Mansour Ojjeh, McLaren, 2017

McLaren slams “entirely misleading” report on Ojjeh

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In the round-up: McLaren has issued a strong denial in reaction to a newspaper report which claimed one of its major shareholders had left the team.

What they say

McLaren said “the story in the UK’s Independent by Christian Sylt is entirely misleading” and stated they had not been approached prior to publication to check whether any of the details contained in it were accurate.

“Mansour Ojjeh has not left the business and remains a director of McLaren Group, the second largest shareholder and a fully involved member of the Executive Committee of McLaren,” it added.

The team said it is “in the process of simplifying our corporate structure following the reorganisation of the group last year.”

“An important part of this has been the decision of the McLaren Group to populate its operating subsidiary company boards with purely executive directors, rather than some non-executives, hence the various resignations. Mansour is simply one of those non-executive directors.

“However, the executive directors that have all decided to resign from the subsidiary company boards obviously remain as directors of the parent company, McLaren Group Limited.

“Nothing in practice has changed other than a decision that makes for a more efficient and practical process.”

The original story has since been deleted. An altered version of the article was later published.

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Comment of the day

Will bringing back high degradation tyres make Formula 1 races more exciting? Here’s the case in favour:

There is almost no degradation because drivers are nursing their tyres pretty much all the time. This year, races have generally been decided by safety car interventions, but apart from that there wasn’t too much racing.

It’s a shame that during the high-degradation era one driver (Vettel; 2011-2013) or one team (Mercedes; 2014-2016) dominated. Last year, we finally had two extremely closely-matched teams and in my opinion the most interesting races were the races in which tyre degradation was high and the optimal strategy was unknown.

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63 comments on “McLaren slams “entirely misleading” report on Ojjeh”

  1. 1 QUESTION, no discussion, are you for or against high deg tyres, answer YES if you want them, answer NO if you don’t.

    1. Internet polls like this are not the least bit representative, and are therefore pointless. All you’ll do is create an echo chamber.

      1. @aesto, this is not a single choice poll, hopefully there will be 2 competing echo’s, I’m merely curious.

        1. Yes, but there is a selection effect. People who are more annoyed at the tyres will be more likely to respond. Also, when it comes to polls, people like to be on the ‘winning’ side (for bizarre, weird, pointless, human reasons), so any additional ‘No’ (or ‘Yes’, but that seems less likely) will make further ‘No’s more likely.

          1. @aesto, Anon, @coldfly, and others, I thought we had discussed the tyre issue to death but I am curious as to how many supporters there are of high deg tyres and therefore more pit-stops. I realise for many fans pit-stops have been a part of F1 all of their lives and If the majority are in favour then I feel the argument is lost and I might as well stop following F1 now.

        2. @hohum, as Markus notes in his response, you have asked this poll in an environment where you seem to be hoping for a particular result due to the bias of those whom you are asking the question to and the self selecting way in which people will respond – it is going to be mainly those who already want to complain about the tyres who will predominantly respond, and it is likely to create a hostile environment where people are uncomfortable at offering a counter response in case they are shouted down by the opposite side.

        3. Besides the valid comments by @markus & Anon I also prefer a discussion over pros and cons rather than emotional and unclear YES/NO’s.
          Many real fans come here to feed their appetite for knowledge and POVs rather than trolling out their own beliefs.

          1. @coldfly, further to my response above, the point ANON makes about people being afraid of being shouted down is the reason I requested “no discussion”, yet I’m accused of trollery.

          2. @hohum, you’re one of the last I would accuse of ‘trollery’.
            My point is that I enjoy the ‘real discussions’ by quality commenters on this blog/site. Those discussions/comments make me come back notwithstanding the small number of trolls (we all know who they are) around.
            And because I like the discussions/comments, I do not like a simple YES/NO vote. I can ‘scroll down’ when I see a troll, but I can’t appreciate the reasons when I see a simple YES/NO.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      7th August 2018, 0:26


    3. Yes, I don’t not disagree.

      1. Montréalais (@)
        7th August 2018, 4:27


      2. I can’t not oppose being contra to the inverse of your position.

        1. Bernie's Magic Goulash
          7th August 2018, 14:07

          I couldn’t fail to disagree less.

