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Former McLaren boss Teddy Mayer dies aged 73

Barely two weeks after Ron Dennis revealed that he is to step down from his role as McLaren team principal after almost three decades at the helm, it has been announced that his predecessor Teddy Mayer has died aged 73.

Mayer was credited with having rescued McLaren in the wake of the death of its founder Bruce McLaren in June, 1970, and went on to lead the team to its maiden title glory with Emerson Fittipaldi in 1974, and then again with James Hunt in 1976.

He was also the man who gave four-time Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost his break in the top flight in 1980, though he came under considerable fire for having failed to secure Gilles Villeneuve on a long-term contract following the French-Canadian's spectacular debut for McLaren in a third car in the 1977 British Grand Prix, running up in fourth place until a faulty temperature gauge stymied his progress.

With a decline in results, however, as the team failed to maintain pace with its rivals in terms of ground-effect technology, at the turn of the decade chief sponsor Philip Morris replaced Mayer with Dennis, and though the American remained at McLaren for a while, his days there were numbered and he left in 1982.

An ill-fated return to F1 followed in 1985, running Carl Haas' Beatrice-backed Lola outfit, preceding a stint in charge of Roger Penske's British operation in Poole. He played a major part in the team's great success story in the late 1980s and 1990s, and subsequently took on a consultancy role there, a position he held until 2007.

Though born in Pennsylvania, Mayer lived in England for much of his life – one that was tinged by tragedy after his younger brother Tim, who had been the catalyst for his interest in the sport, was killed in a Tasman race at the Longford road circuit before he was due to make his F1 bow with Cooper in 1964.

Born Edward Everett Mayer, he went on to graduate in law and aside from his impressive achievements in F1 and Champ Cars, he also oversaw McLaren's ultra-successful North American-based Can-Am sportscar campaigns. His father, Edward Mayer Snr, was a World War One flying ace, and his uncle, William W. Scranton, was considered as a Republican candidate for the 1964 presidential nomination.


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