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Boullier joins McLaren as Racing Director
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  29 Jan 2014   |  1:15 pm GMT  |  134 comments

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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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


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.


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?


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


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?


Seems McLaren continues to degrade.


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.


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


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.


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!!!


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… 😉


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


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.


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”.


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.


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?


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.


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 ?


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.


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


congratulations and welcome to a proper F1 team Eric


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…


+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


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.


The 2009 Mclaren was a Paddy Lowe managed design too!


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


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


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?


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


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.


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


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???


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….


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

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