    4. Peter Scandlyn
      7th August 2018, 3:54


    5. Of course!

    6. I would mind the odd race being high degradation, but not all the time. it won’t create better racing because the teams are on top of it now. it worked in 2011 because it was unknown and again in 2014 because the cars were largely unknown. now, they will just drive to a delta. a good example of why that doesn’t work is monaco – the tyres were fragile so everyone drove well off the pace, which meant no one made an error, hence boring race (apart from ricciardo’s travails).

    7. YES – See: Canada 2010, Perez & Kobayashi’s outstanding Sauber podiums
      NO – Enjoy seeing drivers pushing the limit. No overtaking is not necessarily boring for me.
      Yea I broke the rules.

  2. I’m not entirely sure whether to agree with the COTD or not. I’m not really in favor of the plan to go back to the degradation levels of the first current Pirelli era-season although it wasn’t always too bad, but still. I much more prefer the current 2017-present low-deg tyres over the high-degradation ones since they allow the drivers to push for much longer than the 2011-16 ones. I think the best combination to help to make the quality of racing better would be to have significantly more followable, and thus race-able cars (which hopefully will happen in 2021) combined with the 2017 tyres (either similar degradation levels to last, or this season, or how it was with the 2010 Bridgestones).

    1. @jerejj I have the impression the Pirelli guy quoted in yesterday’s article mislead us all. The only tyre presenting as much degradation as 2011 is the soft. The other two have higher degradation than now but half the degradation rate of the soft.

      As you said, let’s hope they have a wider operational range and are not killed while following another car.

      There is only one thing which is sure: tyre discussion aren’t over.


    Yes, you’re the guy that now has the right to remain silent…

    1. And if you are lucky, you’ll end up in the same prison as your mate D.J. Trump.

      1. I did not know Donald Trump is in prison. Do you have a link to verify this information?

        1. It’s stated in future tense; can’t wait.

  4. Brian France like Donald Trump is one of those self made men who have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, they have earned their wealth and power, and as superior beings should not be bound by the petty rules that are put in place to protect the inferior poor people from harming themselves.

    1. i know you are being sarcastic, but the irony of this is that neither of them are self made. they were “made” by their fathers. so i think your statement should have been “Brian France like Donald Trump is one of those men who inherited their wealth and power from their father, and therefore believe they are superior beings that should not be bound by the petty rules that are put in place to protect the inferior poor people from harming themselves.”

      1. +1

        And might I say it couldn’t happen to a nicer Daddy’s boy who has done all in his power to ruin the family legacy?

      2. Montréalais (@)
        7th August 2018, 4:28


      3. I think that may have been part of it all.

      4. @sidziner, You are correct, but that is not what they will tell you.

      5. Nice FIFY!

  5. I can’t believe Christian Sylt got something wrong, he has such an impeccable source, and it’s not Bryan France.

  6. Mark in Florida
    7th August 2018, 1:11

    High deg tires? No way. The amount of clag that will build up on the track makes passing outside the racing line impossible. Tire management will be even worse than it is now. Some will pit more often to gain places, maybe. Most likely team’s will try to stretch out the stints but try and manage pace to suit the crappy tires because everybody else is in the same sinking ship also. The race pace will be commensurately slower as a result of these sorry tires. I highly doubt Michelin will care to involve themselves in such a scheme. That leaves Pirelli to provide the evaporating tires for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

  7. It was fascinating to watch the MotoGP race this weekend at Brno play out with high-deg tyres, like a cycling stage or a short track speed skating race, with the pack circulating, waiting until someone pulls the pin, and the pace ramping up at the end.

