McLaren have announced Eric Boullier as their new Racing Director
Former Lotus boss completes move - but not as Team Principal
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 04/02/14 9:16am
Eric Boullier: New McLaren Racing Director working alongside Jonathan Neale (R)
McLaren have appointed Eric Boullier as their new Racing Director as part of a major and groundbreaking shake-up of the team's management structure.
Boullier's appointment, which he will take up on Monday February 3rd, confirms speculation that he would join the Woking team, which has been rife since last week when Lotus announced that team owner Gerard Lopez was taking over as Team Principal there.
Almost immediately, the 40-year-old Frenchman was linked to McLaren; however, Boullier has not been installed as Team Principal. Instead, he will work alongside Managing Director Jonathan Neale, who has been appointed Chief Operating Officer, and other senior management staff in the day-to-day running of the team.
According to McLaren, they in turn will 'ultimately report to the Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing, an all-new position, whose yet-to-be-appointed occupant will in turn report directly to Ron Dennis (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Group)'.
The team's statement made no mention of Martin Whitmarsh, who was appointed Team Principal at McLaren in 2009 and whose role has disappeared as part of the overhaul.
"First of all, I regard this appointment as an honour, a privilege and a wonderful opportunity," said Boullier, who was team boss at Lotus for four seasons.
"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.
Martin Whitmarsh has seemingly been left out in the cold at McLaren
"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."
The changes were instigated by long-time team boss Dennis, who was re-installed as CEO of the McLaren Group two weeks ago.
His decision to take more responsibility for the team came after a poor performance on track last season, when they failed to secure a podium finish for the first time since 1980.
"Eric's appointment is an integral part of a senior management restructure within McLaren Racing," said Dennis.
"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."
Inevitably, speculation will now turn to the identity of the team's new CEO. Former Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn was mentioned as the most likely candidate to take the same role at McLaren before Boullier's name entered the frame. But a more senior role would, perhaps, better reflect his standing in the sport.
However, Brawn has said that he will not decide on his future until the summer at least and McLaren will want to make an appointment sooner rather than later.
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