De Ferran leaves McLaren’s IndyCar project

Gil de Ferran will leave his role as sporting director at McLaren after the successful integration of its IndyCar program with Schmidt Peterson Motorsport, the team told The Race.

De Ferran is leaving McLaren having reached the end of his contract with the team. He arrived in 2018 as part of Brown’s overhaul of McLaren Racing’s management.

Zak Brown told RaceFans De Ferran’s input was central to McLaren SP’s success. “The team that we’ve ultimately put our resources into has a full set-up, has a team principal – doesn’t go by the team principal name – and the job was to bring along the dozen or so people that we’ve got working at McLaren and integrate them into Arrow McLaren SP,” he explained. “And he did that very well.

“So he spent a year helping SP understand what the McLaren resources are and needs, and he spent a year helping the McLaren people understand IndyCar racing, where they contribute, how IndyCar works, et cetera.”

Brown said the two sides of the operation integrated as planned over the course of 2020. “The intention was always to, once that came together, operate as a single unit,” he said.

“The first year, it was kind of ‘the McLaren guys’, ‘the SP guys’ – it was to spend the year to transition them into each other. So now it’s not a ‘them’ and ‘us’. It’s that we’re a single race team.

“That’s what he’s done and done successfully because we had, as the IndyCar team, the best year we’ve ever had.”