McLaren boss, Andrea Stella insists that the signing of Red Bull's Rob Marshall as its new technical director is not linked to a possible engine supply deal with the Austrian manufacturer.
At the end of last month, McLaren announced that Marshall will join the team on 1 January next year, forming part of the Technical Executive team, alongside Peter Prodromou and David Sanchez, and reporting directly to Stella.
Having been with the Milton Keynes-based outfit since 2006, there has been speculation that Marshall's move to Woking may form part of a deal that would see McLaren use Red Bull engines from 2026.
Currently, McLaren has an engine deal with Mercedes which runs until the end of the 2025 season, and it is known that looking ahead to 2026, Zak Brown has visited the Red Bull Powertrains facility and held talks with Christian Horner.
However, Stella insists that Marshall's move and a possible engine deal are unrelated.
"I can confirm there is no link," he said. "We had conversations with Red Bull a few months ago as part of the due diligence in exploring what's available in the market in terms of power unit for 2026. But at the moment, we are quite advanced in our negotiations with HPP (Mercedes), so there's no conversation ongoing with Red Bull.
"Rob joins McLaren bringing a unique level of experience and know-how in terms of the engineering and design of Formula 1 cars," added Stella. "We know that he has been instrumental in establishing such a strong technical department at Red Bull, so that’s what we expect he will bring to McLaren. We are extremely pleased that he is keen to do that, and he is keen to join McLaren as we take the team to the front of the grid.
"Hiring Rob consolidates the technical structure, with Peter Prodromou leading aerodynamics, David Sanchez will lead performance and concept, Rob will lead engineering and design, jointly with Neil Houldey who will be his deputy.
"I think we have put in place now at McLaren a very strong technical structure, but this is compounded by all the investments on infrastructure that are actually coming to fruition in these weeks and months. All these together puts McLaren with the conditions to actually being able, as I said before, to design Formula 1 cars that can compete for winning championships."
When it was suggested that repurposing the factory and signing the likes of Marshall and Sanchez (from Ferrari) won't have come cheap and whether McLaren is having to cut back elsewhere in order to meet the budget cap, Stella replied: "Zak is doing a good job to put McLaren in condition to spend this money.
"In terms of compliance, actually within the regulations, we had the possibility to spend this kind of budget, not only from an operational point of view, but also in terms of capital expenditures. So it didn't create particular challenges, I would say. So it's not been a difficult process."