Eric Boullier has stepped down as McLaren's racing director in the midst of the team's recent struggles in Formula One.
Boullier joined McLaren from Lotus in 2014 and was in charge of the sporting aspects of the team during its recent struggles with former engine partner Honda. He had hoped to return the team to the front of the grid with Renault power this year, but a continued failure to perform -- largely due to issues with the car's aerodynamics -- has led to Boullier resigning ahead of the team's home race at Silverstone this weekend.
"I am very proud to have worked with such a brilliant team over the past four years, but I recognise now is the right time for me to step down," Boullier said. "I want to wish everyone at McLaren the best for the remainder of the season and for the future."
The news has brought about a restructuring of the team's management with former ChampCar champion Gil de Ferran joining in a formalised role as the team's new sporting director. Simon Roberts, COO of McLaren Racing, will oversee production, engineering and logistics, while Andrea Stella, who joined the team from Ferrari in 2015 with Fernando Alonso, has been appointed performance director and will be responsible for trackside operations.
"The performance of the MCL33 in 2018 has not met the expectations of anyone at McLaren, especially our loyal fans," McLaren CEO Zak Brown said. "This is not the fault of the hundreds of committed and hard-working men and women at McLaren.
"The causes are systemic and structural, which require major change from within. With today's announcement, we start to address those issues head on and take the first step on our road to recovery.
"I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the entire team to thank Eric for his service and contribution to McLaren and wish him well in his future endeavours."
The new follows two weeks of intense presure on McLaren after both cars failed to make it out of the first part of qualifying at the French Grand Prix and struggled for one-lap pace again in Austria. Race pace has been better -- the team is currently sixth in the championship on 44 points -- but it has only scored eight points since a major car upgrade was introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix.
At the French Grand Prix, Boullier was forced to defend his position after an anonymous source told the Daily Mail that the atmosphere at the team's factory was "toxic" in the build up to the race. Brown played down the story at the time, but the pressure on the team has built since then, leading to Boullier's resignation just two weeks later.