Tag Archives: McLaren

Capito: McLaren wants “big step” with Honda for 2017

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In an interview with the media today, McLaren Racing boss Jost Capito says he fully expects Honda to make a “big step” forward with their power unit in 2017, as they have had enough time to understand what is required of them and for the relationship with McLaren to fully form.

Whilst Honda have taken massive strides this season compared to 2015, their power unit is still considered the weakest on the grid.

The Japanese manufacturer has big plans for next year, which includes a complete overhaul of the power unit’s design – which has been made possible by the decision to scrap engine development tokens.

In his interview with the media today, Capito is therefore expecting huge gains on both sides as he admitted McLaren too must improve if they’re to beat the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull. Capito stated the following:-

‘I expect improvement on the car from McLaren and a big step from Honda on the engine. It takes always a certain time to form a team with a new partner like this. McLaren and Honda were partners before but it was a long time ago. All new people are involved and it takes a while for Honda to understand how McLaren works and for McLaren to understand how Honda works. I think this is now achieved.’

Further on in his interview with the media, Capito is confident the improvements will lead to a competitive McLaren. Capito added the following:-

‘It is a very good partnership and the Honda guys understand more what is needed from the chassis side and we understand more what is needed from the engine side as well. I expect really not just the improvement of each but also the improvement of the overall relationship. So one plus one is not two – it should be three.’

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Button treating Abu Dhabi GP as his last GP

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In an interview with the media this week, Jenson Button says he is going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend thinking it will be his final race in Formula 1.

Earlier in the season, the British driver announced he will take a step away from F1 in 2017 but remain at McLaren as an ambassador and reserve driver.

He has been replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne. There is a possibility he could return to a race seat in 2018 with McLaren but currently he feels Abu Dhabi will be his final race in F1. Button said the following:-

‘I go into this weekend thinking it’s going to be my last race, I think that’s the best way. It is going to be my last race. At this moment in time, I don’t want to be racing in F1 beyond this year.

When asked if this was due to a new outlook, he replied:-

‘Nothing has changed. I’m just going into it thinking that it’s my last, as I don’t want to go into it thinking it’s not my last and it is my last. It is true that I have a contract for 2018, but at this moment I’m not going to be racing in 2018. The whole idea of the contract was that, in three months’ time, when I’ve eaten myself stupid, and I’m thinking of things to do in the future, I may feel that I need Formula 1 back in my life.

‘At this moment in time that isn’t the case. This is my last race, and that’s the way I’m thinking about it, but who knows, that could change in six months, eight months, one year.’

Zak Brown appointed McLaren’s new Executive Director

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The McLaren Technology Group has confirmed on Monday that Zak Brown will be appointed to the position of executive director on a soon-to-be-finalised date next month.

Brown’s appointment comes after chairman Ron Dennis was forced to step down last week by McLaren’s shareholders.

Brown, who founded Just Marketing International (JMI), which has grown to become motorsport’s largest marketing agency, recently stepped down from his company, with speculation linking him to a role at Liberty Media following its recent takeover of Formula 1.

However on Monday Brown accepted the role of executive director at McLaren and will play a “significant part of a restructuring programme that will align the group’s commercial and strategic operations relating to achieving success in Formula 1”, confirmed McLaren in a statement.

It’s believed Brown’s role will focus solely on the F1 team, rather than McLaren Automotive and its technology arm. He and chief operating officer Jonathan Neale will report directly to McLaren Technology Group’s executive committee.

In a statement to the media on Monday, Brown said the following about joining McLaren and what he feels he can do for the team as follows:-

‘I’m immensely proud to be joining McLaren Technology Group. I have the utmost respect and admiration for what the business has achieved to date, and I look forward to contributing to the next important phase in its development.

‘Having worked closely with McLaren for many years, I’ve been struck by the talent and ambition of the entire workforce, and I very much look forward to complementing the business’s many existing strengths, and building on them to drive future success in everything we do.

‘As founder of Just Marketing International (JMI) – now the world’s largest motorsport marketing agency – I’ve often worked closely with McLaren as I say, and I’ve developed some excellent relationships across the company. Together we’ve delivered some great sponsorship deals, including Johnnie Walker, GSK, Hilton, Lenovo, Chandon and NTT.

‘Best of all, in my new role I’ll be able to combine my absolute passion with my unparalleled area of expertise – respectively motorsport and marketing – while ensuring that the two stay totally aligned.’

