Eric Boullier, Lotus, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013

McLaren confirm Boullier as new racing director

2014 F1 season

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Eric Boullier, Lotus, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013Eric Boullier has joined McLaren as racing director, the team has confirmed.

“Eric’s appointment is an integral part of a senior management restructure within McLaren Racing,” said chairman Ron Dennis.

McLaren confirmed they also plan to appoint a new chief executive officer of McLaren Racing, who Boullier will report to.

“In due course we’ll announce the identity of McLaren Racing’s new chief executive officer” added Dennis.

Boullier, who joins the team after spending four years as Lotus’s team principal, said: “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.”

“I want to take this opportunity to assure the McLaren Racing workforce that I’m utterly determined to match their famous passion and commitment to win.”

No mention was made of the future destination of previous team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

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Keith Collantine
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67 comments on “McLaren confirm Boullier as new racing director”

  1. What’s a “Racing Director”? Is it a standard position, or have McLaren just made it up?

    1. I think you will find it is Ronspeak for team principal.

      1. I miss Ronglish.

    2. Like most positions, its made up. This sounds like they are purchasing him for the sponsors he will bring along with him.

    3. It is a new role apparently.

  2. Does this mean Eric will be the Team Principal? And so Ron is not CEO?

    1. not CEO of the racing team, no.

  3. Bye bye Martin W. …

    1. Yeh, exactly my first thought too.

  4. Interesting. I guess we can read this as: We haven’t agreed with Withmarsh yet on what position to keep him or whether he wants to go (and on what terms)

    1. IMO there will be a clear chain of command, and so a chain of responsibility. Boullier answers for all trackside operations (with Sam Michael), there will be a position above him, and that man answers to RD.

      Two of the candidates for that position is Brawn and Whitmarsh. While I would love to see Brawn in charge at McLaren, I just cant see him work under Dennis. Completely different philosophy, old arch enemies, etc. On the other hand if MW gets the position he will have less influence on the trackside operatins, but ultimately answer to RD.

      1. The Blade Runner (@)
        29th January 2014, 11:25

        I might be miles off the mark but I must admit that I mentally inserted Ross Brawns’ name in the position above Boullier. It would certainly make sense from a structural point-of-view.

        I too have been critical of Mercedes’ “too many cooks” approach so am a little bit wary. However “In Ron We Trust!”

        1. @thebladerunner I don’t see Brawn back at McLaren anytime soon at least not if he has to report to RD. Ross went away from Ferrari and Mercedes because they wouldn’t give him full reign and he would find exactly the same situation at McLaren.

    2. @bascb I read it as “Woohoo I’m egotistical Ron Dennis and I’m back. Whitmarsh who?”
      Heck, the BBC are reporting that Whitmarsh hasn’t even been in to work since Dennis took over McLaren Group again on the 16th. All I can say is, my time as a fan of McLaren may be up. I can’t stand Ron.

      1. The Blade Runner (@)
        29th January 2014, 11:22

        You can’t have been a McLaren fan for long then! ;)

        1. Or he has and thats why he has that opinion?

      2. Ha! He is the British Enzo Ferrari.

        Look what he’s built McLaren into. The best British racing team in F1 history, the second most successful racing team ever in history (after only Ferrari themselves). And to top it all off, he’s made them the finest UK sportscar manufacturer that develops parts for the Auto industry, the motorsport industry and the aerospace industry.

        And he’s done it all in the glory of another mans name, so don’t give me that about ego. He could have changed the team name to Project 4 when he bought Teddy Mayers shares out in 1981.

        In my opinion, if you’re not a fab of Dennios, you’re no fan of McLaren. McLaren IS Ron Dennis.

        1. I will frame this comment. Hats off my friend

        2. Luth (@soulofaetherym)
          29th January 2014, 20:50

          And yet his ego and ‘I’m-always-right’ attitude has cost them championships… *ehem* 2007 *ehem*, as a recent example.

          1. You mean 2007 as the only example. And he stuck to the principle that he lets his drivers race.

            The principle that still exists at McLaren today…They have always let their drivers race.

          2. They lost the 2007 drivers championship by 1 point and the constructors was destroyed by the machinations of others behind Ron’s back. It was Ron’s honesty that meant the entire team wasn’t burned down, like Renault F1 was when their race fixing came out in ’09.

  5. looks like they are still convincing Ross for the role

  6. petebaldwin (@)
    29th January 2014, 10:18

    Whitmarsh has shown time and time again that his trackside decisions made under pressure are terrible. I can’t remember many good strategical decisions made with him in charge. Lotus, on the other hand, had a real knack of not being involved in races until the last 10 laps where they suddenly appeard out of nowhere and fought for the win.

