McLaren and Lotus at war over Team Principals and title sponsor

Eric Boullier with Martin Whitmarsh

Eric Boullier with Martin Whitmarsh

The internal turmoil and uncertainty at Lotus has been capturing headlines for several months, while McLaren’s unexpected ‘civil war’ broke out a few weeks ago and since then has been a huge topic of debate – now the two teams are at loggerheads over team principals and a big money title sponsor.

A few days before the 2014 preseason testing gets underway, both teams are without a Team Principal and neither has the name of a title sponsor on their new cars.

In the McLaren corner, gone now is their high profile partnership with Vodafone, but also missing at the launch of the MP4-29 on Friday was boss Martin Whitmarsh.

Jenson Button with Martin Whitmarsh

Jenson Button with Martin Whitmarsh

Nevertheless Jenson Button welcomed the return to power of company supremo Ron Dennis, “For me that’s the exciting thing about this year. And you do need change sometimes.”

Multiple authoritative sources all agree that Whitmarsh’s certain successor is Eric Boullier, the newly-departed Lotus Team Principal. That move has ruffled some feathers at Enstone.

Indeed, in what was widely interpreted as a spoiling move, Lotus chose the precise minute that McLaren’s 2014 car was revealed to publish the first photo of its own new single seater, the E22.

And, defiantly hinting at Boullier’s choice of next job, the team said on Twitter that the Frenchman’s parting gift is a copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.

Eric Boullier’s leaving present by Lotus: Something to read before the season starts...

Eric Boullier’s farewell gift by Lotus: Something to read before the season starts…

Now, the respected Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt claims that a leading contender to succeed Boullier at Lotus is none other than Whitmarsh himself.

Schmidt also mentioned Ross Brawn as a contender, while reports on Twitter pointed to Craig Pollock, Jacques Villeneuve’s former manager, who may also be interested into buying into the Enstone based team.

Another reason for the animosity between McLaren and Lotus, according to Schmidt, is because the teams are both in talks with the same major potential sponsor.

Lotus has reportedly entered the talks with a lower asking price, but the identity of the sponsor is currently not known.

“We only know that it is a Japanese technology company,” said Schmidt, speculating that it could be Sony. (GMM)

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Content on by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Getty Images, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.

  • Hawk

    In the pavilion

  • jeff

    Swapping team principles this is getting so homogeneous. They should Bring someone in from –Dallara. They have no secrets to tell.

  • Shin

    Hmmm.. Genii (Lotus in name alone) is starting to act like a bad loser. Why would Sony consider them over the heritage, and success, of McLaren-Honda. Reputation is everything, especially for Japanese

  • Tsk tsk


    Sony is using Lotus to drive its Mclaren price down.

    I would.

  • Spartacus

    Maybe Lotus will also try and get the Honda engine?

  • WestMclarenMercedes

    They do not need bouiller let alone sam michael. If they want to succed get ross brawn to join the team as team principal and not thise two wankers.

  • MightyK

    Couldn’t agree more!

  • DickDastardly

    unfortunately ferrari will win nothing with LOLonso and kimi. alonso will attempt to blackmail steffano dominicali as a result of the challenge of kimi, and will want car development to his style. LOLonso failed to beat a rookie in the same car which proves why alonso is not able to beat other good drivers in the same car. the thing is LOLonso is a slow driver and is responsible for ferraris lack of development. he has done nothing but get worse and worse each year. hamilton, vettel and kimi are superior drivers. i feel sorry for kimi having to have a narcissistic devious man as a team mate, because all LOLonso will do is bring kimi and ferrari down with him

  • Matthew


    Wow. Random rant. Anyway, mclaren would be stupid to hire boulier. But giving their pathetic performances on and off the track, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit. I imagine sony will sponsor mclaren in 15 when they get honda engines. But who knows? Maybe lotus will run honda power in 15.

  • Nowhereman

    @DickDastardly… what have you been smoking?
    You got your panties in a wad dude.
    Alonso is fast, smart and can drive any car better than anyone else.
    Kimi is fast and smart also.
    They both will have a winning car this year and their biggest contestant will be each other.
    It’s all about getting points and with those two, it will be getting lots of points each race.
    Ferrari should win the Mfgs title this year and both of those drivers will end up in the top three this year.

  • AlsoRan

    Will be interesting to see the Alo/Rai rivalry.
    But will they really be at the front of the pack?