Staff unrest at McLaren; seeking Martin Whitmarsh’s help

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Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

While most Formula 1 fans know McLaren has had a rough few years, they were more than happy to pin that performance shortcoming to the Honda power unit but since jettisoning the Japanese engine, the team have not made the progress many expected.

We could argue correct expectations for their first year with new Renault engines but a recent article over at Autosport has fans asking if time is running out for team boss Eric Boullier or even executive management in Woking.

The plot thickens with an article over at the Mail suggesting a group of McLaren employees are outing together a contingent to appeal to former team boss Martin Whitmarsh about helping them right the ship.

According to the article, it’s not the first time Martin has been contacted by disgruntled team employees. It seems that they contacted Martin about sending him a letter and asking for his help which he declined and told them to send it to McLaren executive Mansour Ojjeh who still has a strong relationship with Whitmarsh.

According to Whitmarsh, Boullier’s failure to explain why the team were woefully off the pace in Canada signaled a breaking point for the team and perhaps meant that he has “lost the locker room” with the move. Whitmarsh has begun speaking to Ojjeh.

‘I piled in a little bit,’ said Whitmarsh. ‘I love the team and I am desperately sad to see what it has become.

‘It needs a big change of approach. There is too much politics between the main figures. I think a number of them have to go. I have explained my view to Mansour and it is for the shareholders to decide what to do.

‘The team used to be all about winning in Formula One. Now they are looking at other avenues — going to race in IndyCar and Le Mans, for example. They are great things in themselves, but McLaren going in that direction, rather than making grand prix racing their sole priority, makes me shudder.

‘I live locally and I bump into friends who work at McLaren. They are disappointed with what is happening and remonstrate with me.’

McLaren and Boullier relieved senior engineer, Tim Goss, of his duties and that hasn’t gone down well with Whitmarsh.

‘Tim Goss’s departure pitched me over the edge,’ said Whitmarsh, whose own tenure as team principal provokes mixed feelings at Woking. ‘Tim has a fantastic intellect, and is a hard-working, non-political, value-adding member of the team. He was scapegoated. He may not have all the answers, but he would work on a solution from first principles.’

They are difficult times at McLaren and there is little doubt that changes need to be made. Ojjeh, as an owner, must be in concert with Boullier and CEO Zak Brown’s direction of keeping Alonso busy in other series and entertaining entering them but is he happy with what his F1 team is doing? It is worth keeping in mind that he is not the majority shareholder, however, and the politics have been ripe in the team since the outing of Ron Dennis. One might look closely to Mumtalakat as the majority owner and what decisions they are making.

Hat Tip: Mail

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mrvco

I’ve never been a fan of Boullier and wondered why he’s remained in the same role, but what do I know.

Fabio

C’mon, how is anyone surprised that they are not doing well this year.
Seriously, they made the switch to Renault so late that they had no chance of understanding what the engine would do. Sure, they had data, but it’s not really the same until you bolt the thing into the back of the car and get out there and pound the laps.
Next year they will be better and should someone take over from Boullier that person will get all the credit.

Nige

How many more years do we have to listen to “They will be better next year, just wait and see !”

subcritical71

Let’s hope the rumors of Apple buying the McLaren group are not true!

Meine Postma

Well, it is true that everybody knew they would not be winning races with the Renault engine, and to be honest I never shared McLaren/Alonso’s feeling their chassis was good (they just had to believe something to keep going).

But.

The way they’ve lost direction, going for endurance, going for Indy, etc. that is very bad.

They should be focused on getting back on top in Formula 1, not shooting everything they can shoot from the hip.

Winning requires one very important thing which they seem to have forgotten.

FOCUS.