Posted on January 29, 2014
Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 12.10.32

Eric Boullier is to join McLaren in the role of Racing Director, a position that will see the former Lotus boss report to a yet-to-be-appointed CEO of the team.

In a team statement, McLaren Chairman Ron Dennis said the hiring of Boullier forms “an integral part of a senior management restructure within McLaren Racing”.

Boullier will be charged with running the team at races and will report to a new CEO of the F1 team, who will in turn report to Dennis. In advance of the appointment of a new CEO, Boullier will report to McLaren’s Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Neale. The team statement made no mention of Martin Whitmarsh’s future.

Dennis added that he is convinced the new structure will return McLaren to winning ways.

“I’m firmly of the belief that, once McLaren Racing’s restructured senior management team has been assembled, together we’ll begin the march back to full competitiveness, quickly and professionally, harnessing the fantastic depth of talent that exists within our organisation,” he said.

Of his new post Boullier said: “First of all, I regard this appointment as an honour, a privilege and a wonderful opportunity.

“I’m both eager and determined to play an active part, working alongside McLaren Racing’s other senior managers and directors, within a new operational structure, to bring about the changes that will deliver success.

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Boullier joins McLaren as Racing Director
134 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: David Goss
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:24 pm 

    The first question from me is: what’s the difference between a Racing Director and a Sporting Director, and therefore where does this leave Sam Michael?

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    I recall James explained this in the past regarding Sporting Director.

    Sam’s role as a Sporting Director is to deal with FIA, knowing the rulebook back to front, handle sporting issues (please correct me if I’m wrong, James or anyone, I’m working from memory here).

    Racing director, well, James has already given a little insight =)

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Racing director would I suppose be the head honcho at the track side and in charge of strategy calls etc – while Sporting Director in McLaren speak means processes/pit crew training/technology/interfaces – i.e. basically putting the crew and cars together and making sure the drivers get all the info they need.

    [Reply]

    Lewis Reply:

    This should not impact Sam M too much.
    In their recent set-up, Martin W had overall control on race weekends, he would decide how to approach stewards enquiries etc. This will now sit with Eric B.

    [Reply]

    Jim Reply:

    At the job centre with his P45

    [Reply]

    petes Reply:

    + 1

    [Reply]

    Dave Emberton Reply:

    Apart from take credit for pit stops, what did Sam Michael actually do anyway?

    [Reply]

    Mike Martin Reply:

    I would also like to know this info. I used Google to find out more but could not find what I was looking for.

    This is what I found somewhere else:(not sure if it’s correct)

    Team Principal (The boss of the team who makes all the racing decisions)

    Chief Technical Officer (This guy along with a technical team are responsible for designing and improving the car. Maximizing the potential of the car within the rules)

    Race Engineer (The guy who is responsible for a driver/s and will help formulate things like tyre strategy and will keep the driver informed during a race and qualifying)

    Mechanics x lots (These guys do a lot of different jobs, including building / re-building cars and also performing tyre changes at pit-stops)

    Drivers (They do driving and marketing etc )

    Mr Allen, me and I also think others would be thrilled if you could build us a short hierarchical list of job descriptions and the main functions inside a F1 team. Who does what and who answers to whom.(short info about main 20 will do)

    Thanks and great article once again. I am just wonder how much money Boullier has invested in the sinking ship called Lotus and how trustworthy he will be at McLaren. Makes me wonder if he get immediate access to all secrets and stuff.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Good idea!

    [Reply]

    RobertS Reply:

    Yeah good plan. Something in a family tree kind if format would help.

    When red bull unveiled their car it was 2 drivers horner and newey. Mercedes on the other hand had quite a few people, which confuses who is in charge.

    StillwatchingAATY Reply:

    The trouble is that each team has different role titles and where thay have similar titles the job specs are likely to be different in any case……so good luck with that James.

    Perhaps you could start with Mercedes……

    Random 79 Reply:

    You’re going to have your work cut out for you when it comes to profiling the Mercedes hierarchy ;)

    J.Danek Reply:

    Yes I think this would be a VERY interesting article!

    And James, it would lend itself to inexhaustible content for your fine site, allowing you to profile a different person in a different role (Regardless of team) w/ each blog post. I would tune in every day/week to read more about each role and learn something about the person filling it!

    jakobusvdl Reply:

    I’m another who would find a team structure breakdown really interesting. I’d be happy if you were able to do that even for one or two teams – I’d imagine trying to set it up and keep it going foe all teams would be a full-time job.

    goggomobil Reply:

    Boullier smart move,a good job regardless of the title description and gets paid.
    You can’t get better then that.

