The appointment as Team Principal of McLaren marks the high point in the career of Andrea Stella, who arrived in Formula 1 at Ferrari during the era of Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher. He began his career at the Maranello team in 2000 as Performance Engineer for the test team, before being Performance Engineer for Michael Schumacher (2002–2006) then Kimi Räikkönen (2007–2008). He moved to become Race Engineer for Kimi Räikkönen (2009), before becoming Race Engineer for Fernando Alonso (2010–2014).In 2006, he also worked as track engineer with Valentino Rossi, when the motorcyclist had a test with Ferrari.
During his career, the Italian engineer had the opportunity of working with various Team Principals, learning and observing important qualities from each one: “You learn from anyone, especially when you happen to work with strong personalities with great abilities” – the former Ferrari Performance Engineer said – “First of all, Jean Todt had an incredible dedication to work and to the team, a quality that made me understand what it means to commit to something. Working in a successful team like Ferrari in the early 2000s gave an important shape to my career in Formula 1 in its early stages” – the new McLaren team principal admitted.
The Italian engineer then moved on to reflect on another important figure in his career, dating back to the second half of his time at Scuderia Ferrari:
“As far as Stefano Domenicali is concerned, he was certainly a Team Principal who cared about people. Formula 1 revolves around engineering, but it essentially depends on the people. From Stefano I understood some qualities that must be taken into great consideration by a Team Principal, as well as learning to interact with others based on respect and listening, managing your ego.” – Andrea Stella continued.
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The review of the Team Principals concludes with Andreas Seidl, the last in order of time and from whom Andrea Stella takes over the legacy of the McLaren management: “I think Andreas Seidl brought some engineering knowledge deriving from his past experiences and this was very useful for me to shape the team, to make progress in some areas such as pit stops. In this specific area, I would like to give credit to Andreas. From him I understood the importance of knowing your business, also the engineering and operational aspects, so as to be able to guide people more effectively to progress” – Andrea Stella concluded.