McLaren is in “a completely unacceptable situation” that will not be fixed quickly following the departure of Eric Boullier, according to CEO Zak Brown.
Boullier tendered his resignation on Tuesday, with McLaren announcing a leadership reshuffle on Wednesday that sees what the team describes as a simplification of its technical structure. With the team having targeted podiums and getting close to Red Bull this season after switching to Renault power units, its current position of sixth in the constructors’ championship is below expectations, with only four points picked up in the last four races.
“It’s been a very difficult time for everyone at McLaren, lots of pressure in the system and ultimately [Boullier] felt, in order for McLaren to go forward in the best possible light, that his resignation would allow that to happen,” Brown said. “I’m very appreciative of everything he has contributed to the team. We have a lot of great people here who were brought in by Eric and we definitely wish him the best moving forward.
“Our results this year have demonstrated we have big performance issues. We are punching well below our weight given the history, the talent of people, the resources and the technology at our disposal. I think this comes from a culmination of being destabilized over many years within our team.
“If you look at our past seven or eight years we have had different CEOs, different shareholders, shareholders in and shareholders out, CEOs in and CEOs out, and we have really failed to get on stable footing to be able to rebuild this with this great team, which is now what we are going to do. We have done a lot of work behind the scenes and we are now taking measures to rebuild McLaren and to make us a race winning organization.
“We know we owe it to our team, we know we owe it to our partners, we know we owe it to the drivers, we know we owe it to the media, and most importantly we know we owe it to our fans. I think we all share in the pain of not seeing a McLaren be successful like we know it can be. It’s a completely unacceptable situation we find ourselves in, it is very painful for all of us here at McLaren, but the one thing we will not do is quit.”
And Brown says it was an overly complex technical structure that was at the heart of McLaren’s recent struggles, with the team making little progress competitively so far since the start of the season.
“We understand the media and the fans have held us to account on this so we understand that we need to make some changes and start to perform. We have improved over last year — we have more points this year than we had all of last season, so while our race pace is unsatisfactory, we are improving. We have more commercial partners this year than we had last year, so we are improving.
“However, we are not in a good enough place and we expect to be much better. We have announced this big change to get our house in order; we are not going to knee-jerk react, the team needs a period of stabilization so we can build a strong foundation. The situation was not created overnight and therefore will not be fixed overnight, so today is our first step in getting back to our winning ways.
“We are very lucky to have a brilliant technical racing team filled with 700-plus very dedicated men and women that work at McLaren and so specifically moving forward, as we start to simplify the organization, accelerate the organization, because I think our structure and way of working has got us to where we are today.”