    Good call by McLaren IMO.

    1. It’s true to say that Mclaren didni’t seem to thrive under Martin, but could you give us an example to back up your argument?

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        29th January 2014, 11:14

        I assume you mean an example with Lotus as example of McLaren getting strategy wrong are fairly easy to locate!

        Strategy wise, Australia 2013 is an example. Most 3 stopped except for Raikkonen who won. He wasn’t the fastest that weekend but they got the calls right. It’s rare that under Whitmarsh, McLaren won with a car that wasn’t the fastest. In fact, often the opposite was true and they lost with the fastest car because of errors!

        1. @petebaldwin you do realise that Whitmarsh was not the person making strategy calls on race weekends? His job is to manage the staff.

          1. But Martin is in charge of making sure the strategy on strategy is correct! Do they have enough people and resources? Are they wasting resources on strategy that could have been put on aerodynamics. Are they too reliant on finding a pre-race simulated model for the unfolding situation, and not accepting gut reaction. You can’t pin one call on the boss, but he is responsible for how they got to that point.

          2. @tricky the OP was clearly speaking about race strategy and that is what I was replying to and speaking about.

        2. In fact, often the opposite was true and they lost with the fastest car because of errors!

          In 2012 yes. They didn’t have the fastest car often aside from then.

        3. Even more rare with Lotus. During two years, they had 2-4 good calls the rest were pitiful repeats of who knows what they been thinking and loss of many points.

  7. Weren’t McLaren having a dig at Mercedes last year for their management heirarchy.. and now McLaren follow in their footsteps. Swings and roundabouts eh!

  8. I don’t like Ron Dennis and the way he acted in the past. He abonded team at the end of 2008,
    left Whitmarsh with rubish 2009 car.
    Now he is back and what it is possible if Eric Boullier takes racing director possition.
    He (Dennis) sits behind Eric and will be saying “Go right or go left” and if something goes wrong, this will be Eric Boullier fault.
    Eric Boullier would be great team principal but without Ron Dennis around.

    1. Totally agree. In fact I fear this is not going turn out well. But hope I am wrong.

    2. I don’t like Dennis either, but it is hard to argue against his results over the last 30+ years.

      1. I don’t like Dennis either, but it is hard to argue against his results over the last 30+ years.

        @darryn, like the 10 YEARS that had passed w/o McLaren winning the WCC when Dennis finally handed over control of the F1 team to Whitmarsh in 2009?

        10 YEARS!!!

        1. Seconds and thirds pay real good though.

    3. Abandoned the team? He was forced out at the beginning of 2009 because he knew that Mosely wanted blood for lie-gate, and his resignation would be the only thing to sate him.

      1. he knew that Mosely wanted blood for lie-gate

        Actually better to say that Mosely wanted Dennis’ blood increasingly over the years, and after spygate and then liegate there was no denying him some.

  9. McLaren won’t win again until they get rid of Sam Michael. The man’s useless in my opinion.

    1. I sort of agree with that. He arrived and Williams, they started to slide, he arrived at McLaren, they started to slide. I’ve never really had a high opinion of him, he talks a big game but delivers little.

  10. Eric is thinking just this, “I can put up with Ron as long as I get PAID”

    1. Or maybe, “Now I finally have the tools I need to win”.

  11. Roos Brawn’s name springs out, but he is normally a bit more hands on, kinda doing the job Boullier is being brought in to do. And with Ron overseeing him, crikey, how many managers do they need ????

    1. The Blade Runner (@)
      29th January 2014, 11:41

      I suppose Ross, or whoever was in that role, would need to be pretty hands-on with Honda going forward

    2. You are assuming Ross, I wouldn’t say he is going there now because Boullier is there.

  12. What a bunch of idiots! Boullier doesn’t fit at McLaren at all! Yes, Whitmarsh had to be replaced but come on, couldn’t they find someone else? They are missing a driver line-up that can win them championships, they are now missing the team that can win them championships and probably they are missing the car as well this season. Sorry, but this is Williams 2.0 in the make. R.I.P.

    1. Why doesn’t he?

      Proven record of turning around a company and managing a tight budget.

      1. Proven record of turning around a company and managing a tight budget. – @georgetuk

        hahaha Yeah, by NOT paying his top driver’s salary (still not paid) or the wages of his factory employees!!



    2. They are missing a driver line-up that can win them championships, they are now missing the team that can win them championships and probably they are missing the car as well this season.

      You’re pretty much wrong on all 3 accounts.

      They have a former world champion as one of their drivers and the champion from one of the feeder series in the other car, they have pretty much the same team as always behind the scenes (minus Paddy Lowe, the designer of last years car) and a car that seems to be working well, if day two of testing says anything.

