Alonso on McLaren Management Shift: ‘I Just Drive Cars’
The double world-champion remains confident that Zak Brown is the man for the job as CEO.
McLaren is at a crucial point in which its star driver is considering his future outside Formula 1, it hasn't reached the podium since 2014, and as announced on Tuesday, Racing Director Eric Boullier is out from the helm of operations. In turn, brand CEO Zak Brown is in charge of restructuring the Woking, England-based outfit with hopes of building it around Fernando Alonso and newly-announced acquisition (and former racing great) Gil de Ferran.
Alonso has been at the epicenter of the drama as speculation draws around his looming decision about whether to stay in or leave F1. Although that's seemingly been put on the backburner for the time being, the two-time world champion is now being questioned by the media for his opinion on the changes going on up top in the McLaren offices.
“I don’t know. I just drive cars," the Spaniard replied. “If Zak thinks there are other people now doing other jobs in the team it’s because he thinks it’s the best thing to do. I trust 100 percent Zak, I trusted 100 percent Eric; I trust always the bosses because they are always the one that have all the information. We just drive cars.”
When suggested that he was at the head of the charge, Alonso stated, “No, I don’t think so. But definitely, I have more experience than probably all the engineers at the track. You know? My race engineer’s in their sixth year in Formula One, the performance engineer’s in the fourth year, the tire engineer is in the ninth year, it’s my 18th year."
“So some things maybe I try to give my feedback what I’ve experienced in previous teams or what are my experiences from different tires or different weather conditions or qualifying conditions or stressful moments, whatever," Alonso continued. "It’s no different to any other driver.”
Above all, Fernando reinforced his confidence in Brown and his ability to make the right decisions. After taking over for famed ex-McLaren boss Ron Dennis, the American has been tasked with repriming the organization while also leading it to the winners' circle on Sundays. Things have proved tough so far, but Alonso is optimistic that things can be turned around when all of the pieces fall into place—which may be a couple years from now, according to Brown himself.
"With Zak obviously we have a very close relationship even if it’s a short time that we met. As I said before, he’s a racer, he understands racing commitment and spirit and I think he’s going to be a good leader for the future at McLaren." Alonso concluded, “I trust him, even if he’s not designing the car, it wasn’t Flavio designing the car but he was a leader and I think Zak is a leader so it’s going to be a good time.”