McLaren is going through a profound restructuring phase, which began with the departure of James Key a few months ago to make room for a new course that sees the arrival, among others, of David Sanchez from Ferrari.
However, the former engineer of the Maranello team is not the only high-level name that the Woking team has secured for next season, given that Rob Marshall is expected to arrive from Red Bull.
Marshall, who held the role of Chief Engineer Officer at the Milton Keynes team, will join McLaren in January 2024 as technical director. Just two months ago, when McLaren announced a restructuring based on three key figures, the post was given to Neil Houldey.
Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
But after it emerged that Marshall might join the team, Houldey agreed to the team’s request to step aside and become his deputy so he could make room for a higher-profile figure. “Neil has always been part of the process. He’s been part of the conversation, he’s played a team role in this process,” Stella said when asked by Motorsport.com how this internal handover came about.
“And when we told Neil that we had this opportunity, that it was truly unmissable, we worked out the solution together. There is so much engineering and design work to do to create the right standards to design the fastest car in F1 that we thought about a combination with Rob, the technical authority, and Neil who manages day-to-day operations within the department.”
The experience that Marshall will bring to McLaren will be one of those central elements for the internal redesign of the team, with a wealth of technical and aerodynamic knowledge that clearly would have been useful to many teams: “Rob will join the team with a unique level of experience and know-how in terms of engineering and design of F1 cars”.
Rob Marshall, Chief Engineering Officer of Red Bull Racing
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
“He’s also been instrumental in building such a strong engineering department at Red Bull. So at the moment, we’re very happy and excited that Rob is joining us in our journey to take McLaren to the top of the grid.”
When McLaren announced the signing of Marshall, Red Bull issued a statement acknowledging his contribution to their joint successes and wishing him well for the future, demonstrating that after 17 years with the team respect was reciprocal.
“Certainly Rob was very keen to join McLaren. He understood our journey and ambitions perfectly. I think he understood that he could be a key player in trying to achieve something as important as taking McLaren to victory. So strong motivation for his part”, explained the Team Principal of the Woking stable.
“I think at Red Bull they know very well the role Rob has played over time. And I think that brings people respect. And if I can judge from the outside, I’ve seen this level of respect from Red Bull towards Rob , it was nice to see.”