      Oh wait, was this a ‘they lost Lewis, they suck’ post?

  13. What the hell is a race director? I hope McLaren aren’t going down the Mercedes route of having multiple head honchos all hanging around but with no one person seemingly being in charge.

    1. How can you compare the two teams? Lauda has a history of screwing things up with his divisive management style, and Toto Wolff is…is……what the heck IS Toto Wolff?

      All McLarens management have years of hands on experience which needs some organisation, and Ron is just the man to do it. Why? Because he speaks quietly and carries a big stick. His only problem might be to get involved on race day when he should be pruning his roses. Anyone who comes in under RD (and that’s just about everyone) will have that issue looming over them, so Dennis needs someone compliant and that rules out Ross Braw, who, if he were to come back I think might give Williams a sniff. Frank must be getting tired now and it’s a testament to his toughness that he still attends races. I see RB potentially being handed the keys to the Williams Kingdom.

  14. I’m surprised he hasn’t joined Mercedes…

  15. Hang on, where is Jonathan Neale in all of this?

    And looks like Whitmarsh is gone.

    1. Neale has been name-dropped in press releases. He’s still there.

  16. Great move by McLaren in my view.

  17. As Boullier has gone straight from Lotus to McLaren without “gardening leave” I think we can assume that his employment contract had been breached by Lotus, no doubt the same way Kimis contract was in breach, it is very sad that such a good resourceful team as Lotus Enstone are likely to blead to death in order for CVC investors to keep receiving the kind of investment returns normaly only heard of in ads. for scams and ponzi schemes.

    1. @hohum – it’s not CVC’s fault that Lopez and Lux are incompetent, cynical financiers – incapable of managing a sporting property – who have been trying to make an outrageous profit on the Enstone team by refusing to sell sponsorship at the market rate, instead holding out for pie-in-the-sky “investments” from frauds like Mansoor Ijaz which never materialize, thereby ensuring that the brilliant, high-flying Genii financiers can’t pay their staff’s basic wages.

      Don’t blame CVC for those idiots!!

      1. Thank you.

      2. @joepa, I understand that point but look a little further back and ask youself how did the team fall into the hands of “cynical financiers”. Bernie sold on the rights to all of F1s revenue yet it is the teams that collectively have to spend billions each year to put on the show without which there would be no revenue, how can that work?

    2. Actually its well possible that its as simple as him not renewing his contract @hohum, remember he was taken in as team principal in Januari as well.

  18. It is interesting to note that a few years ago Dennis, Brawn and Boullier were presumed equals on the paddock in terms of being principals of the respective teams. If Indeed Brawn comes in as the McLaren Racing CEO then Boullier will report to Brawn who then reports to Dennis. That will look a bit awkward.

    On the other hand Brawn left Mercedes because of the similar issues. He wanted to run the team with a single authority rather than a bureaucracy & hierarchy. He would have very well stayed with Mercedes if he was happy with a hierarchy. He would have been more happy to report to Lauda than Ron.

    Lotus announced that Boullier is leaving McLaren couple of days ago and McLaren announced that Boullier is joining them today. Does that mean that Boullier literally walked into McLaren office and got a deal with Ron in a days time ? It is highly possible that he might have been negotiating with Ron much earlier. If that is the case does that mean that Boullier was negotiating with Quantum et all with the knowledge that he was going to move to McLaren ? How credible would that negotiation be ? Is Boullier going to bring in their sponsor ? Is that why McLaren has not announced a sponsor yet ?

    A lot of things don’t seem to add up. I think before making further assumptions it is safe to wait for the whole scenario to span out and get a complete picture of things ?

    1. @tmax If Indeed Brawn comes in as the McLaren Racing CEO then Boullier will report to Brawn who then reports to Dennis. That will look a bit awkward.

      Hence why Brawn will not be coming to McLaren to work under Ron Dennis.

      It simply defies credulity to suggest that a man as successful – and independent – as Ross Brawn would quit Mercedes (a team he, in some ways, rebuilt from scratch after Honda pulled the plug and forced massive staff cuts; a team in which he invested his blood, sweat, tears – and $$$ – and nurtured through some very difficult years to a return to GP-winning form) rather than have his independence compromised and have to work under the thumb of a bumbling old fool like Niki Lauda, just to join McLaren and work under the thumb of another bumbling old fool like Ron Dennis!

      1. @joepa Agreed that Brawn has very less motivation to go back to a setup he has basically shun to go fishing. But as much as I doubt Ross Brawn going there, I don’t get a good feeling about the Boullier move too. That is why i am saying lets step back and wait for the whole scene to evolve.

  19. angon…so where is Charlie Whiting going then??

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