Zak Brown, McLaren, Silverstone, 2018

Brown reveals Boullier’s resignation was planned

2018 British Grand Prix

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Eric Boullier’s resignation as McLaren racing director was a planned move, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has revealed.

The team announced on Wednesday that Boullier had tended his resignation the day before. They simultaneously announced a new management structure which was being put in place.

Two weeks ago at the French Grand Prix, Boullier had denied he was was considering resignation. But during today’s team principals’ press conference at Silverstone, Brown admitted he had discussions with Boullier about him leaving the team.

“I’ve got really good communications with everyone in the team and so I’ve been working with Eric in the last year and a half,” said Brown in response to a question from RaceFans. “There’s been a lot of pressure on him since I joined and before then.

“So this wasn’t something that was a surprise. It was something that we had started to discuss previously as we were working together on what was the best way forward for McLaren.”

McLaren has failed to make the progress which was expected of it this year following the team’s move from Honda to Renault power units. Brown said Boullier stepped down to allow them to make a fresh start.

“I think ultimately the pressure and the desire to help McLaren move forward… I think he felt a fresh start would give us the best opportunity.

“And so we took that decision, I accepted it earlier in the week. He’s been in racing a long time, won a lot of races, I’m sure we’ll see him in a pit lane soon again.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 18 comments on “Brown reveals Boullier’s resignation was planned”

    1. Pedro Andrade
      6th July 2018, 13:44

      I think the title of this article is not correct, from his quotes it seems like it was discussed, and it wasn’t a surprise that Boullier presented his resignation, but this isn’t the same thing as being planned.

    2. I think it’s well known that tendering a resignation in such cases is a euphemism for being fired. I don’t see what Brown stands to gain by making such a thing even more obvious with his statements, he could have deflected the question in a nicer way. There are times I feel that Zak is himself under pressure/threat, and is making some decisions to save his position.

      1. I’ve the same feelings about Zak. He must be under pressure… or he lacks the charisma of strong leaders. (Charismatic leaders are essentially very skilled communicators and articulate a compelling or captivating vision, but he does not look like that. I may be wrong tho.)

      2. @phylyp, @alexde, well said, he certainly doesn’t look like he’s comfortably in a position where everyone believes he is the leader that can guide them back to success.

      3. Is that Martin Whitmarsh on line one?

        1. Original.

    3. Call me old fashioned, but I feel that a Formula 1 team needs to have a Team Principle. There has to be one person who is overall accountable for the performance of the team, the buck has to stop at his or her door.

      The problem with Mclaren is that there isn’t a singular individual who is responsible, and the effect is that they have been rubbish on track (and off it by some measure). Their so called “flat” management hierarchy appears to be very confusing to me, and it seems like they themselves haven’t quite got their heads around it.

      I am aware that the operation of an F1 team is a lot more complex now than it has been in recent years. Mclaren ( well, Ron Dennis) were one of the pioneers in “corporatising” themselves, sure it went well when Ron was running the show, when he was totally focused on the F1 team. It just seems to be all over the place now, there is no focus.

      Mclaren’s shareholders need to have serious step back and reassess the entire operation in a holistic sense. These latest moves with De Ferran and Stella will only paper over the cracks.

      1. @jaymenon10
        You are old fashioned.

      2. Previously F1Fanatic fan in Atlanta
        6th July 2018, 18:58

        “Call me old fashioned, but I feel that a Formula 1 team needs to have a Team Principle”

        Call me old fashioned but I’m thinking a team principal is probably more important, as the team principle of McLaren is to blame everyone else cause their car is great, and the best ever.

      3. I agree with you, and it’s a trend I see more often in business as well. Nobody wants to do anything, everyone wants to have things done.

        Also, tell those kids to get off my lawn!

      4. I’m wondering why you’re even talking about what the shareholders should or should not do. What on earth makes you think you can comment on such a thing that you know less than zero about.

    4. It’s a pity that the directors have been conned somewhere along the line.

      I see Mclaren leaving F1 in the very near future (possibly the end of 2018) as it’s completely lost focus, it’s management (if you can call it that) is in disarray and it’s chances of improvement very slim.

      Bruce Mclaren must be turning in his grave.

      1. You’re delusional.

    5. As much as I like what Brown (and Alonso) has done for motorsport (e.g. criss-crossing fan bases of different top-tier professional racing categories), I don’t think he’s the right man to lead a McLaren — yet alone a Formula 1 team.

      From observation, his interest seems more aligned towards expanding the footprint of the McLaren racing brand, and the presence of McLaren automotive overall (i.e. “if Italy always had Ferrari, McLaren will be Britain’s definitive answer to that” type of stuff); and his expertise does not seem to match the job description of an F1 team principal (or executive director/CEO, whatever).

    6. Zak Brown won’t last much longer, and I would not be surprised if they beg Ron Dennis to come back.

    7. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      6th July 2018, 17:06

      McLaren needs to clean house.

      It seems like Khalifa and Ojjeh both like “yes” men. Which is why they forced Dennis out. Unfortunately “yes” men are not going to turn around McLaren’s F1 team. You need someone with authority who can do what needs to be done, and isn’t worried about appealing to the shareholders, which seems like what Zak and Eric are/were doing, respectively.

    8. Fine. Now fired Alonso and the team began to resurface. The toxic air will be finished.

    9. YellowSubmarine
      7th July 2018, 13:41

      Zak’s comments to Sky F1 are interesting…he mentioned that he consulted Alonso (but not Stoffel) in the lead up to the Boullier “resignation”, which sounds more and more like a defenestration.
      Given that control of the racing side of things at McLaren now passes to two well-known close friends of Alonso, it appears that Alonso’s infamous politics is at work again. He more or less forced Honda out of the deal with McLaren with his incessant and very public – and, especially to a Japanese outfit, very embarrassing – criticism, and now he’s likely pushed out Bullier.
      Zak Brown will be next in Alonso’s sights.

    Comments are closed.