    [Reply]

    Jodum5 Reply:

    I believe Boullier was an employee of Genii not an investor so he was a salaried man.

    [Reply]

    Hendo Reply:

    Yes, but did he actually receive his salary?

    The fact that he left Lotus and with-in a week started work at McLaren would indicate a breach of contract ie. didn’t get paid, just like Kimi.

    Steve Zodiac Reply:

    Boullier saw the Renault power unit and got the hell out! Ok seriously, he seems to be a man that knows what he’s doing so hopefully things will look up at Mclaren soon. I’m not too sure what Sam Micheal is for, hoovering up the atmosphere maybe?

    [Reply]

    Gerard Reply:

    Sam Michael is an Aussie and therefore would be doing something of importance as all aussie’s are very important !!!

    Adrian Newey Jnr Reply:

    Like a lot of industries, I think there has been a lot “title inflation” over recent years. People are now called “directors” rather than “managers” and people who manage nothing in particular are now called “managers”. F1 appears to be no different.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Gergely
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:27 pm 

    I read it as Boullier is moving from Lotus to McLaren meanwhile a heap of money the opposite direction. I’ll be not so surprised to hear in a few weeks time announcing Lotus “solved” fiscal “gremlins”.

    [Reply]

    J Hancock Reply:

    Given Lotus’ financial and pay situation with Kimi, who’s to say Lotus had any negotiating or contractual power to keep Boullier? Kimi made noise about it, but he can’t be the only one to have been missing pay.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Any word on this James – do you believe McLaren have had to buy Boullier’s contract? I find this unlikely since he quit last week, but I can’t imagine Lotus being happy with today’s confirmation unless they were given a swag bag.

    [Reply]

    Garrett Bruce Reply:

    +1 – The talent-sucking sound around the ‘Genii Investment’ branding that uses the good name of Lotus in an unfortunate representation is now very loud. Grosjean must be feeling pretty down, assuming he was able to develop the ability to control his on-track issues for the long term.

    [Reply]

    Graham Shevlin Reply:

    Given all of the recent financial turmoil surrounding Lotus, with Kimi Raikkonen not being paid for a long time, and rumours of other staff not being paid, I am guessing that Lotus in some way breached Boullier’s contract, thus allowing him to walk away. If that is true, the issue of “gradening leave” would have become moot.

    [Reply]

    Gergely Reply:

    I think ‘gardening leave’ and paid salary is not in direct relation. The cause of ‘gardening leave’ is to prevent a leaving employee to bring over up-to-date sensible infos about current car, technology, methods, etc. But I think for money which could save a team ‘gardening leave’ is skippable in such a case like its for Lotus at the moment.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Agent Orange
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:28 pm 

    Are we expecting Ross to take that CEO role?

    Boullier – McLaren Racing Director
    Brawn – McLaren Racing CEO

    Ron – McLaren Group CEO

    Seems a good fit and would give Ross the breadth of control it appeared he wanted in Mercedes.

    [Reply]

    yellowbelly Reply:

    +1

    You beat me to it. That would be both a good fit, and a formidable team structure.

    [Reply]

    Joe B Reply:

    That’s my thinking too. Good line up, if that does become the case.

    [Reply]

    Tealeaf Reply:

    Well well well all of a sudden it doesn’t look so bad at Mclaren, Whitmarsh is gone, Brawn and Boullier are 2 brillaint guys and so far in testing on their first run the car seems to have the legs on Mercedes and Ferrari, it reminds me of Brawn in 2009 where the car was out and instantly faster than the rest and it seems like it here too, have to say Renault are in trouble it seems like their powertrain doesn’t even work, Mercedes’s advantage seems clear now and only the Ferrari chassis is challenging them and Mclaren will take some beating, Button will be fired up for a final championship challenge and who’s to bet against him if the other challengers are the other Merc powered cars, Vettel and probably the Ferrari drivers are the best in the world but they can’t negate this advantage, who knows maybe things will change at the next test but historically its unlikely and it’ll take half a season for Redbull to recover from this, the usual Vettel vs Alonso show will have to take a back seat for a year at least, come on Button show us why you are a world champion and beat Hamilton in his own team.

    [Reply]

    furstyferret Reply:

    Its looking good for the merc teams, but it is only day 2

    [Reply]

    Michael Reply:

    Keep dreaming. Jenson Button will never win another WDC. You heard it here first!

