With McLaren failing to meet performance expectations in 2018, especially with their much-anticipated switch from Honda to Renault power units, McLaren CEO Zak Brown has vowed to fix the problems within the team following the resignation of race director Eric Boullier.
After a reasonable start to the season, McLaren had dropped further down the midfield in recent races, and with one points finish in four races, pressure was mounting on Boullier.
Today, McLaren announced that they had began a process of changing the “leadership restructure of its racing operations”, with Boullier being replaced by a three-man leadership team, which include a new role for Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran, who has been brought on board as sporting director.
Andrea Stella is appointed Performance Director, responsible for trackside operations, whilst Simon Roberts, COO of McLaren Racing, will oversee production, engineering and logistics.
“I am very proud to have worked with such a brilliant team over the past four years, but I recognise now is the right time for me to step down,” said Boullier.
“I want to wish everyone at McLaren the best for the remainder of the season and for the future.”
Brown lays blame on existing management structure
With Brown claiming that McLaren had failed to hit their targets for 2018, he said that “major change from within” was required to address the problems in the team.
“The performance of the MCL33 in 2018 has not met the expectations of anyone at McLaren, especially our loyal fans. This is not the fault of the hundreds of committed and hard-working men and women at McLaren,” said Brown.
“The causes are systemic and structural, which require major change from within. With today’s announcement, we start to address those issues head on and take the first step on our road to recovery.”
There have been a number of high-level personnel changes at McLaren in recent years, with the likes of chairman Ron Dennis and former team principal Martin Whitmarsh leaving the team.
Brown added that a simpler organisation structure was necessary for a team which had become “clunky” in recent years.
“The reason the car is not performing on the track is because we’re not performing well as a team,” Brown told Sky F1.
“What I see is we’re too slow to react, we need to simplify things within the organisation and we need to operate like a race team.
“[McLaren needs to be] a much faster organisation, we’re a bit too slow and a bit too clunky. That’s not any one individual’s fault, I know we have got great people here, so it’s our ways of working that need to change.
“My job is to get all 700-800 people rowing the same way as quickly as possible, communicating well because it’s those people that produce the race car. So we might have a race-car problem, but it’s how we built the race car that’s actually the real problem.”
“It’s just the start of the process, we’re far from finished. We need to be a faster, more nimble organisation that communicates better because I think we’ve got great talent here, it’s not just gelling like it needs to gel.”
“But I think we’re in a good place now, we’ve got a good foundation and I want to build on that rather than continue to make changes.”
All images: Motorsport Images
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