McLaren F1 shareholder Mansour Ojjeh dies aged 68

Mansour Ojjeh, who had been a shareholder in the McLaren Formula 1 team since 1984, has passed away at the age of 68.

McLaren F1 shareholder Mansour Ojjeh dies aged 68

McLaren confirmed in a statement on Sunday morning that the Swiss-born businessman died in Geneva surrounded by his family.

While Ojjeh was most famously known in F1 circles for his decades long involvement with McLaren, his first entry in the sport actually began with Williams.

His father established the Techniques d'Avant Garde (TAG) investment firm which became a backer of Williams in 1979.

The British team took its first F1 victory that year at the British Grand Prix, with it going on to win the F1 world championship with Alan Jones in 1980.

Ojjeh was approached by then McLaren boss Ron Dennis at the end of 1981 with the view to TAG becoming a partner in his team, and a deal was put together that involved funding of a Porsche-built turbo engine.

The McLaren-TAG partnership became ultra successful, with Niki Lauda and Alain Prost dominating the 1984 world championship.

Later that year, Ojjeh became a majority shareholder in McLaren as the team went on to deliver more world championship titles.

Ojjeh was the inspiration behind McLaren's push into the automotive industry, after managing to convince Dennis that producing a road car would make good commercial sense.

TAG's involvement in McLaren remained strong through the road car, electronics and marketing divisions of the company.

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren, Mansour Ojjeh, co-owner, McLaren, and Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren, Mansour Ojjeh, co-owner, McLaren, and Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

While Dennis stepped away from the McLaren F1 team, Ojjeh remained loyal to the team – although his shareholding was diluted over the years with Bahrain investment firm Mumtalakat becoming investors.

Ojjeh also battled ill health and in late 2013 he had a double lung transplant after suffering with IPF lung disease.

Although returning to full fitness and continuing work with McLaren, in 2020 he handed over his place on the team's board to his son Sultan.

Ojjeh remained a big fan of F1 though. In an interview with Autosport in 2017, he said that his involvement at McLaren felt like being part of a family.

"I like seeing the people, some of whom I have known for a very long time, I like going into the garage, I like being in the pits. Of course I like winning when we're doing well," he said.

"It's just the challenge of Formula 1, I think. And being in different countries. I like to go around and to thank the people who work for us and make this happen, because they need accolades. With 3500 people in the company, it's the least we can do."

shares
comments

Related video

Archive: How a standout test launched the Verstappen name into F1

Previous article

Archive: How a standout test launched the Verstappen name into F1

Next article

Ocon: F1's braking focus behind Baku crash fest

Ocon: F1's braking focus behind Baku crash fest
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021