Abu Dhabi may have heralded the end of the 2016 season as far as track activities are concerned, but there is still a lot going on behind the scenes.
As all the teams take the annual break, thoughts will inevitably be on the new regulations and the new cars for next year and, added to this, the movement of personnel in the F1 world.
The most prominent is obviously the $64 000 question as to who replaces Nico Rosberg at Mercedes, and if you read all the predictions that have emanated from the media recently, it would appear that every man and his dog is in with a chance.
Team principal, Toto Wolff, has told the expectant world that no decision will be reached until January. Not surprising when you consider the amount of negotiations and the endless permutations involved in replacing the new world champion.
Of real interest to me is the “reshuffle” that is going on at McLaren. With the removal of long-serving chief Ron Dennis, officially referred to as gardening leave, and the appointment of Zak Brown, it is apparent that the board is looking for a completely new lineup.
Apart from Dennis, one of his allies within the company, Ekrem Sami, has stepped down from the board of the McLaren Technology Group, but will remain a member of the management team. Sami had, for many years, headed the marketing department.
The last significant appointment by Dennis is another to join the unemployment queue. Jost Capito joined McLaren on September 1 this year as chief executive officer (CEO) of the team, just four months later his services are apparently no longer required. Previously the director of Motorsport at Volkswagen, the German moved on following the Wolfsburg company’s decision to leave WRC after a four-year dominance of the sport..
Ron Dennis’s contract comes to an end officially at the end of January 2017. Despite his removal the McLaren stalwart still retains a 25% share of the company.