Seidl’s McLaren F1 exit accelerated after initial plan to join Audi in 2026

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Seidl’s McLaren F1 exit accelerated after initial plan to join Audi in 2026

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The Woking-based team announced on Tuesday that they are appointing Andrea Stella as their new team principal to replace Seidl.

As part of a team boss ride, Seidl was lured in to join Sauber as the new CEO, following the loss of Fred Vasseur to Ferrari.

It comes as Sauber prepares to become Audi’s factory team from 2026.

Seidl’s departure from McLaren came as a bit of a shock, with him on a long-term deal that lasted until the end of 2025.

However, McLaren CEO Zak Brown explained that, having been informed by Seidl that he would be joining Audi at the end of his current contract, a deal was struck with Sauber to let him switch early as he sought a new job. replacement for Vasseur.

Speaking to selected McLaren factory media on Tuesday, Brown said: “[Andreas] informed me during the season that he was going to leave elsewhere, when his contract was coming to the end of 2025.

“[It was] probably pretty clear where that destination would be, which was completely 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.

“What we were going to do then was, at the end of the season, let the world know that this change would come at the end of Season 25.

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

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

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

Andrea Stella, McLaren F1 Team Principal, Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing

Andrea Stella, McLaren F1 Team Principal, Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing

Photo by: McLaren

Brown said that after Rausing’s approach, he finally convinced Stella to take on the role immediately – which opened the door for Seidl’s exit.

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

“Because Andrea has always been our number one choice to lead the team in the future, everything fell into place quite quickly.”

Brown declined to specify when exactly Seidl told him he would be leaving when his contract expired.

It was clear, however, that there was no interest on McLaren’s side to play contract games with Seidl and put him on gardening leave.

“We have a great relationship,” he said. “I know a lot of teams play the gardening holiday card. But I think, as we’ve demonstrated at McLaren, there are ways to dissolve relationships, whether it’s with race drivers or employees, where you can do things on terms that are very convenient for everyone world.”

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