    [Reply]

    Tealeaf Reply:

    Based on what? So if the Brawn situation was repeated Jenson can’t win the title?!? Fair enough its like saying “Hamilton will never win the championship again whilst Vettel is in Formula 1″ yes that just sounds stupid even though there are slightly better drivers out there most of it depends on the car and Jenson is championship material, it was a dream for him yo win in 2009 and yes I will dream on and some dreams are based on reality, its a good chance for Mclaren to get back into the big time and Jenson is still one of the top 5 drivers in F1.

    Gerard Reply:

    We have had 2 days of testing radically new cars, I would imagine with the consistent improvement of the Renault powerplant ( within the rules ) over the last 3 years and the funding that issues with this powerplant will be short lived. Torro Rosso with their Renault powerplant have managed an numerous amount of testing laps so expect Redbull and Caterham to improve over the next 2 days.
    I would imagine Adrian Newey would be well on top of design with his team with regards the chassis and aero and also placement and distribution of weight so really it will only be a matter of time before the cream rises.
    Watch this space !!!

    [Reply]

    Krischar Reply:

    @ Tealeaf

    “Well well well all of a sudden it doesn’t look so bad at Mclaren, Whitmarsh is gone, Brawn and Boullier are 2 brillaint guys ” – Clear joke and a pure drivel

    Whitmarsh is much better man for the job. Ross has passed his best several years ago and that’s why he has been ousted from Mercedes set up. As for as boullier. HE does not know anything about the team management. Lotus provided him a easy job and he had no difficulties there. Boullier to Mclaren makes no sense at all.

    I feel very disappointed with whitmarsh not in Mclaren plans anymore. He is clear headed and better at man management / conflict management as well. This move only suggest the EGO issues between Ron dennis and Martin W. Dennis is poor chap who simply made too many mistakes and forced to quit by Mclaren in 2009

    Mclaren produced the quick machineries in 2010 and 2012. They even turned a poor first half of 2009 into a brilliant second half.

    Few downfalls which cost Martin W his job are 2012 failure to win WDC despite the quick car at their disposal. Poor 2013 season. Otherwise it was a good stint for Mclaren

    [Reply]

    F1 Badger Reply:

    I’m sorry to sound ignorant but can anyone shed light on the difference between Racing Director and Racing CEO?

    [Reply]

    Hendo Reply:

    You forgot Martin – CEO Technical Centre Ascetics & Horticultural Diversity

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Anil Parmar
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:34 pm 

    No mention of Whitmarsh..its obvious who Dennis holds responsible for the teams performance over the last few years.

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    This is two weeks old now…

    [Reply]

    Neil Reply:

    Not really. they can’t mention Whitmarsh if they are still in legal discussion with him.

    [Reply]

    Anil Parmar Reply:

    Ah ofc, good point! I do wonder if he’ll stay within the Macca family or decide to move elsewhere.

    [Reply]

    MelB Reply:

    My guess is that we will see Whitmarsh moving away from McLaren, perhaps even from F1.

    Quade Reply:

    The thing I’m most happy about is that McLaren now have a boss that will actively protect the drivers interests.

    You can compare the way Boullier protected Grosjean and drew the best from him to the way Whitmarsh actively fed Lewis to the press and allowed such a talent bolt away from McLaren to Merc.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Tom in Adelaide
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:34 pm 

    Shame this didn’t happen a year ago really. 2013 was a year to forget for McLaren.

    Hopefully Magnussen can do his bit to steer development in the right direction.

    [Reply]

    Quade Reply:

    The downhill slide actually started in 2009.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Olav R
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:36 pm 

    Sooooo – will we see Grosjean in Button’s car next year, then?

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Honda are rather fond of Button and I guess it depends whether Grosjean actually does well or not this year and finally gets a win.

    Though someone else mentioned Boullier only managed Grosjean through Lopez company so he might be relinquishing that responsibility now he’s going over to the enemy.

    [Reply]

    jonno Reply:

    Button has cost Honda a lot of money over the years. I seriously wonder if they want to throw even more his way. If Honda do keep him, it will be suggested that it’s because of Button’s popularity in Japan, his Japanese girlfriend and no doubt his love of uncooked fish.

    I believe Button is past his sell by date and McLaren need a new No 1, someone who can setup a car properly and can drive a car that isn’t setup perfectly.

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Mclaren and Honda disagree with you as does Ross Brawn. You’re entitled to your opinion of course but not your own facts. We’ll see anyway – who knows Jenson might decide to retire and go do something else anyway – he doesn’t strike me as the type who will go insane at home like some racing drivers.

