Zak Brown has paid tribute to Mansour Ojjeh, after the long-time shareholder within the McLaren F1 Team, who passed away last Sunday, aged sixty-eight.
Ojjeh had been a majority shareholder at McLaren since 1984 having been approached to join them at the end of 1981 by Ron Dennis, and alongside the Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) investment firm that had been formed by his father, moved to the team having initally began his Formula 1 adventure with Williams Racing in 1979.
He had been battling health issues, and in 2013 had a double lung transplant. He was able to recover to full fitness, although he handed over his place on the team’s board to his son Sultan last year. He passed away peacefully in Geneva surrounded by his family.
And Brown, the current CEO of McLaren, has revealed Ojjeh’s passing has ‘devastated’ everyone working for the team.
“The passing of Mansour Ojjeh has devastated everyone at McLaren Racing,” said Brown. “Mansour has been etched into the heart and soul of this team for nearly 40 years and was intrinsic to its success.
“He was a true racer in every sense. Ultra-competitive, determined, passionate and, above all, perhaps his defining characteristic: sporting. No matter the intensity of the battle, Mansour always put sport first.
“Mansour was a titan of our sport, yet modest, unassuming and disarming to all he encountered. His easy manner, sharp wit and warm humour touched all those who were fortunate to know him.
“His love of this team was palpable for all to see and those of us privileged to work for McLaren will remember Mansour as an impressive yet humble, human, father-figure who showed us at the most individual, personal level how to fight adversity and be resilient.
“He will remain in death what he was in life: a constant inspiration to all of us at McLaren and beyond. Mansour’s legacy is secure. It is woven into this team and perpetual. We race on as he would wish, our resolve stronger than ever, with his memory and legacy forever in our hearts and minds.
“All at McLaren Racing express their deepest sympathies to his entire family.”
Andreas Seidl, the Team Principal at McLaren, says the team were racing in Ojjeh’s honour on Sunday, and they reacted by scoring points with both drivers, Lando Norris in fifth and Daniel Ricciardo in ninth.
“Our thoughts this evening are with Mansour Ojjeh’s family after the sad news of his passing,” said Seidl. “Today, we were racing in honour of our long-term friend, supporter and fellow racer.”