McLaren supremo Ron Dennis shocked employees at the team’s Woking headquarters by launching a morale deflating attack on them and particularly racing director Eric Boullier, amid the team’s high profile struggles with their engine partner Honda.
Daily Mail reports that Dennis, speaking at the team’s post Spanish Grand Prix debrief, told staff of 500 that Boullier got “a good kick in the arse” and at the same time criticised the team’s employees for not working hard enough.
McLaren, second only to Ferrari in terms of Formula 1 success, has a had a couple of dismal seasons and currently are relegated to backmarkers as their engine partners Honda come to grips with the sport’s new engine formula.
A staff member, who requested not to be named, observed on the day of Dennis’ rant that, “Eric seemed to flinch when Ron made his comments but he handled it well. Ron’s whole tone caused some puzzlement.”
And added, “We are all working our nuts off to improve the team and to hear from Ron that our efforts are not appreciated was not helpful for morale.”
Normally Boullier and the team’s chief operating officer are tasked with the team’s post race debrief sessions, with Dennis seldom in attendance, but the team’s woeful showing in Spain appears to have irked the McLaren chief.
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, who were not present at the meeting, have yet to score points this season and have had to toil at the wrong end of the field as Honda grossly underestimated the task of powering McLaren in Formula 1.
It is not the first time that Dennis has criticised those in his own team. Last year he publicly told Button to try harder to keep his place in the team, to which the 2009 world champion retorted, “Ron is practising to be a motivational speaker.”
A McLaren spokesman told media on Wednesday that Dennis’ remarks were “reported out of context” and actually intended to be “humorous”.
“His (Dennis’) rhetoric can sometimes be challenging, but it is always inspirational,” the spokesman said.
“Ron massively appreciates the hard work currently being done by all at Woking and Sakura (Japan), and he and Eric, together, are making the structural and operational changes that will take McLaren-Honda back to the front.”
Heading to round six of the 2015 F1 world championship, it is highly unlikely that the legendary team will add to their record tally of 15 victories at the Monaco Grand Prix.