Zak Brown, McLaren, 2017

Brown takes over at McLaren Racing after restructuring

2018 F1 season

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McLaren has put Zak Brown in charge of its racing arm following a restructuring at the team.

Brown has been appointed as CEO of McLaren Racing. He joined the Woking outfit as executive director of its Technology Group in 2016 and is also the non-executive chairman of Motorsport Network.

Eric Boullier, who has been racing director at the team since 2014, will report to Brown.

Eric Boullier, McLaren, Albert Park, 2018
Racing director Eric Boullier now reports to Brown
McLaren Racing is one of three divisions in the McLaren Group under its new structure, alongside Automotive and Applied Technologies. Jonathan Neale has become chief operating officer of the McLaren Group while Mike Flewitt remains as CEO of McLaren Automotive. The company is seeking a CEO for McLaren Applied Technologies

Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, who remains on the group’s executive committee with Mansour Ojjeh, said the company “has been focused on structuring and positioning McLaren for growth.”

“These latest developments are a natural consequence of that work and are designed to bring greater simplicity and clarity to the structure and leadership of the group.”

McLaren finished ninth, second to last, in the 2017 constructors’ championship and severed its ties with power unit supplier Honda at the end of the season. Two races into its new engine customer deal with Renault it lies third in the points, though the team admitted disappointment with its performance in Bahrain where it was beaten by one of Honda-powered Toro Rossos.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Brown takes over at McLaren Racing after restructuring”

  1. Keith, could you share the links to apply for that CEO position?

    1. ihavenoideawhatimtalkinabout
      11th April 2018, 2:01

      its posted on under “temporary work”. ziiiiiiiiiingggg

  2. Boullier now had to report to Brown. That complicated things not simplifying the structure. Why not fired one of them or both and put someone who knew to develop racing team as CEO?

    1. His position is unchanged … why the confusion?

      McLaren is clearly gearing up for growth into other series, as Brown has spoken about in the past.
      Their own IndyCar team, & a GT entry in Le Mans would fall under Brown and McLaren Racing, while each project will have it’s own team boss.

      Applied Technology will sell / partner tech IP commercially, & Automotive will sell road cars.

      All seems very logical to me.

      1. Fair point. Forgot about other racing team. I still haven’t move on from F1Fanatic to be a RaceFan.

  3. I struggle a bit to understand this news. Who was the previous CEO of McLaren racing? And does Brown remain executive director of the technology group? Is there anyone blamed in the end?

    1. Ok it goes from two to three divisions
      McLaren Automotive and McLaren Technology Group (which includes Racing, Applied Technologies and Marketing) previously and now: McLaren Applied Technologies, McLaren Automotive and McLaren Racing.

      1. Thank you @spoutnik – that answers the same question I had.

  4. Wait I thought McLaren being 3 divisions had already happened some time ago.

  5. I bet this has something to do with the cost cap..

  6. I don’t understand all the criticism. There needed to be a CEO and why not Zak Brown? He’s done a pretty good job on the commercial side, he’s successfully retained Alonso through some seriously bad years, the Honda bet was a failure, they moved on and now they’re improving. I don’t know any serious fans or observers that expected Mclaren to be fighting at the front after being close the back. If you want to criticize a case of serious mismanagement look at Williams F1, that’s a textbook case.

    1. Maybe the decision to retain Alonso and dump Honda were both bad. It’s too early to see if this guy knows what he’s doing.

      1. How on earth would retaining Alonso be a bad thing?

        1. More to the point, how on earth would dumping Honda be a bad thing?

          1. Seriously?

    2. Simple AJ,…..Haters will hate….. nothing more, nothing less…. I am with you on this one.
      At least for me, this season is already much much better than all the of the past three years….You can tell how good we are doing by simply listening to Alonso….The team might get simple results this year, but at least we are on the right path…at least until 2020 (or is it 2021 for next regs.)…Keep the faith.

  7. This is good. Good move in the right direction. Should consolidate decision making and make structure clearer.

  8. I must say, I feel for Ron Dennis. Renowned for being a difficult character but still, he built up that business and was then unceremoneously ousted. Sure, he made a hell of a lot of money. But it must have hurt so much to be kicked out of the company you grew and loved.

    I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on this. Obviously, I know very little on the subject.

  9. Zak seems to be a good leader, with innovatove ideas and some fresh out-of-the-box marketing stunts (like the Indy500 for Alonso). But, in my mind, the problem at McLaren F1 team seems to be the lack of quality for the top management when it comes to aero / engineering and ofcourse with the team principal.

    Martin Whitmarsh was underwhelming, Eric Boullier is also just not good enough, and i believe he should have been sacked a while back. But given that they could blame Honda for everything that went wrong in the last 3 years, he somehow got away with it. But now, with STR blooming, the clock is ticking.

    1. I’m inclined to agree with you, especially about Boullier.

  10. With the same engine as Red Bull, MCL need to be much closer than a second off the pace. And now Honda beat them… I think MCL have lost a lot of talent over the last couple of seasons. Can they find a second a lap in the next few months? That’s a tall order. I reckon Williams will find more, but they are even slower with a Merc in the back of their car. That two great names in F1 are tooling around at the back is beyond depressing.

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