Gil de Ferran says he will use his own personal experiences and philosophies to try and aid the McLaren F1 Team turn around their fortunes after being confirmed as the new Sporting Director of the Woking-based team ahead of the British Grand Prix.
Following the departure as Racing Director of Eric Boullier, de Ferran, who has previous Formula 1 experience as sporting director of the Honda F1 Team back in the mid-2000s, was moved into his new role, and the former Champ Car champion says he will use the same philosophy of understanding his weaknesses and self-criticism he uses on himself to improve the team.
“The success I had behind the wheel and any success I have as a business man, I think came from really trying to understand what my weaknesses were,” de Ferran is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “I was not afraid to look in the mirror and say, ‘I could have done better here, I could have done better there, what do I need to do to improve?’
“I realised very early on in my life that success never comes alone – you don’t have success by yourself. Very few people are able to achieve many things in life by themselves, most of them are part of a team.
“So knowing how to get a team together, working together and getting people to feel focused and motivated and really understand where they are going, and truly engage really – because the best ideas I think come in the middle of the night when you’re thinking about all the good stuff for the next day.
“This is how I personally operate, and this is really the philosophy I’m bringing to my job. Originally as an advisor to Zak [Brown], that’s how I was looking at things. And I’ll continue to do this but with more responsibility.”
De Ferran says there is a lot of talent and potential within the McLaren engineers and mechanics, and with good communication there should be plenty of scope to improve going forward.
“It’s clear to me that the team has a lot of talent,” said de Ferran. “Up and down, wherever I look, you see smart guys, guys that have been here for a long time, other guys that are younger and newer, but there’s certainly a lot of talent and a lot of brainpower.
“I think the key area here is communicating, having clarity in certain things, and I think that will help going forward.”