Zak Brown, Eric Boullier, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Replacing Boullier not a knee-jerk reaction – Brown

2018 F1 season

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McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said the departure of racing director Eric Boullier and restructuring of the team is not a knee-jerk reaction to its poor form.

The Formula 1 team has announced a restructuring of its technical department in response to Boullier’s resignation, which Brown accepted yesterday

Speaking to media including RaceFans today Brown said the restructuring is intended to address McLaren’s long-running uncompetitiveness.

“We have announced this big change to get our house in order,” said Brown. “I am not going to knee-jerk react.

“The team needs to have a period of stabilisation so we can build a strong foundation. The situation was not created overnight and therefore will not be fixed overnight. So today is our first step in getting back to our winning ways.”

Gil de Ferran has taken on the role of sporting director while McLaren is yet to announce whether Boulier’s former position will be filled. Brown denied De Ferran had been appointed earlier this year in order to replace Boullier.

“We brought Gil in a few months ago and we identified that we could probably use some of Gil’s sporting experience to get the most out of our drivers, our engineers, have a fresh set of eyes in the garage. So it was not our plan at that time to have him in this role.

“What we identified was an area in which we thought he could contribute. And as we have worked with him and things have evolved it’s naturally fallen into place that we thought he would make an excellent sporting director. But that was not set out in a defined way when he first started.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 22 comments on “Replacing Boullier not a knee-jerk reaction – Brown”

    1. Yep. One powerful article about the fall of McLaren by RaceFans/RacingLines force them to fired Boullier.

      1. I have to say, after reading the wonderful piece, I thought : damn, if I were Brown, I’d probably fire Boullier :D

    2. Interesting coincidence (! or ?) Petrobras (Brazilian company) sponsors McLaren, I never heard of any Brazilian young driver under McLaren’s young driver program, that could even drive the car one day for a testing/promo event. The closest link McLaren has with a Brazilian driver is Bruno Senna and the development of their road car. Now they have a Brazilian sporting director. Maybe we will see De Ferran wearing bright yellow clothes with a huge green BR sign on his back. (lol) :D

      Sorry for the long post, please accept this Freddo.

      1. better yet, they are sponsored by Petrobras but they don’t use their products.

        The only thing they have in common is the amount of bad news they have been receiving with McLaren’s current state of affairs and Petrobras’ participation in the “lava jato” operation

    3. No Zak, it wasn’t knee jerk – it was a case of searching for the best candidate to get rid of to protect your own backside.

      I fear for Mclaren even more that I fear for Williams – who would have ever thought that those two teams would be on their knees and near the exit door.

      The question has to be asked though – is it just the teams or has the post 2014 era made things just too difficult for most teams to be competitive.

      1. Rob (@sundiesel)
        5th July 2018, 1:03

        Things weren’t the best under Ron, but they’re far worse now under this crass yank.
        Up until a few months ago I was one of those “Loyal Fans”(mentioned in another article) but its too late to shut the gate now, mate…..

    4. Mark in Florida
      4th July 2018, 15:42

      Boullier, sacrificial lamb. McLaren problems belong to more than one guy. McLaren has lost their way and don’t know their way back. Hopefully they can, and McLaren of old will reappear. Alonso should race elsewhere, there’s no way he is going to accomplish anything at McLaren.

      1. It’s interesting that two of the “greats” have lost their way and seem unable to turn that around.

        It can’t be a coincidence that it’s gotten worse since 2014 and the introduction of the new PU’s and the removal of opportunities on the suspension/aero/wind tunnel side that used to enable some teams with lower budgets could leverage to their advantage.

        I suspect also that the costs for the PU’s have limited the budget spend for them in other areas.

        1. Williams hasn’t been one of the greats for decades now, and they had emersed themselves in mediocricity well before 2014. Didn’t they finish 2013 second to last in the construcor’s championship (officially as Williams-Renault, how cruel).

        2. Power units are only 15-20mil and McLarens budget is said to be 200 mil, so it can’t be the case. FI and Haas both have budgets closer to 100 mil so I believe it’s the quality of the top personnel that make the difference and the management structure.

    5. And after a successor to Boullier is appointed Zak hands in his resignation?

      1. Wait, wait, I know what the follow-up announcement is and it begins with “A” and continues with “lonso retires from F1”

    6. I’m surprised, I never see any mention at all about Lewis leaving the team & how the team has gone downhill since then.

      If he had stayed in 2013, the team would have done a whole lot better during race weekends. I honestly don’t think JB as the team leader was the best idea. He just isn’t outright quick enough. Which is why in my opinion McLaren swapped Perez & Magnussen so quickly. They were looking for outright speed ala Lewis Hamilton.

      Would love to hear @gtracer thoughts & insight on all of this.

      1. Lewis does not engineer cars. A slow car is a slow car.

        1. I understand a slow car is a slow car but Lewis would be able provide more pace & faster lap times in qualifying. Which would have moved the team up a few spots & not made them seem so slow.

      2. Or maybe Lewis left because he saw where things were heading. Anyway, McLaren shouldn’t have had a problem with Alonso in that department.

      3. Oh spare us the nonsense!

        The car was crap in 2013 – the car that was developed in 2012 when their drivers were Button and HAMILTON!!

    7. Zak couldn’t even wait for Eric to walk out the door before he starts chatting about him so openly. What manners!

    8. I don’t get people defending Boullier, calling him a sacrificial lamb and talking about good people being scapegoated. I don’t get why he was hired in the first place as in my opinion he wasn’t fit for the job. He didn’t impress me at all with his work at Renault/Lotus and he didn’t impress with his work at McLaren. He wasn’t able to restructure and build the team the way Toto Wolff did at Mercedes. Maybe Eric shouldn’t be entirely accountable for McLaren’s failure, but he was definitely one of its weaker points.

      1. The problem with Boullier at McLaren was that he couldn’t do what he wanted, because of the bureaucratic management structure at McLaren. So he resigned.

    9. So here lies the problem ,you’ve got a blue blood British team (ok I know it was founded by a kiwi) now being run by a Yank and a Frenchman , with a lead driver from Spain. No wonder the the Team is at war with itself .
      Basically the real rot set in the moment Zak Brown (team principle) allowed a driver (Alonso) to dictate the terms of his continued loyalty to the team, allowing him to compete in Indy and then again to compete a full round of WEC for the individual goal of trying to win the triple crown . A team does not exist for the glory of one individual Zak. Ron would have shown Alonso the door and made sure it him on the way out .

      1. @Zeke .. .you forgot to mention an Italian (Flavio) being the main puppeteer pulling all the strings

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