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2018 F1

Eric Boullier resigns as McLaren race director ahead of British GP

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has resigned from the British F1 team, the charge ended on Wednesday as he resigned with immediate effect just ahead of the British Grand Prix weekend.

Boullier joined McLaren in 2014 from Lotus F1, appointed by Ron Dennis in a renovation of the team’s structure. But, since then the team has gone through the most unsuccessful period in its 52-year history. McLaren have won eight constructors’ titles and 12 drivers’, the last by Lewis Hamilton in 2008. They have taken 182 victories since Bruce McLaren drove in their first grand prix at Monaco in 1966 but have not won now since Jenson Button took the flag in Brazil in 2012. Worse still during Boullier’s occupation they have only two podiums, both at Australia in the first meeting of 2014.

Boullier admits that his time with the team was up. “I am very proud to have worked with such a brilliant team over the past four years,” he said. “But I recognise now is the right time for me to step down.”

The chief operating officer Simon Roberts has been made head of production, engineering and logistics and the new performance director Andrea Stella, who joined the team with Alonso from Ferrari, is now answerable for trackside operations.

The teams CEO Zak Brown said the reforms were unavoidable. “The causes are systemic and structural, which require major change from within,” he said. “With today’s announcement, we start to address those issues head on and take the first step on our road to recovery.”

Brown, whose background is in marketing, insisted the changes were not an unthinking reaction, although the suddenness of the announcement suggested otherwise, but admitted the team had to adapt. “We are too slow to react,” he said. “We need to simplify things within the organisation. We need to operate like a race team, a much faster organisation, we are a bit too slow, we are bit too clunky.”

He warned, however, against any hope of short-term improvement. “We are frustrated, massively frustrated,” he added. “I wish we could fix this over-night, but it is going to take some time. We are not quitting, we are not quitters and our shareholders are fully behind us. But I wouldn’t expect any miracles at Silverstone.”

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