with the reality of the position I found, I leave with respect for the leadership, admiration for the dedication of my colleagues, and appreciation for the openness and honesty in which we discussed and arrived at this decision,” said Sanchez.

“I wish this team continued success as it continues its journey to the front of the grid where it belongs. I look forward to my next challenge within F1.”

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Sky Sports F1’s live Japanese GP schedule

Thursday April 4
4.30am: Drivers’ press conference

Friday April 5
3am: Japanese GP Practice One (session starts at 3.30am)*
6.45am: Japanese GP Practice Two (session starts at 7am)*

8.15am: The F1 Show*
10am: Japanese GP Practice One replay
11.30am: Japanese GP Practice Two replay

Saturday April 6
3.15am: Japanese GP Practice Three (session starts at 3.30am)*
6am: Japanese GP Qualifying build-up*
7am: Japanese GP Qualifying*
9am: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook*
9.30am: Japanese GP Qualifying replay

Sunday April 7
5am: Grand Prix Sunday Japanese GP build-up*
6am: The JAPANESE GRAND PRIX*
8am: Chequered Flag: Japanese GP reaction*
9am: Ted’s Notebook*
9.30am: Japanese Grand Prix highlights*
10.30am: Japanese Grand Prix replay

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

Formula 1’s biggest ever season continues with the Japanese Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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