    C Lin Reply:

    Hmm…could be.

    [Reply]

    Quade Reply:

    I would be surprised.

    If Jenson does not convincingly beat Magnussen, then he’ll booted out. If Magnussen equals or trounces him, then he might not see the season out. Its all to play for.

    But is Grosjean mature enough to mentor a fast teammate yet?

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: ngwe_f1
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:37 pm 

    This is good news for McLaren. I think it is safe to say Whitmarsh is out. I think JB should be next.

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    and hopefully Ron will find a way to bring back his golden boy Lewis.

    [Reply]

    Ahmad Reply:

    Nope, I think Dennis will target Alonso and Vettel ahead of Hamilton because they have proved much more than him so far.

    The problem for McLaren of course is if the Merc power unit proves too good against the Honda next year, which will be over a year late in terms of development and reliability.

    The other great thing on McLaren’s side is if/when they hire Brawn, that will become an attraction for top drivers to work with him rather than Dennis (too cold) or Whitmarsh (too relaxed).

    [Reply]

    Dmitry Reply:

    What did JB do for you to say so?
    He is very good. Not as good as Hamilton was, but still very solid driver.

    [Reply]

    ngwe_f1 Reply:

    He is good, but not McLaren-number-1-driver good. That and he and Whitmarsh had a love fair which cost the team dearly.

    [Reply]

    Dmitry Reply:

    I don’t agree.
    I can agree that he is not specifically number-1, but there was and is no better driver available.

    All “number one”s are at other respective teams – Lewis, Fernando, Kimi, Sebastian.
    Others can’t even be considered “number 1″, some are striving, but not there yet.

    For sure Reply:

    That is something kinda frustrates me.I cannot convince his fans that there is absolutely no reason to hate JB. I will bet my house that most team principals believe he is top 4 or 5 fastest drivers at best.
    A team like Mclaren want the likes of Senna, Prost, Mikka, Alonso, Kimi, Lewis and so on..
    They keep him because theres no better option at the moment.

    [Reply]

    Gudien Reply:

    What exactly does JB bring to the party besides slow qualifying times and no grip?

    Make Jenson ‘Racing Media Director’ and be done with it.

    [Reply]

    newton Reply:

    Ask McLaren. They seem to know a few things you don’t.

    [Reply]

    Gudien Reply:

    All teams make mistakes. Remember;
    1. Alonso signed by McLaren?
    2. Whitmarsh named CEO?
    3. Serio Perez signed by McLaren?
    4. Kovalainen signed by McLaren?

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    5. Jenson Button ?

    For sure Reply:

    Come on mate, if Vettel and Lewis are free agents, do you think they will keep him?

    Andrew J Reply:

    Well he’s also brought a few race wins for McLaren, and a good haul of points. Second in the WDC in 2012. You shouldn’t dismiss him that easily.

    [Reply]

    Gudien Reply:

    Granted Jenson Button is handy to have around as a number 2 driver on an F-1 team. Let’s all hope Magnussen gets up to speed quickly and gives McLaren what they need; a winner!

    Robert Reply:

    Winning WDC under Brawn, the quite possible new Team CEO over Eric. And WHEN he had Ross’s car under him, he took his poles and qualified well.

    If you have the car to win races with, JB is the 4th, 5th or 6th best driver to have at the wheel over the course of an entire season. He will score the points over the long-term, and get it home more times than not. And he plays VERY well in Japan.

    Unless Dennis relents on Alonso, they have to keep JB for the next year or two…and they likely will.

    [Reply]

    furstyferret Reply:

    Yes but button needs a car 1.5 seconds quicker than every one else to constantly put a car on pole, ie the brawn, unless you keep quailfing in the top 4, forget about winning a wc..

    Hoarsewhisperer Reply:

    “If you have the car to win races with, JB is the 4th, 5th or 6th best driver to have at the wheel over the course of an entire season. ”

    Spot on. Not first but very consistent. He has had a long career in F1 for good reason.

    People to prattle on about “no grip” comments but no driver ever has ‘too much grip’.

    Gudien Reply:

    Like your comments *Robert* and I sincerely hope McLaren does very well this year.

    By now we are all quite aware of the massive advantage Ross Brawn’s team had over it’s competitors the year Jenson beat Ruebens Barrichello, and hung on for the last half of the season to take the WDC.

    Jenson’s affinity for things Japanese, while admirable, doesn’t score championship points.

    Thompson Reply:

    Mmm…. Button’s WDC, if I recall Rubens car was nobled pretty much until the “blah blah blah..” outburst.

