F1: McLaren’s 2018 down to lack of consistent leadership - Zak Brown
By Chris Medland | RACER magazine and RACER.com F1 correspondent
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown believes a lack of stability in senior positions over the past five years has led to the team’s recent poor form.
Brown joined McLaren at the end of 2016 after Ron Dennis lost control of McLaren Technology Group, but his role changed to become CEO of McLaren Racing in April. He points to upheaval on either side of his arrival — which, since April, included the departure of racing director Eric Boullier and a technical restructuring — as leading to the team’s disappointing 2018 season.
“Ultimately what got us here this year started five years ago,” Brown said. “So this year’s problem is years in the works. My summary of that is that we’ve had a lack of consistent leadership. I don’t point the fingers at any one individual.
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“That was a lack of focus because of all the activities that were going on, from the boardroom down — buyouts, merging of companies, team principals in, team principals out, CEOs in, CEOs out — so it was just a constant revolving kind of lack of focus and I think that’s what created the issue.
“And then what fell out of that is that people didn’t have clear goals and accountability, responsibility, and so ultimately that’s what produced a poor race car this year. It was kind of our structure, our organization.
“The individual people are extremely talented. We’ve got world championships, we’ve got over 100 people that have been here for over 20 years. So they haven’t forgotten how to win we just didn’t have the right infrastructure in place, and that’s what we’ve set out to fix.”
Having scored just ten points in the final nine races of 2018, Brown is hopeful this season will prove beneficial to McLaren in future due to the changes it has triggered.
“I would have preferred to have a good year but of course this year was a surprise to all of us, so it did get you to look in the mirror quickly, get really close to the team and make some changes.
“So ideally long term the racing team will have benefited from this year because we’ve uncovered lots of areas that we’ve had some shortcomings. That ultimately will be a good point because we think we addressed them or we’re on our way to addressing them.”
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