Andrea Stella’s quest for Formula 1 success: Drawing inspiration from Ferrari’s golden era at McLaren

Andrea Stella Team Principal McLaren (

Andrea Stella Team Principal McLaren (

Andrea Stella, renowned for his work at Ferrari alongside Formula 1 legends like Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt, and Ross Brawn, is now making his mark at McLaren. In a recent interview on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Stella reflected on the invaluable lessons from his time at Ferrari and his determination to replicate such success at McLaren.

Stella’s career in Formula 1 took a significant turn in 2000 when he joined the ranks of Ferrari as an engineer. Working alongside a star-studded lineup, including Schumacher, Todt, Brawn, Rory Byrne, Nikolas Tombazis, James Allison, and engine guru Pino D’Agostino, Stella experienced firsthand the “seniority” and “quality” that defined Ferrari’s golden era.

He emphasized how these elements of continuity and experience formed the foundation of Ferrari’s remarkable success. Many individuals within the team could have sought higher positions elsewhere, but they chose to stay in their roles to build the powerhouse that became the strongest team in Formula 1.

Stella noted the importance of a step-by-step, brick-by-brick approach in building a winning team. This approach was missing during the era of Fernando Alonso at McLaren, which Stella believes could have been different with more continuity, similar to what was established in the mid-’90s at Ferrari.

Upon taking over as team boss at McLaren, Stella initiated a restructuring process within the technical departments. This overhaul resulted in a significantly improved car, leading to consecutive double podiums for drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri in Japan and Qatar.

McLaren’s journey toward success has also involved facility upgrades and an extensive recruitment drive, bringing in experts like Red Bull’s Rob Marshall and Ferrari’s David Sanchez, among others. Stella referred to these high-profile hirings as adding additional “horsepower” to the team, all in an effort to compete with the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari.

Stella emphasized that while the new recruits are crucial, the rapid improvements seen in McLaren’s 2023 season are primarily the result of the existing personnel. He explained that the development of the 2024 car will also be led by the dedicated team members already at McLaren. The team is well-equipped with the necessary infrastructure, including a wind tunnel, simulator, and manufacturing facilities, to continue their pursuit of Formula 1 success.