A small change at McLaren

McLaren has had some changes in the first couple of weeks of the year with Mansour Ojjeh standing down as a director of the McLaren Group and McLaren Automotive, handing over the role to his younger brother
Aziz Ojjeh. The 61-year-old Mansour underwent a double lung transplant in November and so has decided to step down temporarily and leave the work to his 59-year-old brother.

“Mansour Ojjeh is enjoying a period of rest and recuperation following his recent operation,” a team spokesman said. “For the time being, therefore, Mansour’s brother, Aziz Ojjeh, has agreed, with Mansour’s full support, to join the McLaren board on a temporary basis until such time as Mansour is fully recovered. Mansour, the Ojjeh family and TAG Holdings have a passionate love for McLaren, for motor racing and for cars in general, and Mansour intends to return to the McLaren board as soon as possible.”

The family’s McLaren shares will continue to be owned by Tag Group (Holdings). Ojjeh has been involved with racing since a visit to the Monaco Grand Prix in 1978, when he was a guest of the Saudi royal family, which was sponsoring the Williams team with its Saudia Airlines. This led to TAG becoming the Williams team’s principal sponsor in 1979 and success followed with Alan Jones winning the World Championship in 1980 and Keke Rosberg following with a second title in 1982.

At the end of 1981 McLaren’s Ron Dennis approached Ojjeh and offered him a partnership in McLaren, a deal that was obviously more attractive than simply being a sponsor and TAG then funded the Porsche-built TAG turbo engine, which began racing in 1983. McLaren-TAG would dominate the sport in 1984 and 1985 and Ojjeh then became a shareholder in the team. The main TAG empire continued to expand in many different businesses with investments in many different industry sectors, including agriculture, construction and aviation.

Aziz has previous served on the boards of various McLaren companies.

23 thoughts on “A small change at McLaren

  1. Just wondering: these comments were – and please correct me if I’m wrong – given to Adam Cooper. Credit where credit is due?

    1. No, they were given to me by McLaren this morning. I suspect Adam was given the same ones at some point. This is how it happens.

    2. Probably a press release that went to all F1 journalists at the same time. I guess Adam Cooper can type a little quicker than Joe 🙂

      1. No, it was not a press release. Teams have different systems. There are press releases, there are comments and there are conversations. A comment is a prepared statement that is given to those who ask. A conversation is as it’s name suggests.

  2. There were some murmours of discontent between Ron Dennis and Mansour Ojjeh a few months ago, were there not? Any update on that, or was it all hot air?

  3. Hopefully Ron Dennis will be successful in securing the needed resources to buyout his Mumtalakat and Ojjeh partners. This way, Ron will be able to hire Ross Brawn as Team Principal thus giving MW his long overdue walking papers. (I’ve been advocating MW’s ouster for years particularly during the period when I was an authorized writer for the Times’ Blog. Hopefully my dream will finally come true).

    Recently McLaren announced its launch date for its 2014 car. Hopefully, they retained the Silver colour. This colour looks much more elegant on McLaren than on other contenders. According to Forbes, (http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewdepaula/2012/12/21/top-10-most-popular-car-colors/), Silver, White, Black and Grey are the most popular colours in the World. So it’s not unique to McLaren’s former partner. But I would not be surprise if MW put banana colour on the car.

    1. You think MW takes a unilateral decision on the colour branding of the entire race team? Who authorised you as a writer? 😉

      1. @AuraF1: MW decision to bring Button to McLaren and to approve the 2012 contender were good decisions; but just about all his other decisions have been mediocre or disastrous – Calling Alonso. He said he was unaware of the status of Alonso’s contract at Ferrari? Do U believe him?

        “Authorized writer” is a contract term of the Times. About a year ago a colleague told me that he found some of my articles on the net via the site aggregator Journalisted. So give it a try. It worth noting that most newspapers & magazines with pay-walls are using different metered systems that provide readers from 10 to 20 free accesses monthly.

        These meters are refreshed/reset every thirty days. Unfortunately for readers, when the Times adopted the pay-wall system it did not implement one of the commonly used metered systems or the generous flexi system used by its sister company the WSJ. Instead, the Times adopted the old rigid non-metered model that provides access only to paying customers. It even restricts access to its archive. That’s too bad.

  4. Hope he gets well soon. Will always associate him with, what for me at any rate were the ‘glory years’ of the Senna/Dennis partnership. He seemed a key figure in the structure of the group and, I suspect, like Ron, was close to Ayrton during those wonderful seasons of the late 1980s?

    1. Ojjeh suffers from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a disease which causes scarring in the lungs leading to a gradual decline in their efficiency.

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