Pictured above, from left: McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl, co-owner Mansour Ojjeh and Zak Brown, CEO in 2019. Mark Sutton/Motorsport Images
McLaren has announced that long-time shareholder Mansour Ojjeh has died at the age of 68.
Ojjeh’s TAG Group became a shareholder of McLaren in 1984 and was central to the team’s domination of Formula 1 that followed. Having switched allegiance from Williams and formed a close partnership with Ron Dennis, TAG invested in a Porsche project that provided the engine that delivered drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 1984 and 1985, as well as another driver’s title for Alain Prost in 1986.
At the time TAG was the majority shareholder, and Ojjeh was heavily involved as McLaren branched out into the road car business and the Group expanded. Although his stake in the company has decreased in recent years, Ojjeh has remained one of McLaren’s most significant minority shareholders, with the majority shareholding now held by Bahraini investment fund Mumtalakat.
Saudi-born Ojjeh underwent a double lung transplant back in 2013 and has kept a largely low profile, leaving as a director of McLaren Racing in 2018 and then handing over his McLaren Group board position to his son Sultan last year.
“Mr. Ojjeh passed away peacefully this morning in Geneva, aged 68, surrounded by his family, to whom the team sends its most heartfelt condolences,” a McLaren statement read.
Current McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says the team is “devastated” by Ojjeh’s death, having been part of the company for so much of its history.
“The passing of Mansour Ojjeh has devastated everyone at McLaren Racing,” Brown said. “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 humor 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.”