McLaren’s Ojjeh passes away at 68

Mansour Ojjeh

Mansour Ojjeh, a significant figure in  Formula 1, recently passed away at the age of 68. Ojjeh died over the weekend (Sunday, June 6).

Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) President Jean Todt shared the organization’s mourning on the passing of Ojjeh, who was most associated with the McLaren team, playing a major role in the development of the race team and the wider companies of the McLaren Group from the mid-1980s onwards.

“Deeply saddened by the passing of my friend Mansour Ojjeh, one F1's leghends. He achieved huge success with Williams and McLaren. He was unique and a real gentleman. He will be truly missed and will always be remembered. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved family,” Todt said.

For his part, Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali described Ojjeh as “someone with incredible talent, passion and energy.”

He revealed,  “I was shocked to hear that our very good friend Mansour has passed away. He was someone with incredible talent, passion and energy and was a giant of our sport. I will miss him greatly and so will the whole F1 community. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Kathy and their beautiful family who he was utterly dedicated to and who were his real passion in life."

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown claimed that the “passing of Mansour Ojjeh has devastated everyone at McLaren Racing.”

He 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. All at McLaren Racing express their deepest sympathies to his entire family,".

FIA

Ojjeh’s first involvement in Formula 1 was with the Williams team in 1978. The team's sponsorship by Saudia Airlines attracted other Saudi brands to the team, among them the Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) company established by Ojjeh’s father Akram.

Ojjeh then transferred his interest to McLaren, helping the team build the TAG Turbo Engines organization to underwrite the development of Porsche engines for the team.

“Following the TAG power era, McLaren embarked on new engine partnerships and more titles followed, with Honda (between 1988 and 1991) and Mercedes (1998, 1999 and 2008),” FIA noted. “A serial entrepreneur, Ojjeh also continued to develop the TAG brand. He bought watch company Heuer and turned it into a major international brand before selling the company in 1999. He was also deeply involved in the expansion of McLaren beyond the race track through McLaren Applied Technologies and McLaren Automotive.”

Ojjeh underwent a double lung transplant in 2013, after suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). After recovering, he took on an executive role at McLaren in 2017.

Ojjeh is survived by his wife Kathy, and their four children, Lana, Lia, Sara and Sultan.

The Formula 1 personality’s passing follows the death of former FIA president Max Mosley at age 81.

Photos from Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)

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