No more “matrix” management structure at McLaren Formula 1 Team

The UK team adopted the aerospace-inspired matrix setup in Ron Dennis’ day, with former McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh the architect.

This avoided the traditional divisions of responsibilities within the racing team and the tasks were divided among different staff members.

However, under current F1 CEO Zak Brown, McLaren has voluntarily moved away from this model and now has a new team manager at Seidl, who joined in May and is supported by a technical director (James Key), sports director (Gil de Ferran) and director (Andrea Stella).

Seidl told Autosport that he “has always been a friend of simple, traditional and clear hierarchies.”

When asked if there are any vestiges of matrix management left, Seidl said, “We are still in the process of analyzing how we want to set up the organization in the future.

“Of course, the new regulations [set to be introduced in 2021] also play a role here.

“With my management team and especially James Key, who as technical director also has a clear idea of ​​his development team, we are currently trying to get a complete picture.

“Nevertheless, I made it clear from day one how I saw the organization in general: technical development of the vehicle, production, racing team.

“A classic motorsport structure, in other words. The way I’ve always worked.

“It’s simple and understandable, for everyone on the team.

“No matrix structure, because I think it’s important in the situation we’re in as a team to focus on the essentials.”

Seidl said the growth of the new team structure will be addressed “in the months and years to come”, but that simplicity will be at the heart of his concerns.

He described it as “very dangerous in this complex world to get lost in details that are only important when the basics are right”.

“You certainly won’t win the world championships if the last details aren’t right,” added Seidl.

“But right now it’s much more important to create the team and infrastructure conditions we need to be competitive.”

Seidl joined McLaren after co-leading the Porsche LMP1 project and turned down the opportunity to lead the German automaker’s overall motorsport operations to return to F1.

Brown gave him the go-ahead to shape the F1 squad as needed, in what Seidl hopes will be the same support he had at Porsche.

“I had a good feeling that I would get these freedoms here and at the same time the necessary support,” said Seidl.

“I do the same with my team. I’m not a friend of micromanagement, I keep my people on a leash.
“I challenge my team to take risks. You have to do it in this sport.

“When you are late like we are, you have to take developmental risks, but at the same time you have to accept that mistakes do happen.”

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