    By which time it was to late to catch up.

    Not knocking Buttons achievement or anything, just putting it out there…… :-o

    Paige Reply:

    Not if Kevin Magnussen shows he’s as good as everyone- particularly McLaren- say he is. Then you will start hearing the “JB is too old and has to go” sentiment start to sink in, and McLaren will want a younger and quicker guy in the car.

    I think Grosjean to McLaren makes a lot of sense. It’s a logically good place for him to be. He has shown that he has an elite level of talent. He was the only one who was in the same stratosphere pace-wise with the Red Bulls on a race-by-race basis in the second half of the season, and he could have won in Japan in a weaker car if the strategy had worked. It’s clear that he can do good things in a competitive car, and McLaren is his best chance at this. He will have his number one believer leading the team and a wealth of resources and experience to draw from.

    And if anyone thinks Honda wouldn’t dump JB for Grosjean, think again. They remember the last time a Frenchman was driving for them, and very fondly…

    Locoblade Reply:

    In the 2009-2013 previous 5 year period of relatively stable regulations, guess who was the second most winning driver behind Sebastian?

    OK so there was an undoubted car advantage for half of 2009 but considering he spent the majority of that era sitting next to Lewis and had a dog of a car in 2013 with no chance of adding to hs tally I don’t think his performance stats stand up too badly.

    If he gets a good car he’ll do the business, his weakness is an inability to drive round issues when the car isn’t good.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: RobertS
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:41 pm 

    Mclaren look like they are becoming top heavy. I don’t see the need for a ceo of the team. Surely that’s what the team principle is for. I can’t Ross Brawn fitting in the team after his break. I hope I’m wrong though

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    If you think McLaren is top heavy, you haven’t seen Mercedes…

    [Reply]

    RobertS Reply:

    That’s what I mean. Mclaren looks like it’s going down the Mercedes route. Isn’t this one of the reasons Ross left.

    [Reply]

    Paige Reply:

    Except Ross would be the top of the top-heavy as McLaren CEO…

    Chuck 32 Reply:

    McLaren following Mercedes infrastructure model? Red Bull might be the more pertinent example.

    [Reply]

    Jim Reply:

    It’s not just CEO of the team, it’s CEO of racing. This may include road car racing or perhaps McLaren’s future involvement in formula e? I wonder how broad the management profile is.

    [Reply]

    RobertS Reply:

    Good point

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Wellbalanced
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:49 pm 

    I can see Bouillier fitting in well within the structure. Still no mention on Whitmarsh though, perhaps he is retained

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Fireman
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:51 pm 

    So, please correct me if I’m wrong, but this is basically team principal position, but without some extra baggage that team principals usually handle?

    Also he starts on Monday, so that means he was not paid which made Lotus deal null and void?

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Depends what his contract with Lotus even was. He might have had a director position which he could resign from immediately. If Lotus/Lopez never even forsaw Eric jumping ship they might not have had the usual employee control clauses.

    It’s like Whitmarsh – as the former CEO he could have forseeably written his own contract terms and walk away if he doesn’t want to accept any other position at McLaren group.

    The ‘gardening leave’ clauses in engineers contracts don’t always extend to others or they could even be challenged in court if it restricts any chance of future employment.

    [Reply]

    Phil Reply:

    Or McLaren have paid Lotus off to secure his early release?

    [Reply]

    Chuck 32 Reply:

    I agree with Fireman; the “immediate” nature of Boullier’s availability suggest he was not paid which would have been a breach of contract on the part of Lotus. That makes sense, if you are not paying Kimi then there would have been sacrifices on the part of senior management.
    The question is; who was responsible for leveraging the success of Kimi, Grosjean and the Boullier led Lotus Team from 2012 Abu Dhabi thru first four races of 2013 into sponsorship income and why did they fail so badly the team disintegrated?

    [Reply]

    J.Danek Reply:

    “… if you are not paying Kimi…” < < < or most of their factory staff – at least not on time, or consistently…

    [Reply]

    Gergely Reply:

    That story Infinity Racing-Quantum motorsport-Lopez-Lux never ending bid for Lotus F1 Team is just ridiculous, and I think has huge impact on Lotus actual situation. I think those Genii guys invested in this team for profit speculation. But they plan went on the wrong tracks with this long Infinity-Quantum-always-transmogrifying ridiculousness. As its on for almost a whole year. (I remember sometime last april [2013 april] the team seniors were talking about great deals and opportunities for grownig and stabilizing the team.) If you ask why is not there someone else to buy part of the team, well my guess is because business people knows well enough Genii and its leaders/owners. The Lotus name alone isn’t enough to succeed such a deal. Even more due to the “namegate” with team currently known as Caterham. As well as F1 is not something very profitable except if you’re Mr.E. or the current Top Dog.
    At the end I think (feel it a bit) Genii has lost its way to realize the profit they wanted to extract from this team as a sideeffect Lotus getting fall apart…

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Hendo
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 1:53 pm 

    What odds that the new CEO will be Ross Brawn?