    I tend not to enjoy hearing F1 teams tell their drivers that they need to back off to look after their tyres. Yet, I really enjoyed the MotoGP race as a self-contained exercise in racecraft, where the riders have to manage one set of tyres for the entire race with no intervention or guidance from their teams. Knowing that you’re watching the riders make those decisions in isolation makes a world of difference, as does the fact that the race is only one “stint” long, so there’s a natural ramping-up of the drama to its climax as you find out who has enough tyres left.

    If we do wind up with a revamped GP format that involves a sprint race, it would be very interesting to see it matched to high-deg tyres that could produce the same flavour of racing.

    1. Interesting take on it. Do many or any other Motorsport categories change race formats throughout the year? For example races that are a sprint format which are much shorter where teams use as little fuel as possible and only the set of tires you qualify on. Or more race geared towards endurance? Different races worth more points? TdF just finished and anyone who follows cycling knows there’s more to TdF than just the yellow jersey. Could these different ‘prizes’ be implemented in Motorsport? But for sure such a thing would go against the very essence of F1.

    2. @markzastrow, I think you have missed the point a bit, in Brno nearly all the riders chose the hard tyre option due to exceptional conditions, Rossi a notable exception using a medium front/Hard rear combo, normally the teams choose softer combos and still make them perform to the end, although there are notable exceptions like Lorenzo earlier in the season rushing out front on softer tyres only to sink back through the pack towards the end once his tyres were done. The point is most of the riders choose the fastest tyre that there riding style and setup will allow them to race full distance, no pit stop required and usually the only tyre management required is bringing them up to optimum operating temperature before thrashing them.

      1. @hohum, I’m not so sure I’ve missed anything. Your point is what happens “usually”, and the entire point I was making was that I enjoyed how this was not a usual race. It’s exactly those exceptionally high-deg conditions—and tyres that couldn’t last—that created an exceptionally interesting (for me, at least) style of race.

        Maybe you missed that I was talking about the possibility of a sprint race (i.e. no stops)?

        1. @markzastrow, Sorry if I missed that part, I much preferred Assen with 174 passes throughout the race, each to their own.

          1. @hohum, sure, me too. But to see F1 cars race like that you’ll need to chop all the wings and two wheels off of them.

    3. Great comment there @markzastrow. That is the way to look at things – I agree with you that high deg tyres could make a sprint race fascinating to see. Although I am quite unconvinced we need sprint races. And to add to your discussion with @hohum there, I think the point is what you mention – it is nice to see DIFFERENT kinds of races play out.

      We can have some with huge amounts of passing, we can have ones with tyres that really degrade a lot and can make the difference, we can have some where tyres will last forever but they have to manage their fuel, we can have some that really give us drivers pushing all the time. But it needs just one or two of them, not all – we grew tired of that after about 3 of the hyper DRS ones, after 5 races with high degradation and “the cliff”, we’ve seen too much fuel management, we’ve seen how pushing all the time and then stopping for fuel became boring.

      I fear that the thing that makes it interesting though is the unpredictability. And it is hard to get that when DRS zones / overtaking aids, tyre degradation, fuel use and even power deployment, but also downforce etc can all be planned for, simulated to the optimum and “just” perfectly executed on track. Because then we get races that are ran as if the drivers are just exectuting the perfect simulation run.
      In which case we badly need a boiled up Vettel, or a frustrated Max or a wildly optimistic Daniel or a Maldonado to turn things upside down, to not make it boring.

      1. @bascb Good points. I agree with you—variety is key. I’m not convinced either of the need for sprint races. But I do think they could be enjoyable if they went out on a limb and really eliminated the teams from managing the car, and just left everything to the driver as in MotoGP.

