EXIT WHITMARSH, ENTER BOULLIER
Dennis was speaking to the media as the McLaren Group’s new CEO because he had, a few weeks previously, ousted Martin Whitmarsh, his former protégé, from his positions as team principal and CEO of McLaren Racing.
Yet less than 12 months before, Dennis’s own time at McLaren was running out, as stories of boardroom battles and fall-outs between him and his fellow directors leaked from the McLaren Technology Centre into the F1 paddock.
Dennis had become increasingly concerned about what he felt McLaren was becoming under Whitmarsh; he felt the team was not as committed to winning as it should be, saw evidence of what he considered a lack of focus from the top down, a dangerous drift across the whole of McLaren’s F1 operation. This is what Dennis means when he talks now about the team having too many “distractions”.
Feeling that McLaren had lost its culture of winning under Whitmarsh, Dennis had been trying to remove his former protégé for some time. But he was blocked principally by Mansour Ojjeh, Dennis’s long-time partner and 25 per cent McLaren shareholder.
In spring 2013, Whitmarsh’s future appeared secure, where Dennis’s looked vulnerable. Still a 25 per cent shareholder, but lacking executive status and with less than four years left on his contract, Dennis faced the prospect of his McLaren contract not being renewed, leaving him without an ofcial role at the company he