As was widely expected when his departure from Lotus coincided with Martin Whitmarsh's absence from McLaren's 2014 launch, Eric Boullier has found a new home with the Woking team.
The Frenchman will take up the role of racing director from Monday [3 February], reporting to the team's new CEO – who has yet to be announced – with former team principal Ron Dennis at the top of the management tree as chairman and CEO of the entire McLaren Group. Until the new team CEO is appointed, Jonathan Neale will fill the role.
“Eric's appointment is an integral part of a senior management restructure within McLaren Racing,” Dennis confirmed. “I've already personally conveyed to the entire workforce of the McLaren Group, which includes McLaren Racing, the values, principles and mindset that I intend us all to adopt, going forward. My intention is that from now on everyone at McLaren Racing will understand their responsibilities and accountabilities, focusing on their specific areas of expertise, in keeping with those values, principles and mindset.
“In due course we'll announce the identity of McLaren Racing's new chief executive officer, who'll report to me, and to whom Eric will report. I'm firmly of the belief that, once McLaren Racing's restructured senior management team has been assembled, together we'll begin the march back to full competitiveness, quickly and professionally, harnessing the fantastic depth of talent that exists within our organisation.”
Boullier's switch from Lotus to McLaren was predicted by Crash.net
when his departure from Enstone was announced earlier this month [ see separate story
“First of all, I regard this appointment as an honour, a privilege and a wonderful opportunity,” said Boullier, who was widely regarded for holding Lotus together in difficult circumstances last season. “The McLaren Racing workforce and the facilities at the McLaren Technology Centre are world-class, and I'm hugely excited about the prospect of joining such an outstanding team.
“I'm both eager and determined to play an active part, working alongside McLaren Racing's other senior managers and directors, within a new operational structure, to bring about the changes that will deliver success. Last, I want to take this opportunity to assure the McLaren Racing workforce that I'm utterly determined to match their famous passion and commitment to win.”
It is notable, however, that the announcement makes no mention of Whitmarsh, who's departure has yet to be confirmed. Crash.net
understands that Whitmarsh was no longer in charge of the team from the day Dennis returned as group CEO.
However, Sam Michael confirmed to Crash.net
in Jerez that his role as sporting director remains unchanged amid the restructuring.
The unnamed team CEO will also continue to raise speculation, with former Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn sure to be mentioned, despite having decided to take a sabbatical before any potential return to F1.
McLaren finally took to the track with its 2014 challenger, the MP4-29, as Jenson Button ventured out onto a damp track at Jerez on day two of testing. Despite firing up successfully at the MTC last week, the car was predominantly affected by electrical issues during the opening day. The subsequent dismantling, inspection and re-installation of several major components ultimately meant McLaren was unable to conduct any running on a day when less than 100 total laps were completed by the nine teams in attendance.