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Jo Ramirez

Ramirez: McLaren are happy and working well with Renault

Jo Ramirez

For 17 years Jo Ramirez was an integral member of the formidable McLaren team of the eighties and nineties, an insider with a myriad of roles that gave him an inside line on the team he holds so dear, a privilege that he continues to have to this day.

Since his retirement, Ramirez has always had sober opinions on his former team. Last year around this time he revealed that politics had the team in turmoil and passion for racing had evaporated from Woking.

Indeed not long after Ron Dennis was overthrown and a new management team took command.

A year down the road, Ramirez said, “It’s something else, they’re a much happier team, they see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

“They are working very well with Renault engineers because the European people are more open with them. Things are changing very well, they are enjoying the moment, everything they are doing they do with a lot of passion because they know that at the end of the day they will get results.”

Ramirez points to Red Bull as proof that Renault power can challenge for victories, “They have managed enough podiums and victories with this engine and [McLaren] will have to do the same.”

“If we pay attention to what Renault and Prost tell us, that the engine will be up to the Mercedes level of last year, it is enough.”

And added with a wink, “Maybe Renault make an incredible engine, Mercedes suffers… You do not know, you have to have hope.”

The former McLaren team coordinator also understands and appreciates the laissez-faire approach of McLaren chief Zak Brown to Fernando Alonso’s ambitions beyond Formula 1, namely Le Mans this year.

Ramirez said, “Brown is helping Fernando because it’s what he wants and it’s like in the past when you saw F1 drivers race every weekend in other categories. The more time you spend in a racing car the better you get. For me, it’s beautiful, I love seeing Fernando like that.”

Of the Spaniard, Ramirez pointed out, “Fernando has changed a lot. He is more accessible to the public, he was not like that before. He has known what it is to win and lose. People like him because they see that drivers have emotions too.”

Ramirez worked in Formula 1 since the sixties for Ferrari, AAR Eagle, Tyrrell, Fittipaldi-Copersucar, Shadow, ATS, Theodore and finally at McLaren.

In total he attended and worked at 479 grands prix, enjoyed 116 victories with various teams, ten F1 Drivers’ World Championships, five F1 World Champions seven Constructors’ F1 World Championships.