        On the unpredictability, I think you’re absolutely right—we’ve been lucky this year with some spicey moments out on track that have turned the complexion of races around. If Liberty succeed in making overtaking easier, I wonder if we’ll see less these moments of frustration or wild optimism—and whether we’ll miss them. Reminds me a bit of what happened in Nascar at Bristol, and how its appeal came from the fact that it was hard to pass and so drivers had to beat and bang to get around each other. When they reconfigured it to make the racing “better”, the drivers loved it but the fans hated it.

  8. I don’t want to pop the bubble known as “tire degradation argument”, but any kind, low or high degradation tires will be mandatory, there will be tire nursing in 90 percent of the time, as the teams have so much data at hands, that it will be always the better option, than pushing without limits.

    1. Only if they have the option to change to new tyres.

      1. Tyre nursing will not be an issue when there is a viable option to change tyres often.
        Somebody as smart as I am, made that point yesterday.

  9. On the subject of tyres, why can’t intermediate and wet weather tyres be more durable on a dry track? It seems to be fairly common to have a track that’s wet in one place and dry in another, so that normal racing tyres can’t be used on the wet part, but the ones suitable for the wet part of the track don’t have the longevity necessary for the dry part of the track.

  10. “There is almost no degradation because drivers are nursing their tyres pretty much all the time. This year, races have generally been decided by safety car interventions, but apart from that there wasn’t too much racing.”

    If they are nursing the tyres now …. will they do this more or less with high deg tyres …?? More I would suspect.
    Hopefully someone will find their marbles. Should be lots around.
    Vote: NO…..NO…..NO….

    1. @rekibsn Isn’t that going to depend on the nature of the tires? They are nursing them now because they are so fickle to keep in their optimum temp window. Different tires could be made to have a much broader operating window and still be high deg through tread wear. They might not last long but while they’re on the car drivers can push them for more laps, and follow cars in dirty air more closely and for longer than they currently can, even for a short stint, theoretically.

  11. “Ford and Ferrari are among the manufacturers no longer attending the meetings to shape the FIA and ACO’s proposed ‘Hypercar’ regulations, which are due to come into force in the 2020-21 World Endurance Championship.”

    Pfff… well that’s just swell :/.

    As for COTD, I’m not entirely sure. High degradation tyres made everything a lottery, and cars and certain setups often hit a sweet spot and were untouchable the whole weekend. Everyone made a lot of pit stops because the degradation was just astronomical, and we often saw 20 second gaps being nullified in a dozen laps, which was very weird. The delta was huge, and then they backed it off a bit, which meant that you couldn’t recover the laptime lost in the pits so preferably you just kept going, managing tyres… It was (is) the worst of both worlds.

    I rather have durable tyres with a big operating window where drivers can push and force others into mistakes, or try to overtake on track.

    1. @fer-no65, going to your point about the WEC, in many ways there is no incentive for Ford to stay on for any longer as they’ve already achieved their objective, which was getting that victory at Le Mans on the 50th anniversary of their first win (although the circumstances of that victory were rather controversial behind the scenes).

      They’ve already milked it for publicity, and now that the ACO has implemented their Balance of Performance and taken away the considerable advantage that Ford used to have, they’ve not won either the 2017 or 2018 races and haven’t really been able to get as much publicity in subsequent years as they might have liked.

      They were only ever committed to 2019 in the first place – and even that is longer than their original commitment – so it’s not surprising to hear that they are not interested in the new regulations: they had already signalled that they weren’t going to be staying on anyway (particularly given their refusal to sell cars to customers, making them the only manufacturer in the GT class which refuses to do so).

      As for Ferrari, they’ve not really shown any interest in the top classes at Le Mans for a long time now – their main interest is their customer GT programme, and the indication was that they had mainly attended the first one or two meetings about the 2020-2021 prototype class rules as a formality and a courtesy to the ACO, but with no serious intention of entering that category. Furthermore, with the recent upheaval at Ferrari in the sudden loss of Marchionne, I suspect that they still have significantly more problems to worry about closer to home.

