Seidl’s McLaren F1 debut fast-tracked after plan to join Audi in 2026

The Woking-based team announced on Tuesday that it has appointed Andrea Stella as their new team principal, replacing Seidl.

After the Switzerland-based team lost Fred Vasseur to Ferrari, as part of the team principal carousel, Seidl was persuaded to join Sauber as their new CEO.

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 as he has a long-term contract running until the end of 2025.

However, McLaren CEO Zak Brown has announced that an agreement has been reached with Sauber to allow him to switch early as he looks for a replacement for Vasseur, after Seidl informed him that he would be joining Audi once his current deal expires.

Speaking to selected reporters from the McLaren factory on Tuesday, Brown said: “[Andreas] He said throughout the season that he would go elsewhere when his contract expires at the end of 2025.

“[It was] It was probably fairly obvious where this destination would be, which was quite understandable given its history.

“At that time, we intended to continue in the near future because our relationship is very, very healthy. And the work discipline is very strong.

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

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

“When it became clear that Fred was going to Ferrari, [Sauber owner] Finn Rausing, whom I’ve known for ten years and got along very well with, called me to see if there was any negotiation needed to potentially release Andreas early.

“My reaction is that if Andrea is happy to join as team principal, then I would be very happy to make this change now and I think it will put everyone in their permanent home for the foreseeable future.”

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

Photo: McLaren

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

“After some nice conversations, Andrea kindly accepted the role, which 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’s progress and it all came together pretty quickly.”

Brown declined to reveal exactly when Seidl said he would leave at the end of his contract.

However, it was clear that McLaren had no interest in playing contract games with Seidl and taking him on gardening leave.

“We have a great relationship,” he said. “I know a lot of teams play the horticultural leave card. But I think there are ways to dissolve relationships where you can do relationships on very viable terms for anyone, whether they’re racing drivers or employees, as we’ve shown at McLaren.”

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