Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, McLaren announced a major shake-up to their design office which was headlined by the departure of technical director James Key. 

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Key’s position has been split into three specialised technical roles with Peter Prodromou and Neil Houldey both promoted, while David Sanchez will lead car concept and performance when he starts work in January 2024 having joined from Ferrari. 

All three will report directly to team principal Andrea Stella, who took over from Andreas Seidl during the off-season. 

Brown stressed the changes were not a direct result of McLaren’s dire start to 2023 and explained he was already unhappy with the team’s rate of development compared to their rivals. 

“I didn’t like our pace of development towards the second half of last year,” Brown said on Friday in Melbourne. “I didn’t feel like we were moving forward. 

“You look at Aston [Martin], they’ve done a fantastic job. Started at the beginning of the year not where they finished at the end of the year and clearly they’ve just continued on in that development path.


“I felt that we were not developing at the pace we need to. So when we had our team principal change, I asked Andrea [Stella] to take a look at why and he restructured the department. That was a work in progress over the winter. 

“We knew, as we said at the launch, that we weren’t were we wanted to be at the start of the year. 

“Saudi was quite disappointing because that really wasn’t representative of any sort of pace issue. Having had one car lose their front wing and take out the other, when they weren’t even racing each other, was a bit of bad luck. 

“So our season starts here in Australia. I’ve got all the confidence in Andrea and the structure, the people we have and the people we have coming, that we will now be able to continue forward on our journey.” 

McLaren are yet to score a point across the opening two rounds in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and currently sit bottom of the F1 constructors’ championship

Although he admitted the team’s recovery will take time, Brown is confident McLaren will end the season in much better shape. 

“As I say in the factory, ‘things start to feel good and then they start to look good’,” he said. 

“It was quite opposite last year - things didn’t feel good and we’ve seen at the start of this year, those results if you like. 

“We’ve got some good upgrade packages coming, but so does every other team on the grid. I would anticipate that we will definitely finish the season much stronger than we started it.”