Silverstone, Northamptonshire - McLaren has announced the resignation of racing director Eric Boullier and the appointment of former Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran in a newly created role at the struggling Formula One team. The second most successful team of all time after Ferrari is sixth in the standings after nine races and has not won a Grand Prix since 2012.
Chief executive Zak Brown said its current problems were "systemic and structural, which require major change from within". Brazilian de Ferran becomes sporting director, with Simon Roberts, chief operating officer of McLaren Racing, leading the technical side. De Ferran also worked with Alonso, whose influence within the team is considerable, at Indianapolis in 2017.
Andrea Stella, who moved with former double world champion and Le Mans winner Fernando Alonso from Ferrari to McLaren in 2015, was appointed performance director, responsible for trackside operations.
Boullier had effectively run the team since he arrived at McLaren in 2014 but a restructuring in April left him reporting to Brown, an American marketing expert brought in after former boss Ron Dennis was sidelined. Brown, who accepted Boullier's resignation on Tuesday, said the team was punching well below its weight and suffering the effects of years of instability with shareholder and senior management changes.
"The reason the car is not performing on the track is because we're not performing well as a team," Brown said. "What I see is we're too slow to react, we need to simplify things within the organisation and we need to operate like a race team. We're a bit too slow and a bit too clunky; we might have a race car problem but it's how we built the race car that's actually the real problem."
McLaren switched to Renault engines this season after ending a disappointing three-year partnership with Honda. the team's boast in 2017 that it had one of the best chassis has been undermined by a continuing lack of performance while Red Bull, which uses the same engine, has won three races.
Boullier's position had looked shaky for some time, with technical head Tim Goss moved aside in April, but he said in June, amid reports of staff discontent at Woking, that he would not be resigning.
"I am very proud to have worked with such a brilliant team over the past four years, but I recognise now is the right time for me to step down," the former Lotus team boss said in a McLaren statement.Reuters