Former Lotus Team Principal Boullier joins McLaren as Racing Director

Eric Boullier

Eric Boullier

Former Lotus Formula 1 Team Principal Eric Boullier is joining McLaren in the newly created role of Racing Director.

McLaren said in a statement released during pre-season testing in Spain that the Frenchman would start work at Woking on 3 February.

The team said that Boullier would report to a yet-to-be-appointed McLaren Racing Chief Executive Officer, who would in turn answer to chairman Ron Dennis.

Jonathan Neale will fill the Chief Executive Officer role temporarily. There was no mention in the statement of Martin Whitmarsh, who was Team Principal last season but has lost overall control to Dennis.

The team said in a statement: “Eric is one of the most capable trackside leaders in Formula 1. He has played the central role in Lotus F1 Team’s recent successes, and brings with him extensive single-seater motorsport experience, having worked in senior positions in World Series by Nissan and A1 Grand Prix before moving up to Formula 1.”

Martin Whitmarsh with Eric Boullier

Martin Whitmarsh with Eric Boullier

Eric Boullier said, “First of all, I regard this appointment as an honour, a privilege and a wonderful opportunity. The McLaren Racing workforce and the facilities at the McLaren Technology Centre are world-class, and I’m hugely excited about the prospect of joining such an outstanding team.”

“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. Last, 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,” added the Frenchman.

Ron Dennis commented, “Eric’s appointment is an integral part of a senior management restructure within McLaren Racing. I’ve already personally conveyed to the entire workforce of the McLaren Group, which includes McLaren Racing, the values, principles and mindset that I intend us all to adopt, going forward.”

“My intention is that from now on everyone at McLaren Racing will understand their responsibilities and accountabilities, focusing on their specific areas of expertise, in keeping with those values, principles and mindset.”

“In due course we’ll announce the identity of McLaren Racing’s new Chief Executive Officer, who’ll report to me, and to whom Eric will report.”

“I’m firmly of the belief that, once McLaren Racing’s restructured senior management team has been assembled, together we’ll begin the march back to full competitiveness, quickly and professionally, harnessing the fantastic depth of talent that exists within our organisation,” concluded Dennis. (Reuters-GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

  • AFA

    So there will be no team principal? Who will actually run the team on track? Boullier as Racing Director or the Chief Executive Officer?

    Oh, it’s like Mercedes all over again. Last year, they had Ross Brawn, Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff! Still have no idea what each of them did!!!

  • Dr. Azlan

    To be honest Ross Brawn is the most ideal to run McLaren F1.

  • the fan

    good for boullier. actually he is not the problem in lotus. lopez is.

  • Hawk

    Sporting Director anyone?

  • AFA

    @Hawk

    Sporting Director what?

    I dread the thought Sam Michael might become the Chief Executive Officer!! He is useless!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TACHELES

    Always interesting how F1 contracts actually seem to be – notice at call, no employment ban, immediate start at the new job. A dream for any ready for action employee.

  • WestMclarenMercedes

    Good. He really wasn’t the problem at lotus. Now just get Ross as team principal and your set

  • Matthew

    Well that puts mclaren out of the running. Bouilier can’t even manage his own weight, let alone a racing team! Mclaren is so desperate that they are creating new positions… Thats not a good sign, it shows that they are focusing on management more then engineering. Come on mclaren! Prove me wrong!

  • AFA

    @Matthew

    WHAT does weight have to do with ability? That’s such a stupid comment! Would you say the same thing if he was Ross Brawn? Like it or not, Boullier has done an amazing job at Lotus given the tight budget he was given. He took risks and delivered results.

    Who would YOU get?

    Also, yes, they are focusing on management, because that’s as important as engineering! Look at Whitmarsh. He was a bad leader, who was always looking for consensus. Sometimes, you need to decide right on the moment and be bossy, not just wait and see what the others will say. You take risks!
    He brought the notoriously incompetent Sam Michael at McLaren, “lost” Lewis Hamilton, “lost” Paddy Lowe and who knows how many other engineers and also gloriously failed to secure a chief sponsor for 2014!!! Now, please tell me that management is less important than engineering in a Formula One team…

  • Hugo

    The problem with Boullier not being team principal is that it could be Sam Michael. That would be a tragedy.