      In general, the response to the 2020-2021 regulation package by the ACO seems to have been pretty indifferent – there really doesn’t seem to have been that much interest from manufacturers (as noted in that article, they issued 15 invitations but only have 6 active participants, and half of those are independent suppliers rather than manufacturers).

      The problem does seem to be the IMSA’s DPi cars – if a manufacturer wants to make a prototype car that can be stylised like a road car, then the DPi cars, which are basically LMP2 cars with a body kit (they are all built off a standard LMP2 chassis), allows them to do that for a fraction of the cost that the ACO is talking about (even if the current talk of a $25 – 30 million a year budget is maybe a fifth of what teams were spending in the past, it’s still too high for IMSA).

      1. Also, Ford are considering going into the prototype class for IMSA anyway, which would make the GT class moot for their interests (why influence a class that one will only see when lapping them at Le Mans?).

  12. I’ve had some time to think about the tyre situation.

    a) If they do it they need to get rid of the Q2 start tyre rule. If they want to promote different strategies like M-S-S or M-H then they need to remove that risk of being knocked out of Q2, especially as the field condenses. We’ve seen Red Bull do it a couple times this year but that’s pretty much only because they know there is that buffer, which ideally shouldn’t be there.

    b) The whole idea is to manufacture that delta to generate interest. Even if designed to degrade tyres works perfectly as intended I really think it’s the wrong way to go about things. We won’t see close exciting racing we’ll see one car on fresh tyres blasting past another car on old ones. Just like we see one past blast past another with DRS, manufactured speed differences.

    It seems intended to mask the fundamental problem with F1 for some years now, that the difference between the top teams and the bottom is too large. This feels so similar to Ecclestone era. When Liberty came in they said they would focus on a solid plan. Brawn said he would focus on properly researched long-term changes. None of this is reminiscent of that, they’re throwing everything at the wall trying to generate immediate interest and fix all the problems at once, likely to have to re-evaluate again in a few years. The exact opposite of what was promised.

    So NO, it’s a NO from me, keep the tyre formula stable as the aero/engine/financial stuff gets sorted out. There’s already enough going on with changing to bigger rims after all.

    1. @skipgamer – Exactly. F1 has bigger rims to fill. And larger debts to pay. To Bernie. Anyone know what the balance is on the Bernie car loan?

    2. @skipgamer The properly researched long term changes have hardly had time to be implemented, no? For now they are dealing with BE cars and trying to make them race more closely…for now. Things will be quite different once the teams are making the cars Liberty wants them to make. The last thing they are doing is trying to fix everything all at once as they know that these cars will not allow them to do what they want. What they want is not achievable with these cars so they are just going to make do while they have no choice. The time to deal with better tires and then a year later bigger rims will be when they are being put on cars meant for them, as well as meant for no drs, and meant to be able to follow more closely. Can’t we give Liberty a minute to get us out of the BE era and into their own? There are existing cars and contracts to deal with first.

  13. There are a number of respectable Journalists that have an unfavourable view of Christian Sylt (Joe Saward comes to mind) … from what I have read thru various sites … I do not particularly like his writing style as it is rather fragmented / disjointed … and he is always reporting weird news … kinda like this lot … the summer break is a killer, and the racing can’t come quick enough, on account I hate reading this crap…

    1. Christian does believe in himself and prefers to be referred to as Christ!

    2. Saward? I wouldn’t award him top prize for journalistic respectability. As for the way he runs his site, it’s very like a bullying kindergarten teacher who treats any opinion he doesn’t share with “get out”, and self gratifies on sycophantic comments from the teacher’s pets in the class.
      The Trump of f1 bloggers.

  14. They scrap off abrasive surfaces just to start making high degradative tyres.

    The humanity has reached the peak of stupidity.

  15. The text in the intro has been revised to reflect the fact the article it refers to was later put back online, in an edited form, after initially being removed from the website.

    1. The updated Independent article is now less than a damp squib of a nonstory.

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