Capo dell’Accademia Piloti di F1 lascia McLaren

( – Emanuele Pirro, five-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and former Formula 1 driver, has ended his role as head of the McLaren junior program after just one year. The McLaren driver development program was revamped at the beginning of 2023 to better support drivers at karting level and make it easier for them to progress to Formula 1.

In addition to McLaren IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward and Formula 1 reserve driver Ryo Hirakawa, the team has signed FIA F3 Champion Gabriel Bortoleto, F1 Academy driver Bianca Bustamante, American young driver Ugo Ugochukwu, and has secured a one-year option for Italian Formula 4 talent Brando Badoer.

Stephanie Carlin takes over driver academy

Former McLaren Formula 1 test driver Pirro was supposed to lead the program after joining the team in 2023, but he announced his resignation via social media. As reported by, Pirro had a one-year contract that was not renewed, as McLaren has internally shifted the junior program under the leadership of newly appointed Formula 1 CEO Stephanie Carlin.

The former team principal of the Carlin Formula 2 and F1 Academy teams will be supported by experienced McLaren engineers in leading the McLaren driver program. In an Instagram post, Pirro wrote: “After a year of hard work and satisfaction, I will be leaving the McLaren DDP.”

“Alongside the Formula 1 team, I was able to create a structure that helps develop young, talented, and hard-working drivers into future McLaren champions. I have fulfilled this task to the best of my knowledge and beliefs by scouting and signing young stars who I am convinced can make their mark in the history books.”

“I trust that the internal resources that will lead the DDP will continue my path and help the program grow by providing the kind of unique support that emerging drivers need, in addition to the professionalism and experience of the great teams that they all represent.”

“I have done my best to pass on the lessons learned and mistakes made throughout my life in motorsport, and now I step aside and let the program stand on its own feet, grateful for the opportunity given to me.”

“I wish Gabriel, Ugo, Bianca, Pato, Ryo, and Brando, as well as the future drivers with whom collaboration has already begun, all the best. The future of the sport that is so dear to me is in safe hands with all of you and your fellow competitors. I am now ready for new challenges.”

On Tuesday, the McLaren Formula 1 team also announced a further restructuring of its technical department: Former Ferrari engineer David Sanchez left the team after just three months by mutual agreement due to a “misalignment.” Former Red Bull man Rob Marshall is now the team’s chief designer.