    [Reply]

    Clarks4WheelDrift Reply:

    Hmmmmm is it 50/50 Brawn or Sam Michael?

    or could Dennis be CEO F1 and group seeing as their superfast road car is now done?

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: alexdhq
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 2:06 pm 

    I see Grosjean at McLaren in the not-too-distant future…

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    Nothing against Grosjean but don’t particularly fancy that.

    Not too good a combo I know, but I’d rather see Bruno Senna take up one of the McLaren seats together with Honda return, and hopefully have a retro livery from the 90s’ painted onto the car. Now that’d be something :)

    [Reply]

    Timmay Reply:

    That is one awful idea bro. Nice way to erode & water down Ayrton’s legacy you got there. Did you even watch how great Ayrton was? Or for that matter how terrible Bruno?

    [Reply]

    cedgy Reply:

    Can’t see MacLaren doing that. I think it’s pretty safe to say that F1 is done with Bruno Senna. Nice guy and some talent but not a top driver. His name carries more weight than what he’s really worth!

    [Reply]

    Yak Reply:

    So you don’t want to see the clearly talented Grosjean out of his rapidly disintegrating team and into a relatively stable team and a (likely to be) fast car… you instead want McLaren to bring back Bruno Senna, who never really displayed any notable promise during his time in F1?

    Uhhh….

    [Reply]

    For sure Reply:

    Couldnt have said it better. Too much common sense.

    schick Reply:

    Kay pulleeease? Bruno Senna? I’m 69 and I’m quicker than Bruno!. Seems to me McLaren have a lot invested in Magnusen he is the future. Button is a dud, and no chance Alonso will be welcome

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: AMSG
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 2:14 pm 

    Any truth in the rumour that ‘Lotus’ are not testing. As they still can’t afford to pay for thier engines ?? As EB was not paid his wages, hence can break contract with no default….

    [Reply]

    Joel Reply:

    Seeing the problems that Renault backed teams are having in Jerez, looks like Lotus saved a bunch of cash by sitting out.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Kay
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 2:16 pm 

    My thoughts immediately goes to Ross Brawn for the CEO. Hope it’ll be him!

    [Reply]

    J.Danek Reply:

    If Ross left Mercedes – a team he rebuilt and guided to resurrection w/ his own hand – rather than work under and have to report to an old ‘fool’ like Lauda (said endearingly), why would Brawn then agree to work at McLaren under an even more autocratic ‘fool’ like Ron Dennis (someone who, when he relinquished control of the F1 team to Whitmarsh), had led Macca to 10 consecutive years of not winning the WCC???

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Jon Wilson
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 2:17 pm 

    Seems like McLaren are going to have a committee rather than a an effective management structure. I thought Ron would have wanted something more streamlined to get the job done with maximum efficiency.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: smellyden
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 2:38 pm 

    I wonder what this means for sporting director Sam Michael???

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Ashboy
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 2:44 pm 

    So Eric is in charge on the pit wall his boss will be Ross Brawn, who will be in charge of the team but doesn’t want to travel the world, week in week out. And Ron will carry on doing what he does now on a day to day basis but the buck will stop with him on all parts of the Mclaren group. I think that is what they are saying?

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: AuraF1
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 2:46 pm 

    And as some people have pointed out this years McLaren was overseen by Whitmarsh so if it goes better will he get any credit? Probably not ;)

    Probably best to remember that the last car Ron Dennis ‘oversaw’ was the absolute dog of 2009 (which Whitmarsh oversaw into a race winner…)

    And I see Red Bull’s RB10 has caught fire again this morning…right that’s it – fire Horner and Newey! What do you mean it’s not their fault! But the expert F1 fans demand it!

    Sorry – just messing with the armchair warriors…

    [Reply]

    Paul D Reply:

    Doesn’t normally mean anything. Paddy Lowe was responsible for the 2013 Mclaren and he got a promotion at Mercedes! Funny old world.

    [Reply]

    Paul D Reply:

    The 2009 Mclaren was a Paddy Lowe managed design too!

