Pat Fry (right) with Fernando Alonso during their time at Ferrari. File photo: Albert Gea / Reuters

Woking Surrey - McLaren’s former engineering head Pat Fry has returned to the Formula One team as it tries to build a better car for 2019 after years of under-performing.

Fry worked at Woking from 1993 to 2010, when it won championships with Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton, before joining Ferrari as deputy technical director. He left Maranello in 2014 and worked most recently as a consultant to now-defunct Manor.

“Pat Fry is joining us,” team boss Zak Brown told reporters on Tuesday, saying Fry would start work on Wednesday as engineering director.

"From a technical standpoint Andrea Stella is leading the way and will work very closely with Pat Fry. Andrea will set direction, targets and performance criteria and Pat ultimately will work with him to execute that.”

The pair also worked together at Ferrari.

“When I told the team this morning that was extremely welcomed,” said Brown. McLaren has signed James Key from Toro Rosso as technical director but he is not expected to start this season with the Red Bull-owned team holding him to his existing contract.