  • Matthew

    @AFA
    I admit the weight comment was in poor taste, but I find it funny. My rewording of a decades old saying was not meant to be taken seriously. Mclaren lost lewis when they refused to pay him what he was worth. That wasn’t whitmarshes call. (but your consensus comment is accurate, he just went along with mclarens pathetic upper management.)

    You want a example of engineering being more important then management? Lotus last year. It is undebatable that their lotus is a wreck. They’re engineers are amazing, thats why they performed so well. NOT because of management and NOT because of boulier!

    I want to make it clear that I dislike whitmarsh. But… If losing lewis is whitmarshes fault, then lotus signing crashonado is bouliers fault. I think its clear which is the bigger offense.

  • Matthew

    I meant to say they’re management is a wreck, not they’re lotus is a wreck.

  • Nowhereman

    I don’t believe Brawn will go to McLaren.
    He’s got cash and his health and is waiting for Ferrari to call him.
    Fishing is his priority right now.
    If Honda squeezes McLaren to get Brawn, then that is something else.
    Right now he is in the catbird seat and enjoying life.

  • Hawk

    Exactly my point. I do not see room for a Racing and Sporting Director. So either Sam Michael is out or is the new CEO. I dread the latter.

    Matthew, Lewis said that McLaren offered him slightly more money than Merc. Then it seems as a package Merc’s was better. So McLaren did their best retain him. Not MW’s fault. And breaking the bank for him was also tricky knowing that they would lose Vodafone shortly.

  • Hugo

    If Michael becomes team boss, they might as well hire Adam Parr and go the Williams route. These guys completely ruined Williams.

  • Empee

    “then lotus signing crashonado is bouliers fault. I think its clear which is the bigger offense.”

    No, no, no. Maldonado is at Lotus because his PDVSA sponsorship was Lotus’ Plan B to their delusional Plan A of relying on Mansoor Ijaz. Nico Hulkenberg was Lotus’ unanimous choice, but between their shaky financial outlook and Nico quite likely not wanting to bother with yet another team that can’t guarantee its monetary obligations to him, it didn’t happen.

  • RBC

    @Hawk,

    You say that McLaren offered Lewis slightly more money than Merc. That is not the true picture.

    They did, but only AFTER Merc offered Lewis the money. Before that they offered Lewis less than what he was already making, less than Button, and blamed it on the economy. They said that there was no more money to offer him more.

    McLaren tried to low ball Lewis and failed. And that was Ron Denis who did that, publicly. He is the problem, he always has been. He was the reason they paid a $100m fine.

  • farizY

    @TACHELES

    Not to mentioned the fat paycheck that comes with it. :)

  • Ange

    @RBC

    I think Lewis left because McLaren thought whatever they did, he’d stay. He was at their young drivers’ programme, won a title with them, he said multiple times he’d like to end his career with them etc. Perhaps, they thought Hamilton owed them his success!

    Then Button came along and he was as good as Hamilton on many occasions when Hamilton was not at his best. Button did seem to be more at ease with the media and more friendly, was eager to go to any team event and spend a lot of time developing the car and work closely with the engineers. Just compare the attitude of both drivers while they are talking on the radio during the race!

    Hamilton liked the glamour and prestige his role offered him and started behaving more like celebrity, hanging out with rappers and partying, etc. He wanted more free time as if it wasn’t his obligation to work with the team towards a common goal which is winning the championship. He’s at Mercedes now, getting double the money Rosberg is paid, if not more, clearly is their No.1 judging by the team orders (Malaysia 2013) and yet where exactly is he? Rosberg was at the Pirelli tests in Bahrain, Rosberg tested the car at Silverstone the previous week…

    I like Hamilton and I believe he can be a fantastic driver, worthy of many championships but I really cannot stand his attitude! He needs to sort his priorities out! Does he want to be a serious racing driver or a rapper?

  • Elfredore

    I cannot see Brawn at McLosers.

    I doubt he has a high opinion of Honda after they walked out on him last time, and forced him into buying the team. If they hadn’t fluked the double diffuser and won the title, would Merc have purchased the team? Methinks not.

    Brawn will restart his partnership with JT and end up working for the FIA, probably as Charlie Whitings replacement.