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McLaren: Whitmarsh comments "ill-judged" and "ill-informed"

NEWS STORY
20/06/2018

Speaking earlier this week, former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh revealed that shortly after Zak Brown took control of the team, he had been approached by members of staff at the Woking team concerned at the direction in which the legendary outfit was heading.

Referring to a letter that was to be sent to him, Whitmarsh told the Daily Mail: "I told them not to send it to me, but to Mansour," he said, referring to shareholder Mansour Ojjeh, who remains a close personal friend.

Attending the Spanish Grand Prix last month, Whitmarsh took the opportunity to voice his concerns to Ojjeh.

"I piled in a little bit," he told the Mail. "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," he added. "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," continued. "They are disappointed with what is happening and remonstrate with me."

In a brief statement issued to Sky Sports F1 Report, a spokesperson for the ream refuted Whitmarsh's claim.

"Martin worked for McLaren for many years, but has been outside the business for some time and is not part of our future," it reads. "What he said was ill-judged and ill-informed in our view but he is entitled to his opinion.

"There are high expectations in the team and we won't compromise those high expectations," the statement continued. "Everyone at McLaren is working tremendously hard and is focused on the future, not the past."

Of course, the refusal to focus on the past doesn't apply when it comes to little things like liveries.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 22/06/2018 19:41

"They got rid of Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh and this is what you end up with. The livery looks awful too. That's a McLaren?

Long term prospect for McLaren is they need to make their own engine. How can be taken seriously as sports car manufacturer and use someone else engine in your race car yet sell your own engine in passenger cars?

"

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2. Posted by equator180, 22/06/2018 3:03

"So many arm chair managers with the holy grail of solutions gracing the pages of Pit Pass, CV's with lists of accomplishments should be sent to McLaren board without hesitation."

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3. Posted by F One, 21/06/2018 19:15

"What's that saying about not believing it until it's been officially denied? McLaren are talking out of their backsides as usual."

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4. Posted by Editor, 21/06/2018 9:09

"@ imejl99

Indeed!

Faced with such criticism, most of us wouldn't have issued a brief statement but instead chosen to go in front of the cameras and strenuously deny rumours which threaten to unsettle the team.

And after all, it's not as if Zak Brown is backward in coming forward when there's a TV camera or microphone around."

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5. Posted by imejl99, 21/06/2018 7:59

"A spokesperson? Mr. Brown is preoccupied with his other businesses, Just Marketing or United Autosports? Mr. Boullier checking air guns if working properly? IF one can not address the issue in person, is one fit to be leader of F1 team? Hardly...

It is not the results or performance, it is losing character and identity. McLaren F1 Team should never allow it to come this far regarding identity and character of the iconic team. Being F1 fan (prefering some other team) it hurts anyway."

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6. Posted by Esteban, 20/06/2018 22:48

""Steve R worked for McLaren for many years, but has been outside the business for some time and is not part of our future, what he said was ill-judged and ill-informed in our view but he is entitled to his opinion.""

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7. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 20/06/2018 20:02

"Thanks @Steve R for the insightful comment.
As a McLaren fan and follower:
It seems to me, completely from the outside, that what is missing at McLaren is at the leadership level there is not enough pain felt in losing. I know that sounds odd however it was reported that when McLaren wasn't winning the previous leadership really, really felt it. Maybe the current leadership does have this feeling, I don't know. It just seems like they are in a position of not wanting to get worse (moving to Renault) rather than really pushing on and getting better. Otherwise they would have either stayed with Honda (risky) or going for Mercedes power units (known as safe). I think Renault are good by the way but not as good as Merc or worth leaving Honda for.
Following the money, the shareholders need to look at the ownership of the problems not just the team. The Honda situation was not ideal and I guess a lack of trust occurred when scheduled updates did not materialised but surely one more year to May 2018 would have been the way to go?
I don't know why McLaren didn't whip in there any takeover Manor in order to have a "B" team to blood young drivers (Norris would be a good example of this) and try different suppliers... like Red Bull does with Toro Rosso, Ferrari with Sauber and Haas.
Back to the leadership "issue". Sooner or later, something / someone has to give and F1 is one of the highest risk to reward sports. Certainly as Steve R says, performance contracts need to be in place, bonuses for winning. Maybe McLaren needs to split the race team out from the current leadership structure?
Let the Group supply the resources to the Team to win and provide the profile needed for the Group to sell the road cars and the technology solutions.
A lot of people gave Ferrari a hard time for restructuring their team leadership due to lack of performance. Sometimes it is needed, especially if things are not working as they should for as long as they have.
Nothing is guaranteed in sport however McLaren should not be looking at over 10 years since the last drivers championship and 20 since their last constructors."

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8. Posted by steve R, 20/06/2018 18:43

"As an ex member of staff who was there for 26years i feel im in a good place to shed more light on the current maladies of Mclaren. I agree with Martin that the focus is being diluted . Working for both Martin and Ron you knew what was expected of you . The team was run by motor racing people , and then it changed . Industry individuals appeared with no track record . Jonathan Neal for one , has won little since he arrived . The whole organisation is now run by middle managers who are in a "Boys club" looking after one another . None of them are on performance related contracts , so none of them are at risk of losing their jobs . In a performance related game surely they should be . Football managers dont get second chances at not getting it right. As long as this situation continues , Mclaren will be in the doldrums which is an abject travesty to all those hard working souls who have been there years dedicating themselves to the cause . "

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9. Posted by Ro, 20/06/2018 18:25

"McLaren has never been the same without Ron Denis. He ruled it with an iron fist and demanded the best from everyone. He is the man for the job!"

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10. Posted by jasman, 20/06/2018 18:07

"Perhaps the team could use a fresh injection of New Zealand DNA?"

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