Why Seidl's departure could herald Norris' farewell

Why Seidl's departure could herald Norris' farewell

15-12-2022 18:05

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, seemed to have no worries after the sudden departure of Andreas Seidl as team boss. At a press conference, where GPblog also joined in, the American said, "I would say we've not gone from 3 to 2 people, we've gone from 850 people to 849 people." He then repeated several times that a very capable replacement has been appointed with Andrea Stella.

No doubt Stella is a knowledgeable man, having been with the team for years and knowing McLaren inside out. Still - although Brown does not say it out loud - it must have been quite a blow that Seidl is not only leaving, but is also switching to rival Sauber - the future Audi factory team. It actually signals that Audi' s future is brighter than McLaren's, and that Seidl would therefore prefer to work with for the iconic Volkswagen Group brand.

Jumped off board

"So Lando will be looking at it thinking, why has Andreas jumped ship? What has Andreas seen at Audi, that he much prefers to McLaren?" said Martin Brundle, pundit at Sky Sports. Norris is currently McLaren's figurehead, he is the man on whom the English team has placed all its hopes for the future. But what if the youngster starts having doubts? Start questioning whether McLaren is the right place to fulfil his dreams?

Seidl and Audi have - no doubt not coincidentally - created a luxury position for themselves. The team will start in 2026 and on sure it will be a success. After all, there is no racing class in which Audi has not had success. Moreover, Sauber will soon really be a factory team, with all its advantages. For instance, you don't get an engine from someone else and then have to see how it fits into your car concept. Moreover, with Seidl, someone has been appointed who knows what he is talking about. He proved that at McLaren.

Top performer wanted

All that is missing now is a top driver to take his place in the Audi in 2026. Good news for Audi: Norris' contract at McLaren expires after 2025. In fact, the Brit is the only serious top driver to be considered for Audi, as Max Verstappen is still with Red Bull until 2028 and Charles Leclerc is a real Ferrari man. With Seidl - with whom Norris has an excellent relationship - as CEO, it will not have to be a difficult choice for Norris to switch to the ambitious Audi project.

Indeed - to return to Zak Brown's words - McLaren has lost one person from its 850 staff. It was a very important one, though. Someone who could soon also lure away a second man from those 850. They may be 'only' two, but they don't come more crucial than these two.