McLaren confimed the search for a new group chief executive officer is ongoing

“Executive Committee” to run McLaren until a new CEO is found

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It was announced yesterday that an executive committee made up of McLaren’s majority shareholders will take over the interim running of the company as it seeks a replacement for former CEO Ron Dennis.

On Tuesday evening, the McLaren Technology Group confirmed Dennis was no longer its CEO, following a statement from Dennis earlier in the day. The McLaren boss of 35 years claimed his fellow shareholders “forced through” the decision to put him on ‘gardening leave’ until the end of his current contract and spoke of his disappointment in their decision.

Dennis still holds a 25 percent stake in the company, but fellow shareholders Mansour Ojjeh (25 percent) and the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat (50 percent) will take control of the company as they look for his replacement.

In a statement to the media yesterday, the McLaren Technology group issued the following statement regarding the current situation as follows:-

‘As of this afternoon Ron Dennis no longer holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Technology Group (or its subsidiaries). However, he remains a shareholder and a director of McLaren Technology Group.

‘Over the past 35 years Ron’s contribution to the success of McLaren has been colossal. During his tenure the team won 17 World Championships and 158 Grands Prix, making him the most successful leader in Formula 1 history. Like the company’s founder, Bruce McLaren, Ron is and will always be one of the true greats of the sport.

‘McLaren Technology Group is now in the process of seeking a new Chief Executive Officer. Until such an appointment has been made, the company will be run on an interim basis by an Executive Committee comprising the Group’s majority shareholders, in close collaboration with the Board of Directors and the senior management team, all of whom remain utterly committed to the company, its partners, its employees and its fans, and share a passionate determination to build on our many strengths towards future prosperity.’

With American businessman Zak Brown being named as a potential candidate for the vacant role, he has not made his future plans clear since stepping down as the CEO of the CSM marketing group in September. Brown has also been linked to a role with Liberty Media, which is in the process of purchasing Formula One’s commercial rights.

Also former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn has also been linked to the role, but in a recent ESPN  F1 interview he made clear that he had no intention of working for a team in Formula One again.

Former McLaren doctor Aki Hinsta dies at 58 years old

All rights reserved to the McLaren F1 Team

All rights reserved to the McLaren F1 Team

Earlier this morning, Formula 1 coach Dr Aki Hintsa has passed away at the age of 58 after losing his fight against cancer the McLaren team has confirmed.

Hintsa is best known for his work with McLaren, particularly with drivers Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton during their stints with the British team.

The Finn specialised in orthopaedic and trauma surgery and prior to his 11 years with McLaren, he worked as a doctor in Ethiopia.

The McLaren team confirmed the sad news in a statement today as follows:-

‘It was with deep sorrow that we heard the news this morning that Dr Aki Hintsa had died. Aki had been fighting cancer with extraordinary courage in recent months, his indomitable spirit an inspiration to all who crossed his path.

‘His last appearance at a Grand Prix was at Monza this year, where his warm smile and infectious chuckle were very much in evidence, despite the battle that was being waged within his newly slight frame.

‘He first joined McLaren back in the days of Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen, with both of whom he developed a powerful rapport, working with them not only to improve their physical fitness but also to help them develop the mental and emotional strength to translate their mercurial talents into the disciplined performances that would result in many grand prix wins for McLaren and, in Mika’s case, world championships in both 1998 and 1999.

‘Aki worked with similar success with the drivers who followed in Mika’s and Kimi’s McLaren wheeltracks, and grew particularly close to Lewis Hamilton. Undoubtedly, Aki played a crucial role within Lewis’s inner circle during his time at McLaren, and it was often to Aki that Lewis would turn first in times of stress. Equally, no-one was more thrilled than Aki when Lewis won the 2008 world championship for McLaren with an overtaking move that has since passed into racing folklore, on the last corner of the last lap of the last race, in Brazil, where Aki’s trademark warm smile and infectious chuckle were replaced by exuberant high-fives, muscular bear-hugs and indecipherable whoopings in his native Finnish.

‘First and foremost, Aki was a doctor. Prior to arriving in Formula 1 he had practised medicine in many parts of the world, particularly in poverty-stricken and war-torn parts of Ethiopia in the 1980s and 1990s, where he worked as a missionary-cum-medic and combined his magnificent qualities as an inspirational leader with great medical expertise and an ability to improvise in dreadfully difficult conditions, often requiring considerable physical bravery and enormous mental fortitude so to do. In his uplifting book ‘The Core’, published last year, he told for the first time a multitude of stories that surprised even those Formula 1 friends who had known him well for many years. Such was Aki’s modesty that he had never boasted about his life in Africa, or indeed the fact that before that he had started out as a first-class ice hockey player in his native Finland.

