Marketing expert Zak Brown takes over as chief executive officer of McLaren Racing. File photo: John Raoux / AP

Woking, Surrey - McLaren has announced a management restructuring, with Zak Brown given overall responsibility for the Formula One team and racing director Eric Boullier reporting to him.

McLaren said it had simplified the corporate structure into three divisions: Applied Technologies, Automotive and Racing, with Jonathan Neale becoming chief operating officer of the group and Mike Flewitt continuing as chief executive of sports-car division McLaren Automotive.

Brown, a marketing expert, joined McLaren in 2016 as executive director with a focus on raising new sponsorship after the departure of former boss Ron Dennis. He has, however, been effectively acting as principal of the team and now takes on the title of chief executive officer. Executive chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa and Saudi-born co-owner Mansour Ojjeh continue to form Mclaren's executive committee.

"The work of the past year at a corporate level has been focused on structuring and positioning McLaren for growth," Al Khalifa said. "These latest developments are a natural consequence of that work and are designed to bring greater simplicity and clarity to the structure and leadership of the group."

Tough road back

McLaren is the sport's second most successful team after Ferrari in terms of race wins (182) but the former champion has been an also-ran since its last Grand Prix victory in 2012. Last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix saw the Renault-powered team reach a milestone of 100 races without a win and it faces a tough road back after three dismal years with under-performing Honda engines.

To add to its discomfort, both the Honda-powered Toro Rosso drivers out-qualified Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne in Manama; rookie Pierre Gasly then finished fourth, a better result than anything McLaren achieved in the past three seasons with Honda.

Questions raised

Despite that, McLaren - ninth of 10 teams in 2017 - is third in the championship thanks to both Red Bull drivers failing to finish. Double world champion Alonso finished fifth and seventh in Australia and Bahrain respectively and is fourth in the standings.

The results have flattered the team, however, with the McLaren considered to be about a second a lap down on the Red Bull, which has the same Renault engine. That has focused attention on the chassis, and raised questions about whether the Honda engine was blamed disproportionately in 2017.

"We know that we have the potential," Alonso on Sunday night." We know that the car has some good things, some bad things. We need to make sure we improve the bad things as soon as possible."