McLaren chief Ron Dennis has led the tributes for Tyler Alexander after he passed away at the age of 75, as confirmed by the Woking-based squad.
Alexander joined McLaren alongside founder Bruce McLaren in 1963 and quickly became an important senior figure within the team. Working on McLaren's CanAm and USAC racing programmes, the American then switched to Europe to focus on F1.
Alexander left McLaren in 1982 to move into IndyCar with former McLaren team principal Teddy Mayer before returning to F1 with the Beatrice squad. He also worked for BMW's IMSA projects before reuniting with McLaren for a final time before retiring in late 2008.
Dennis has hailed Alexander as 'one of the first pillars of our company' and says without his expertise and guidance McLaren would have never been able to accomplish what it has achieved.
“Alongside Bruce McLaren, who founded the McLaren company in 1963, Tyler Alexander was one of the first pillars of our company – working hard alongside Bruce from the very earliest days – and Bruce couldn't have asked for a sturdier pair of shoulders upon which to help build the team's reputation,” Dennis said.
“Tyler's skilful yet practical expertise, coupled with his energetic and optimistic attitude, topped off by his infectiously dry and satirical sense of humour, made him both highly successful and hugely popular, whether he was overseeing car-builds in the team's workshop, running race-winning CanAm and Indy 500 crews, or working with some of the world's greatest drivers and engineers in Formula 1.
“Quite simply, Tyler lived and breathed McLaren – and, following his retirement in late 2008, during which season he attended every Grand Prix and played an important part in securing the team's and Lewis Hamilton's world championship success, he remained a much loved and greatly valued chum to many of us, regularly visiting our Woking factory to catch up with pals old and new. Tyler's was a friendship that you could really rely upon; he was a man who would never let you down.
“In fact, Tyler was one of the finest of the old school: hardy, humble and wise, leaving a reputation and a legacy that will remain indelible in the history of international motorsport.
“On behalf of all at McLaren, I'd like to pay heartfelt tribute to one of our team's founding fathers, and to offer our deepest condolences to his many friends and his ever-loving companion, Jane Nottage, who has always stood by him, valiant to the very end."
McLaren driver Jenson Button has led a series of memories from other F1 drivers, including former McLaren drivers Kevin Magnussen and Heikki Kovalainen, and posted his thoughts on Alexander via Twitter, calling him a 'lovely humble man'.