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Ha ha, yeah Paddy does have luck on his side!

    [Reply]

    Robert Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Cliff Reply:

    +1, The voice of reason.

    Ron’s passion for all things McLaren cannot be questioned, but removing Martin Whitmarsh appeared to be more personal (could be wrong) than business. On the flip-side I have to say that I’m please to see Ron Dennis back in F1

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    I agree. Ron has been lobbying to remove Martin for three years when he decided he had made a mistake stepping back to appease the FIA and his family. It was not last year that convinced Ron to make a rescue comeback – he just wanted the CEO office back. Which is fair enough, it’s the company he built into a giant corporation. And he’ll likely bring his stubborn nature to bear in a good way again but MW is going to bear a bad reputation he doesn’t really deserve.

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: peter jones
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 4:30 pm 

    congratulations and welcome to a proper F1 team Eric

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: AlexD
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 4:36 pm 

    Eric to report to Ross Brawn and Ross Brawn to Ron?

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: mike
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 4:39 pm 

    Very english in approach-very Ron Dennis. Dictators and succession planning? Oil and water. Martin Whitmarsh was doomed from the get go. Look at Man United now. Same dynamic. For this reason alone, I would find it a stretch for Ross Brawn to be underneath Ron Dennis in a mgmt structure like this. I could be wrong in that the interpersonal dynamics for Brawn and Dennis will allow for it. Brawn has been an owner of a team- and won, he then became a corporate employee in a structure and never had same success (politics) His deductive reasoning skills = success, unfortunately this jettisons politics to the realm of insignificant. Can one honestly say that this will work in Mclaren, I smell Mercedes all over again. Before anyone pulls Ferrari out of the kit bag-Brawn had not had a taste of ownership at that stage. Also it will be a while before we see team work like Todt, Brawn, Byrne and Schu again. LDM stayed out of it, Ferrari have been a joke ever since he started touching down again post political war v Todt. Same stuff all over again.

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: shri
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 5:05 pm 

    Ron has brought a winner (Eric Boullier) from competition. Hopefully CEO will also be another strong performer / winner.

    Is it end of road for Sam Michael and Martin Whitmarsh ?

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: Paul D
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 5:05 pm 

    Clever restructure, essentially keeping the door open for Brawn while incorporating the excellence of Bouiller.

    I’ve heard it mentioned previously that Bouiller is a similar character to Jean Todt. Could bode well for a future Brawn / Bouiller link up, as I seem to remember Brawn and Todt won a couple of races together.

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: Fellowes
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 5:51 pm 

    If I understand correctly, as McLaren will have a Sporting Director and a Racing Director, I do not think they will now have a Team Principal, right?
    So if a new CEO comes in, they still would not be Team Principal (as Whitmarsh was), and therefore less involved in the race days…leaving it instead to the SD and RD, right?
    In effect, the face of McLaren on race days will be Boullier, right?

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: Allan
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 8:39 pm 

    I think this will work, Bouiller will be charge at races, Sam will report to him and make sure the drivers, engineers have everything and the CEO who does not have to attend every race overall control. Surely this will suit Ross B who said he wanted a sabbatical so he can return to work and attend races when GE wants. This really shows that McLaren missed Ron’s attention for detail. It will be an interesting season and looks like a work in progress to get ready for Honda next year.

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Timmay
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 9:33 pm 

    Ah McLaren – 1 world championship to show for 14 years of effort. And it was a flukey drivers one at that. Hence te term “return to full competitiveness” – Ronspeak that could mean anything – after last year a 3rd place finish could be considered “full competitiveness”.

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: Matt_2745
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 9:40 pm 

    Given that Sam Michael has been featured on the launch video and in press releases recently, doesn’t suggest that he’s on his way out really.

    You never know though.

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Thompson
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 10:19 pm 

    I found this interesting.

    If I recall Rubens car was nobled badly for a fair few races till the “blah blah blah…” outburst then he became competitive all be it too late.

    Not saying Button didn’t win is title fair and square – but you know, just putting it out there… ;-)

    [Reply]

    Thompson Reply:

    Ignore this it was meant to be a response to Andrew – will repost

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: IP
        Date: January 29th, 2014 @ 11:12 pm 

    I’ve got to say this is one of the most interesting appointments in F1 in recent years. I am fascinated to see how it works out. I have a real impression of McLaren being a very stiff upper lip, corporate institution and I can’t think of the last Frenchman they hired in such a prominent position.

