Boullier bombshell…heading to McLaren as Whitmarsh replacement

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After suffering one the worst years in team history, McLaren are poised to start the process of rebuilding their Formula 1 team and the first move is to replace current team boss, Martin Whitmarsh.

While speculation centered on a possible return to F1 for former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn, today’s Lotus F1 announcement may have given us a clearer picture of what it happening at McLaren.

Lotus released a statement saying:

“Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that its co-Chairman, Gérard Lopez, will combine his position on the board with the role of Team Principal with immediate effect.”

This means that team boss Eric Boullier has left the building, just like a host of engineers and even their star driver, Kimi Raikkonen. One wonders just how long Lotus F1 has for the F1 world.

This means that most F1 pundits believe Boullier is packing his bags for Woking and will replace Whtimarsh as group CEO, Ron Dennis, starts cleaning house in an effort to realign McLaren with their winning heritage.

No word yet from McLaren on Boullier’s appointment but the Frenchman did a masterful job of running a team on a shadow of a budget and competing at the top level over the past four years. He’s even managed to look like Oliver Platt while doing so.

So are McLaren sensing some changes? Managing Director Jonathan Neale told AUTOSPORT:

“For those that know Ron he is as fired up as he ever has been,” said Neale. “[He is] more passionate now than ever.

“He is excited about the changes we have ahead of us. He is very operational with us in the business, he has a very strong vision about the brand and the values, and not just about making sure McLaren is totally focused on winning, but how we win.

“There is that way that McLaren go about things. And if ever there was somebody who had a strong vision and a sense of true north and how it is to win in F1 and why that is important, he has got it in spades. It is exciting times.”

With Honda coming on board in 2015, many considered Ross Brawn and his Honda ties a possible candidate but perhaps Lotus F1 might wish to speak with the fly fishing Englishmen should Genii Capital and new team boss, Gerard Lopez, get overwhelmed. It is a bit odd to have a person in charge of a venture capital company now running an F1 team, let’s be honest…things are not looking good at Lotus F1.

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