‘The Core’ is more than an autobiography, however. It is also a profoundly intelligent self-help book. In it Aki urges his readers to ask themselves the questions that most busy people never stop to consider. Who am I? What do I want from my life? Am I even in control of my own life? How can I improve the quality of my home life without compromising my professional life at the same time? How can I achieve inner and outer wellbeing, in other words?

‘Doing that successfully is far from easy, but undoubtedly Aki achieved it. He was taken from us far too soon, aged just 58, but he packed more into his all-too-brief life than did many who lived almost twice as long. And, in so doing, he illuminated the lives of everyone he met, friendly and funny and kind and wise as he invariably was.

‘God bless you, dear friend. You will be missed. Indeed you will be missed more than these words can say, and more than you will ever know.’

All my thoughts and prayers are with Aki’s family, friends and colleagues at this sad and difficult time.

Ron Dennis steps down as Chairman and Chief Executive at McLaren

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It was announced yesterday evening that Ron Dennis has stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer of the McLaren Technology Group following a shareholders meeting on Tuesday.

Dennis, who has been involved with McLaren since 1980, has been placed on gardening leave until his contract expires in mid-January. Dennis had unsuccessfully tried to seek a High Court injunction to prevent a move from taking place.

Dennis owns 25 percent of McLaren group; long-time business partner Mansour Ojjeh owns the other 25 percent, with Bahrain’s Mumtalakat investment fund holding the controlling 50 per cent. In a defiant statement confirming the news, Dennis said other shareholders had “forced through” his departure despite warnings of dire consequences.
The statement from Dennis said the following:-

“I am disappointed that the representatives of TAG and Mumtalakat, the other main shareholders in McLaren, have forced through this decision to place me on gardening leave, despite the strong warnings from the rest at the management team about the potential consequences of their actions on the business.

“The grounds they have stated are entirely spurious; my management style is the same as it has always been and is one that has enabled McLaren to become an automotive and technology group that has won 20 Formula One world championships and grown into an £850 million a year business.

“Throughout that time I have worked closely with a series of talented colleagues to keep McLaren at the cutting edge of technology, to whom I will always be extremely grateful.
“Ultimately it has become clear to me through this process that neither TAG nor Mumtalakat share my vision for McLaren and its true growth potential. But my first concern is to the business I have built and to its 3,500 employees.”

Dennis went on further to state that he will retain his shareholding in the group but his statement hints he already has plans beyond McLaren. Dennis added the following:-
“I will continue to use my significant shareholding in both companies and my seats on both boards to protect the interests and value of McLaren and help shape its future.

“In addition I intend to launch a new technology investment fund once my contractual commitments with McLaren expire.

“This will capitalise on my expertise, my financial resources, together with external investment to pursue the many commercial opportunities I have been altered in recent years but have been unable to take up while being so committed to the existing business.”

There is no denying that Dennis helped turn McLaren into a force in Formula One, spearheading several periods of dominance and winning multiple world championships along the way. He played a pivotal role in securing Honda engines to replace Mercedes in 2015.

However, that partnership has failed to live up to the iconic McLaren-Honda glory days of old. Dennis was also unable to secure a title sponsor to replace Vodafone, which stopped its affiliation in 2013.

But despite what has happened; there is no denying that Dennis has left his mark and legacy in a sport that has shaped him as a businessman, as an F1 team owner but more importantly as a person. He has brought new levels of professionalism, intellect, skill, passion, grit and determination into the sport as a whole but also to McLaren, a team that has shaped and enhanced his passion for Formula One more deeply than he never thought he would imagine.

I wish Ron all the best for the future and also in his future endeavours; Formula One (especially McLaren) will never be the same without you.

McLaren dismiss talks of Apple investment

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On Thursday morning, Formula One team McLaren have denied rumours of talks over possible investment from tech giant Apple.

The Financial Times had cited three separate sources claiming talks were ongoing between the two companies, which were said to be a prelude for Apple gaining access to automotive technology with a view to developing a self-driving car for the mass market.

However, McLaren have issued a statement to dismiss the reports, issuing the following statement:-

‘We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment. As you would expect, the nature of our brand means we regularly have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, but we keep them confidential.’

Meanwhile Apple have issued their own response, insisting it ‘does not comment on rumours or speculation.’

The reports come just weeks after Liberty Media agreed a £6billion takeover of Formula One.