    Eric has come across to me from afar as a very likeable and competent leader. Having really come from nowhere in F1 terms, I think he’s been outstanding at Lotus/Renault and really squeezed a lot out of them. His management of Grosjean speaks volumes and though he may now disappear a bit behind the corporate barrier of McLaren image management, I think his character will really endear him to the “family”.

    Which begs the question, who’ll be CEO of Racing? What’s Flavio doing these days? Stranger things have happened!!!

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: greg
        Date: January 30th, 2014 @ 12:18 am 

    I don’t get the appointment, why employ someone who has just broke a team? There is no other way I can see it, its easy to make decisions or choices if you have no regard of cost. Maybe he should get some praise for extending credit lines.

    [Reply]

    schick Reply:

    I agree, he isn’t that clever, don’t worry EB made plenty of wrong calls on tyres of which Kimi was very critical, I like Grosjean, but really not a top liner (more like early days Patrese). EB will be lucky to see out one season with Ron Dennis

    [Reply]

    greg Reply:

    He could of made a big difference last year after the first few races by selling kimi to McLaren for Perez as he was under performing, it would of brought some funding and removed a huge cost. I don’t think kimi is faster than half the grid and RG proved that.
    I think McLaren know if the Honda deal doesn’t bring titles, they won’t get another works deal and I think there is a rush to put as many bodies at the top to spread the blame or dissect it. It doesn’t say too much about their lower management as promotion within isn’t favourable.

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: fox
        Date: January 30th, 2014 @ 1:54 am 

    Seems McLaren continues to degrade.

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: Nick
        Date: January 30th, 2014 @ 2:54 am 

    Interesting, as his contract with Lotus surely would have had some sort of employee restraint clause, preventing him from moving teams so quickly. I.e. like Brawn’s gardening leave.

    Also hard to imagine Lopez would agree to release his star manager to another team by consent. So one could only presume that Boulier himself wasn’t getting paid, such that it would be difficult for Lotus to enforce any contractual restraint. Fair assessment?

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: TGS
        Date: January 30th, 2014 @ 4:13 am 

    So who is the team principal? Are teams abandoning the position?

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: IP
        Date: January 30th, 2014 @ 4:57 am 

    So… Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren Honda wearing a yellow helmet just like his boyhood idol? What date should we put on that one? 2016?

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: kenneth chapman
        Date: January 30th, 2014 @ 9:23 am 

    boullier did a great job over the past couple of years considering all the hoo har going down at the team and the drivers in particular. tenacity and the ability to keep the ship afloat are commendable qualities. a good decision by RD.

    i must say also that it is great to have RD back in the forefront. this guy is amazing and his achievements are prodigious. a talent that has been missing from F1 for far too long.

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: Ashboy
        Date: January 30th, 2014 @ 10:24 am 

    A Quick qustion James (or anybody that can answer) As Mclaren make all the softwhere for the electronics on F1 cars, What is to stop them shipping this years Chassis with a modifid ECU to Japan for Honda to try the new engine! if it didn’t transmit a signal, and do some seceret testing with Gary at the wheel? There is a rule to say you are not allowed to test a current car, But as the Honda is a future car is there a rule against that? Honda would be able to say its a Mugan to see if the team could make a return to F1, Just make slightly differnt wings and no Mclaren markings.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    They make the ECU for the FIA and the unit is regulated by the FIA

    I’d have to check the rules, but I think it would be considered a McLaren test. Honda wouldn’t build an F1 chassis to test I would think.

    [Reply]

    Ian Reply:

    I would think this would be written into the rules already, otherwise Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault would be having Chassis for testing purposes all the time.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes I’m sure it is. But the manufacturers you mention are already in F1. Honda is not.

    Ashboy Reply:

    That’s my point James if Mclaren knocked out a chassis say 1cm lower then there chassis that is crash tested. Used some wings that where slightly different to the ones they are using, used the suspension of the car in the launch photos ect. It would not of passed FIA crash tests so the FIA would not know about it and if they checked it would have differences to Mclarens race car. It’s not using a FIA ECU, it would be like any one of us buying an old F1 car and doing classic races. What could the FIA do?


  37.   37. Posted By: Monza 71
        Date: January 31st, 2014 @ 1:28 pm 

    They could surely put the power train into a Sports car chassis if they just want to put miles on it ? There are plenty around they could buy and use for this purpose.

    The actual installation is not too important at this stage : McLaren are going to learn an awful lot over the 2014 season in working out how best to use this kind of power train and Honda will obviously be continually updated on it.

    [Reply]

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